The Earth and her children depend on each of us to be wise, to have vision, to speak in joy, to extend love and compassion, to own our power, to accept our true natures, and to allow others to share our bounty. If our capable hands and steady hearts shift ever so slightly in the direction of loving, we move the planet in an entirely new direction from where it has been in the past.
After the fundraiser on Friday night, I had an acute case of fear and trembling. After opening the colorful donation box and pulling out the offerings, I found myself feeling heavy with gratitude and responsibility. It is no small thing to ask people to give you money, to take from what they have and share it with you.
We knew when we started this journey that we’d come to this point. Starting in August 2017 I began drafting fundraising letters. Then again in December 2018, I dreamed up another fundraising scheme. All these plans came about due to my anxiety about how we would purchase land without having any money. I felt a strong urge to act in a time of difficult waiting. Neither plan made it out in to the world, thank goodness. The timing was not right.
We began dreaming of this fundraiser in mid-March. The specific needs of our community had come into focus and we felt empowered to ask for financial support. We could show all the work we’d done thus far and offer a long-term plan for building and financing our community. We could articulate exactly how much money we needed to raise, what we needed money for, and why we were asking for donations as opposed to seeking a bank loan. On Friday night, it was a joy to share our presentation, which included many pictures of the property, the story of the land, our long-term plan, and the motivation for creating Common Home Farm. We opened with song and closed in song and took time to read the epigraph and poem posted here. These rituals helped create a space in which people were invited to join their hearts and minds with us and to consider what they have to offer.
We were humbled by the generosity of the group gathered, as well as the many people who sent well-wishes and donations but could not attend. Our goal was to raise $5,660 – the amount needed to bring our total donations to $15,000. We raised $11,600 on Friday. One anonymous donor contributed $10,500 – the exact amount needed to install a septic system. Holy smokes! Can you believe that?
On top of the money, our community was delighted by all the other offers that came our way – a hauling van, some chickens, building help every Friday, connecting with IU’s service learning programs. So you can see how at the end of the night this outpouring of generosity would also come with a deeper understanding of our responsibility to our growing community of supporters.
We also ended the night with deep satisfaction and wonder at the journey. I remembered back to a moment in September 2017. I was standing at the sink of our old house, washing dishes and telling Chris Elam that I could feel the call to life on the land but I couldn’t see the path to get there. If I thought about all the things that needed to happen to get there, I’d most likely just stay put. “You can’t think about all that,” he advised. “You just have to see the most immediate step and take it.” Fundraising was the next obvious step, and we took it! And so the journey continues. Many thanks to everyone for making this all possible!
I’ll leave you with the poem from our gathering:
You must come back, as your grandmother did,
with her basket and sharp knife, in daffodil light,
to the pasture, where the best greens spring
from heaps of dung, dark in the still brown
meadow grass. Cut them close to the root,
before they flower, rinse them in rain water
and bring them to the table, tossed
with oil, vinegar and salt, or homemade dressing.
They will be bitter but rich in iron—
your spring tonic your antidote to sleep.
Eat them because they are good for you.
Eat them in joy, for the earth revives.
Eat them in remembrance of your grandmother,
who raised ten children on them. Think
of all the dandelions they picked for her,
the countless downy seeds their laughter spread.
This is the life we believe in—
the saw-toothed blades, the lavish, common flowers.