Photo by John Hadden
Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
Heavy snow bends Hemlock branches to the ground. Without Wind, even the smallest twigs of old Apple hold up huge white pillows. The landscape is full of whimsy. Animal tracks, accumulated over the past weeks, are now covered-over by this same whiteness – the teachers’ many scribbled notes on the chalkboard wiped clean. But all of those tracks – those movements through the winter landscape – are recorded in the layers of snowpack and perhaps even visible from the surface as faint signs of those who have passed through – visible when a honed memory catches on the slightest undulation in the snow’s surface. Imagine that those who live outside in this place through the winter – Fox, Coyote, Turkey, Deer and others – must become masters of fine-tuning the senses. Absent a house for shelter or a grocery store for food, they seem to focus their senses – like the fingertips of a blind person over Braille – toward the landscape itself, and through this effort they construct an ability to be at home in the place where they live. Their sensorial intimacy with their home place becomes the cloak they wrap around themselves for shelter and the food that feeds the new life now growing inside of them. You could say that their continued survival depends on their ability to hone these skills of home-making. And you could also say – given the dire news of climate change and the rest – that it may not be very different for us humans after all. It seems important to remember that there have been leaders – even within the lifetimes of some alive today – who displayed an ability to finger the Braille of their time and found the courage to not be sure all the time and even to change course. On these days that seem to be groaning for leadership, I will offer again some writing in grateful memory of a remarkable leader, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King.
We are thrilled to invite you to Soup and Bread Gift Distribution, Saturday 11am – 1pm, where we will have hundreds of loaves of fresh Bread and two homemade Soups, all offered as a gift to anyone who is hungry for any reason. Would you consider helping us to distribute this food to your neighbors who you know would appreciate the gift? It is a very lonely time for many who live by themselves. We will host a Work Day this Sunday from 11am – 1pm, which will include Soup Making. Find details HERE. We have received $2589 so far this month, leaving $2881 to go to meet our January budget request. Would you consider making a financial gift to support our work? You can do that HERE.
The Burning House
What is the difference between living in a house and being at home? The discontent that flares in many places this summer (or this winter) brings to mind a little-know conversation with Dr. Martin Luther King, recalled by his friend Harry Belafonte:
“I remember the last time we were together, at my home, shortly before he was murdered. He seemed quite agitated and preoccupied, and I asked him what the problem was?” King responded: “I’ve come upon something that disturbs me deeply. We have fought hard and long for integration, as I believe we should have, and I know we will win, but I have come to believe that we are integrating into a burning house. I’m afraid that America has lost the moral vision she may have had, and I’m afraid that even as we integrate, we are walking into a place that does not understand that this nation needs to be deeply concerned with the plight of the poor and disenfranchised...I fear I am integrating my people into a burning house.” Belafonte added, “That statement took me aback. It was the last thing I would have expected to hear, considering the nature of our struggle.” Belafonte asked King, “What should we do?” and King replied that we should, “become the firemen…Let us not stand by and let the house burn.”
The conversation is remarkable both for King’s willingness to consider the unintended consequences of his life’s work and for the power of his directive to ‘become the firemen.’ You might be wondering, what does this have to do with Brush Brook Community Farm and the Huntington Valley? The connection comes when we learn that the Greek word ‘oikos,’ meaning ‘house,’ is the root of both our words ‘ecology’ and ‘economy.’ The sweep of King’s observation and plea comes into view as we re-member Ecology as the study of the relationships between those who share a household, a place, an environment. Economy is the related work of describing the interactions between the residents – the give and take, if you will. Can we maintain healthy relationships between the residents of our households – human and other-than-human – when we have allowed them to become so large? As David Abram writes, “Western industrial society…with its massive scale and hugely centralized economy, can hardly be seen in relation to any particular landscape or ecosystem; the more-than-human ecology with which it is directly engaged is the biosphere itself.” (The Spell of the Sensuous)
Perhaps we could say that living in a house is a privilege. But being at home is something very different, less a privilege than a set of responsibilities, or a skill. Being at home might have very little to do with comfort and much more to do with obligation, participation and limits. Being at home describes a quality of relationship. Being at home seems related to citizenship. We understand homelessness as one of the worst afflictions to befall people in the developed world. And it is interesting to consider that the word we use to describe this condition is not house-less-ness, but homelessness. I have wondered at times if some who live on the streets might actually be choosing to flee, having seen the smoke billowing from the windows of the Burning House.
Here is what you will find in this Letter:
- GIFT DISTRIBUTION DETAILS and FULL MENU
- FINANCIAL GIFT REQUEST – January 2021 Budget
With Great Care,
Ava, Erik, Collin, Evan and Adam – The Brush Brook Community Farm Team
SOUP and BREAD GIFT DISTRIBUTION: Saturday 1/16, 11am - 1 pm
- Brush Brook Soup – Cabbage Noodles, Sweet Potato and Potato, Tomato, Lamb, Beef, Herbs, Bone Broth.
- Vegetarian Soup – Pureed Turnip and Sweet Potato, Tomato, Garlic, Herbs.
Please bring a mask with you and wear warm clothes. We will have Soup and Bread to take home, and encourage you to bring quart containers from home for us to fill for you.
BUDGET UPDATE: Thank you for considering the December Budget
Many heartfelt thanks to all who have responded to these invitations by sending in Financial Gifts. If you would like to support our work, you can mail checks made out to Brush Brook Community Farm to PO Box 202, Huntington, VT, 05462, bring gifts to the Gift Stand, or donate through the website. We are 100% financially supported by these personal financial gifts.
Brush Brook Community Farm – Jan. 2021 Budget
|As of 1/19|
|Gifts Received in Jan – Thank you!||$ 2589.00|
|Estimated Expenses for January|
|Bread Ingredients & Packaging||$ 1,115.50|
|Bakery Overhead (Insur., Electric, etc.)||$ 555.86|
|Bakery Rent||$ 300.00|
|Farm Expenses||$ 1,550.00|
|Farm/Bakery Team Requested Gifts|
|Adam Wilson Personal Living (full time)||$ 648.08|
|Adam Wilson Rent||$ 200.00|
|Erik Weil (part time) Rent/Housing||$ 500.00|
|Collin McCarthy (part time) Utilities||$ 100.00|
|Estimated Federal/State Taxes||$ 351.22|
|Paypal Fees||$ 150.00|
|Total Remaining for January||$ 2881.66|
Support the Farm & Bakery
The operations of Brush Brook Community Farm & Bakery are maintained by neighborly working hands and financial gifts. Your generous monetary support propels the gift of food forward to those open to receiving it.