MREA Recap -Wow, Wow, WOW!

I Don’t have alot of time for a proper recap, -this weekend is INSANE: I have the Sierra Club of MAdison coming for a tour of our yard, Sunday we are installing a rain garden for a client, and Monday I take shipment of 80 Wine Barrels (by semi) from Kentucky.  But there are a few things that I firmly believe are urgent enough that I will at least repost what I wrote for our Sustain Jefferson Group as a recap: 

Our Message is VITAL
For almost the entire weekend we had being queuing up to hear our message of grassroots, bottom up sustainability.  We had numerous visitors shake our hands and say “THANK YOU -you are the only people here with the answers to the questions that I came searching for solutions for.”  “You were more helpful than any other booth here”.  The fact that normal citizens: not corporations, not huge, branded non-profits, not the government were able to create something as simple and effective as the Earth Victory Garden (EVG) or as fascinating as the Gasifier was incredibly inspiring to the attendees of the MREA.   Our group is young, we may be struggling to juggle multiple tasks, but we simply MUST continue to do our work… and teach others to do the same.

The Gasifier Rocks
I joined in on the gasifier project to learn skills and hang out with interesting people.  Maybe telling people about how cool it 1000 times this weekend I ended up convincing myself, but I am absolutely certain this project was the most exciting thing at the Fair.  The cold hard fact is that we are one of only a very small handful of groups in the entire country with a working gasifier that can heat and power a home with materials found in every community in the country.  While not everyone will be willing or able to build there own, there are hundreds of people who want to, and thousands and thousands who are inspired by it. This project is paradigm shattering and I want to be a part of pushing it forward in a BIG way.

The EVG is on to something
I had expected the Victory Garden presentation to draw about 25-50 people.  Its an energy fair right?  The tent was over flowing with hundreds and the attendees were hanging on every word.  People lined up 30 deep after words to learn more -to do it themselves, to help their neighbors, and even other 501C3’s that wanted to take it back to their communities. Systems thinking is mind blowing to those who have never thought that way.  I will work hard in the next 2 weeks to get it all online -pamphlets, plans, systems thinking -all of it.  For now it will be on my blog, but we can get it to SJ or anywhere else from there.

TNS works
System thinking, diverse networking, and community building are concepts that people are ready for.  After Greg’s presentation the rest of the weekend was a steady stream of attendees thanking him for his poignant message that changed them.  I think many of them had searched the entire fair to find our booth just to hear more.

We are in a moment of incredible possibility and importance in history.
Our message is vital, it is poignant, and it is the future.
We are Being the Change.

Thank you all for making it happen, and in advance for all the work we have in front of us.

In the next few weeks I plan on creating Pages for the EVG and the Gasifier so that all of you have the chance to recreate them in your communities.  The MREA was INCREDIBLE: the energy of the people, the free beer for hybrid drivers, the interest in CHANGE.  VERY inspired since my return!



5 Responses

  1. Wow, Rob. Thanks for sharing. It is SO COOL that you guys are generating that kind of interest (or, providing a focus for existing interest), especially with the victory gardens. Do keep us all posted with updates.

  2. You Bet! This weekend is CRAZY busy, but I will post a How To Page for the EVG and the Gasifier. Actually both may get their own Blog if interest warrants.

    Need to go feed the mosquitos (we KNEW this was coming with 16 inches of rain 2 weeks ago…they are THICK) and weed for the tour tomorrow!


  3. Hi Rob,

    I was on your tour on Saturday, and really enjoyed. Inspired by your example, I went out the next day and bought a bunch of white clover seed and inoculant, and am sowing it in my garden paths. I know it’s late June, but I think it’s worth the little bit of time and money it takes. If these seeds don’t do well in the summer, I’ll do more in the fall. Also, I thought about the salt damaged trees along the back edge of your yard, and found this webpage from Virginia Coop Extension that might be useful to you:
    It has lists of salt tolerant trees and shrubs, which include the beautiful catalpa.
    Good luck with all your endeavors.

    Judy K

  4. Thanks for visiting and for the link Judy!

    The list was very helpful and I was pleased to see some edibles on there. Some more digging led me to a 4 tree Pioneer Tree (sunlovers) Guild for the Midwest -all of which are salt spray tolerant, but only 3 of which will make it into my yard. Black Locust (N-Fixer), Hackberry (also known as “buckeye”), and Black Cherry (mmmm PIE!) -the fourth is Black Walnut, but I have no interest in one! Going with a wild cultivar on the cherry and all trees will eventually top out over 60′ tall -nice function-stacked wind/sound break.

    Forest Farm carries all three!


  5. […] project that was essentially a shortened version of the one I gave to several hundred at the MREA.  As before, people are very interested in living more sustainably, and the “systems […]

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