The Secret Sauce

Stories of Place

Sharing the Sugars: Truth be Told —Toril Booker Fisher

Sharing the Sugars: Truth be Told —Toril Booker Fisher

I recently read that trees communicate with one another —scientists call it the “world wood web”— When trees know that there is a danger, disease, or threat, they will shed their stored sugars and share them with each other to spread their energy and love so that perhaps the other trees can benefit.

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Diversity and Creativity Build Small Town Health and Prosperity —  by Sheila Sherwin

Diversity and Creativity Build Small Town Health and Prosperity — by Sheila Sherwin

“Fairfield is a community of people who share a deep sense of pride in our past, the traditions that sustain us, and the activities that create our future. We are in many ways an over achieving bunch, who consider ourselves fortunate to have such a rich community to build upon…We value good government, good schools and educational opportunities, healthy living, recreation, arts and culture.” –Mayor Ed Malloy of Fairfield, IA

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Now More Than Ever  by Sheila Sherwin

Now More Than Ever by Sheila Sherwin

There has never been a better time to focus on rural America. Now more than ever, we need to shine a light on the innovators, the artists, the makers, and the bridge-builders who are helping to build more socially and economically resilient futures —especially in the rural communities that feel so overlooked. I cannot think of a better way to be spending my time, and I hope you will join me here.

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“To Farm”  by Talia Winningham

“To Farm” by Talia Winningham

To farm is to teach myself to notice. To carefully observe the weather. To see the unique curvature of each pepper or squash. To watch raspberries get plump after it rains. To see a yellow and black orca spider for the first time as I cleared a lettuce bed at Green Earth Gardens in Unity Maine.

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You Can’t Have Your Pudding If You Don’t Eat Your Meat —Matt Voz

You Can’t Have Your Pudding If You Don’t Eat Your Meat —Matt Voz

Success is falling to sleep every night in complete physical and psychic exhaustion from serving someone or something that you love and then having the privilege of getting up in the morning and doing it all over again. That is my hope for you, that is my appeal to you now. If you are going to let something go, let go of yourselves.

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Eddy Nix —Bohemian Rhapsody in Books

Eddy Nix —Bohemian Rhapsody in Books

“Bookstores have always been the most comfortable sort of commercial place. I have a hard time with WalMarts and malls and hyper capitalism and consumerism, so bookstores are kind of an antidote to hyper consumerism where you can be a little relaxed and slow and take your time.”

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Cultivating Will —Zoe Drew-King

Cultivating Will —Zoe Drew-King

I had failed. And as soon as I had accepted this fact, I let go of feeling awful about it. I knew that it was more important for me, in that moment, to learn from this and move forward — to understand what had led me to choose failure and grow from it.

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Just Say No  —Matt Voz

Just Say No —Matt Voz

Saying “no” in a small town is an act of humanity, with all the reward and responsibility that being human entails.

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An Ode to Youth Initiative High School

An Ode to Youth Initiative High School

And so, as our son moves through his final weeks at this lovely, oddball school and our family weathers yet another transition, I feel compelled to pay homage to the place where he, and we as a family, have learned so many valuable lessons —a place that has given us the opportunity to share meaningful work, humble work, love-filled work, with such an incredible community of people —those who have come before us as well as those who will follow.

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An Invitation:

An Invitation:

“A nation is not judged by how well the strongest in its midst can do but by how well it cares for the weakest and most vulnerable in its midst.”
How do you think we can help strengthen the safety net in our communities to further support our most vulnerable members?

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Storytelling: Weaving a Tapestry of Trust

Storytelling: Weaving a Tapestry of Trust

In a time when everyone is plugged into a device, both at home and in public, it is extremely refreshing to sit in a room captivated by a single person telling a true story from their own life. The sense at the end of the night is that we are a closer community, having shared an intimate moment typically reserved for the best of friends.

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Let’s Get Real —with Matt Voz

Let’s Get Real —with Matt Voz

Living with small town gossip is like sleeping under a heavy duvet, occasionally it gets a little too hot but when you’re naked and alone on a cold winter’s night it’s the only thing between you and the soul-death of solitude.

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Liz Rog:  Singing as Breath and Food  —by Annie Zylstra

Liz Rog: Singing as Breath and Food —by Annie Zylstra

What would happen if a whole family, community, or bioregion of people were connected by dozens or even hundreds of the same song patterns? And what if they were shared in daily life as part of the delicious food necessary for growing resilient community?

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The Parrish Family —Community Call and Response

The Parrish Family —Community Call and Response

How does a musically-gifted, racially-mixed family from Chicago make it in a rural Wisconsin town settled by Germans and Norwegians? Ted and Catherine Parrish, along with their two African-American children, weren’t sure it could be done. But they wanted to try.

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