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June 2015 | Vol. 41 | No. 2

Sun Times THE NEWSLETTER OF THE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY RESOURCES ORGANIZATION

Designing Resilient Communities Building communities that thrive in hardship


AERO BOARD OF DIRECTORS BOARD CHAIR Stephanie Laporte Potts, Missoula BOARD VICE CHAIR Janet Hess-Herbert, Helena BOARD SECRETARY Ellie Costello, Missoula BOARD TREASURER Kim Gilchrist , Missoula Jim Mahnke, Columbia Falls Martha Brown, Red Lodge Ephie Risho, Bozeman Trina Filan, Helena Tom Agnew, Big Timber Paul House, Bozeman Paul Reichert, Bozeman Laura Ginsburg, St. Ignatius

AERO STAFF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Jennifer Hill-Hart COMMUNICATIONS & MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR Corrie Williamson

Letter from the Editors AERO members have long had a vision: to create communities where everyone has access to healthy, local food and clean, renewable energy. To reach this goal, we’ve blazed many trails and had great successes. Still, questions linger: How can we realize and sustain this vision? What obstacles must be addressed in our efforts? As time passes, how might our work and our perspectives change? As this issue of the Sun Times came to life, we noticed each article addresses these questions in some way, at various scales. Taking a wider view is a discussion of community resilience from long-time AERO member Max Milton (p.10). How might focusing on resilience engage AERO members in their communities and across the world in new ways? AERO board member Jim Mahnke echoes this question as he reviews Deep Economy by Bill McKibben (p.15) as a way to remind us of the larger context of AERO’s work. Zooming in to farm-scale, we learn about the struggles of putting sustainability into practice in an interview with beginning farmers Mary Bricker and Noah Jackson in the Bitterroot (p.4). They describe how difficult their daily, on-theground work can be and offer their hope that sharing stories, building communities, and keeping humor will help sustain them in their efforts. Sharing our individual and collective stories with each other and a wider audience, in fact, is vital to AERO’s vision and is a highlight of the new and improved Abundant Montana website, which connects Montana food producers and consumers. Check out the story of The Golden Yoke, a Montana Farm and Creamery, started by AERO board member Laura Ginsburg and her partner (also featured on p.21).

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From the big picture to on-the-ground practice, AERO helps solve the puzzle of creating sustainable communities across Montana. Thank you to all of our members for working toward these important solutions. Let’s keep the momentum going at the AERO Expo and throughout Jen’s tour around Montana. She wants to hear from all of you about what makes your communities sustainable, and how we can work together to make them even better. ~ Trina Filan, Kim Gilchrist, Ephie Risho Sun Times

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Table of Contents FEATURES

4

True Life: We’re Beginning Farmers An interview with beginning farmers Mary Bricker and Noah Jackson on their new endeavor in the Bitterroot Valley. BY ELLIE COSTELLO AND KIM GILCHRIST

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Designing Resilient Communities The next generation faces challenges never seen before. What will it take to build communities that thrive through hardship? COVER STORY INTERVIEW WITH MAX MILTON

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Letter From the Editors

2

Executive Director Update

7

Summer Sustainaility Tour

8

Open Mic Night in Missoula

9

Deep Economy

15

Bill McKibben’s book in review

AERO EXPO

16

Introducing Corrie

20

Abundant Montana

21

Food & Ag Task Force Update

22

The Cliffs at Cushman

24

A poem by Tom Elliott

Save the Date

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25

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True Life

We’re Beginning Farmers By Ellie Costello and Kim Gilchrist

In our society and particularly within the local food movement, we often focus on sharing positive, uplifting stories, even though sometimes those stories involve a number of struggles. However, to truly foster the understanding and connections between producers and consumers that are necessary to make a local food system June 2015, Vol. 41, No. 2, Page 4

thrive, struggles must also be shared. The following interview excerpt between AERO board member Ellie Costello and farmers Mary Bricker and Noah Jackson describes this dance of balancing positive and negative experiences for two new western Montana farmers.

