Hunger Free America- By: Jayde Gaines

I recently traveled to Houston, Texas for a Hunger Free America national conference. Hunger Free America is a not for profit organization building a bold, grass-roots, non-partisan membership movement in all 50 states.  Their goal is to enact the policies and programs necessary to end domestic hunger, and ensure that all Americans have access to nutritious food.   Continue reading

Living In Nature- By Bill Cahalan

On a recent grey day I was walking past the old red oaks in Matt and Elaine’s yard, and saw how many acorns are still on the ground in January.  I reflected on the fact that even in the fall, when I pick up acorns (to plant in my tree nursery, or just to admire) I often find a hole in them from worms that have hatched inside, eaten their fill, and exited. Continue reading

Living in Nature

Walking up Enright near the Earth Center entrance, I came across several dark caterpillars crossing the sidewalk. In previous summers (although it seems like it might have been early instead of late summer) I remember seeing such caterpillars devouring much but not all of the leaves of the catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) tree at the Earth Center. So I looked up, and sure enough the tree’s leaves are more than half eaten, covered by fat caterpillars. A few days later, there are no leaves left on the tree. I know that native trees, more than non-natives or aliens, provide food for our local insects, which have co-evolved with local plants over millions of years. Most of these plants can survive the leaf damage, which tends not to be too extensive. Although this catalpa tree has seemingly lost all its leaves, It is late in the season and based on the same tree in past years, I’m expecting its rebirth in the spring. In the process, the insects are a great food source for the birds. So we try to always plant native trees and shrubs in our yard and woods, enjoying the fact we are nourishing the web of life here on the ridge.

Strength in CommUnity

One of the ways we get to know new people is hearing their story. Our story makes us unique, and the way we tell it is a way for us to create our lives again and again. In a community like ours, sometimes we hear about someone’s story from others and we form an idea of who that person is or what values they hold. But something changes about our perception of others when we hear their story from them, in just the way they tell it.

For me, I can gauge my inner growth by how I describe my childhood. I used to use harsh, judgmental words, now I tend to use words that are more gentle and grateful for my challenging experiences. How I speak about my work or my children also tells me (and others) where I struggle or where I’ve found peace.

Telling our stories to each other is important in community and the board is interested in creating a way for us to share our stories in our words. Do you feel inspired by this or have ideas about how we can do this in community? Even if you just take a few minutes to tell your neighbor a little bit of your story, each time offers a new opportunity to rewrite how you see your past and your self.