Monday, August 5, 2013

Actual Victuals; Virtual Auction

Today starts the final week of the 37-day immersion Ecovillage Education training at Dancing Rabbit. 

While it seemed like forever getting here (the course started July 5, but we first began promoting it back in late 2011), and it appeared as a huge expanse of time four weeks ago; now it will be over in a blink. Time bends like that.

After our final classroom experience Wednesday morning, we'll be in wrap-up mode. The students will have the remainder of Wed to complete their student projects, Thursday morning to prepare their presentations, and that afternoon to deliver them (15-20 minutes each). Here's what we'll get to hear about:

o  Manasi has focused on what it will take to start a federation of worker cooperatives in Kerala, in the southwest corner of India, where she intends to move and carry out her plan after the course ends.

o  David & Natalia have worked with a community neighbor (Frank) to figure how to use the local waste streams to create a viable product. Frank calls it "upstreaming" (better than recycling) and our students cooked up the idea of using kiln-dried white oak scraps (from a furniture manufacturer in the county) to create musical instruments. We'll get to hear their marketing plan Thursday—as well as a performance on their prototype xylophone.

o  Josi is developing a business plan to help a Dancing Rabbit member bring an entrepreneurial idea to market. So far it's all hush hush.

o  Myung-Ja is articulating the vision statement, common values, decision-making process, and membership requirements for the senior cohousing project she intends to develop when she returns to South Korea.

o  Miguel has designed an outdoor kitchen and dining area for the newly built campground at Dancing Rabbit. He was asked to keep the budget under $1000 (for both materials and labor), to employ permaculture principles, and to work with the design parameters established by the community's Inreach Committee. 

o  Marita & Erin built a two-burner outdoor rocket stove for one of the food co-ops in the village. This required cutting and welding a metal framework for the firebox, and then making the body of the stove out of cob (a mixture of sand, clay, and straw). It's an extremely efficient burner that can be fueled entirely from wood scraps.

With Saturday set aside for an arts & celebration festival that the students will design and execute (staff isn't allowed to peek), and Sunday is reserved for a good-bye ritual and graduation ceremony, Friday is when we'll be cutting up in the kitchen.

That day the class is cooking a benefit dinner ($18/plate, or $50 for a table of four) featuring an international menu full of student favorites, including dumplings from South Korea, caprese from Italy, palak paneer and curry from India, and summer pudding from Australia. Yum! The doors open at 6:00 with dinner served at 6:30. After a leisurely four-course meal, we'll hear brief testimonials from the students, leading up to the conclusion of the EEUS Silent Auction hosted on Facebook.

The auction is live now and people can bid until 8:30 pm sharp (Central time) Friday, Aug 9. Both the dinner and auction are an excellent example of class synergy: simultaneously playing together, making a delicious meal, and at the same time raising seed money for next year's course. What's not to like? Though the EEUS program has been a resounding energetic success in its first year, we only had the minimum number of students (10), and that means there will be nothing left over after compensating staff. Friday's fun(d)raising activities are meant to refill the cistern in preparation for an even bigger and better experience next summer.

I'm looking forward to an enjoyable last week, not the least of which will be Friday's sumptuous dinner. You can help make it extra special by visiting our auction site and putting in a sumptuous bid (or two) while the rest of us are noshing on delectables and raising a glass (or two) to the future of EEUS.

Here's to high times and high bids. Bon appetit!

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