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Roots to Renewal

Author: Hawthorne Valley

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Situated on a 900-acre Biodynamic farm in upstate New York, Hawthorne Valley has spent the last half a century working to foster social and cultural renewal through the integration of agriculture, education, and the arts. As we mark our 50th anniversary we want to share not just our story, but also the stories of our friends and contemporaries from across the globe who dedicate their lives in purposeful pursuit of meeting the ecological, social, and spiritual needs or our time. In an oft-quoted passage from one of our founders, Karl Ege, he suggests that the work that we are undertaking together at Hawthorne Valley “will create a place in which it is possible, in a true sense, to become a full human being.” At its core this work is about the future. Every day as our farmers tend to the soil and care for animals, our educators teach students to engage more deeply with themselves and the world around them, and we work together to try to create a structure for social equity, we aim to foster the conditions that will allow the future to emerge in its most life affirming manifestation. We invite you to join us!
7 Episodes
Sponsored by Tierra Farm. Music by Aaron Dessner.In this episode we’re excited to share a follow up conversation with our very first podcast guest, Frances Moore Lappé. We are delighted to acknowledge and celebrate the release of the 50th anniversary edition of her seminal book, Diet for a Small Planet. Once again Frankie and our Executive Director, Martin Ping engage in uplifting conversation on topics of the day that are also woven into Diet for a Small Planet: living democracy; the importance of listening, curiosity, and imagination in building frameworks of understanding; and fostering interconnectedness for the ultimate purpose of nurturing life on Earth. Purchase Diet for A Small Planethttps://democracymovement.usDonate to Hawthorne Valley
Sponsored by Tierra Farm | Music by Aaron DessnerIn this episode Hawthorne Valley's Executive Director Martin Ping enjoys a wide ranging conversation with John  Bloom, General Secretary of The Anthroposophical Society in America and former Vice President of Organizational Culture at RSF Social Finance, about the role of money and philanthropy in the creative process, and how money can serve human destiny and foster creativity. In the course of their conversation. You'll hear John mention Free Columbia and now independent 501c3 art and social change initiative that was incubated at Hawthorne Valley, and whose pedagogy is inspired by contemplative inquiry, aesthetic education and action research.
Sponsored by Tierra Farm | Music by Aaron DessnerMartin welcomes activist, author, entrepreneur, and long-time friend Judy Wicks into conversation about her life's work to build economies based on cooperation and local self-reliance.  In 2001, she founded the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, and co-founded the international Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. BALLE now includes some 30,000 local independent businesses in the U.S. and Canada. Judy envisions an economy that provides for the needs of all people while working in harmony with natural systems.2:50 All Together Now began in 2019, Judy talks about the impulse for founding this initiative.4:00 Judy talks about the importance of building an economy with local self-reliance at its core.5:00 We need a revolution of values. Many of our problems stem from a society that values money more than life itself. 5:30 Judy's first experience with indigenous people was when she lived in an Eskimo Village in 1969 as a VISTA volunteer. She recounts what this experience taught her about collaboration and sharing and how these lessons impacted her life.7:45 Judy’s second experience with Indigenous wisdom was during the Zapatista Uprising in Chiapas, Mexico. This experience taught her the concept of local self-reliance. NAFTA was threatening the survival of the Zapatista people with GMO corn by making communities dependent on long-distance supply chains controlled by increasingly powerful multinational corporations that were putting local farmers and food-producers out of business.10:25 What led to the founding of BALLE – network of locally self-reliant businesses.11:30 Judy goes to Standing Rock to support Indigenous People in their efforts to honor Mother Earth, and protect children and the future by stopping the Dakota Access pipeline.14:00 Lakota Prophesy of the Black Snake: fossil fuel industry and pipelines.14:30 Judy realized the Black Snake in PA is fracking – and she takes up cause to stop fracking and begins to understand that the only way to go about this is by electing the right politicians.16:00 Now more than ever we need to look to Indigenous wisdom to find the path forward. 17:00 Story of White Dog Café and Judy’s epiphany about ethical business practices.18:45 Transformational moment for Judy in what makes a sustainable business work: cooperation and a sustainable business system.20:00 Judy sells White Dog and dedicates rest of her life to building local economies; and starting nonprofits as the vehicle to do so.22:15 Judy’s work in increasing supply and connecting farmers and entrepreneurs; and increasing demand through educating the public about importance of local self-reliance and weaning ourselves from corporate globalization.23:22 She has formed four educational coalitions focused on specific supply chains: industrial hemp and hempcrete as alternative building material, plant medicine (herbalists, CBD, medical marijuana), clothing & textiles, and heritage grain.25:50  In PA medical marijuana licenses are being sold to out-of-state corporations. Understanding that very little will be left for small farmers and black and brown entrepreneurs, All Together Now has organized a campaign called “Pot Profits for Pennsylvanians” - an urban and rural cannabis collective - to write legislation with allies to put a stop to this.Learn more: All Together Now | Proud Pennsylvania | Circle of Aunts and UnclesDonate to Hawthorne Valley