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Mary Bricker and Noah Jackson are beginning farmers in the Bitterroot Valley. Prior to farming in the Bitterroot, Noah and Mary were farming in Missoula on rented land, mainly growing for themselves, the landowner, and some neighbors. They recently scaled up their farming practice to a small diversified farm in Hamilton that they have been working to establish since January 2014 – Sweet Root Farm. As new farmers, Mary and Noah are giving their all – financially, emotionally, and physically – to move forward with their plans to build not just a farm but an intentional life. They currently rent out the house on their property and live in a studio on the top floor of a barn. Their kitchen is located outside, with piled straw bales for walls and the open sky for a roof. While they spent time in 2014 trying to build their own house, they faced setbacks over the winter into 2015 that didn’t make it possible. We invite you to read further as Noah and Mary share candid insights into what it’s like living with the uncertainty of starting a new farm. Q: You mentioned that you are having a hard time providing the whole context of your work to people. Can you say more about that?

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Noah: I am having a challenging time describing the work we’re trying to do here. I think this might be the same problem that the farmers described in that New York Times article, “Don’t let your children grow up to be farmers.” How do you develop the hope and the need and the sense of action, and at the same time tell it like it is? On a local scale, a small scale, most of our customers at market think we are doing really well. But now we are starting to tell our own personal story about losing the house and trying to decide, do you have a house or do you have a farm? Mary: I think we struggle with wanting to appear...wanting to be a successful business. It’s easy to see people with a lot of produce at the market, and we want people to feel that abundance. But, I think a big part of the challenge is explaining the difficulties when there is this abundance. Noah puzzled further over the question, “How do we articulate a message that gets more local eaters, while being honest about what it’s like? That is a tough nut to crack.” In order to help tell this story, Noah and Mary look to the story-telling style of The Greenhorns. They feel that humor is a key ingredient to successfully telling stories June 2015, Vol. 41, No. 2, Page 5


of struggle. “Mary and I shared a little bit about our struggle with a group of friends last night, but it was all humor stories near disasters. It was humor with a dose of humility.” Q: What do you feel like are the successes you have seen this year? Noah: Hosting our first official WWOOF-er,

them with an enriching experience and feel supported in that ourselves. Mary: Last night was such a personal social success for us as well. We gave our volunteer a place to perform in an intimate group and gave our friends and neighbors a gathering space. That is the kind of farm we want to be – one that includes the community. Noah: Our mission statement is really about growing community. The big secret about our farming and why we farm is we really want to be a part of community and grow community. Q: How are you setting your goals

Margo, and our first volunteers. They were happy to trade room and board, even though we are in such basic living conditions. The fact that we found people that are willing to live with us that way, and are willing to focus on building the place up, was very satisfying. We were able to host people and provide June 2015, Vol. 41, No. 2, Page 6

Noah: We’ve had to restructure our goals a lot. It’s a tough thing when you are trying to create a whole life thing. By necessity, we have had to focus a lot on the financial goals. What will we have to sell to make land payments? How much do we need to grow to pay back on the loans? Why are we trying to start a farm? Why are we trying to do this? That’s why it was a good surprise to find that hosting volunteers and hosting some small events was a success. It made us recognize that those things are perhaps a part of our structured goals as well. I think one of the hardest things about prioritizing is keeping in mind the small things and the big picture. The big picture, as small growers, doesn’t seem to pay, but how do you keep the big picture in mind and still make the small things sound happy? That’s what we are working on.

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Executive Director Update Dear AERO Members: “If it doesn’t build community, don’t do it.” On the wall by my desk, I have a list of organizing principles for AERO, given to me by a longtime AERO member and mentor. It is this mantra that has made AERO stand out over the years. It is a legacy the AERO Board of Directors and staff keep in mind when developing AERO’s member-driven programs. AERO’s commitment to community is the reason for our successes. Our movements and our legacy of facilitating successful social change comes from and is led by an engaged and empowered grassroots membership. As AERO continues to rebuild and grow, we ask for your support in informing our future. The kind of work that AERO stands for is accomplished by group efforts to make the change we want to see in creating sustainable communities in Montana. Yes, we need your ongoing support to employ staff and keep the lights on, but we also need your voices as members so we can keep thinking outside of the box and collectively engage our human ingenuity to create the future we want to see for our families and communities. This is the work AERO does well. This is why we are members of the AERO community. This is why the AERO members, staff, and board work so hard together to find common sense ways to fight for sustainable communities and help make people’s lives better. AERO can help create a Montana with clean, affordable energy systems and bring access to healthy, local food to every Montana community. Together we can build these communities. I read people join organizations due to three basic principles: simple common sense, commitment to a cause, and basic affection for people. It is common sense to want to create healthy, sustainable communities, and here at AERO we are committed to this cause precisely because we care about the people in our communities—now and in the future. I hope to hear from you as I tour around the state and I hope to see you at the AERO Expo & Annual Meeting September 25-27, 2015. It is going to be a blast! By sharing your stories with AERO and each other, AERO can make the change we want to see in Montana. We cannot do it alone. And it is way more fun to do it together. Best regards,

