Assumptions around “responsibility”

Before we dive deep into the weeds of our thorny financial questions, I thought it might be helpful to share a couple of assumptions that I’m working from when it comes to how we operate in the context of our member-based consensus decision-making process and the activity that results from the decisions we make together.

Most broadly, it is my intention in fulfilling the responsibilities of the leadership role for this farm to see us develop a more robust organizational structure, to see us mature as an organization and be more resilient when faced with transition. I don’t pretend to have ideas about every detail of how we should operate, and I don’t feel a need to prematurely force development in one direction or another, but I do feel strongly that the Community Farm of Ann Arbor should exist in the world. As an individual, my strengths are transitory; as a community our strength is drawn from our diverse talents and ever-changing composition of individuals bringing new insights and initiative to meet the changing needs of the time. At present, our bonds are being strengthened in facing the common difficulties of deficit and deferred action; that strength becomes steadfast through finding a community-based solution.

In particular, it is helpful to have a shared understanding of terms. In any group or organization, there is a dynamic relationship between two terms: “responsibility” and “authority”. Separately, the way each of these terms is viewed by any given individual determines to a large degree how that individual sees their relationship to the group and how much or little they will be inclined to participate. Of course, as a group, we depend on the resilience that results from each individual feeling free to participate fully, so we would do well to set out some concepts for these terms that promote effective participation.

There can be a “weight’ or even a “burden” that is felt in connection with responsibility, especially if my own enthusiasm is not engaged. “I” may feel that I must begrudgingly carry out a task that has been put upon me by someone else. Similarly, we are all familiar with the heavy-handed approach of authoritarian power; we rightly find it distasteful that one individual would “lord” over another in this day and age.

On the other side of things, there is the feeling of light-heartedness and freedom from my own cares that comes from taking up the responsibility of providing care for another. The sense of a responsibility to care for something or someone cannot be forced upon me, but grows from a genuine feeling of love. Similarly, there is a concept for authority that is more akin to “author” than to “authoritarian.” The power of the pen can be readily felt in a hastily worded email or in a simply worded thank-you note. It is appropriate for a teenager to question authority, but hopefully as we mature, we gain a sense of the power that allows each individual to be the author of a life and their own actions. As an organization, “we” are maturing.

We, as an organization, turned 33 years old this year and we are facing a self-imposed challenge, seemingly an overwhelming difficulty. Relying on any given individual too much can only take the group so far. I invite you to adopt some working concepts for “responsibility” and “authority” that I am using as the foundation for how I carry out the job you have set before me.

Collectively, “we the community” hold the ultimate responsibility for the well-being of the farm. As a group, you have delegated to me certain responsibilities, and by necessity you have also given me the authority to carry out those responsibilities in a way that streams directly from my individuality, the expression of individual talents and experiences. In a similar way, each individual member has some direct responsibilities to carry out; some more, some less in accordance with individual amounts of time and capacities to share. In every case, if a responsibility is asked of an individual or smaller group, the corresponding authority has been granted, creating space for each individual to participate in complete freedom. In this way, our experience of shared suffering in this moment of transition may be transformed into effective community action.

May our work continue!

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Community financial responsibilities blog

Welcome to the world wide web log intended for members of the Community Farm of Ann Arbor as we answer various and sundry financial questions that we face in our forward progress. We’re finding our way to a feeling of shared responsibility for the financial health of the farm. Additionally, any other interested individuals are welcome to have a look and we hope this may serve to help other organizations meet transition with courage, integrity and well-informed consensus-based decision making.

I will use these post entries to share various information and ideas regarding our financial picture. You can use the “comment” feature to make contributions or ask questions. Go ahead, give it a try and leave a comment on this very post.

Other members can then respond to your comments or post additional comments as a convenient way to facilitate communication in the intervals between our regular monthly member meetings. Any required decisions will be made at our in-person member meetings; this tool is only intended as a way to share thoughts and ideas as we move closer to final decisions.

I understand this method of communication has its limitations but I hope you will participate as best you can. We need to employ any available means to be complete in our conversation. Thanks for bringing your warmth and goodwill to this medium.

You may want to bookmark this page or subscribe to the blog for ease of access. To subscribe to this blog click the “follow” button which should display in the bottom right corner of the page; then you will enter your email address and get an email each time a new post is published. Read more on subscribing on the WordPress support page. For now, this will guarantee you get the latest info; alternately, you can check the website periodically to read any new posts since your last visit.

With care,

Dan Gannon

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Future of The Farm Brainstorming Community Meetings

As many know, 2017 is the last growing season we will have with Anne and Paul as our Head Farmers. They are retiring from farming after decades of serving the community by providing the most nutritious love-food to our members and the greater Ann Arbor area. They have been inspiring and humble leaders of the community and we celebrate their commitment to this sacred agriculture. We will miss them tremendously, and we wish them all the best in the next chapter of their lives. They have left their legacy in Ann Arbor in a million of lovely ways that will live on here long after they go. IMG_1790

There is a very dedicated Search Committee looking  for new people to fill the roles of Head Farmers. But, we recognize that the Farm will have to transform in many other ways in order to continue to be vibrant. The Community Farm of Ann Arbor was the first CSA in Michigan when Anne and Paul got involved in 1988, but now there are over 70 in Southern Michigan alone. So, we are holding a series of meetings that are open to anyone who wants a Biodynamic Community Supported Farm in the Ann Arbor area.