Sponsored by Tierra Farm. Music by Aaron Dessner. Hawthorne Valley Executive Director Martin Ping chats with Herbert Dreiseitl (see bio below) about the nature of creativity, the role of beauty in our lives, and the gifts of Waldorf Education. Herbert joined Martin in conversation this past February over Zoom from his home on the shores of Lake Constance in Germany when the country was still in the throes of the pandemic and in a state of strict lockdown. 3:00 Herbert talks about the changes he’s seen in the city where he lives during the pandemic – both from nature-based and social perspectives: incredible how nature is taking back lost spaces; less hectic life; have stopped looking elsewhere for beauty – we’ve had to find it on our own doorsteps.6:45 Role of beauty – beauty is a kind of spiritual awareness we have as humans; healthy social connections often connected to a certain balance, and aesthetic/beauty of the surrounding environment.7:40 Herbert’s work with water in built environments; what we feel inside is reflected outside, and what’s outside is always reflected back to us and the bridge for this is beauty = flow. 9:00 The pandemic has highlighted hopeful signs that maybe we’re overcoming the story of human beings’ separation from the natural world, and finding our way back to an understanding of our integral place as nature in nature.9:45 Insights we might glean by appreciating water – how might this transform our thinking.11:35 Herbert’s views on/experiences with the gifts of Waldorf education; key to Herbert’s biography and what he does now. | Dreiseitl is a renowned landscape architect, urban designer, water artist, interdisciplinary planner, and a professor in praxis.He is an internationally highly respected expert in creating liveable cities around the world with a special hallmark on the inspiring and innovative use of water to solve urban environmental challenges, connecting technology with aesthetics and encouraging people to take care and establish a sense of ownership for places.Herbert is a Harvard GSD Loeb Fellow, and Fellow of the Center of Liveable Cities in Singapore. He lectures worldwide and has authored many publications including three editions of “Recent Waterscapes, Planning, Building, and Designing with Water.”He has received many awards for his work in the United States and around the world. He founded Atelier Dreiseitl in 1980 (today Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl), a globally integrated design firm with a long-standing history of excellence in urban design, landscape architecture, and resilient ecological planning. During the last 5 years, he developed the “Liveable Cities Lab” (LCL), a think-tank at the Ramboll Group International, now based in Boston.Herbert is always asking how to bring the best value to society, to create a culture of inspiration, and implement better-integrated solutions to humanize cities. He has also  been a member of Hawthorne Valley’s Board of Trustees. 
Sponsored by Tierra Farm. Music by Grammy Award winning artist Aaron Dessner.In this episode, Martin Ping and Rising Tide Capital cofounder Alfa Demmellash discuss the notion of economy and what we need to do to reimagine it so that it can serve us, our communities, and our children, and their children’s children.  Alfa  was born and raised in Ethiopia. She came to the United States at the age of 12 with a keen interest in poverty alleviation and conflict resolution. Alfa graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 2003, where she majored in Government. Named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2015, Alfa co-founded Rising Tide Capital in 2004 to empower underserved urban entrepreneurs in northern New Jersey to start and grow successful businesses.  2:15 Rising Tide Capital (RTC) works with entrepreneurs who are starting and growing businesses and local communities. They're predominantly entrepreneurs of color and women. 90% are people of color; 70% are women.4:00 RTC works with about 1,000 entrepreneurs in New Jersey alone a year…many of them are mom and pop businesses.4:50 How are we thinking about the economy and setting things up for our children and our children’s children and so on?5:15 We are navigating uncharted territory with the pandemic and it has brought up eye-opening questions around what is an economy that can actually serve us as humans, and serve our community and our places.7:10 The perspective of taking the long view has enabled us to ask the more profound questions about what does it mean to have an economy? What is the purpose of an economy and what does it facilitate besides the production of goods and services? 11:30 Alfa talks about her early childhood and education in Ethiopia and connects the dots to how she came to the US and became who she is today.14:30 Importance of centering children as a strategy for long-term change-making.15:45 New Jersey pandemic relief efforts and Alfa’s involvement with First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Murphy in crisis relief and long-term solutioning.17:00 Alfa on the murder of George Floyd and the call for any morally oriented human to look at that and recognize the call to action…the callousness with which human life is treated, spells not such great tidings for all of us and the kind of world we're building.   19:30 We have to get out of the path we've been on and turn around to look at the fields upon fields of opportunity. We have to look at the role of localized more resilient micro-grids of human creativity...21:00 Martin and Alfa’s shared experience with the 50th anniversary of Earthrise image from space that changed our perspective of what it means to be one species on one planet.24:20 Last Earthrise dinner took place on a plantation in Louisiana talking about race in America with owner of former plantation and individuals who were first descendants of slaves in Louisiana. These conversations seeded a community business academy launching in Alexandria, Louisiana.25:45 The repair work that we need to do on the relational front on race in this country and the repair work we need to do to reimagine how our economy works, is deeply interrelated.30:00 Alfa’s birthday wishes for Hawthorne Valley | |
