Organizational Overview: Foundational Principles

Oakengrove’s unique approach to integrated cultivation uses several models of interaction and development. The three primary models are three- four- and fivefold. The threefold model is concerned with stable conformation and institution, as with Oakengrove’s three primary functions: cultivation through the fostering of a sustainable culture of production, recreation through an inspiring educational experience, and societal transformation through aggressively pursuing changes in our institutional and municipal infrastructures.

Similarly, Oakengrove uses a fourfold structure, the primary application of which is to define seasonal periods of activity either across days, months or years and a fivefold structure, the primary purpose of which is to define points in cycles of cultivation and production.

Oakengrove’s five-fold model of cultivation and production is the most unique to its approach. The basic pattern of this model divides all cycles into five stages. Applying this model to the life-cycle of plants, its five points are germination, growth, harvest, decomposition, and humufaction, at which point the cycle begins again.

The Five Processes

The complexity of this model is found in its interlocking triangulations of opposites. Decomposition is opposed by germination and growth, the action of expansion and coalescence from seed to maturity opposing the natural dissolution of breaking down. Likewise, the essentially digestive process that begins with harvest and proceeds into decomposition is opposed by the formation of the seed, that which holds the entire essential nature of the plant in its most rudimentary of forms. Humufaction, that point at and process by which the decomposed matter of the plant becomes capable of nourishing new life as opposed to corrupting it with fungal and bacterial infection, moves in the opposite direction as that process by which the plant, being mature and fructiferous, achieves its highest end, and after which it begins to move toward its own destruction.

Applied to the process of manufacturing, these points change drastically. In the construction of a garment or other similar artifact, the stages become design, assemblage, manufacture, distribution and reception.

Beginning with design, wherein the idea of a product is conceived and developed, the individual necessary parts that will finally form the completed whole must be then acquired and assembled. In terms of a garment, the cloth, thread, buttons and other elements must be brought together with the tools needed for construction. This and its application of artistic skill constitute the next point on the cycle: manufacture. Once the item and its siblings have been made, they must be distributed to those who will use them. Their response then creates a reciprocal relationship with the manufacturers through which future design can improve the product at hand.

While these processes are fairly simple, their strength is in how they offer operating models for the integration of different cycles into each other. In assembling a leather garment, the assemblage stage must be predicated on the harvesting stage of the husbandry cycle for cattle or other animals. This allows an efficient timeline to be formulated and navigated wherein maximum production can be ensured with specific and possibly limited manpower.

These steps and processes then offer a structure through which every contingency may be considered and allowed.

For the purpose of offering a mnemonic for the five stages presented here, the traditional Wu Xing of Chinese culture may be employed. The five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water offer associations respectively of growth, explosive creation/transformation, disintegration, solidification and nutrition, although these associations are slightly different from the traditional stages.


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