The Future is Hemp: Time Spent at Winona LaDuke's Hemp and Heritage Farm

We had the pleasure and honor of spending time in central Minnesota at the Hemp and Research Farms being spearheaded by Winona LaDuke and the Anishinaabe community this past week. The vision for this farm is "To create an Indigenous women-led regenerative economy that is kind to the Earth." Through the growing of different hemp varieties, the community can take back their ability to provide hemp based paper, clothing and food products. This mission is amplified by the need to find alternative ways to farm - no more monocultures, GMO's, or pesticides. At the hemp farm, we were delighted to find out that the fields were planted entirely by volunteers who believed in this mission. They are hoping to obtain a building for the processing of the crops soon, so they can begin to bring some things to market and further develop this regenerative economy. 

Beyond the hemp farm itself, the community has a research farm with hemp, a large variety of vegetables, horses, a goat, a market, tiny home, and yurt. It was a beautiful working farm with small scale systems we could help out with daily. Beyond our favorite activity of milking the goat, Neizje, we also helped set up a tipi with our new friends pictured below, process some of the harvest (apples, chokecherries), maintain planting space, feed the horses, and other daily chores. We were so grateful to stay and happy to give a hand on the farm for the week. We will be helping to organize a volunteer team for Winona, to help harvest the hemp crop! More info for that will be given soon so stay tuned! 

Thank you to the whole community for this valuable experience! And thanks to our wonderful photographer Sam Sanders for the pictures! instagram: @sm_edia

 

 

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Success or  Distress? A Post-Modern Exploration of Values

 

By: John Deglado

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Hi, my name is John. I’m an earthling just like you, or any other, on this tiny spec of space dust that we call home. Let me start by saying that I don’t have any answers. In reality, I know very little, but I am wildly curious.

Answers have their place, don’t get me wrong; they serve as guidelines and tangible stepping stones along the fluidly adapting life in which we live. The thing about an answer, is that it’s only as good as the question being asked. A great question, asked in the correct context, and applied with grace and skill, can lead to major breakthroughs in relevant issues and provide novel creations. In a sense, you can say that answers to a given challenge lead us to greater developmental complexity within our created reality. This applies at the individual level, culturally, and the systems and societies that all co-operate at any given point in time.  

It is not my aim here to define success. There are many definitions out there, and each individual person will likely have their own nuances of what success looks and feels like to them. It is inexorably engrained within the contexts of our own experiences and personal journeys.

What I am interested in, is asking different questions. Questions like, “What does success mean within the context of a hypercomplex world, that is rapidly accelerating toward an unclear, unpredictable, and nonlinear future outcome?” Again, a singular perspective or linear equation is not my aim here. There are some foundational mindsets and value systems in play that would radically change the answer given to this question, depending on what that “lens” allowed the viewer to see.

 

The modern day success story is still largely a personal one. A triumph against great odds, with a valiant display of brilliance, and the acquisition of the “good life” surrounded by life’s finer things are all commonly idealized characteristics of success. (Especially in modern-day Western culture). This drive of the individual to grow to great heights, based in an economy that feeds off of finite (scarce) resources, generates a competitive advantage against other “players” in the same game to the top. This game has dire consequences when the success of the “whole” is not fully taken into account by each individual or organization.  Perpetuation of a culture based on competition, personal gain, win-lose scenarios, and exponential technologies equal systemic failure for all life on the planet.

We have one planet that sustains the optimal life conditions for all life. When we extract life supporting resources faster than the Earth can regenerate them, we threaten the delicate equilibrium of the local and global ecosystems on our planet. Without a healthy and thriving ecology, there is no possible notion of having thriving political, economic, or social systems. We are alive at a time in human evolution that has converged to a critical point. Looking forward we can see a fork in the road: do we see a dystopian reality that forecasts catastrophic or existential outcomes? Or do we see the potential for an unprecedented quality of life for all life on our planet? Both paths are equally as valid, and there are no guaranteed outcomes. I believe that if we shift our personal and collective values from the success of the few to the success of all, that we can co-create the necessary systems and structures that can sustain a new way for humanity to exist on this planet that has never been seen before.