Jennifer Sun Times

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Summer Sustainability Tour This summer, during the months of June and July, AERO Executive Director Jennifer HillHart is touring Montana to meet with AERO members and their communities. The goal is simple: AERO wants to continue its mission of building the connections and networks that bring Montanans together, and promote empowered, resilient communities. We want to do it by sharing success stories as well as challenges, forming new relationships, and strengthening old ones. We want to show you what we’re up to, and to learn about the needs in your community, and how AERO can better support you as we plan for future programs and long-term sustainability. We’ll be sharing success stories as well as challenges, forming new relationships, and strengthening old ones. Follow the trip by staying up to date with Jen’s thoughtful, engaging blog here, and visit our Facebook Event page to learn more about getting involved or see what events are happening in your area!

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AERO PRESENTS

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Designing Resilient Communities The next generation faces challenges never seen before. What will it take to build communities that thrive through hardship? INTERVIEW WITH MAX MILTON


RESILIENT COMMUNITIES

AERO asked Max Milton, who presented a terrific community resilience workshop at the 2014 AERO Annual Meeting, to tell us more about how a serious consideration of resilience can inform the work we each do daily, as well as the future direction of AERO. Here are five questions and their thought-provoking answers.

1. What first got you interested in resilience as an alternative framing to sustainability?

materially to the work AERO does? If you Google “sustainability vs resilience,” you will find a plethora of discussions on this question, but, as William Rees, author of Thinking Resilience, writes in an article on the Resilience.org website: “Resilience… becomes a theoretical construct for sustainability that…warns that surviving the breach of a major tipping point, whether human induced or natural, will require unprecedented levels of investment, cooperation and other forms of institutional and societal adaptation. …[R]esilience thinking is a complement to sustainability, not a substitute.

I became interested in resilience when I heard a talk by Rob Hopkins at a 2007 Soil Association conference on “Transitions Towns” and “energy descent plans” in the UK. (The Soil Association is the U.K.’s oldest organic certification organization.) With the combinations of concerns about At the same conference, I also heard a peak oil disruptions, climate-caused talk by Richard Heinberg called One collapses and disruptions, global financial Planet Agriculture (available online). They instability, and other issues, were both addressing, for many people have started the first time I think, the questioning whether Resilience implications of both peak oil advocating for and developing and climate change on their thinking is a sustainable practices really work promoting locally based complement to fully addresses the need sustainable agriculture in the to shore up communities, United Kingdom. sustainability, especially as the “business as not a substitute. I became excited about the usual” paradigm has begun to Transition Town idea and break down in multifaceted got some of their books. The dysfunction. term Resilience is used throughout their These are all concerns motivating AERO work, including two main publications, The members, I believe. So rising above, so to Transition Handbook: from Oil Dependency speak, a focus solely on sustainable food to Local Resilience and The Transition systems or energy work might reveal new Timeline: For a Local, Resilient Future. ways to engage our communities on these larger concerns which go beyond creating 2. What do you see as the difference personal or household resilience. How would between resilience and sustainability, a “resilience task force” (dare I say) address and what does that difference mean June 2015, Vol. 41, No. 2, Page 12

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this? Using frames from permaculture, systems thinking, resilience science, etc., it would look for leverage points, entry points, to build complexity, connection, and redundancy within our communities. It will probably require new strategies and priorities for AERO’s work.

3. What are some key characteristics of resilient communities? Again, an online search will reveal many sites addressing this question, often from a public health and/or disaster preparedness perspective. One definition I found is: “Community resilience is the sustained ability of communities to withstand, adapt to, and recover from adversity.” And I would add, “Or avoid or temper adversity in the first place and thrive in the process.” We all know there is already ongoing adversity in all our communities in Montana around hunger, health, poverty, and lack of economic opportunity. For our purposes, I would point to resilience behaviors and conditions such as wide social connectedness and trust, community design that limits dependence on far away or “expensive” and non-renewable sources for food, shelter, energy and health care, complementary

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redundancies in important services, and diversity of economic choices and services, to name a few. A good resource to look to for a fuller picture of the topic from the perspective of people working within a resilience frame is the Communities Guide at resilience.org.

