True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring. –Martin Luther King, Jr.
A few months ago, we acquired a free-standing homesteading, co-working site. It was unexpected given our happy resolution to accept the next-best-thing. We are restructuring, in the spirit of the MLK quote. This structure relies upon a DIY ethic that a lot of people call “new” but we all know is “old”. In the not so distant past, communities helped less-fortunate and down-on-their-luck members. They helped by directly providing resources and opportunities for improvement. They worked to create productive members because they knew the edifice of community required it to stand. We are learning even more about our responsibilities to that process.
As we build and learn, we change things up. We held the last in our Food Craft series recently. Our first series of four community dinners (Soul, Solh, Sol and Seoul Food) helped us learn quite a bit about how to bring community together…and how community loves it some good food! When we announced the end of this series, we were met with a lot of disappointment…and it surprised us.
You might call it our Sally Field moment. We always intended to have a series of series, as it were. The idea was to keep it changing and involve different people over time to keep building community. As it turns out, people really love coming together over a meal, especially a meal that they create themselves. Who would have thunk it?
People are equally excited about the development of our homesteading site (we’ve got quite a name reserved for it, too!). It will be more than what we hoped and permit real, direct work in the neighborhoods we serve…just as communities did decades ago.
For us, restructuring means using the lessons of the past to improve the future. So, we will take what we’ve learned from working with residents at farm sites and lessons from the first two dinner series to do just that. This means (definitely) more food crafting. More art. More community. More edifice building.