“Love Comes from the Ground”

In my societal commentary,Orion … A Feline Metaphor for Hybrid Governance,” I proposed a hybrid type of governance as alternative to our current political malaise and civic ineptitude. At the center of this hybrid is the Community 3.0 Front Porch civic network. A Front Porch can be the local pub down the street or the coffee-house you get your morning the espresso from. It can be Bill’s garage where everyone hangs out to watch Sunday football games. It can even be your kitchen table. What happens on the Front Porch is what matters … not what it looks like or where it is.

The Front Porch’s purpose is to identify Solutions, whether they be in response of needs or opportunities. These Solutions are designed to help your community pick up the slack and mend its societal safety net. They can range from organizing a cleanup effort, to fixing a playground, to even spearheading a high school mentoring or apprentice program.

To get a more full understanding of the Community 3.0 Front Porch concept, please read the post, “Front Porches.

As a part of the Community 3.0 platform we’ve put together a roster of several examples of what can come of collaborations in your community’s Front Porches. Imagine, take direct action … and this could be your community.

One of these examples is “Love Comes from the Ground.”

Kale 2 crop posterize

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Community Gardens and Farmers Markets

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Every year I grow a garden – tomatoes, carrots, herbs (eight types), peppers, onions, etc. But my prize crop is kale. For some reason kale likes the climate around here. I live in a small town forty miles from Billings, Montana. The kale bushes, yes they turn into bushes, grow three feet tall and three feet in diameter. 

There’s no way, no matter how many salads I eat – can I eat all the kale I grow. I had a brilliant idea this year. I was going to bake kale chips. I was going to make four different varieties, package them and sell them at the local grocery store. I even designed the packaging. I did three test runs … and they were terrible. So much for the “brilliant idea.”

So my last resort is to just give it away. I gave a garbage bag full to my friends at my favorite computer store in Billings. I gave a bunch of it to the girls at the pet store I buy crickets for my gecko at (especially the tattooed girl who works with the snakes and lizards). And I try, the operative word here is try – to give it away to the people in my little town.

In theory, I could provide enough kale for salads for the entire town for two weeks. There’s only one problem though: Virtually nobody knows what kale is here. It doesn’t seem matter that kale is paraded out on every cooking show, morning show or doctor show on TV these days as a wonder food. Still, almost no one in my town has ever heard of it, let alone eat or know what to do with it. Now to their credit some took it and said they’d venture down this “unknown road.”

Obesity is threatening America. And no age group in immune. But often the problem isn’t eating too much food or not getting enough exercise. Often the problem is not eating the right foods, foods that are nutritious and fresh. Many people in America and abroad live in “food deserts,” or places where nutritious foods just aren’t available. And sometime times these “food deserts” are self-imposed because of lack of knowledge. In my town, a farming community, eating vegetables means corn, potatoes and head lettuce; probably three least nutritious vegetables you can find.

It’s good to introduce people to good healthy foods. But that will last only as long as their current supply lasts. Using the old adage, “You can give a man a fish and it’ll feed him for a day; but if you teach him how to fish, it’ll feed him for a life time.” That’s exactly what we propose to do with Community 3.0‘s“Love Comes from the Ground” initiative. We propose a “garden to table” solution.

Community gardns posterized

The first step is the garden. Community 3.0, with the help of its Merchants and Contributors (customers) will locate and procure access to land that will be used as community gardens, open to whoever wishes to plant and care for them. Each community or Node could have several. It all depends on available land. Also we want to make these gardens an avenue to bridge and connect residents of different generations. Young people should work the soil right next to those old enough to be their grandparents. We feel this close connect working for a common goal will be a great benefit to all. Who knows what these “cross generational” relationships can develop into.

The next step is: “What do you do with the food you produce?” To go with the community gardens, we will be setting up Community 3.0 farmers markets. Here our Members will sell their wares to their neighbors not actively involved in the gardens. Arrangements can also be made with Community 3.0 Merchants to infuse their restaurants with locally grown produce. Furthering the potential for cross-generational synergy is the Farm-to-School-to-Market. This program not only involves the younger generations in food production, it turns them into fledgling entrepreneurs by having them sell what they produce in school related gardens to the Merchants and Members of the their community.

But selling their goods is only one option. In fact it’s not even the preferred one. Using the “fish” metaphor, we encourage our micro-farmers to keep their bounty and use it as an impetus to change their behavior and improve their nutrition … and therefore their lives. We will guide them through this process. With the help of our Members, we propose to create an online cookbook, filled with recipes contributed by locals using the ingredients produced right here in their community gardens. Who knows, maybe we can even make printed copies of it. It could be a source of local pride. This would also provide an excellent opportunity for more “cross generational” connection.

But just providing the roadmap to healthy eating isn’t enough. Community 3.0 will provide guidance on how to navigate this road to proper nutrition. We will set up cooking classes with “hands-on” instruction” showing how to prepare the recipes on the site. The focus here will be on the younger generations. The younger they learn good nutrition and healthy eating, the more likely it’ll stick with them throughout their life. And who knows, maybe they can even bring it home and change the eating habits of their parents.

And once the healthy eating “virus” is spread, maybe the concept of community gardens will spread to people’s back yards.

Then your community will have truly “learned how to fish.”

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We ask to you be part of our efforts reclaim the ground as the basis of our communities. Help us create a foundation for which our communities can build on in their quest for self-sustainability and well-being. As part of our Community 3.0 family, band together with us to provide the assistance that our current and upcoming generations need to flourish today and in the future. No matter what role you wish to play; whether it’s directly in your community or you’re someone who wants to lend your experience and expertise to us in devising network-wide programs … we welcome you.

To get a more full understanding of the Community 3.0 Front Porch concept, please read the post, Front Porches.Also please follow us on Twitter at @Community3_0, and check out the main 3.0 web site.

And when you’re ready – please comment below, tell us who you are and how you think you can better the 3.0 community.

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Community 3.0 Solutions:

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