Thoughts about Spirit & Place by an Accidental Farmer

Thoughts about Spirit & Place by an Accidental Farmer

By Linda L. Proffitt, Executive Director and Founder of Global Peace Initiatives

I’m hungry for the Spirit & Place Festival. I love it when this festival approaches. As an agency leader, I know our participation in Spirit & Place has helped Global Peace Initiatives grow. We look forward to the energy stimulated by this great festival. By being a part of the festival, our participation has served as tool to help us raise consciousness about the varied dimensions of peace. In the past four years, we helped host the Festival of Peace with our massive mounting of the Stone Soup to feed the hungry; facilitated the Peace Hikes, where we mindfully meditate in nature and appreciate art or the whimsical sky at sunset. Last year, seemingly ahead of our time, we shared information about the Peace Gardens of Global Peace Initiatives. Proudly, our Peace Garden efforts and those of our community partners, grow food to feed the hungry.

Our Peace Gardens are motivated because people are thinking about the wellness of others and doing something concrete to help. The Peace Gardens are gardens stimulated by purpose and developed in service to others. Our countless volunteers and community partners build these Peace Gardens with love. Consider the mission of a Peace Gardener. Peace Gardens grow food to feed the hungry. People are not at peace when they are hungry. Food is a basic necessity. Food is as fundamental a need as water. When we are babies, lack of food may be the first thing that makes us cry. Think about the impact that hunger can have on the spirit of a people and the wellness of a community: 14.3% of the people in the United States of America are living in poverty; one in six Americans go to bed hungry; 85% of the families with children enrolled in Indianapolis Public Schools live in poverty. The odds are pretty good that these kids are hungry. How do you think that hunger serves to motivate those kids? How can we begin to address hunger in our communities?

We’ve got a lot of food for thought when you begin to consider these challenges.

Global Peace Initiatives is proud to participate in the dialog of Spirit & Place through several key upcoming events. First, we will be an exhibitor during the Irvington Skill Share “Feast”ival on Sunday November 7, 2010. We will introduce a home prototype for a polyculture growing environment in partnership with the FFA students from Emmerich Manual’s Agriculture and Environmental Sciences STAR Academy. You too can have your own home grown fish and hydroponically grown basil. Stop by, visit our booth, put in your order.

Secondly, on Saturday November 13, 2010, at the Spirit & Place signature event, the Public Conversation, we will welcome Mr. Will Allen, the father of urban farming, to Indianapolis. Will Allen will bring some powerful ideas to the dialog about the good food revolution with his Public Conversation partners, Harrell Fletcher and Frances Moore Lappé. As Peace Gardeners, we think Will Allen is awesome! Will was presented with the prestigious McArthur Genius Award in 2010 and Time magazine named Will one of the Most Inspiring 100 People this year in the world. We are very grateful to be able to provide special support for this year’s Public Conversation by helping bring him to Indianapolis. We applaud Eli Lilly and Company and the Efroymson Family Fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation for their support of this event. In the Public Conversation, Mr. Allen represents a social entrepreneur who encourages a dialog about social justice and access to affordable and nutritious food. Now THAT’s food for thought!

Finally, we think it is perfect that Mr. Allen is going to be a featured speaker at Emmerich Manual High School. For 18 years the Indianapolis Public School Corporation has run an agriculture and science magnet at Manual. They too have been ahead of their time. We have had the good fortune to be a community partner of Manual’s Agriculture and Environmental Sciences STAR Academy for two years. We have helped build chicken houses, house goats and pigs, build gardens, can tomatoes, pickle peppers and feed people. We do these things while working side by side with Manual students, parents and teachers. Through STAR Academy, we are partners in the effort to grow a new generation of farmers. We couldn’t be more proud for them as the Public Conversation of Spirit & Place Festival comes to their home school to consider this year’s theme, “Food for Thought.” Join us won’t you?

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