The day after the Harvest Moon, we were blessed with a gorgeous fall day; sunny, just the right temps and crisp, vibrant colors all around. Fox Hill Event Center was a lovely setting for our gathering!
We gathered to celebrate several things. We were highlighting and celebrating COMMUNITY and LOCAL FOOD. We celebrated FARMERS and GARDENERS. We were also celebrating the culmination of our first100 YARDen DASH, Transition Cadillac Area’s recent status as the 123rd OFFICIAL TRANSITION TOWN through Transition U.S., and the completion of our non-profit application.
One hundred seventeen people gathered for the afternoon activities and the dinner. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves and learned more about the need for, and the practical means to, developing our local food system.
The cider press was out back in the sun, and many people learned how to press apples into cider. Apples are like gold this fall, so we felt good to have at least five quarts of apple cider to use for some of the door prizes and more as a taste treat..
Kids of all ages enjoyed the pumpkin painting.
Inside, the large gathering room was warmed up with colorful seasonal decorations; mostly what is abundant at this time, corn stalks, gourds, squash, pumpkins, leaves, mums, and sunflowers. The sun streaming in the large windows made it all glow.
There was a lovely sun pickle demonstration. People went home with a recipe to use to make these simple and delicious pickles on their own.
And an herbal vinegar demonstration for everyone, which people also loved. The scents of those two demo’s together was really fresh and wonderful.
Spirited music with a food and farmer theme penetrated hearts as old and new friends and neighbors were mingling, sipping cider, smiling, sharing gardening stories, and learning new skills.
During this time, and throughout dinner, it was a joy to see an ongoing slide show of many local gardens from the 100 YARDen DASH.
As people arrived, the bounty on the Food Donation table mounted up with red, yellow, orange and green peppers of all sorts, several varieties of squash, herbs, and tomatoes, carrots, and some canned goods. Thanks to all who donated food! (Donations were taken to Cadillac’s Revival Center, where 90 families were fed that week.)
Recipes were being collected at the door, and several people signed up for Transition Cadillac Area’s Home Grown Cookbook.
And then there was the FEAST! This was like Thanksgiving! We started the meal with a heart felt sing along led by Frank Youngman. (When the gardens grow, they grow for everyone…..) Chef Brian Williams and Chef Adam Joynt from the Blue Heron prepared the most amazing entrée buffet of Vegetable Lasagna with Michigan red peppers and fresh basil; Braised Pork Shoulder AuJus with pork from Bakers Green Acres Farm; chicken, also from Bakers Farm; and an Autumn Blend of Vegetables, all from Michigan, served on red and brown rice with ginger soy sauce. OH MY, it was so delicious!!! It was seasonal, and it was predominantly LOCAL!
You could taste the love and care that went into all of the OOOOBY (Out Of Our Own Back Yard) potluck side dishes, provided by DASHERS, gardeners, and people who sourced their food from places such as Willow and local farm markets. The selection was outstanding. The dishes were served family style at tables of eight. I would have loved to taste everything at every single table and was grateful to get a chance to taste some of the dishes from other tables. The food was all fresh, tasty, and yes, LOCAL! I hope everyone will send in their recipes to our website to be used in our Home Grown Cookbook, to be released sometime in the next year. That will be a way we can ALL try, ALL of the dishes that were there!
Dessert, also prepared by the Blue Heron, was made of Michigan apples (remember apples are like gold now), and Chocolate Ganache Cake. Incredible topper to a spectacular meal.
Our first speakers were Dr. Steve DeGoosh and Brooke Isham, who spoke about the Transition Movement and the original Marquette 100 YARDen DASH. They surprised Transition Cadillac Area with an award because we are the WINNERS of the 100 YARDen DASH Challenge of 2012! Cadillac and surrounding communities had a total of 220 NEW registered gardens this past season! We love the sign they made for us of rough-sawn wood, lined with hand-drawn running vegetables, and a variety of saved seeds. Look for this sign at our workshops and events, because we will be proudly displaying it!
Our next speaker was Dr. Rob Sirrine from MSU Extension who spoke to us about how communities can develop a local food system.