“If we are gaining the power of Gods, then without the love and wisdom of Gods, we self-destruct.” ~ Daniel Schmactenberger

Permaculture and Play: Installing a Rainwater Barrel at the Boulder Circus Center

The first Permaculture and Practice event was a success! Our first of nine workshops centered around permaculture concepts began with an event on learning how to install a rainwater barrel to water the community garden at the Boulder Circus Center. We started off the day with a Permaculture 101 discussion led by Avery Ellis of Boulder Permaculture. We discussed concepts such as Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share and started to learn more about each other. By discussing the ethics we are going to follow throughout the day, we started to form a tighter connection with each other, ultimately creating a solid foundation for the work we were about to put in.   After we explored some permaculture philosophies, we got to play around at an acro-yoga workshop with Jeff Paley and Trevor Dye, with music played by the amazing Godlazer. Partnering with each other in an environment where trust is the key factor helped us to continue to build up our connections and understanding of one another before we headed to the main event. Once our bodies were stretched out and our bellies full of hemp bars provided by the local and wonderful Evo Hemp, we headed outside to start building the rainwater barrel collector. We painted the sides of the barrel with phrases like "water is life", collaborating with different colors and designs. After that we set the barrel on a large platform, leveled it out and hooked in tubes that ran from the gutter to collect the water. It took about an hour to complete and after all was said and done we walked over to the garden the barrel would be watering. Coming together and getting to know each other was key in completing this project - without forming these simple connections, would we have been able to trust one another with completing a project of this scale? Our foundation in community was just as important as the foundation for the barrel - it needed to be level and strong. We are so grateful for all those who participated in this awesome project, and even more grateful for the connections made to each other and to nature! We have eight more awesome events planned in this series that runs until October. Hope to see you there! <3 

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Boredom Festival 2017!

Forward Momentum Productions (ForMo) is a Colorado production company focused on creating more positivity in the world through everything music. ForMo was a key partner in our fundraising campaign for bicycle power, and was a co-producer of Nature’s Playhouse. Every year, ForMo produces a festival in Michigan called BoredomFest, which brings boredom fighters together from the midwest area for a weekend of great beats and family vibes. In 2017, Solutions Voyage coordinated the eco team at BoredomFest, installing waste management infrastructure and sorting the recycling from the trash at the festival.

We built a four-crate system from palettes we found onsite to sort cans, plastic bottles, cardboard, and glass. All weekend during the festival we managed a small team of volunteers to collect 55 gallon trash and recycling barrels and take them back to the Eco Hub where we sorted them into the different containers. By the end of the weekend, we sorted well over 2,000 cans, alongside an entire crate of cardboard and countless plastic bottles. The site owners and groundskeepers at Elderberry Farms were very inspired by our efforts and were going to continue to use the same procedure and infrastructure for future events on the property. While different from our usual work as an organization, we had a lot of fun making the festival a little greener, and had a blast working with the incredible BoredomFest crew!

 

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Frontrange Eco Social Solutions - Bioneers Network Event

Front Range Ecosocial Solutions is a Bioneers Network event hosted at CU Boulder every February. Produced by the CU Environmental Center, this conference brings together solutionaries from across Colorado to share experiences, information, and regenerative design strategies. On February 3rd, 2017, Kate and Eliot from Solutions Voyage helped facilitate a session at the conference entitled “Ecosocial Design from the Micro to the Macro: Creating a Perennial Economy.” Co-presented with Michael Alcazar and Braeden Miguel, the session focused on applying the patterns of nature to improving our lives, from the individual to the societal level. With particular insight from mycorrhizae, nature’s master networking organisms, we led interactive activities design to connect participants to one another and harvest the key challenges experienced by the group. We began with an eye connection exercise in small groups, a powerful and quick way to break barriers and allow for deeper conversation. Then every group answered two questions: what is an area in which you would like to see yourself grow and improve, and what is your biggest fear as you move toward strengthening that part of your life?

 Picture from  www.bioneers.org

Picture from www.bioneers.org

Permaculture Action Day at Sister Gardens!

