These past few days were bubbling over with social stimulation of the very best kind. Thanks to Tami and The Abundance Foundation, Bob and I found ourselves involved in a series of activities designed to get our activist juices flowing. On Wednesday we joined Tami, Lyle and four guests for dinner at their kitchen table. We went to The Barn at Fearrington Village Thursday evening for a salon style discussion of global and local perspectives on climate change adaptation. Friday featured a full day of impassioned speakers at the second annual Farming Adaptation Conference.
Dinner on Wednesday was the perfect kick off for this triptych of events. I was humbled to find myself at the dinner table with Michiel Doorn of Ecoawarness and Albert Bates, founder of Global Ecovillage Network and long time resident of The Farm in Tennessee. Albert, Michiel and Lyle would be joining Liane Salgado on Thursday’s discussion panel and Albert was here as the keynote speaker for the conference.
There wasn’t much small talk that evening. We dined on beans, rice and stewed squirrel (Bob and I passed on this) while chewing on a wide range of forward thinking topics. Albert treated us to a hair raising story about a Colombian death squad which gave us nightmares. Bob and I told our tale about the Coke Boat that beached on Little Corn Island during a storm and sparked a gold rush, turning the island culture overnight from tranquilo to bandito.
I’m tempted to describe the past three days as a Progressive Love Fest but the salon and conference drew people from all walks of life; from young activists to old farmers, from legislators to entrepreneurs. It was a multi-hued crowd, a rainbow of political perspectives and professional credentials. A diverse group focused on planning a sustainable future for mankind. I know that sounds kind of grand but it’s true. The adaptation strategies we explore in our region will be of use globally as climate change descends upon all of us. The political steps required to shift our culture from consumer to survivor are a path all communities must navigate.
Albert stoked our fires with his presentation. He showed how they keylined their fields at The Farm, adding a slurry of biochar and compost tea to rebuild topsoil. His gentle enthusiasm was reassuring and inspiring. Wow!” I thought, “For once here’s something we can add to the earth.” Linda Booker held an intimate discussion about industrial hemp which also brightened up my day. Again, here was a natural path towards restoration.
February is typically a month of malaise. The landscape is dead. The novelty of winter has worn off and Spring is too slow in coming to our rescue. There is much work to be done, yet this is the time of year we tend to poke along listlessly. The conversations and presentations we enjoyed over the past three days really brightened up our month. Thank you Tami, Jenny, Charlotte and Laurel for putting these events together and adding a splash of hope to an otherwise drab and listless time of year.