Posts Tagged ‘Sustainable Living/Communities’

The Salatin Family’s Ripple Effect


The Ripple Effect of One Couple’s Decision
By Randall Richards

Salatin Family Farm

Because William and Lucille Salatin decided to moved their young family to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, and purchase a worn-out  farm, they had the choice of how they were going to manage the farm.

Because they decided to “use nature as a pattern” in their farming practices, they established a way of farming that worked for them, the land, and the animals they raised.

Because they began using innovative ideas on how to farm sustainably in the early sixties, they knew what worked for them. (more…)

“Fresh- The Movie”, It’s Important!


Sustainable food and a healthy future for all our children
By Amanda Richards

Fresh, The Movie

Fresh, The Movie

A friend of mine had just mentioned she’d seen a movie called Food Inc. , a film that documents where our food in the U.S. comes from. It shows how our food supply is seriously compromised. After seeing the film however, she was wondered what she could do for her family and community – what action steps could she take? She finds that she is still shopping in supermarkets and has felt a bit ‘powerless’ to change her buying habits. Answers to her questions can be found in a new film by Ana Sofia Joanes called ‘Fresh – New thinking about the way we are eating.’ It is an optimistic movie offering a ‘gateway to action.’ Exactly what my friend is looking for. ‘FRESH is a grassroots efforts for a grassroots movement’. Instead of being distributed in cinemas, it is being offered to communities as a way for people to get together and screen the movie for themselves. In this way, it can be used as a tool for action.
I have just signed on to help Linda Howes,CN,HHP,CBE, owner of Nourishing Wellness, organize a showing in the Kearsarge Region of New Hampshire. It’s important. Have a look at the website and get involved. The ‘FRESH movement is a constantly growing community striving to alter the way our food system works.’

“We all just watched FRESH…and we were mesmerized and empowered. Every American needs to see this. You will capture hearts with this. I can’t wait to sit in an audience watching this. It is absolutely masterful. “
Joel Salatin

“We all know about the problems with the American food system, but what about the solutions? FRESH is a bracing, even exhilarating look at the whole range of efforts underway to renovate the way we grow food and feed ourselves.”
Michael Pollan

Peru’09: Willoc Weaving


By Randall Richards

Kate J. at Willoc circa 1980's

Kate J. at Willoc circa 1980's

The first time I visited the small mountain village of Willoc, near Ollantaytambo was about 12 years ago.  Coincidently, my cousin Kate Jones spent a semester from the Lakeside School in Ollantaytambo and spent some time with a family in Willoc about twenty or thirty years before I showed up. This was before I knew where Peru was. She sent  a photo of her with her host family in Willoc, which I had on my desk for a number of years.  Then when I finally went Willoc, and recognized the local dress, I wondered if Willoc might be the  place that Katy ended up. I called her from Peru to solve the issue, and yes it was. Another year in Willoc, I tracked down her family. I’m headed there again in a few days, and will take a copy of the picture with me again to give to them.

Shearing & Drop Spindle, Willoc

Shearing & Drop Spindle, Willoc

On our Peru’09 program we again visited Willoc, and were shown a demonstration from start to finish of how the weaving is done – from shearing the wool to drop-spindle making the yarn, to dying the wool and finally the back-strap loom weaving.

While there we also were treated to a traditional meal and were shown the varieties of corn that are grown on the surrounding hillsides. The diffierent types are used for the fermented Chicha drink, toasting, cornmeal and other specialties.

As in other places in Peru, visitors are occasionally brought to small mountain villages. Mountain Spirit Institute limits our group size to a maximum of eight participants. Sustainable Travel International has guidelines on how to visit such communities as Willoc.

Learning about varieties of corn, Willoc

Learning about varieties of corn, Willoc

We feel at this point, there is a benefit to both the visitors and the villages for such visits, but they must be organized and done with care. One example, I always brief my particpants at the program start, and remind them of low-impact travel techniques, such as respectful use of the camera, matching voice volumes to that of local inhabitants, and follow cues from our hosts.

Our good friend, Anna Sequeros, a former president of the woman’s organization in the region has really worked wonders in bringing equality to village women in the area. More on that in another entry.

Prajna, The Best Knowledge – Climate Change


Mountain Spirit Blog Post #1…

The concept of Prajna, or ‘the best knowledge’, is sometimes known as a state in which wisdom prevails over needs and desires.  It also has many deeper layers of meaning and practice, all worth exploring.

Climate change is a fairly large global challenge, with a number of great minds working on the problem, but we can all do our part to minimze our individual impact on the environmnent.  The practice of “Sustainable Living” can mean many different things, but for many, it’s a call to action, which can be simply applied…

You are cordially invited to learn about climate change, reflect on your current practices, and experience a change in how you make simple everyday choices.  (This invitation is loosely based on the three prajnas, of which I know very little, and inspired by a passage in the book, “Buddha Is As Buddha Does”, by Lama Surya Das).

The Global Living Project, a program of author and lecturer Jim Merkel (Radical Simplicity), promotes the value and practice of a sustainable, low impact lifestyle.

To explore your ecological footprint, take a simple quiz which measures your transportation, housing, energy and food consumption practices, then consider possibilities for making changes toward a more sustainable lifestyle.

Finally a challenge with a sweet reward – homemade apple crisp to the first blogger who can identify the source of the following:

“It is not enough just to meditate and pray, which are always good things to do, but we also must take positive action in this world.”