A Sustainable Regenerative Future

As I’ve written before, I’m encouraged to see a generation emerging that is rejecting the consumerism and debt that ours embraced, a generation that is actively looking for ways to make the world a better place rather than just ways to make lots of money, a generation that is exploring spirituality in exciting ways, seeking opportunities for service and celebrating the things we have in common rather than emphasizing our differences.  Of course it’s not true that those traits are shared by everyone in the younger generation, but my sense is that they are generally characteristic of at least a significant segment of it–a segment large enough to make a big difference in the world.

I’m thinking this morning of a group of young friends of ours who have chosen to live in the inner city of our nearby town so they can share life and community with people who are desperately poor and often homeless.  Our friends live in intentional community with one another, sharing homes, which they open to those in need.  They’re an inspirational and awesome group.

We’re especially excited about a new project they’ve launched this year–an urban community garden on a large lot that was donated to them.  They’ve been clearing and preparing the land and it will be producing food and meaningful work for their neighborhood this year and for many years to come. They’re using and incorporating permaculture techniques that were unfamiliar to me.  They’re able to innovate because they’re not confined to any paradigm being dictated by some agricultural authority.

This kind of thing is happening all over the country right now, and probably all over the world.  It’s just one example of many that causes me to have a lot of hope for the future.

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23 comments on “A Sustainable Regenerative Future

  1. Bill, I’ve mentioned before that community gardens are popping up all over my city. Here the main thrust of them have come from churches with a vision for growing food on their property. I’m not sure what the criteria is for obtaining a spot in those gardens but a neighbor of mine had one for years with out being a member of the church so I know that’s not a requirement. Almost everyone in my neighborhood has at least a couple tomato plants in their back yard. My back yard gardening has inspired them to have a small garden for fresh produce. I’ve just found out this last summer that a few houses down the hill from me, chickens are being raised. I’m not sure how many they have or whether they are entirely legal but I like it.

    I think it’s great to see a younger generation getting the idea that food should come from local sources and not be trucked in from over a thousand miles away. Grass roots ground level thinking is the only way things will change. I don’t think our big Ag food situation will ever be eliminated unless a great catastrophe happens but it can be prevented from expanding or maybe even encouraged to shrink by educating those that will listen. Our cities in this country is rich with vacant lots that could be used for food production.

    Have a great food educating day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff says:

      The “great catastrophe” might be when people can’t afford to buy the food that is being produced any longer. Times are tough and I don’t see them getting better any time soon.

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    • Bill says:

      I’d love to see delicious nutritious food growing on all those vacant lots and urban backyards. It’s great that you’re inspiring your neighbors. That’s how a movement works!

      I’m pleased to see so many churches turning green space into community gardens. I’d love to see that become the norm.

      What we’re seeing with urban gardening and church/community gardens may look small in comparison to the industrial food giants, but I believe they’re the seeds for change. In the long run our industrial system is unsustainable (maybe even in the short run). Smaller-scale localized sustainable agriculture is the future, and that future is starting to emerge now.

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  2. Joanna says:

    Absolutely brilliant. I have a young friend who is passionate about human rights and living on this earth more lightly. She will send me random messages asking questions like how to compost at home in an apartment and such like. She is such an inspiration for me to keep going

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    • Bill says:

      They’re fortunate to have encouragement and wisdom from you and people like you (and the benefit of the work you’re doing). I’m inspired by young people too. I’m especially pleased to see a generation emerging that I believe will build on the things we got right, while not repeating our mistakes. Environmental consciousness and the importance of sustainable living seem to be very important to young people–as they should be.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeff says:

    I’m curious – was the “donated” lot for the community garden legally given to the group? If not, then they are building on a shaky foundation because the owner can always kick the group off the land.

