I wish I had the words to adequately communicate the feelings that I experience when I think about the work we’re trying to do.  It is so filled with potential good, for so many people, in such a simple way, but very few people know about it.  I have to admit a sense of satisfaction when I speak to doubters, and listen to their voices shift from polite indifference to a smiling realization that this “good idea,” is feasible.

Food safety, crime, autism, veterans returning with invisible and visible injuries, failing schools, hungry families,  money being horded by corporations and a government that’s more worried about winning an election, than running a country; these are just some of the issues that we face. Add to that the specter of a changing climate, with corporations more concerned with profits than breathing, and who wouldn’t want to dig a hole and pull the door shut?

But if we’re going to survive as a culture, country and individuals, we need to muster our voices and strengths to fight the issues together.  If we want our children to have healthier lives and futures, we need to foster non-competitive connections between them, patience, responsibility, and cooperation. One answer to that is 4H, but that open arena can be used by others for animal training, farmer education, therapy for autistic people or returning veterans.  Agriculture not only raises food, but it requires physical activity, encourages science exploration, and builds practical math skills. It inspires arts, provides tool for creative exploration and opportunities for shared exploration and individual pride.

That same creative energy used to create clothes, bedding, housing, furniture, even sculptures and pottery, takes the fine arts into practical skills. But if we’re going to cut down on our individual energy use, and make these explorations possible, we need to share resources, from buildings to tools, networking to education.

If people have a place to follow their passions, build their dreams into businesses, and a resource to answer the question, “How do I start?” then our personal and community economy grows.  Those with skills prosper from teaching and students have destinations for where to seek those answers.  Frustration is funneled into following dreams, and community security and safety grows.  Providing those spaces, from studios to community kitchens, meeting space to hiking trails, answers that most frustrating barrier to success, access to legal, appropriate spaces.

Usually the answer to these needs is to have several groups compete for funding.  We are asking people to come together, share the load of making the space possible, for ALL of us to SHARE.  Though not all individuals will want to participate in all aspects of our program, the fact that someone else can, helps everyone follow their own passions. Though not all dog trainers will want to participate in animal assisted therapy, but they may want access to fresh ingredients for their pet’s diet, or for their own.  They may meet new friends and expand their own interests, or just find more people who share their own devotion to their dogs. Like an ecosystem, there are benefits for everyone, and costs to everyone, if this is to happen.

But because we are in a place that has been forgotten for more than a half a century, we don’t have big businesses, and a great deal of benefactors. We are trying everything we can think of to raise the funds to make this happen, but we need people to know about us, and help us.  We know that this is possible elsewhere, but not everyone wants to be that “test subject.” We do. And we are open to suggestions, and involvement from outside.  I’m tired of saying it, but there’s no other way. Can you help us with a few dollars? a few “shares” of the information? a call to a friend who might want to use our model?
Check us out at www.ncschearth.org or www.northcountrysustain.org.  Find us on YouTube at the hamesfarmer channel. We are an open book. Got a question? just ask.   Thanks. This is a chance to build a great future, with simple skills and existing resources. Can we include you in that toolkit for the future?