The projects for this website encompass my personal research and pursuit of knowledge. They include areas of our society where there once was some exponential learning, growth and influence but have lost their way. Many are areas of disenfranchisement and disconnectedness.
I have chosen these because they are at a nexus for me. Basic food, shelter, water, air, a voice, access, cultural preservation, pursuit of life are fundamental to the human experience.
The Grange, Patrons of Husbandry. For many years I have been researching the resurgence of the Grange. After the Civil War, rural America had a higher illiteracy than the rest of the country. They had no representationand no access to markets because of the monopolies of the railroads. This was the beginning of the populist movement. They were one of many associations that represented farmers. The formation of the the Patrons of Husbandry was based on the fraternal structure of the Masonic Lodge. Drawn from the term Grainery, the Grangers organized farmers in small communities all over the country. They provided a support system and a collective voice.
Over the years as small family farmers were displaced by weather, economics, urban encroachment, and monopolies, farming became an Agri-business. The Grange Halls that were the site of dances, card parties, fundraisers and organized rituals were neglected. At the same time, the demographics and the economies of the rural communities have been changing. In some states there has been a resurgence of baby boomer families working together to restore buildings, offer programs for their communities and work towards a progressive voice for rural america.
Convivial Research: Knowledge is continually produced and utilized by community based scholars for the benefit of everyone. It includes cultural practices, local history, food production, music making, and much more.
For a long time, academic institutions were part of a rich fabric of global scholars doing research for research sake. Amazing discoveries were made. At the same time, many of these scholars legitimized their area of study through the systematic objectification of the subject of their study. In their competiveness to get funded, published or taken to the marketplace, they were dismissive of cultural based and community knowledge.
Here in Humboldt County, community based scholars work together in a safe and supportive environment, conducting research in a respectful and authentic way without co-opting knowledge or disrespecting people by "othering". Our research and shared analysis contributes to addressing ongoing issues of disenfranchisement.
Historic Preservation: From cultural landscapes to local oral histories, history must be preserved in order to maintain a context and a timeline. Residents need to be involved in upholding the value of preserving the character and the legacy of each place.
Farm to School/Institution: This is a national program that has various sponsors depending on the region. The basic concept is re-establishing a direct connection between the farmer and the lunchroom in the school, jail, hospital, college, etc. Access to fresh, local, healthy food benefits everyone.
CiviCRM: Civic Constituent Relation Management is a online database software that is free, transparent, cross platform and open source. It is used by thousands of NGO's and NPO's all over the world.