4. Are there any local examples of resilience you’ve come across that would resonate with AERO’s members and like-minded people? AERO members could probably point to many examples in their own communities. In Helena there is underway an “edible forest park,” the 6th Ward Garden Park, that is using permaculture design principles to transform a currently “under-utilized” 1.1-acre urban park. The project is a collaboration between private citizens, the City Parks and Recreation department, the local historic neighborhood, Helena Food Share and Helena Community Gardens. The success of the park will rely on locally raised funds leveraging significant in-kind services and volunteer efforts and in the end will be a model of the type of work that can exemplify resilience. A diverse group

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of Helenans has been involved since the project’s beginnings, including many AERO members but also many others unfamiliar with AERO. This park will bring healthy food to those who often have least access to it and be an experiment in different ways to imagine public spaces.

Community resilience is the sustained ability of communities to withstand, adapt to, and recover from adversity.

Another organization that has done some really phenomenal things using volunteers that would resonate with AERO members is Daily Acts in Santa Rosa, California, particularly their Community Resilience Challenge.

5. In what ways do you see AERO playing a role in creating resilient communities? People seem to join AERO to work with like-minded people to become more selfreliant around food and energy, to build communities where we support each other in those efforts, and to model wider community change in the direction of sustainability (or resilience). While AERO members for years were (and still are) at the forefront in Montana advocating for and creating progress in locally sustainable food systems and smart energy choices, there are now many strong organizations across the state also doing that work. AERO members might think about who in their lives and communities share a concern for community resilience around food, health, energy, local economies. What does a local

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economy that is resilient or sustainable look like? Might AERO play a role in helping communities become more self-aware as resilient or sustainable and broaden beyond merely seeing its work as shared between efforts to strengthen food systems and widespread adoption of energy conservation and renewable energy? Food and energy are only two of many indicators of local economic resilience or sustainability. Perhaps AERO members might see themselves as weavers of community resilience by identifying and collaborating on projects that bring together people, not currently connected, to strengthen and deepen a community’s commitment to local economies. While this is a start, I haven’t got much further than what I have written here in thinking how this might be different from what AERO has been doing so well over 40 years, and I will be curious to see what readers think of these ideas as a future direction for AERO.

To add to this conversation about resilient communities, find us on Facebook, attend the Expo and Annual meeting in Great Falls from September 25-27, or visit with Executive Director Jennifer Hill-Hart during her tour around Montana. Sun Times


Book Review Corner We do such great work locally that sometimes it’s hard to see the larger context in which AERO’s members are occupied. For that larger perspective, Jim Mahnke offered to review a book that adds depth and scale to what we do each day. Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future Economy (by Bill McKibben) Bill McKibben’s 2007 book examines how we inherited, from pre-history 4,000 years ago, “fire, language, cattle, the wheel, the plow, the sail, the pot. We had banks and government and mathematics and religion.” But living standards probably increased only 100 percent in four millennia: “We hadn’t learned to do anything new.” According to McKibben, the ideology of “more is better” associated with the myth of limitless growth and development of the last 300 years is unsustainable, leading to pollution, environmental degradation, peak oil, and global warming, among other problems. That economy, based on debtfueled growth and a striving for an everhigher GDP, is not producing satisfaction or happiness but rather hyper-individualism, which will not lead us to a collective sense of responsibility. McKibben does note a healthy development in the food economy that is increasing a sense of locality and community: farmers’ markets, “the fastest growing part of our food economy” with ramifications for everything from land use to community building. In the end, this is an inspirational and hopeful book. I would place it right in line with other books in the ecological canon, Sun Times

including Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered (E.F. Schumacher, 1973); Globalization and its Discontents (Joseph Stiglitz, 2002); Capitalism in the 21st Century (Thomas Piketty, 2014); and The Lentil Underground (Liz Carlisle, 2015). What other books can help us deal wisely and responsibly with the next 40 years? Let us know your picks!