Our steering team has received tremendous feedback from many of the people who heard our speakers. I know we all felt inspired to build community as we focus on our local food needs.
The door prizes were given out as a closure to the event. All together, we had 15 jars of seasonal goodness from the day’s demonstrations to give away. People who won were elated to take home a local food treasure.
In the spirit of “Transition” and Community, there were several other spontaneous offerings by people at the Community Harvest Celebration. Out of pure generosity, we had beautiful baskets of seasonal flowers arranged by Julie Tacoma. Julie also donated a large ceramic bowl of dill seeds for people to take some home for next year’s garden. We welcomed Scott Bartlett’s surprise visit to take pictures of the event. Christian Smith and Edge Brussel arrived all the way from East Lansing, offering to video tape the day’s activities (Look for pictures and the video on our website and on facebook). Karen Anderson came with chestnuts to share from her own chestnut tree. What gifts from all of you!
Following the Community Harvest Celebration, several people have offered to help in various ways with Transition Cadillac Area’s goals and activities. One of the things I hear often from dozens of volunteers is, “I really believe in what Transition is doing, and I want to be involved in this effort.”
We encourage each of you to get involved in this worthwhile effort to build community resiliency. Every person has something to offer in a Transition Town. There is much to do, and there is a lot of fun in the doing.
Although this past year has been focused primarily on our Food Resiliency group, we will continue to develop our other working groups as well. Look for additional re-skilling workshops in alternative energy, local economy (including a time bank), transportation, wellness, and inner transition.
Now is the time of year for us to take a look at what went well and what we would like to do differently, and to plan ahead for the next few seasons. We need your input. What would you like to see Transition Cadillac Area do in the next year and beyond? Please let us know!
Think about the many skills you have (don’t be shy), and let us know what workshops you might like to lead. Also let us know what skills you’d like to learn.
Please visit us at our website, HYPERLINK "http://www.transitioncadillac.org/"www.transitioncadillac.org and look for Transition Cadillac and 100 YARDen DASH on Facebook.
Let’s keep in touch, meet often, share our ideas and our stories. We really do need to do this together. Transformation takes work and a great deal of creativity. Let’s keep this effort growing!
MANY, MANY THANKS!
There was a time during our Harvest dinner to publicly thank many of the people who have helped to make the last year and a half a success for Transition Cadillac Area, and I would like to repeat that gratitude now. (Please also see the list of thank you’s for the 2012 Earth Day event.)
Our deepest thanks to two people who have, up until now, been anonymous donors. Steve and Dee Frisbee have generously paid Print Masters for posters, flyers and brochures to promote the 100 YARDen DASH kickoff on Earth Day, as well as the Harvest Celebration Dinner. I have no doubt that the success of these two events is in large part due to this great publicity. We can’t thank you enough Steve and Dee.
Many thanks to local attorney, Mike Figliomeni, for helping us complete the articles of incorporation for non profit status. And to Steve Frisbee for getting us started on the non profit application.
Thanks also to Transition Cadillac Area’s accountant, Steve Arends for helping us with the paperwork for the IRS. We could not have done these important steps without Mike Figliomeni and Steve Arend’s doing this good work for us.
Many thanks to the following people for helping to plant the seeds for Transition and Local Food:
Steve DeGoosh, Originator of Transition Marquette and the 100 YARDen DASH, and mentor to Transition Cadillac Area and our DASH project.
Brooke Isham, Originator of the 100 YARDen DASH, design and evaluation of DASH registration form, inspiration and mentor for Transition Cadillac Area, as well as seed saving.
Chris Bedford, Film maker and local food activist who presented at our first public event, Getting Real About Food and The Future. His vision lives on in those of us whom he deeply inspired. RIP Chris Bedford.
All of our very own LOCAL HEROES who have shown us by example, how to live more sustainably.
Thank you to Pastor Carol Reynolds for her encouragement to pursue the Transition path, and to the First Congregational Church and Penny Phelps for providing the space for many of our workshops and speakers.
All the people who did demo’s at the earth day event, and people who had booths there, selling local food-related products
Earthworks Music Collective for music at our Earth Day Kick Off.
