Every week, we get a nice, big, two pound brick of local butter as part of our ration for cooking. The other day, or more accurately a month ago, Kayla brought to the kitchen seven bricks of butter and said “This is the butter for the rest of the fellowship.” Thunder and lightning struck behind her as she stood in the doorway with the bricks. I was shocked to see how little time we had left, when measured in delicious, creamy butter.

And now what feels like a few days later, I open the freezer door to find….only three butters left!

How could this be? Has this place created some sort of time warp? Three weeks, three butters, three wishes for more time.

More time, but what would we do with it and what have we done with it in the first place?

Excuse me, while I recap with a rambling list of accomplishments for just a moment because I can’t contain my admiration for my fellow fellows anymore:

  • We’ve cooked mouth-watering, should be award-winning meals almost every day; not one fluke!
  • We’ve grown enough food to feed our bottomless bellies and to store enough to feed next years fellows for months.
  • We’ve designed a food forest.DSCN3328
  • We’ve bathed 17 skittish chickens to rid them of lice.
  • We’ve invented recipes I’ve never dreamed of.
  • We’ve harvested over 100 pounds of our own bee’s honey
  •  and over 3500 pounds of produceDSCN3464
  •  We’ve shared our ideas and excitement with the community at the Farmer’s Market and at the Highland Center, and they like them, I think.
  •  We’ve broken new land to expand and grow more food next year.
  •  We’ve overcome a village plague together.
  •  We’ve made our own medicine.
  •  We’ve done hours, days, weeks of individual research, experimenting, pondering, writing, building, to bring together 7 amazing projects to share with the community.
  •  We’ve come to a decision about the way to make group decisions.
  •  We’ve laughed until we peed our pants… or maybe that was just me.
  •  We’ve comforted each other from horrifying nightmares about flying spider tick moths.DSCN3275
  •  We’ve sung songs and made beautiful music.
  •  We’ve stopped and listened to that beautiful music coursing out of each one of us, and just noticed the bigger song we’ve been creating this whole time.

I’ve grown from infatuation with a beautiful place and infinite idealistic possibilities, to real love for what it means to carry them out, to pursue them steadily.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned recently is that big, intentional change is a slow and continuous process. All efforts, from tiny to huge, are important when they have a great amount of heart and purpose behind them. We all have big plans to change the world and can sometimes get caught up in not seeing the results of our passionate endeavors manifested immediately before our eyes.

One of our managers, Kayla told us a story this past week about her weekend away from the mountain, where she happened to bump into a girl she met a year ago. A year ago, Kayla and this girl chatted and she told her about all of the things she’d been doing at AMS and her goals for gardening, education, and why, etc.  A year later when Kayla saw this girl again, she said that after that interaction she was inspired to start growing her own food, and she did.

With all of the political forks and spoons poking at our food system, and the twisted noodling knowledge of what exactly it is everyone can do to take back our leadership, the best thing to start with is a mindset. If you can change a mindset by your actions or words, your influence becomes much bigger than any one incident in any one moment, much bigger than just growing really spectacular food for that season, or cooking a meal that everyone drools over for that one night. It becomes a ripple in a giant pond, the spark to a world on fire with possibility.



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