Follow AERO on Facebook www.facebook.com/aeromt June 2015, Vol. 41, No. 2, Page 15


2015 AERO EX & ANNUAL

Featured Speakers:

Liz Carlisle (author of The Lentil Underground)

Sarah Calhoun

(founder of Red Ants Pants) 2015 SPONSORS

HOMEGR SUSTAINA


XPO

MEETING

ROWN ABILITY

RESILIENT COMMUNITIES RENEWABLE ENERGY

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE Sept. 25-27, 2015 Arrowpeak Lodge Great Falls, MT More info at aeromt.org


SAVE THE DATE for the AER We’re getting pretty excited around the office about all the good things brewing for this year’s Annual Expo and Meeting at Arrowpeak Lodge, outside of Great Falls, from September 25 - 27. We’re remembering all the fun we’ve had in the past, and ready to make this year’s Expo & Annual Meeting the best yet. Here’s a little preview of the fun:

• Keynote speakers Sarah Calhoun of Red Ants Pants & Liz Carlisle, author of Lentil Underground. • Three days of incredible farm tours, renewable energy, conservation & sustainable agriculture workshops, & panels.

our newsletter or email our Communications & Membership Director Corrie Williamson for more info about events or becoming an AERO Sponsor at cwilliamson@aeromt.org. Why the new name, you ask? We on the AERO Board decided it was time to show even more people how awesome AERO is and to encourage them to get involved. Calling it the “annual meeting” made it sound like too much business was happening (and we know how much fun we have), so we’ve decided to call it the Expo so that non-members feel welcome to join. This year’s event is all about inclusion, so we will have lots of kid-friendly activities, a good mix of hands-on and active sessions, and Arrowpeak offers room to roam for those who want to take a breather and enjoy the mountains.

• Live & silent auctions. • A BBQ with dancing & music by Local Yokel. • And SO much more (including rumors of a revival of the New Western Energy Show…) Excited? So are we! Want to get involved by volunteering, teaching a workshop, or donating an auction item? Email Laura Ginsburg at lauralee.ginsburg@gmail.com. Read more, watch for updates and registration information at our website: http://www.aeromt.org/ annual-expo-meeting/ Want to stay updated? Sign up for June 2015, Vol. 41, No. 2, Page 18

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RO Expo & Annual Meeting! Keynote Speakers Sarah Calhoun, of Red Ants Pants

Liz Carlisle, author The Lentil Underground

Sarah Calhoun is the founder of Red Ants Pants, functional and flattering workwear for women, in White Sulphur Photo courtesy of Red Ants Pants Music Festival & RedAntsPants.com Springs, MT. Calhoun has been called a “revolutionary figure in rural business today” and a “powerhouse of inspiration for women in business” and is known for her dedication to supporting rural communities. In 2011, she was invited by President Obama to attend a White House forum on jobs and economic development after serving as a US Delegate to the APEC Women in Business Summit, and in 2012 she was the National Women in Business Champion for the Small Business Administration. Closer to home, Governor Schweitzer named her the 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year for the State of Montana. Calhoun and her company have been featured in many national publications including Entrepreneur, National Geographic, Delta Sky, Country Woman, Sunset, and Airstream Life. More

A journalist and Montana native, Liz Carlisle is also a fellow at the Center for Diversified Farming Systems at the University of California, Berkeley. She holds a Ph.D. in Geography, also from Berkeley, and a B.A. from Harvard University. A native of Missoula, Montana, Carlisle is a former Legislative Aide to United States Senator Jon Tester. Her book, Lentil Underground, tells the inspiring story of a handful of colorful pioneers who have successfully bucked the chemicallybased food chain and the entrenched power of agribusiness’s one percent, by stubbornly banding together. Unearthing the deep roots of this movement, Lentil Underground introduces readers to a memorable cast of characters, from gun-toting libertarians and Christian homesteaders to peace-sign-waving environmental activists. Her eye-opening and richly reported narrative that will be welcomed by readers of food and farm memoirs, as well as everyone Photo & bio courtesy of lentilunderground.com concerned with the future of American agriculture and natural food in an increasingly uncertain world. More

