Sunday, August 15, 2010

Grassroots Revival Rocked!

The Grassroots Revival, a community activist/social change/sustainability gathering at Bountiful Cities' Pearson Drive Community Garden in Montford, was an amazing collaboration of people and organizations in Asheville working to strengthen community and sustainability. Here's just a partial list of the more than two dozen projects and organizations that were represented: Transition Asheville, Evolver Asheville, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, Slow Food Asheville, FEAST (a project of Slow Food), Fresh Asheville, Dogwood Alliance, Firestorm Cafe, Spitfire Spoken Word Series, Asheville LETS (Local Exchange and Trade System), Grass to Greens (a project of Bountiful Cities), Asheville Grown Business Alliance, Asheville Black Cross, Mountain Area Information Network, My Brother's Keeper, Organic Grower's School, Asheville Green Opportunities, Asheville Green Drinks, Asheville Currency Project, the Latino Advocacy Coalition, and the True Nature Country Fair.

Here's some photos from the event:
Cathy baking some pizzas in the cob oven!

Celeste is on a mission.

Members of My Brother's Keeper speaking about their new organization to help formerly incarcerated men transition from prison into the community.

B Love checking out the new solar food dehydrator (that sounds so sci-fi, doesn't it?)


Circle time, where the 50+ community members described the community projects that they were involved in, sharing ideas and inspiring one another.

Jewell and Reid, hanging out by the greenhouse.

It was truly incredible to see so many individuals in one beautiful space, sharing information and support for all the different ways we are transforming our communities towards mutual respect, love, and sustainability.

Doug and kids.
Lets do it, Asheville!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

U.S. Social Forum 2010

We just returned from the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit, Michigan. Driving into the city felt like driving into the aftermath of war--a war starting in the 1960s, waged against the working class people of Detroit. Abandoned buildings (and sometimes entire blocks) with most, if not all of the windows broken out. Graffiti. Vacant lots by the dozens. Home after home collapsing after foreclosure and neglect took over. And peppered throughout this devastation: the shiny GM tower, three monstrous new casino-hotels, and several luxury condos.

Bountiful Cities made this trip to learn how the people of Detroit are taking back the land, making it a mecca of urban agriculture. What we really learned about is the beauty, resiliency, determination, and creativity of the people. Public transportation was inconsistent and we didn't have bikes, so our feet were in the street for much of our stay. We wondered through neighborhoods and down streets that sometimes seemed endless (Detroit is a big city!) and were always greeted with a smile and a blessing by the people we met. Here in the South, we take a smug pride in our "friendliness", but we don't hold a candle to the genuine heartfelt kindness and love that the people in the streets of Detroit had to share.

We met members of the Detroit Black Food Security Network who run the D-Town farm and work hard to educate about and promote urban agriculture as a sustainable answer to our food security issues. We stumbled across several community gardens tucked into vacant lots. We visited Tyree Guyton, founder of the Heidelberg Project, a visionary art installation project in a neighborhood long affected by the corporate oppression we continue to see in Detroit today. We listened to revolutionary leaders, both elders and youth, who are changing the face of Detroit and putting the power in the hands of the people. Grace Lee Boggs age 95, a woman active in shaping the change we see happening today, spoke at the forum and continues to be clear that connecting with each other and working together is the way forward. We listened with our whole selves.

At Bountiful Cities, our focus is urban agriculture and food security (issues inextricably connected to justice of all stripes), so we commit to taking what we learned in Detroit and acting on it here. We're not the only folks in the Asheville area working on this topic--we have kindred spirits in the form of individuals and organizations working hard to do their part. We're interested in creating our own urban food security network--creating the space for us all (whether we represent an organized group or are simply interested in the topic) to come together and take action steps to make our community food secure--especially for those among us who are most vulnerable.

Another world is possible. Another U.S. is necessary. We are the ones we've been waiting for.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Call for Submissions! BCPs 8th Annual Birdhouse Auction!

The Bountiful Cities project is now accepting donations of handcrafted birdhouses, bat houses, birdbaths, and yard art for its 8th annual birdhouse auction! Deadline for submission is May 1st. This year’s auction will be held on May 15th at 307 Flash Studios (behind the Rocket Club in East-West Asheville) and will be emceed by Jen Lauzon of LaZoom Tours! Submissions can be dropped off at Short Street Cakes, 225 Haywood Rd. in West Asheville; or at Honeypot at 85 N. Lexington Ave Downtown. Artists most fill out submission form at drop off location. Submissions will be displayed and juried: prizes will be awarded for the top 3 birdhouses. For specs on creating birdhouses for specific species of birds, go here.
The mission of the Bountiful Cities Project is to create, on urban land, beautiful community spaces which provide food in abundance and foster a learning environment for social justice and sustainability. 828.257.4000

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Core Values of the Bountiful Cities Project

As a member of the Board of Directors of the Bountiful Cities Project (and having been active in this organization for 9 years), I spent time last week with the rest of the board and staff to develop our organization; as a part of our ongoing strategic planning process, we identified four core values that guide our work as an organization. These values were inspiring to me, and I wanted to share them with you. This is the work of BCP- to work with communities in Asheville to enliven community self-reliance through urban agriculture.

Our work is guided by commitments to four key values of Community, Social Justice, Education, and Sustainability. I believe that challenging our assumptions about what these words mean, and working to live in integrity with these goals, just might be what brings about the much-needed healing that is possible in our communities and society.

Healthy communities consist of: shared and diverse cultures, cooperation, safety, support, health, respect, trust, self-reliance, and love; within and among individuals, families, and groups. Bountiful Cities is committed to fostering healthy human relationships by nurturing these community values.

Social Justice
Bountiful Cities is committed to ending oppression based on race, class, gender, culture, age, religion, and sexuality and to creating social justice by honoring and practicing cooperation and mutual respect.

Education is a lifelong process involving the shared exchange of knowledge and experience. Bountiful Cities is committed to supporting this shared exchange by role modeling, and by providing inspiring events, programming, and experiential education.

Sustainability is the equal balance between environmental health, social equity, and economic viability. Bountiful Cities is committed to sustainability through integrated food systems, food security, food production and job creation.

Happy New Year, Y'all.