City Farm SLO

Interbeing, the Rhizosphere, and Green Burial

Monday, June 6th, 2022

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Interbeing, the rhizosphere and green burial

Lund Retreat/Transitions 2021

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

The “Atmospheric river” is still flowing.  The drum solo of rain on the roof hasn’t stopped since arrival here yesterday morning.

 

Before departure from the South Terminal, the agent announced that unless the pilot found a hole in the clouds to allow visibility the flight would go back without landing.  But the young captain with delicate wrists and blond hair flowing over her epaulets brought us in smoothly to the cinder block shack of an airport that hasn’t been improved at least since our arrival here in 1970.

IMG_1473I haven’t yet stopped loving this weather.  The compensation for drought in SLO, the heightened coziness of the wood fire, friendly cats and house’s silence, the 14 hour night and half-light of day inviting intermittent sleep, the absence of stimulation and obligation permit words to flow from thoughts and thoughts to flow from words.

This trip has been intended as a retreat to allow processing of recent events that are taking on the appearance of a life transition. “Retreat” has several associations with this place: its mythic remoteness at the end of the road and the time and expense it takes to get here, the initial retreat from war and society that brought us here from New York in 1970, the  summers of 1996 and 1997 holed up to start and finish my book, “Shakespeare and the Bible,”and the writing and meditation retreat on Cortez Island I attended in 2010.

Meditating hasn’t yet happened here, but this journaling may better serve my purposes.

Life transitions are times when the future seems undetermined, subject to the vagaries of chance and choice, when the present holds promise and danger, when the past reopens.  This one was brought on my long-anticipated retirement from the position of Executive Director of City Farm SLO.  The result of the successful accomplishments of our two young staff members, Kayla and Shane, whose salaries were financed by generous new supporters, it became clear that finally the organization could survive and thrive without me.

At the advice of a canny professional fund-raiser, a campaign was planned to mark the changeover in leadership with a public celebration targeting people of means and influence.  The admission price was $50 along with discreet requests for additional donations. Using a well-tried method for non-profits to generate support and money, the theme was to be a tribute to my past dedication. Kayla focused publicity on her photo of me tending our sheep that recalled the literary archetype of the old shepherd I’d explored 40 years ago in my doctoral dissertation. I sent personalized invitations to all the friends and relatives for whom Jan and I had addresses. (more…)

This Changes Everything

Saturday, July 11th, 2020

Dear Larry

Your visit to City Farm SLO yesterday and commitment of funds to enable us to “Think Big” marks a momentous occasion.  This changes everything.

Along with that, your bringing along Jerry  to help with farm issues and our discussions of specific strategies signals more support than the essential contribution of real money.

Your offer has already released a cascade of pent-up dreams and impending tasks. It allows for the kind of long-term planning we’ve needed for years that’s been hampered by our limited and unpredictable finances.

On the other hand, for me it highlights a need for caution and deliberation. We now face a myriad of decisions that need to balance need, opportunity and constraint. Before our Board meeting on Tuesday, I will propose a process to formulate goals, means, procedures, schedules and budgets that includes City Farm’s diverse stakeholders.

Our discussions yesterday already produced a first pass at such a plan:

·      Proceed immediately with development of entry  area to build a cooler and wash/packing station for use of all tenants

·      Begin beautification program to include elimination of all eyesores and add designed signage, fence upgrades, and landscaping improvements and maintenance.

·      Begin engagement with other urban educational farms, (e.g. Coastal Roots Farm, https://www.farmbasededucation.org/members, https://fairviewgardens.org/, https://soilborn.org/

·      Step up efforts to engage the school district in long term predictable scheduling and funding of our  educational programs .  I mentioned that I expect Jen (https://www.jenerator.me/ and httpss://steamaheadcamp.com) to join in that effort.

Since our meeting at the farm, one model has already emerged: the back and forth among several players about the infrastructure and design of the well/pump area.  I hope that within the week we can to move on that so as to have tangible evidence of where we are going in place by the Fall, but it’s also important to keep entertaining alternatives.

I believe “thinking big” at City Farm warrants a name that gives notice that we are embarking on a program to more fully realize the potential of the land entrusted to us, for example,   “Harvest 2022” or  “City Farm Growth Initiative.” I’m not satisfied with either of those and hope you and the Board will come up with others.

In partnership,

Steven