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Introducing Corrie Dear AERO Members, It is with much excitement and hope that I join the AERO team as the Communications & Membership Director, and introduce myself to you here in the latest issue of AERO’s longrunning Sun Times. I’m originally an east coaster, and grew up on a small farm in southwestern Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains, where my family raised goats and gardens. My path to Montana is a quirky one, I’d say, but it’s a place I’m more grateful to have landed in everyday. For the past two years, I’ve worked as an instructor at Carroll College and Helena College, teaching writing. While I enjoyed this work, I found myself itching to do something that would have a deeper impact on my community, and that touched upon the issues of responsible resource use and environmental impact that have become increasingly important to me of late – as I think they become to most of us who start paying attention. AERO’s mission is just the one I was looking for: empowering communities to be selfreliant, self-supporting, and capable of fostering responsible resource use with a long-term view is more important than ever, and it takes many kinds of folks, and many types of approaches, to gain real ground. With that in mind, I want to reintroduce an old approach, one that appeared in the Sun Times for many years, but that has fallen to the wayside lately: verse. The Sun Times has been publishing poems since its birth in the 70’s, and of course the old traveling New Western Energy show was comprised of poems and songs. There’s a power to such forms of expression that is easily forgotten, but that I believe should not be lost or ignored. In the words of Wendell Berry (my second favorite farmer, after my dad), “We are dependent, for understanding, and for consolation and hope, upon what we learn of ourselves from songs and stories. This has always been so, and it will not change.” Poems are a passion of mine, and so I’ve pulled a few that caught my eye from past editions of the Sun Times, and I hope you enjoy them, find in them hope, or a call to action. Join me in welcoming poetry back to the Sun Times, and consider submitting your favorite poem, or work of your own, for future issues. Please drop me a line at cwilliamson@aeromt.org. I look forward to hearing from you. Corrie

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Abundant Montana:

Connecting producers and consumers, and sharing stories Over the past few years, AERO’s Abundant Montana directory has gone through several transformations – from paper to online directory to interactive site. Now, Abundant embodies the meaning of abundance. Not only does it include Montana producers, but also Montana businesses committed to supporting local producers and agri-tourism opportunities. There’s a little something for everyone. Tourists traveling the state can enjoy the opportunity to easily connect with all the foods available in our state and the people who grow it, and can plan an unforgettable experience exploring Montana’s food and agricultural heritage. Consumers can easily find their local farmers, like-minded businesses, and other ag organizations to take that next step in supporting a vibrant local economy. Activists and advocates can easily map food systems across the state to determine infrastructure needs to develop communitylevel food systems.

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Businesses and producers can expand their customer base and collaborate with other local businesses and producers. With links to websites and social media, Abundant makes it easier than ever to share stories with each other and with consumers. It’s these sorts of connections that will steadily improve economic vitality in communities across Montana. Abundant Montana provides users access to narratives that give the backstories of the powerful, humbling, challenging, and rewarding lives of the people who make good, local food accessible to us. Click here to see a short video of one of these stories: the tale of why Laura Ginsburg and her partner at the Golden Yoke Farm and Creamery, Connie Surber, decided to make farming their way of life. If you would like to submit a listing to the Abundant Montana Directory, click http:// www.aeromt.org/abundantsubmit/ To check out the Abundant Montana site, click http://www.aeromt.org/abundant/

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Food & Ag Task Force Update The Food and Agriculture Task Force has some updates to share. We’re very excited about the new Abundant MT website and its potential for generating interest in local agritourism and helping the many players in a local food system interact and collaborate more effectively. Let’s keep making this a goto resource for everyone interested in helping local food thrive by encouraging folks to submit a listing or update their data! We also now have four Regional Point People who will inform AERO about what’s happening with food and agriculture in their areas and help keep Abundant MT up to date. These point people are Annie Heuscher and Bonnie Buckingham (Missoula), Steve Dagger (Dixon), and Pat Certain (Big Sandy, interning with organic farmer Bob Quinn). We still need to find more Regional Point People for the rest of the state. Please let us know if you’d like to help us stay abreast of all the excellent goings-on around Montana! We’re very interested in working more on community funding opportunities to help with ag and energy projects, similar to the Jane Kile Fund. Ideas brought forward include a revolving loan fund, as well as a

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crowd funding money pool, managed by an advisory committee. Here’s an example of how that might work: an organization (or individual) interested in pursuing a renewable energy or ag project would submit an application, which would be reviewed by the advisory committee. If approved, the money would be granted and the project completed. Repayment would happen over time, from the energy savings made possible by the completed project. Discussion around these ideas will continue, and we would love to hear your thoughts. If you’re interested in taking a field trip, John Brown suggested organizing a trip to Bismark, ND, to visit Gabe Brown’s ranch. Gabe Brown is one of the pioneers of regenerative agriculture and the current soil health movement. His ranch is open for public (free) and private (for a fee) ranch tours. Sounds interesting Finally, please join us for our next conference call on Thursday, July 23, 4:00 p.m. Details and call information will be sent out closer to the date. Your voice and perspective are important!

