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Sunday, September 16, 2012

09/15/12- Elk's Bluff Open House

05:23:11 PM Finally, a break. I got here at about 12:30 to help with setup. I prepared with my computer, business cards, and books in the Processing Room, where I could explain the whys and hows of the greenhouse itself.
Coming up the Driveway

The overall setup is impressive. Coming down the long driveway a visitor sees a big white pavilion tent with tables and chairs. A low bandstand is ready along one wall with a white canvas backdrop. Around the garage are a couple of smaller tents, for serving food and taking entries for door prizes.

The center of it all is the barn-under-transformation. The construction is a bit behind schedule, as we've had several dry, dusty, windy days when little work could be done. They're still planning to be in operation by late October.

In the barn's entry and front room is the guest book, with a display of crafts and antiques for sale. Much of the barn has been converted to a funky antique and crafts shop.

Almost finished greenhouse
Toward the rear is the Processing Room. This fifteen by thirty space has two windows and a door that look out into the greenhouse. About one third will be where produce from the greenhouse is packed for delivery. The rest is set aside as a meeting area for organizing the greenhouse network that we envision, and for other community meetings such as Transition.

Just before 2:00, the scheduled start time, we wondered whether anyone would come. Ha! Right at 2:00 a line of five cars turned in- not related, just with the same idea. It hasn't let up since. Carol and I have traded off manning the room, explaining and elaborating. I've occasionally wandered about, taking pictures. I haven't looked at the guest book, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that over a hundred people have come through.

I've personally talked with people from several states- Iowa, Wisconsin, California, and Minnesota, and one from France. Many are thinking about building their own, but some have come representing groups such as food co-ops.

The festivities went on until about 8 pm. The band played, other musicians jammed, people kept coming through... (The short clip is of my wife, Carol Ford, and our friend Richard Handeen.)

This is the kind of community building that makes genuine Local Foods work.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Community- and questions


We had a fine party last night at Java River Coffeehouse in Montevideo, Minnesota. It was a fine party, but for a sad reason. It was to bid a fond farewell to the Wright family, who are leaving our area to move back to the Twin Cities.

That there was good food goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway. Aside from sloppy Joes it was mostly light stuff- crockpot beans, cupcakes, pico de gallo, slaw, chips. The loyal staff was on hand to make fancier drinks than the free coffee.

Many luminaries from the local arts and music scene, along with many Sustainable Ag folks, were on hand. Java River has two rooms, which worked well- those who wanted to could sit in the louder, more crowded music room, while the bar room was the place for more involved, philosophic discussions. Several people wandered about, alternating doses of crowd and chat.

Some of the folks were writers and scholars of note, so of course talk turned to my book- which brings me to the questions:


I really need some feedback from my loyal readers on this.

Writing my next book was spurred by people saying that perhaps the Local Foods and Sustainability movements had taken a wrong turn somewhere, so I went to see what was what. Conversations on my road trip, and especially since then, have shifted in their focus. They've become more dire. More and more people are seeing that we've lost the battle to stop Climate Change, that this civilization is going to run right off the Peak Oil cliff at full speed, and that politics has gone utterly insane.

They are losing hope- but the question is "hope in what?" I agree that we're not going to stop the calamities bearing down on us, but that doesn't mean that the situation is hopeless. Hope of avoiding trouble is a false hope, but hope to build something that comes through the tumultuous times to nurture our descendants is very real and sustaining. Pretending that this isn't a stormy sunset does no good, but neglecting that there will be a sunrise is downright blasphemous.

So my question is: Do people need me to take a somewhat darker tone in my writing, but saying that there will be a calm after the storm? We won't be there to see it, but who will be and what they will have to work with are our responsibility. Do I remind that Hope always includes Responsibility?