The Secret Sauce

Stories of Place

Wait —Wisconsin? Where is that again? by Ephraim Sutherland

Wait —Wisconsin? Where is that again? by Ephraim Sutherland

Now when I hear someone say “flyover country,” I grimace at the term. How do I begin to tell my friends of all the interesting aspects of my community, even though I want to? How can I convince them that my town and all rural communities deserve more than a quick glance out of their plane as they fly from city to city?

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From Mining Gold to Farming Ice —by Samantha Tisdel-Wright

From Mining Gold to Farming Ice —by Samantha Tisdel-Wright

The resilient Ouray Ice Park tribe refuses to be daunted, and continues looking for innovative solutions to attack this latest challenge. Perhaps developing new water sources to augment the municipal water supply will allow them to build a thicker, more resilient base of ice, that will hold up better against warming temps. Perhaps more tweaks to the Ice Park’s plumbing system will allow them to farm that ice in even more effective and efficient and smarter and safer ways. There is hope. Even on thin ice.

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The Ways and Means: “Open the Doors” —by Liz Rog

The Ways and Means: “Open the Doors” —by Liz Rog

What if you could change the trajectory of someone’s life by giving them a huge financial gift, and it would cost you nothing?

What if you could plant a seed of economic justice and generosity right where you live, not waiting for national policy to make it happen?

What if you had the power to enrich your entire community just by sharing what you have, one person at a time?

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Changemaker: Euneika Rogers-Sipp and her resolute stewardship in the Black Belt South  —by Kate Fitzgerald

Changemaker: Euneika Rogers-Sipp and her resolute stewardship in the Black Belt South —by Kate Fitzgerald

If nothing else, I realized that as a left-leaning, white, northerner, it has been easy for me to make assumptions about the deep south, all the while giving it little thoughtful attention. The time spent with Euneika and her friends in Montgomery, Selma, Gees Bend, and Camden Alabama was a welcome wake up call to the steady work that continues to be done, quietly, resolutely, often in the margins and often without great fanfare.

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On Your Plate: A Photographic Essay on the Food Economy of the Driftless Region

On Your Plate: A Photographic Essay on the Food Economy of the Driftless Region

In his newly opened exhibit “On Your Plate” Drew tells a compelling and layered story of food in the Driftless area of Wisconsin. With the recognition that it takes many kinds of work and a lively spirit of cooperation to maintain a healthy system, Drew’s collection showcases a wide variety of players in local food scene with affection and tenderness, opening our eyes to the humble ballast in addition to the star players.

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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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