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Attention Communication-Savvy Members! The communications committee is looking for two volunteers to join the team. It is an exciting time in AERO’s communications, with expansion of the Sun Times and new developments in online media. The positions require a person experienced in writing, mixed media, and an awareness of the publishing world, and be capable of helping make phone calls to potential sponsors. Volunteers will be expected to commit at least 1-2 hours per week. We would like to fill the positions by July 20th. Please inquire with communications committee co-chair Ephie Risho at recklesspoet@gmail.com.

1600 S. 3rd St. West Missoula 406.541.3663

AERO is a proud founding member of Montana Shares. Ask your employer about workplace giving today!

www.goodfoodstore.com Sun Times

June 2015, Vol. 41, No. 2, Page 23


The Cliffs at Cushman Yellow machines chip away At the grey limestone ridge To widen a black river of asphalt That flows like some primordial seep Toward the endless Montana horizon. This is the road that falls off the edge of the Earth. Cottonwoods lie on their sides, Their green leaves flickering in the summer breeze, Roots trembling in the harsh sunlight Like so many blind eels plucked From their cool dark place, Undone by this fearful storm. Where do we run so fast that there is no place for these trees? The yellow dozer coughs black smoke, Rages against grey boulders and crashing limbs. Where do we run so fast and What is that shadow so close behind? - Tom Elliott, 1992

Your locally owned natural and organic supermarket since 1975. 1096 Helena Ave • OPEN: Mon-Sat 8-8; Sun 9-7 • 406.443.5150

Thank You Helena for Our First 40 Years!

June 2015, Vol. 41, No. 2, Page 24

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Save the Date 2015 AERO Expo & Annual Meeting

September 25 - 27 at Arrowpeak Lodge outside of Great Falls, Montana Check your mailbox for our official Save the Date Postcard, and visit http://www.aeromt.org/expo-annual-meeting/ for details and Registration (coming soon!)

Summer Sustainability Tour Highlights - Sustainability Open Mic Night July 9th, 5:30 pm at Imagine Nation Brewing Co in Missoula followed by Northern Plains Resource Council Presents the Big Sky MudFlaps 7 - 10 pm, at Monk’s Bar - Pot-luck & Gleaned Greens with Gardens from Garbage July 15th, 5:30 pm at Westside Orchard Garden, Great Falls & MORE SOON.

AERO Ag Task Force Conference Call/Meeting

July 23rd at 4 pm, call-in details to follow via listserv & on AERO Website

AERO Energy Task Force Conference Call/Meeting

July 22 at 7 pm, call-in details to follow via listserv & on AERO Website

Sun Times

June 2015, Vol. 41, No. 2, Page 25


Show Your Support with an AERO License Plate! Support AERO’s work to build sustainable communities, while proudly displaying your values with the AERO License Plate! This sponsored plate is available at all Montana county motor vehicle offices. The first-time cost of the plate is $35, which includes a manufacturing fee paid to the state, as well as a donation to AERO. After that the annual renewal cost is $20, all of which goes directly to AERO. Because we are not able to track license plate sales, we cannot offer a membership for your purchase of a plate.

AERO is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to solutions that promote resource conservation and local economic vitality. AERO nurtures individual and community selfreliance through programs that support sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and environmental quality.

The AERO Sun Times is published by the Alternative Energy Resources Organization 432 N. Last Chance Gulch Helena, MT 59601 EIN #81-035-0698 ph: 406-443-7272 / fax: 406-442-9120 aero@aeromt.org / www.aeromt.org 2015Š Copyright by AERO (ISSN 1046-0993) Design by Ephie Risho

June 2015, Vol. 41, No. 2, Page 26

Sun Times

Sun Times June 2015  

The AERO Montana Sun Times, June 2015 edition, featuring articles on sustainability, resilient communities, and focused on energy and agricu...

Sun Times June 2015  

The AERO Montana Sun Times, June 2015 edition, featuring articles on sustainability, resilient communities, and focused on energy and agricu...

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