Sponsored by Tierra Farm | Music by Simon FrishkoffIn this episode, our Executive Director Martin Ping had the chance to sit down with environmental activist Bill McKibben to talk about the daunting crisis of climate change and the important work of citizenship in facing this challenge. Bill's 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and he’s gone on to write a dozen more books. A founder of, Bill McKibben spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone Pipeline, and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement. 2:20  What inspired you to write End of Nature?4:20  I knew the minute I started learning about it [climate change] in the 1980s, that this was, trouble with capital T… and so beginning a long time ago, some kind of mix of journalism and activism, became my life.4:53 Now we've built these large movements and they're at the point of really being able to challenge finally, the political and economic power of the fossil fuel industry. 5:50 So there are days when my answer to this question has nothing to with whether we’re going to win or not. It’s simply how much trouble can I cause the bad guys today, that has to be enough reason for getting out of bed and doing the work… 6:30  Dr. King used to say at the end of his talks, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long and it bends toward justice.’ Which I think translates to, this may take a while, but we’re going to win. The arc of the physical universe is short and it appears to bend toward heat, and unless we get it solved really soon, we will not get it solved. 7:04 Nobody has a plan for refreezing the Arctic now that it's mostly melted. So that makes it daunting, but it makes it all the more beautiful that people are willing to join in this fight.7:41  We think agriculture is about 18% of emissions around the world…, the good news, although it's, you know, the science is still tentative in a lot of ways, and we don't really understand all of it are the indications that regenerative agriculture could pull a lot of carbon out of the air and that treating soils correctly, would be very, very helpful. 9:30 We're past the point where we can make the math work one vegan dinner at a time, one Prius at a time. And so I keep saying to people, and I think the most important thing an individual can do is be a little less of an individual and join together with others in movements that are actually big enough to make political and economic change, because that's what has to happen if we make we're going to make the math work.11:20 The work of citizenship largely gets done after hours and on weekends. And it’s crucial to making the world work.11:40 The people that move me most watching this are young people…Everybody knows Greta Thunberg and everybody should...but the really good news is there are 10,000 Greta Thunberg's - junior high and high school students, and there are 10,000,000 people following them.12:10 I sense, a real eagerness among older people to come into this work too. To make the third act of their lives about the kind of legacy that they're going to leave behind. ·· ·        Join our email list: · · 
March 1, 2021 | Roots to RenewalSponsored by Tierra Farm | Music by Simon FrishkoffIn this, our first episode, Hawthorne Valley’s executive director Martin Ping engages in an uplifting conversation about the power of hope with special guest, activist thinker, Frances Moore Lappé. She is the founder of Food First and the Small Planet Institute, and is author or co-author of 19 books about world hunger, living democracy, and the environment, including her seminal book, Diet for a Small Planet published in 1971. A 50th anniversary edition with a new opening chapter will be released this fall, and her latest book, It’s Not Too Late: Crisis, Opportunity and the Power of Hope can be previewed on her website 3:35  Frances’ new book about climate: It’s Not Too Late: Crisis, Opportunity and the Power of Hope4:50 Hope has power to organize our brains toward solutions. 5:55 Our thoughts have enormous power - thoughts relate to our fundamental beliefs and are shaped by dominant culture - as we believe, so we see. And if we believe in possibility, so we see it. 7:45 Diet for a Small Planet and zeitgeist of the time – what was going on in the early ‘70s that contributed towards writing of this book? 8:35  How food helped Frances find her path – “If I could understand why people go hungry, that would unlock economics, and politics for me – that was my best intuition I ever had...there’s more than enough food for all of us and we’re actively creating scarcity – the experience of scarcity out of plenty no matter how much we’re growing. And so to me, that was the best news ever…we’re creating hunger, so we can end hunger.” 10:55 Connecting to our purpose in life – following our intuition. “The highest compliment I’ve ever been paid was, ‘Frankie, you ask the question behind the question!’ The ultimate question is, ‘Why are we together creating a world none of us would choose?’” 11:45 “Idea that what is special about humanity is that we see the world through filters that are culturally created, and we can’t see what’s outside of that… we’re trapped in a series of blinders – the scarcity mind...that’s what we have to break. Food in many ways can help us to break that.” 12:45 “Asking the question behind the question throughout our lives is the most satisfying way to live.” 12:52 Final word on what gives Frances hope now. “Hope is not what we seek in evidence…but what we become in action together.” 14:08 “We were born at this unique moment in human history on our planet where so much is at stake. What an honor. What an honor to be alive right now.” Episode resouces, suggested reading & social media handles:··· · ·· ·        Join our email list:   · 
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