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    • Farmgirl says:

      I am not sure if it matters. That is the nice thing about farming, it can be done on rented or donated land and can always be moved to a new location if necessary. Even if it were legally given to them something could happen. I think whatever impact they can make in whatever time they have there will have an amazing impact.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      The land was owned by Habitat For Humanity, but they didn’t think it was suitable for them, so they donated it to our friends (Grace and Main Fellowship). Title was transferred by deed.

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  4. Farmgirl says:

    Bill, what a fantastic post. I am inspired by the generation coming up as well.

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    • Bill says:

      Thanks. There’s a lot of hand-wringing going on about how this will be the first generation that won’t be better off financially than their parents. Of course the fault for that doesn’t lie with the young people. But more importantly I don’t see young people whining about that. They seem perfectly OK with a less-consumptive lifestyle. I’m generalizing of course but I think the sociological data supports my conclusions. Certainly my own observations do. In the future we’ll have to live sustainably and more gently. I believe the young generation is well-suited for that kind of transition.

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  5. I feel like there is a groundswell happening too. It is an awesome thing to witness. The group you’re describing reminds me very much of Shane Claiborne’s community.

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  6. Laurie Graves says:

    Yes, let’s hear it for the younger generation! They are facing formidable challenges.

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    • Bill says:

      They sure are. They’re inheriting a lot of debt and the consequences of our having mortgaged their future. We outsourced the economy for quick cash, not leaving much behind for them. And the environmental damage caused by our over-consumption will be their mess to clean up as well. But as I’ve noted before polls show that they both understand that they won’t be getting the “benefit” of the materialistic boom economies of the past, and they’re OK with that. What I hope and believe is that they’ll be the first of many generations to come that will consciously strive to live sustainably and simply.

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  7. EllaDee says:

    Anyone, anything, anyway opting out of Corporate choices makes a difference. I think there’s always been people doing it, some didn’t have labels, some were farmers, some were called hippies, greenies but now it’s apparent there are factions, that can be broadly labeled Them -Food For Profit, and Us -eclectic but homogeneous in our opposition.

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  8. farmerkhaiti says:

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!! There are so many hopeful wonderful people out there making an effort to be the change they wish to see in the world. It’s really so heartening!
    ps I heard my little sister (Melanie) is coming to work at your place this coming summer, which makes me crazy happy to imagine! She is a really, really great young lady and will work her butt off for you guys!

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    • Bill says:

      I put you and Melanie in the category of world-changing young people. 🙂 Being the change you want to see is exactly right!

      We’re looking forward to having Melanie here. She sounds like a great fit for us and I hope she’ll like the place. And it’s even possible that she’ll be able to spend a little time with our world-changing urban gardeners as well. 🙂

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  9. Hurray for Habitat for their donation of land! I hope the urban gardeners have a bumper crop to share this first, trial year. I went over and read a post at Urban and Main that brought me to tears but made me so elated to realize the level of commitment and thought and friendship that exists (frequently hidden) in our world. It’s lovely to start my day with hope and positive energy, Bill!

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    • Bill says:

      This comment makes my day. 🙂 It makes me happy to think I helped give your day some hope and positive energy. That encourages me to try to do it more often. It seems so much easier sometimes to rant on about something negative. We miss so much beauty and love that way I think.

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  10. avwalters says:

    Thank you for sharing that hope. Please let us know, as time progresses, how it goes. We can all use stories of hope and sharing. Once we get our feet wet in Northern gardening, Rick and I plan to teach it and to let folks have plots here on our property. It’s more than we can use and it builds community when people get together to work the earth and share its bounty.

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    • Bill says:

      Wonderful. I’ll definitely be writing more about this project as it matures. I’d love to see gardens like this springing up all over the world. Your comment helps remind me of the importance of getting the word out about some of the goodness that goes on around us all the time. It’s so easy (for me at least) to lose sight of it amidst all the ugliness and bad news we see and hear.

      What you have in mind sounds wonderful! Working the earth in community and sharing its bounty. It doesn’t get much better than that!

      Like

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