Newsletter, April 15, 2020
Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
Coming into week three of Friday Bread Gift Distributions it seems proper to offer some description of what giving hundreds of loaves of bread away actually looks like on the ground. Here is what you can find in this letter:
1. STORIES from the Bread Distribution
2. INVITATION and Details for Tomorrow’s Pickup
3. VISION for an Agricultural Gift Economy
4. BUDGET and REQUEST FOR FINANCIAL GIFTS – We are finally ready to accept money! Total request for 4/14-4/30 --- $2982.00
Many new faces, some half-covered with cloth masks, stood in line at the outdoor Bread Stand last Friday as the air filled with heavy April snow. The signs for PARKING and BREAD were soon coated with this wind-blown snow, and the pop-up tent sagged under its accumulating weight. Despite the weather, 120 loaves were gone in under two hours (This week we will nearly double the bake!), and the baker and farm team at the stand were blessed with many heartfelt thanks and stories of those who would be nourished by the still-warm loaves. A loaf went to 97-year old Florence Miles, who reminded her friend Guthrie beforehand, “I am German and I love rye breads.” By the time Guthrie came by the stand, the rye breads were all gone, but there will be many more baked this week! Another loaf was delivered to my friend Alan who I met when he joined us for the Gratitude Feast on November 3rd, just days after his home was partially destroyed during the Halloween Flood. The way Alan articulated his gratitude to me that evening is now a memory I rely on when the road seems rough and unpromising.
Bread Gift Distribution
Friday 4/17, 4:00pm – 6:00 pm
Brush Brook Community Farm & Running Stone Bread
4582 Main Road, Huntington VT.
Look for parking signs when you arrive, and please respect precautionary distancing guidelines.
Varieties this week: Mountain Bread, Polenta, 3 Seed, Rye, Sprouted Grain, Backcountry Loaf(gf)
Would you consider coming by for a loaf for your household, and possibly one to drop off to someone on your way home?
Brush Brook Community Farm, the neighborhood project that has put on five no-charge Gratitude Feasts at the Town Hall and given away thousands of pounds of food over the past year, operates from a few root convictions:
· We all live here in this valley together.
· We all eat food in order to stay alive.
· We could, collectively, ensure that nourishing, locally raised food is available to everyone who lives here without any barrier to access. This plays out as a practice of radical hospitality.
· We could, at the same time, care for the soils, forest and rivers of this place, renewing a commitment to deeply sustainable agriculture. This plays out as a practice of ecological repair.
· Each person has unique gifts to offer to these collective efforts. For some, that might be writing checks to cover the expenses required to operate the Farm and Bakery. Others might help stack bakery firewood, clean the Town Hall after a community meal, organize volunteers or facilitate planning meetings. Others might watch their neighbor’s children to enable tasks like these to be accomplished. ALL OF THESE THINGS HAVE ALREADY COME TO PASS OVER THE PAST YEAR TO ENABLE GIVING AWAY OVER 500 MEALS COOKED FROM LOCAL. SUSTAINABLY RAISED FOOD.
4. Budge and Request for Financial Gifts
The following is an invitation to participate in a social/cultural/environmental experiment we are calling and Agricultural Gift Economy.
Last year I, as Running Stone Bread, purchased thousands of pounds of wheat, rye and corn from three Vermont farms committed to ecological practices, milled these grains into fresh flour, baked approximately 400 loaves per week and delivered the bread to retail stores, with a majority of sales in the greater Burlington area. The profit from these sales went to pay my modest living expenses and to cover the approximately $12,000 budget of a new project called Brush Brook Community Farm, which hosted the Gratitude Feasts. While this effort was financially sustainable, as the Farm and the Feast got going, my weekly labor hours began to regularly top seventy. It took falling and breaking a rib on the same day the pandemic was announced to force me to consider the real possibility that things were near a breaking point. It turned out the Global Economy and the Ecological Systems that feed it were near a breaking point as well. If you would like to read further about this transition from Global Industrial Economy to Gift Economy, see The Virus, the Dragon and the Gift: A Plea for Gift Economy.
I had dreamed of this transition for several years. With the Economy shuttered by the pandemic, it seemed people might be willing to consider things they wouldn’t have just a few weeks prior. Perhaps it was time to ask myself and others for courage, boldness and radical hospitality.
So, here are two questions for you to consider:
1. Does it seem worthwhile to extend this kind of hospitality to everyone who eats food in our community with no barrier to access?
2. If so, are you willing to consider making a financial gift to support the work? There will be no other stream of funding other than these personal financial gifts, but there will also be many invitations to help with the varied work projects that sustain these efforts.
|Estimated Expenses for Farm and Bakery 4/14/20 - 4/30/20|
|Bread Ingredients & Packaging||$464.79|
|Bakery Overhead Costs (Rent, Electric, etc.)||$427.93|
|Adam Wilson Personal Living Expenses||$324.04|
|Adam Wilson Rent||$100.00|
|Erik Weil Rent/Housing||$250.00|
|Collin McCarthy Utilities||$50.00|
|Bread Distribution Pavillion Construction||$750.00|
I will cease to have other paying work, as the bakery joins this Gift Economy experiment. The rest of the farm team -- Erik, Collin and Ava – will continue to maintain outside jobs, and so have requested only modest financial gifts to enable their work at the farm over the next two weeks. There are dozens of other volunteers who continue to give many hours to these efforts who have asked for no financial assistance.
There are two ways to give gifts.
- You can make out a check to Brush Brook Community Farm and mail it to PO Box 202, Huntington, Vermont 05462, or drop it by during the Gift Distribution.
- You can make donations online through our website via PayPal by clicking HERE. Looks for the "Donate" button
Many thanks for your interest. See you tomorrow at the Bread Distribution!
With great care,
Adam Wilson and the Brush Brook Community Farm Team
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