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Steamboat Campus Library: CMC Steamboat's Permaculture Program

Your library is just that - it's your library. We're here to help you succeed in school and in life. We can help you in person, or you can use this guide as a great way to get info from your CMC Steamboat Campus Library. Enjoy!

Key Facts & Principles


  • The project will be under review and evaluated by the CMC Board in Fall 2017 to determine its longevity and the appropriateness of the gardens on the Bear Park piece of land.
  • As of Summer 2016, this exciting project is located on the Steamboat Campus in an area named Bear Park.  (This is the flat area below the parking lot for the Steamboat Academic Building on the east side of Crawford Avenue.)  This site has historical ties to the Ute Indians who summered in our lovely Yampa Valley.
  • As a gateway to our campus, the site's appearance is of paramount importance and its appearance will improve as time goes on!
  • Our nearby CMC neighbors are important and will be an active part of the design process for Bear Park and its greenhouse if that process unfolds.

Key Principles:

  • Permaculture is the overarching philosophy of the greenhouse and gardens site.
  • The growing dome (if developed) is a stage for comprehensive, immersive, practical learning experiences with permaculture principles as the solid foundation and driver.
  • A first draft guiding vision for the permaculture program and the greenhouse is:  "developing leaders with the passion, innovative potential, and solid practical experience necessary to make effective contributions to sustainability projects that involve social, business, scientific, technological, and economic dimensions."


Permaculture & Greenhouse Presentations & Communications

If you missed one of the meetings, you don't have to have missed the presentation or the information about the project!  While not filmed, you can see the materials that were presented at the meetings, and can take a look at the documents that pertain to the project.

Other Academic Permaculture Programs, Agriculture Programs, Courses & Events

Here is a list of other academic institutions which are offering permaculture either very directly or as part of another program.

Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Programs

A wide variety of permaculture design certificate (PDC) programs exist.  Here are just a sampling of them...

Ideas and Questions to Address

As we receive suggestions, we wanted to make them visible to everyone (in case you wanted to know about them, and in case you can help address them!).

Curricular Integration Considerations

  • Biology classes to possibly do regular soil testing and monitoring of indoors and outdoors
  • Engineering and/or sustainability students to make solar food dehydrator
  • Internships for the permaculture program could look to possibly partner with or model our program after entities in the Roaring Fork Valley such as Aspen Tree and/or CRMPI as these entities are already combining internships with PDCs in creative ways.

Outreach Considerations

  • When our program is established, consider 'permablitz' activities where our students go out into the community and transfer an existing space into a permaculture garden.

Greenhouse Considerations

  • How can we address pollination in the greenhouse without having pests in the greenhouse as well?

Beehive Considerations

  • Consider allergic people regarding where the beehives are located to minimize possible conficts/issues.

Parking & Public Interaction Considerations

  • If produce will be sold, how would public sales of that produce work given the very limited parking on the Bear Park site?  If - and it is a big if! - produce were to be sold, sales could certainly happen elsewhere on the college campus.  The current intention is that parking for the greenhouse will occur in the parking lot above and thus, that is where the public would park for any greenhouse event.

Water Considerations

  • Need to be aware of the runoff from the parking lots depending on the material used for ice prevention/build up.  If mag chloride is used in winter, need to ensure that the runoff will not negatively impact the site and greenhouse.
  • Is there a way to incorporate student research into designing a way to clean parking lot run off so it can be used for the Bear Park site?

Compost Considerations

  • If we are going to be organic, we will need to ensure that the compost we use does not have residual chemicals or GMOs. 

Plant Considerations

  • Consider perennials for medicinal or nutritional benefits such as high altitude potatoes, herbs, etc. which might grow here.
  • Consider using a 'hotbed' in the greenhouse to germinate plants in trays and to assist with greenhouse temperature moderation in the winter, or a 'hotbed' outside to extend the growing season (more info available in Permaculture Magazine, Issue 79, Page 19)

Funding Considerations

  • Consider having some fence sections "sponsored" with some standardized signs or plantings paid for by sponsors in a tasteful and durable way that could attract interest from the community who want to financially support the endeavor.

Other Potential Site Uses

  • Is there a possibility of setting up a weather station on the site since the site will likely be enclosed and locked?  It could include Ozone monitoring to provide a database over time since we do get the downwind effects from the oil, gas, and coal industries west of us. Having a good set of baseline info could be a great asset to the college and the community.

Outreach and Communication Plan for Permaculture & Greenhouse Program

If you are interested in being a more active follower of the happenings of the CMC Steamboat Permaculture & Greenhouse project, please email us here or check this website regularly as this is our primary information outlet!

Educational Programming Outreach

  • Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) approved - first cohort of PDC graduates in August 2017

Greenhouse Design Outreach

  • Design Charrette - December 6, 2013, 1 - 4 pm, CMC Steamboat Academic Building Auditorium - Great meeting - thank you for attending!  The presentation has been posted to this page for your review!
  • Email sent to participants & CMC Steamboat staff, adjunct faculty and full time faculty with summary of input - January 8, 2014
  • Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to go out for a greenhouse designer on March 7, 2014
  • RFQ Greenhouse Design Initial Review Meeting - April 1, 2014
  • RFQ Selected Design Team Presentations - April 18, 2014 (Permaculture Team members only - sorry!)
  • RFQ Selected Design Team Presentation Debrief - April 22, 2014 (Permaculture Team members only - sorry!)
  • Greenhouse Design Kickoff Meeting - May 28, 2014 (Permaculture Team members only - sorry!)
  • We didn't keep this updated but we did meet throughout 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.  Current proposal is for a 42' Growing Spaces growing dome and this proposal will be reviewed in Fall 2017 by the CMC Board of Directors.


Permaculture Resources

Permaculture is a concept that has been around for some time, but we're still in the active learning phase.  Come join us in learning more about it!

Water & Graywater Resources

The CMC Permaculture and Greenhouse team are signed up to receive email updates on the progress of the new graywater legislation as it moves through workgroups and then to the State Water Quality Control Commission.  We recommend you explore the page that the state has put online as it contains drafts of the legislation and meeting agendas.

Routt County Specific Food & Agriculture Resources

Here are some Routt County specific resources regarding local food efforts and farms.  Please let us know if you should be listed here!

Permeable Surface Research

One of the goals of the project, as well as one of the requirements of CMC's agreement with the City of Steamboat Springs, is to not create any additional runoff because of the greenhouse and garden development.  To that end, we are researching options for both permeable asphalts and concretes, as well as permeable pavers and other porous surfaces.  Below is what information we have found to date.  We welcome input and information on this topic!

Permeable or Pervious Pavers

Permeable or Pervious Asphalt or Concrete

CMC Permaculture Design Certificate and Other FAQs

Below are some of the FAQs that we have received regarding the greenhouse.  If an answer isn't yet provided, please know that we are working on it!

  1. When would CMC Steamboat have classes in permaculture available for students to sign up for?  Our best estimate is at that we would not have any classes on offer until at least Fall 2015 - this assumes that the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) program and curricula would be approved by CMC and that we would have the means to have qualified staff on board to teach the course.  So, as you can guess, this is a rough estimate of when a class or classes might be available!
  2. What would be the estimated number of credits for a CMC Steamboat PDC course?  This is undetermined as of April 2014 and we will likely not have this information available until much closer to Fall 2015.

  3. Are any building performance related courses going to be included in the permaculture or sustainability programs?  As of April 2014, this is not planned for inclusion in the CMC Steamboat curriculum.  However, there is a Sustainable Facilities Workshop being offered in Summer 2014 at the Rifle campus.