major biz change

Our RCD  (Regenerate Community Developing) has been folded into a new venture and partnership, please email us for more info.

As of October 1, 2016 I am now an official resident at Lost Valley ecoVillage in Dexter, Oregon.  I will be splitting my time between living + doing community and living energy at WinSol.  We’ll see how these three passions develop.  I owe this all to the Camino.

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When I was walking 500- miles on the Camino this year, my mission was to discover how to do business without doing business.

One of the insights I gained was to ‘fight the good fight’, to become a warrior – albeit a peaceful and gentle warrior, and to stay focused doing good work in partnership with others and avoid another solo act.  Joanna Macy calls it a ‘Shambhala’ warrior – click on the WTR menu (up, right).   So i will be re-entering the mainstream (yikes!) and staying true.  I guess I’m tired of preaching to the choir – they already get it – we need to build bridges to the other 90%.

I find this to be my life’s work.  I am more energized, tireless, and driven than ever before – and that’s saying somethin’ !

Stay tuned for exciting things to come…

 

Leader in big-food change

Panera Bread is a leader in removing harmful chemicals in our food.

Panera has over 1,900 ‘fast-casual’ restaurants featuring a wide menu of items.  They sold over 250million bagels in the USA last year.

Panera has been the food industry leader in:

  • 2005 Panera got antibiotics out of their chicken servings
  • 2006 Panera stopped using trans fats
  • 2010 Panera started posting calorie content of its menu
  • 2014 Panera introduced its ‘No No List’ of over 150 chemicals no longer in its food (or being phased out)

On all of these points, Panera led various legislative bodies by years in passing laws which in turn changed the entire big-food and big-Ag industry.

I will start patronizing Panera whenever and wherever I can. They are proof that the marketplace is indeed the most powerful force we have in changing the world for good – not the government or laws. In a consumerism society, the consumer wields more power than they think – unfortunately few consumers do. But enlightened and smart business owners can appeal to consumers’ latent needs and wants and leverage success.

The NYTimes article (july 5, 2015) featuring Panera,  started with Mr. Kish – Panera head chef – on how he grew up on a farm with his grandmother’s cooking: two important influencing factors within Mike Pollan’s repeated advice: no more than 5 ingredients and eat what your grandmother would recognize.

 

The NYT article also includes CEO Mr. Shaich’s passion for providing ‘real foods’ in his restuarants, and walking his talk by hiring Mr. Kish (a Michelin chef who returned to the farm) and allowing him to implement his farm + grandmother’s version of real food. His quote “The marketplace may be the most powerful way to effect change” rings true. Unfortunately most other corporations do not use this power for the good. Panera does.

The story I really like within this story is Panera’s relationship with PepsiCo. A kind of David vs. Goliath battle. Panera has $3b vs. Pepsi’s $140b in annual sales. Yet, Panera is insisting PepsiCo get the corn syrup out of it’s restuarants soda fountain, or risk losing its business. Given Panera’s track record of influencing first the marketplace + consumers AND then regulatory agencies + laws, I think PepsiCo is working on it. But Panera won’t just settle for PepsiCo replacing corn syrup with Sorbital or other aspartame substitues – it will insist on any ‘real’ food additives (there’s an oxymoron for you! … aka natural flavoring) being totally gone in its soda fountains.

So, rock on Panera. I urge you to start frequenting Panera and show your support for the great work that they are doing.

WTR + the unraveling

One of the key elements of all the work I now do is to follow Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects (WTR).

My recent discovery of her book, and spending time with one of her lead teachers has inspired me to include this important philosophy in everything that I do.  WTR consists of two main principles:  The great turning and the unraveling.

You don’t have to look far for bad news these days. Our lives are filled with fear based messages. Instead of having negative thoughts about it, I am listening to this bad news as more positive evidence of the great unraveling.

If one looks beyond these news flashes to factual comparisons done by independent third parties, we can see our natural world slowly unraveling:

  • The US forest service now spends over 50% of its budget fighting fires, it used to be 16%.

  • 2014 was the hottest year on record, and 2015 will most likely beat that.

  • Iran recorded its highest ever heat index at 1650F

Need more evidence? Just look at your daily morning low temperatures. They are probably at an all time high. Where I live, the morning low design temp was 55F, now it’s commonly about 70F for a morning low!  Just this week (Sept 7, 2015), the US weather bureau changed their forecast from 7 days of 90F temps to 7 days of 110F within 24 hours – that’s a 20F mistake!  so much for our computer modeling… they can’t even keep up with nature’s unraveling.

Another example is to look at the availability and price of fish. Various fish species are going extinct, or are so few they are not commercially viable1 anymore.

Joanna Macy’s wonderful book ‘Coming back to Life’ is my current must read.  I am in the midst of reading it twice.

‘Coming back to Life’ is also a 1994 song by Pink Floyd (youtube song video)

Pink Floyd – Coming Back To Life Lyrics

Where were you when I was burned and broken
While the days slipped by from my window watching
And where were you when I was hurt and I was helpless
Because the things you say and the things you do surround me

While you were hanging yourself on someone else’s words
Dying to believe in what you heard
I was staring straight into the shining sun
Lost in thought and lost in time

While the seeds of life and the seeds of change were planted
Outside the rain fell dark and slow
While I pondered on this dangerous but irresistible pastime
I took a heavenly ride through our silence

I knew the moment had arrived
For killing the past and coming back to life
I took a heavenly ride through our silence
I knew the waiting had begun
And headed straight into the shining sun

Songwriters: DAVID GILMOUR
Coming Back To Life lyrics © IMAGEM U.S. LLC

1‘Commercially viable’ what an ugly term that is the poster child for what we are doing. When nature is no longer ‘commerically viable’ we have a crisis. So in other words, when we stop making money off nature because we overdid it – that’s bad. The initial action of destroying rainforests and ecosystems and wildlife is not the issue – it’s whether or not we make money off it.