All ideas about how to evolve the farm will be welcome.

These exciting and important meetings will be held February 11th and 18th from 1pm until 3pm at The Rudolf Steiner High School Ann Arbor. Further meetings may be scheduled as these initial meetings progress.

We seek people with experience, passion, and/or expertise in:

*Biodynamic agriculture

*CSA management

*Education and workshop leadership

*Sustainable agriculture

*Anthroposophy and Elemental Beings

*Preserving a vibrant environment full of diversity

*Community building and outreach

*Food justice and equality

*Nonprofit management

*Budgeting

*Logic models and theories of change

*Grant writing

*Facilitation and meeting moderation

*Real estate law

*Conflict resolution

*Small business management

*Value added food production

*Online marketing and social media

*Love for the Community Farm and its members

We hope for a very diverse group of folks to contribute to this conversation, and that you can join us!

If you cannot attend the meetings, feel free to share your ideas with the group at communityfarminfo@gmail.com

 

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Peas Turn Up the Beet EVEN LOUDER!!!

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See the Events page for more info on our FUNdraiser!

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Grand Finale For All!

The Grand Finale Distribution: Saturday, November 7th noon – 4pm at Community Farm

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Our Grand Finale share is a send-off to the 2015 season and a celebration not to be missed!

Come out to the farm, meet the farmers who grow your food, visit with the animals, check out the crafts and goods booths from local vendors, and share in the bounty!

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This “Thanksgiving share” weighs in at well over 100 pounds with all kinds of delicious Fall produce: kale, cabbage, squash, beets, carrots, leeks, garlic, and more! These storage veggies will last even the most dedicated locavore well into the Winter.

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The Grand Finale Share is part of the regular farm share. If you are a current member and would like to purchase an extra Grand Finale Share, or are new to the farm and want to get in on the bounty, the cost for one full Grand Finale share is $200.

Call (734) 433-0261 to arrange purchase of a Grand Finale Share.

* Current members are encouraged to bring a friend along on this celebratory harvest gathering. Your friend will receive a take-home gift from the farm AND be entered in a drawing to win a Grand Finale Share!

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Farm to Fermentation Workshop Series: Vegetables

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Peas Turn Up The Beet…Louder!!

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Join us on October 1st at Zingerman’s Cornman Farms in raising funds to support Chrysalis, the Community Farm of Ann Arbor’s non-profit educational arm. Chrysalis aims to teach anyone with a passion for sustainable food production, ecosystem enriching, and soil healing the holistic practices of Biodynamic Agriculture. The funds gathered by Chrysalis subsidise field trips, workshops, lectures, outreach events, the student internship program, and any other educational endeavours of the Community Farm of Ann Arbor. 

Peas Turn Up the Beet Louder! will feature live performances by Seth & May along with Shari Kane & Dave Steele and Izzy, locally sourced appetizers, cocktails, a silent auction, bonfires, farm tours and yard games. 

Tickets are priced in a variety of ways so many people can get involved. The fee is $35 for the musical performances only and access to the cash bar, and a sliding scale between $75 and $250 for the evening’s full array of events including appetisers and silent auction.

All tickets are available online through Zingerman’s Events, and in person at the Community Farm during distribution Wednesdays 12pm-7pm and Saturdays 12pm-4pm.

You can also visit our YouCaring site for another way to support Chrysalis and The Community Farm of Ann Arbor. 

See the full event Poster for more details and to print and share! 

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Fermentation Workshop: Farm Kimchi!

Fermentation Workshop: Farm Kimchi

With MelRob, Master Fermenter at The Brinery

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Saturday, July 11th 1pm-3pm at the Farm

Learn how to make this tangy Korean pickle from fresh Farm vegetables! Its a delicious and healthy probiotic addition to any diet. Each attendee will come away with the basic skills in the fermentation process with which to add their own personal flair AND a jar of fresh, Farm kimchi!

 The fee is: $20 for Community Farm of Ann Arbor and Chrysalis members

$25 for the general public.

Space is limited, so please call (734)433-0261 to reserve your spot. 

See you at the Farm!

 

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Rest In Peace, Ashoka, our cow.

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On December 29th our beloved cow, Ashoka, died. All should feel comforted knowing that for 19 years we provided her with a great home, lots of good Biodynamically grown food, and tons of loving. She returned that to us many times over. Ashoka was born and raised the gentlest of all 12 cows we’ve had on the farm. She was able to train Lucy, our newest calf, who has become quite tame. But now Lucy is the only cow and could use some extra loving in the form of carrots, apples and cabbage, or simply a visit (call 734-433-0261 to arrange a visit). As the main caretakers of Ashoka, we thank you for all the tenderness you gave to help Ashoka and the farm.

In Peace and Love,

Farmers Anne and Paul

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An Amazing Farm Feast! 2014 Chrysalis Fundraising Dinner

CFAA 2014 dinner invite_finalSee the Events page for a little bit more information.

 

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