To celebrate Earth Day 2017 and the completion of our crowdfunding campaign for bicycle power, we helped coordinate a Permaculture Action Day at Sister Gardens in Denver. We love working with Sister Gardens, a community farm in Northwest Denver that provides food for at risk communities and through a pay-what-you-can farmstand every Saturday.

At this action day, we completed three major projects at the site: a large scale painting project, digging new garden beds, and building small raised beds. After work was completed, we enjoyed a delicious home cooked feast with flavors from Northeast Africa and Yemen. Music at the action day included our friends Dank Lloyd Wright, Felix Fast4ward, Hohle Fels Beak, Julian Herlihy, Turn Around Norman, and spoken word artists. The children’s area included painting and problem solving adventure activities with Myra Makes. After our lunch and music we had a workshop on the four “I”s of oppression with Michelle and Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish and Damien Thompson. The four “I”s refer to ideological, institutional, internalized, and interpersonal forms of oppression. We broke into groups to examine how each of these are at play in our society and what we can do as individuals to combat them.

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Interviews with KNGU!

As a part of our Spring 2017 Generosity campaign raising money for a bicycle power station, Eliot and Kate had the opportunity to be live on KGNU for three interviews about Solutions Voyage, the Permaculture Action Network, and steps we can all take to walk more gracefully on the planet.

Read Kates Interview Here!

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Permaculture Action Day With Eco-Wakening

Eco-Wakening is a theatrical circus performance which tells the story of an individual’s journey from being an extraction-minded consumer to an active healer of ecological trauma. After the final show during the debut weekend on March 26th, 2017, we helped organize a Permaculture Action Day at the Boulder Circus Center. At the action day, the group of around 30 participants built four raised garden beds out of reclaimed decking, which are now planted with veggies at the circus center, allowing community members to gather with the shared intention of growing food. This action galvanized members of the center to organize further work days to plan the beds and continue to improve the outdoor infrastructure and create an oasis of life where center members can enjoy the garden. We will return to the Boulder Circus Center in October 2017 for another action day when the next series of Eco-Wakening performances occur!

 

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Break Free from Fossil Fuels

On May 14th 2016, protesters, community members, and solutionaries converged in Thornton, CO, to call for an end to fracking developments that threaten local neighborhoods and schools while accelerating climate change. We were joined by renowned environmentalist, author, and journalist Bill McKibben and Jonny 5 of the band Flobots.

 

Bill McKibben shared stories he has acquired while traveling the world participating in direct action against environmentally destructive practices. Shortly afterward, Jonny 5 led us in a group activity in which we explored the use of song and chant as a means to powerfully and gracefully confront the challenges of our day.

 

The protest was part of the global platform to Break Free from fossil fuels, a coordination of independently­ organized actions in over two dozen countries across six continents to keep fossil fuels in the ground and promote clean renewable energy.


This protest was the second of two in Colorado that are part of the Break Free platform. On May 12, there was an action in Lakewood, CO protesting the Bureau of Land Management auction of public lands for fossil fuel extraction. These mounting actions illustrate the urgency felt by mountain strong Coloradans about the extensive and sickening damage brought by fossil fuel extraction and climate change, and their readiness to participate in nonviolent civil disobedience to protect their homes and families. Passions were intensified after the May 2 Colorado Supreme Court ruling that communities in Colorado do not have the right to regulate fracking at a municipal level.

 

Unfucking the World: EarthFest 2016

CU Boulder is known to many Boulder residents as the stomping ground of irresponsible, rude, and ruckus-making kids. On Earth Day 2016, we demonstrated that a different narrative is possible. Some said that it couldn’t be done, that there were too many moving pieces and that it would be difficult to engage the right people. We proved them wrong.

EarthFest was an ecosocial music festival held on the terrace of the University Memorial Center. With support from the CU Environmental Center, the Cultural Events Board, and the City of Boulder, Solutions Voyage worked with the CU Biomimicry Club to bring 7 musical acts, over 20 community organizations, collaborative murals, a permaculture-inspired panel on relationship building, a student skit on menstruation, a poetry workshop and more to the CU campus.

Full gallery available on Facebook (Fabian Productions).