by Trish Mikkelson
One of the reasons that creating community is so beautiful is that there are more people to do all the work that it takes to simply maintain the community and so there is time left over to work on our goals which include projects. I always find it much easier to work on a project when I have at least one other person who is passionate about the project to work with so we can encourage each other, hold each other accountable, and share the load using our strengths and talents.
Even though finishing this website and finding people to join the core group to create community is my highest priority, I still have projects I am working on because I can't help it!
Anonymous for the Voiceless in Fayetteville: I am so excited that we have a growing number of animal rights activists who are coming all over, including Conway (2 1/2 hours away) to participate in this wonderful group.
Vegan Activities in Fayetteville: I am attending the monthly Vegetarian Potlucks at Omni Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology. Even though not completely vegan, this is a great chance to network, meet vegans, and inspire people to go vegan. I am also regularly attending the NWA Vegan Meetup in Fayetteville where I am meeting and networking with friendly, committed vegans.
Animal Liberation Conference in Berkeley: I am going to attend this powerful event as I did last year. They expect 1000 people this year! I want to re-connect with my friends in DxE and see how I can be supportive.
Ozark Area Community Congress: I am getting more involved with this wonderful group, and will be the volunteer coordinator at the next event in Oct. 2018. I seem to be the main voice for animal rights, but I really want to see if we can get more vegans to attend.
Soul Pauses for Body, Mind, and Spirit
I have a Facebook page called Soul Pauses for Body, Mind, and Spirit where I facilitate spiritual practices up to 5 times a day on Facebook live.
This is an important, foundational project for these reasons:
- The foundation for spiritual practices being done by people who live in community is being laid as I get into this beautiful, monastic-like way of living.
- I am able to serve and feel a sense of purpose and connection even though no one is living in the community yet. I also am building relationships with vegans and nonvegans that support me in my spiritual path. I need this!
- I am being blessed immensely because I am drawing spiritual strength from these practices which I need so I have the strength, inspiration, and insight to be the founder of a community.
- People who are exploring joining the community can get to know me better and thus make a more educated decision about whether or not to join me.
Joey and Alexx, a couple I met at the NWA Vegan Meetup in Fayetteville, and I have started this organization. Even though I have wanted to start an activist group, I just keep resisting the temptation because I know it is going to be a lot of work and I don't want to get distracted.
At the same time, I yearn to start doing something concrete in the animal rights activism arena locally. So when Joey and Alexx expressed enthusiasm about getting involved in activism, I felt inspired to start this group, which is simply a Facebook group at this time.
We were scheduled to have a table at the Omni Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology annual members meeting where hundreds of people were going to be present. Even though it didn't happen because of icy weather, the fact that Omni was willing to let us have a table is a big thing!We are compiling a list of animal-friendly organizations in the Ozarks on the Facebook page. The list is actually quite encouraging, including a no-kill animal shelter in Madison County where we live.
Because I was funded to hire two great guys, Tas Zink and Chase Jones, who love to do permaculture projects, much has been done to both grow food and prepare gardens for Spring 2018. We have the beginnings of a food forest at the Event Center site.
I also have gotten exercise, fresh air, and renewed strength from working on projects which these hardworking young men helped me to start.
You can check out some of our Vegan permaculture projects here.
I was thrilled with how much food we grew last year. I have a lot of plants inside including moringa trees which are producing greens for my green smoothies.
Included in this project is growing plants in pots that we can plant in our own gardens as well as potentially sell. Comfrey, plantain, and peppermint are our main crops. I want to get lambsquarters, chickweed, and sorrel planted in pots in the spring.
I have harvested some of our Jerusalem Artichokes and am saving most of them for seed for the spring. This is a very hardy, easy to grow plant that has a ton of nutrition. They also are easy to store in the ground even during hard freezes. You just pick them when you want to eat them.
I saved a ton of marigold seeds and other seeds which will serve us well in the spring.
Here is a plan for a moringa farm which Tas put together.
Travel and Networking
I love to travel! I am a vegangelical. That means wherever I go, I strike up conversations about veganism and I am amazed at how many people are receptive. As much as I enjoyed visiting the Christian vegan events, now that I no longer consider myself a Christian (I see Jesus is my friend and guide, not Lord and Savior) I probably won't be attending more of them.
When I travel, I find people who are interested in the ecovillage and who might be potential members or who might recommend members.
Here are the events I have attended since I started the ecovillage project.
Permaculture Convergence in Northern California
Mutual Aid Network conference in Madison, WI.
Creature Conference in London, England: I learned about this wonderful event from Kathy Dunn, who welcomed me warmly into the
Direct Action Everywhere Forum in Berkeley: This was 7 solid days of protests and learning experiences with lots of opportunities to talk to atheists and agnostics about Jesus, and talk about veganism with everyone. I enjoyed this immensely and made new friends with whom I am still connecting. I don't agree with all their tactics, yet I think much of what they do is really helpful. I will most likely attend their conference next year which is going to be a general animal rights conference.
Ozark Area Regional Conference: I want to stay connected with our bioregion, and I really enjoyed sharing about Jesus Vegans, making new friends and learning a ton of stuff from all the great attendees.
Cross Vision Conference in Minneapolis: I loved meeting my favorite teaching pastors, Greg Boyd and Bruxy Cavey. I was able to promote veganism in a number of ways, including asking Greg, "Why are you not a vegan?" You can hear my question and his answer here:
Christian Vegan Women's Retreat in Philadelphia. Sponsored by CreatureKind and facilitated by Sarah Withrow-King, I really enjoyed the retreat and was able to do some "vegangelizing" in Philadelphia and New York. Here is my post about the retreat.