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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Invitation to a celebration of Chuck

An Invitation to:
Friends and Colleagues of Chuck Waibel

Carol Ford, Garden Goddess Enterprises

Warm greetings to all. Most of the people on this list are aware that Chuck Waibel passed away on August 16, just a month after discovering he had stage 4 colon cancer. Thank you for your support in so many ways during that very difficult time and the weeks that have followed.

You may also know that Chuck was awarded a Bush Leadership Fellowship for 2013-2014. He was very much looking forward to pursuing his plan to create a model for a resilient, sustainable, community-based food system. It was difficult to accept that he would not be able to see his project through to completion, but also quite remarkable to witness how many people stepped forward and said they wanted to help make sure his vision would be carried forward. In the end, he did realize that his torch was being passed on to capable hands. This meant a great deal to him and to me.

It’s been hard sometimes to stay in touch after Chuck’s death. Grieving, yes, that. But also, I did not have access to Chuck’s passwords for his computer files. With the patient help of our friend Ben Winchester, there’s now a consolidated folder of email addresses and working files, which we are using to share this information about Chuck’s upcoming memorial celebration and related events.

The memorial will be on Saturday, October 26, at noon, in the Milan, MN Community Center (formerly the elementary school). There will be a potluck following the memorial, along with an opportunity for those who wish to hear about Chuck’s vision related to the Bush Fellowship project’s reformation. We’d like to use this time when we gather together to connect, discuss, and make a few plans for the coming year. If you would like to help continue his vision, but are unable to attend, please fill out this form:

Visitors are also encouraged to spend some time checking out the highlights of our small but lively village including the Arv Hus Museum, Milan Village Art School, Billy Mapletree Giftshop and the Karen Jensen Art Gallery. You can also get a tour of the Garden Goddess passive solar winter greenhouse before digging in at the potluck.

Chuck actually took some time while in hospice at home to let me know what he wanted his memorial to include. I always had my notebook close by in those days and wrote down what he said. I thought you might like to know how much he respected and valued all of you and the influence you had in his life and the lives of others now and in the future.  Here’s what he said,

“I would like to see all the people I’ve worked with on local foods to come together to say good-bye to me but also hello to each other. I can imagine them meeting and greeting, finding common cause and pondering new collaborations. So invite them in and, you know, let them be sad for a while, but then bring them together to share food and conversation and just watch what happens! It’s always been about building community. All of it has. Putting all those dedicated minds together—it’s bound to make great things grow. Let them know this isn’t for my sake. It’s for theirs.”

Please join us on the 26th in sorrow and in celebration of this guy with a vision that was founded on the belief that together, we can built the tomorrow that will nurture us and the communities yet to come.

If you need directions or have questions, please feel free to contact me at or 320-734-4669.  I can also give you information on area B&Bs and hotels.