Biggest success was taking the plunge and making it a lifelong service. 2nd success is keeping it going.
I think one of our success is just being there. our region just needed a place to provide an example to empower others to push the envelope.
What works to me? planting roots and becoming a steward of your community. we have worked very hard to become members in this community. our method is open doors and transparency. there are many public food events throughout the year for "live" social networking...now I am one of the faces of our community as the Town Moderator i am charged with local elections and town meetings which is a great way to participate and be accepted
While our work is to be explorers, it is important to be flexible and responsive to the larger community in which any particularly project is immersed
What works- diversity in food products and income streams. With income it is important to stack the functionality. We experimented producing herbal tea for ourselves and then recognized the bounty we have to offer. We teach drying & growing techniques, share the tea with visitors and sell it packaged.
diversity in the landscape creates abundance...one year in the forest garden we had bad trip with bald headed ground hornets, they sting for real...over the summer we noticed nests were being dug up by the skunks that appeared sometime 2-3 at a time walking around the grounds...soon the skunks disappeared and we came to assume that a great horned owl must have arrived to feast on the abundance created
a great success is when you can get a skeptical local govt official to take a PDC and wake up!
polycultures work heartnut, blueberry, elecampagne, daffodils, rhubarb or valerian, blackwalnut, raspberry
pigs work!! to provide disturbance and enrich fertility
our food system onsite is nice example. we arrived in 97 with a bushel of garlic and now we are well over 50% year round and close to 80-90% during the fall.
gleaning from the system works...accepting donations of 2nd hand goods and harvesting the wastes discarded has built community relations and our resources
"While our work is to be explorers, it is important to be flexible and responsive to the larger community in which any particularly project is immersed."—Such good wording, and indeed I believe that this is the key element to make any project successful. If the project does not become viable in its surrounding community, burnout and failure become threats.
You are so correct that it is a "lifelong marathon," and I believe as well that it might be the hardest one. How does one train for that marathon? You mentioned becoming active in the community politics, but would you be able to give us more pointers on integrating a local community? Does your book give a magical-potion solution to becoming an integrated part of the local network?
Thank you for your great insight.
posted 4 years ago
thanks for your thoughts...i am constantly reflecting on the service element of our work. for me that provides a high degree of motivation to design and implement. i feel satisfied by reflecting on the work that is accomplished. my perspective is that change/evolution is perpetual and there is no begin or end within our lifetimes..within that context my life energy is important but also in the scheme of things one photon of light from the sun. use what you got, wisely. address the issue and figure out what fuels you.
to integrate in the local community requires participation. from dressing as the Easter bunny to attending church services we have made the time and effort to be a part. we give to every other non-profit or school raffle and fundraiser that ask for a donation. this does take time but is noticed.
in terms of issues heres a few...1) tax evasion our fellow taxpayers are concerned we will use our non-profit status to avoid local property taxes increasing the burden for them but we have chosen to pay our share
2) drugs- concern about marijuana growing was an initial topic of discussion
3) humanure - rumors flew we were putting poop on vegetables
4) kids- people thought we were gonna procreate like crazy
but over time these issues did not manifest as problems and the negative gossip died down...
we are also working over time to create a more tangible neighborhood alliance. through conversations at potlucks and other events we have begun to identify prioritization such as tool swap, ride share, kid care and collective food production that offer increased possibilities to localize our economy collectively.
one aspect that should not be understated...after living in dorchester for nearly 50 years my aunt was oldest woman in town when i arrived in 1997 and was respected by neighbors. she helped pave the way for us by going back to the land in the 1940s and we always serve as an inspiration for the project.
Location: Treadwell, NY
posted 4 years ago
In a few words you say a lot. Thank you very much for your answer.
posted 4 years ago
to add to this thread.. i think the biggest success is actually doing it, making the leap from talking about it to getting in the dirt. even if the project had only lasted for a week we would have made a success just through the attempt. failure is not trying.