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February 7, 2013

Nourishing Food and Community

“When we are sitting down and eating food at the table, we are at the last part of a long chain of events that helped bring that food to our plate.”

-Bryant Terry, food justice activist, author of Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine; co-author of Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen

“Every single time we spend a dollar on food, we are casting a vote for the kind of world we want.”

-Anna Lappe, author of Diet for a Hot Planet; co-author of Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen

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February 6, 2013

Collective Impact and Emergence

I have appreciated the growing literature around what has been called “collective impact.”  These writings from staff at FSG have certainly helped people around the country engaged or aspiring to engage in collaborative multi-organizational change work to develop shared language around some of the important underpinnings of walking this path.  I have also voiced some concerns about what is NOT mentioned in these writings, including some of the critical process elements and experiences that are core to this work.

So I am heartened that in their most recent installment, “Embracing Emergence: How Collective Impact Addresses Complexity,” the authors recognize that Collective Impact is not simply a recipe to be followed and that its unique unfolding is part of its power.   Read More

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February 5, 2013

Change is Hard

“Change is hard because people don’t only think on the surface level. Deep down people have mental maps of reality — embedded sets of assumptions, narratives and terms that organize thinking… People almost never change their underlying narratives or unconscious frameworks…”

This is David Brooks, focusing on the woes of a Republican Party that is struggling to reinvent itself.  But the fact applies to all sorts of change.

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February 4, 2013

A Decision Made

I made a decision not to worry.

Ever.

I began to understand that

it was a habit of my mind.

My heart doesn’t worry,

my body doesn’t worry,

only my head does.

I chose to establish a new habit

of consideration and trust—

trust that people are

tremendously resilient

and that the universe

could operate without

my constant nagging

interference.

~ Akaya Windwood

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February 1, 2013

Generations Co-Evolving

“You want to be engaging with people whose mind is alive, whose consciousness is alive, and who are seeking to create something.” – Carol Sanford

Carol Sanford – Generations learning from other Generations from Choosing 2Lead on Vimeo.

My colleagues and I find ourselves in many rooms with change agents of different generations.  Occasionally we will see conflict arise around differing styles and approaches.  Older generations may lean heavily on the notion that “this is the way we’ve always done it” or that new means and methods (social media, for example) are just a passing trend.  Younger generations may look at their elders as out of touch with the times, lacking in a new analysis, etc.  Thus, even when a common goal is held, an attitudinal gap can result in an unwillingness to work with and learn from one another. Read More

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January 30, 2013

Coming Down For Justice

My colleague Cynthia and I are in the midst of delivering IISC’s newest course, Fundamentals of Facilitation for Racial Justice Work, here in Springfield, Massachusetts.  Together with a group of dynamic and committed change agents, we are engaged in hands-on exploration of a variety of process and content tools so that we are able to better serve as facilitators towards the ends of racial equity and justice.  Part of our discussions today will focus on how we can maintain our center amidst triggering situations and use our identities to advance the work. Read More

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January 29, 2013

Seneca Falls, Selma, Stone Wall

Something BIG happened on Monday, January 21, 2013.  In his second inaugural address President Obama made an unapologetic link between the struggles for liberation and our nation’s evolutionary thrust.

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on earth.

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January 27, 2013

A Down-to-Earth Economy

The following post has been reblogged from our friends at yes! Magazine. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did! 

Nature surrounds us with expressions of the organizing principles that make possible life’s exceptional resilience, capacity for adaptation, creative innovation, and vibrant abundance.” Read on as David Korten outlines how paying attention to natural systems can help us develop human systems that will sustain us for the long haul.

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January 25, 2013

Urban Roots and New Economies

“It’s time for us to get together and talk about how we get more healthy food to people, how we bring our community back using local food, how we improve our community health using local food, and how we create new jobs. . . . We need to change our food system and the answers are in the room.”

– Stephen Arellano

I’ve been closely and excitedly watching and participating in the local food and urban agriculture movement as it grows both here in New England and in my native Michigan. Detroit has certainly been catching national attention, in part due to exposure via films such as “Urban Roots” and the good and ongoing work of the likes of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and the Fair Food Network. And my lesser known and native Flint is doing its own to grow what my friend Stephen Arellano has called “a human scaled economy” rooted in a reclamation of old industrial and abandoned residential lands for the purposes of equitably feeding the community, not just through good food, but through a grounded education and good profitable work. Read More

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January 24, 2013

Reframing the Systems We Want

reframe

|Photo by Darrel Birkett|http://www.flickr.com/photos/darrelbirkett/6935043394/sizes/m/in/photostream|

I’ve been playing with different reflection questions lately to try and help various networks and multi-stakeholder collaborative change efforts put a clearer and more aligned frame around the kinds of systems (food, education, health, etc.) that would yield more equitable, sustainable, and enriching results.  This is not to pretend that they can take control of the systems and command them to be different, but rather to create an image toward which they can nudge these systems via various leverage points.  In one recent convening, I borrowed a page from critical systems heuristics, which asks us to identify and play with the existing systemic boundaries, including motivation, power, expertise and legitimacy. Read More

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January 22, 2013

Clinton on Creative Networks

I keep making references to Steven Johnson’s book, Future Perfect.  That’s because I find it to be one of the best articulations of what has become possible in this networked world. I am seduced by the idea of peer progressivism.

I have long held the hypothesis that those of us who have committed our lives to social transformation should be able to find a significant competitive advantage in a world of networks.  Our ethos should be one of sharing, one of working together, one of catalyzing our collective power.  Our values resonate with what is possible today.  But the time to step into this opportunity is right now – right as it is emerging.

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