Cadillac Rotary for funding the band for earth day.
Thanks to the Michigan Health Department, Jan Wiltz and Dan Smith from Pioneering Healthy Communities for funding for our very cool 100 YARDen DASH signs! And to Sutton Sawmill for making the signs, as well as raised bed kits. Thanks to Coe Creek Sawmill for making cold frame kits.
Special thanks to Tammy Arends for being our onsite coordinator at our Earth Day Kick Off, our sign painting, and assemblage of signs.
Some awesome pictures were taken on Earth Day by Dave Newhouse and Scott Bartlett. Scott also took pictures at the Community Harvest Celebration.
Dozens of volunteers
Teri Van Hall for wordsmithing, and helping with so many details related to the dash
Thanks to Sheila Johnson, Natalie Davis, and Anita Hunt for their wordsmithing!
Thanks to Missaukee Paddle Sports for providing coupons for our drawing on Earth Day.
Thanks to Home Depot, Mark LeGue and Efrain Rosalez for providing potting materials and doing a children’s workshop on Earth Day.
Thanks to Kama Ross for doing children’s activities on Earth Day.
Christian Smith, Nathan Meadows, Bryan Mets and Doug Clements for making a video of our Earth Day kick off, and Christian Smith and Edge Brussels for taping the Community Harvest Celebration.
Meagan Norman Meadows for her graphic art and designing all of our beautiful posters and flyers for the last year and a half!
Craig Schaaf, from Golden Rule Farm in Kaleva, for being our gardening guru throughout the 100 YARDen DASH; devoting one day per month to inspire and share his knowledge with us.
Other people who did workshops throughout the season:
Theresa Williams from the Wexford Conservation District did many gardening workshops.
Shari Spoleman from MSU Extension , and Jim and Julie Peterson, Angie Norman Meadows and Fay Gradowski; who all did food preservation workshops.
Sandy Gaunt for doing herbal remedies workshops.
Brian and Karen Cool for their Wild Foraging workshop.
Thanks to Julie Keefer from Morning Star Retreat Center for doing an Inner Transition Group.
Thanks to Trevor Newman and Mark Angelini from Roots to Fruits for teaching us more about edible landscaping.
Thanks to all the farmers at our farmers' markets for beautiful and nutritious produce.
Thanks to all of you for growing your gardens, and bringing your scrumptious OOOOBY side dishes to our Harvest Dinner.
Thanks to Bakers Green Acres for raising the meat which was in some of the entrée dishes at our Harvest Dinner. Also, for helping us to learn more about soil building, bio char, and raising chickens.
Thank you to chef Brian Williams and his wife Julie, for the lovely place to have the harvest celebration, and for being champions in our community for sourcing as much local food as possible in their restaurant, The Blue Heron.
Thanks to local musicians, Frank Youngman, Denny Richards, David Bunce and Gary VanHouten for providing uplifting music for us at our Community Harvest Celebration.
Thanks also to Frank Youngman for everything from being tech guy at our workshops, to providing all sorts of support throughout the entire Transition Town process. His contributions are more than I can count!
Thanks to Ruthann French for contributing to the cost of the local, yet pricey honey crisp apples. Let’s hope for a bumper crop of apples next year, like we had last year.
Thank you Kyle Moore for helping with the cider press at our Harvest Celebration.
Thank you Sara Keinath for doing a lovely sun pickle domo at the Harvest Celebration, and being our MC. Thank you Angie Norman Meadows and Fay Gradowski for doing the delightful herbal vinegar demo at our Harvest Celebration.
Thank you, Candy Prince for orchestrating the pumpkin painting at the Harvest Celebration.
Thanks to Darcy Tacoma for creatively putting the slide show together, which we saw during our Harvest Celebration.
Thank you Steve Cunningham for taking a truck load of the Harvest donations to local food pantries.
Thanks Anita Hunt for gathering recipes for our Home Grown Cook Book.
Thank you to local merchants for their support and selling our Community Harvest Celebration tickets: Willow Mercantile, Brinks Framing, Apple Valley and Northwood Feed.
Thanks to the City of Cadillac for their support and for offering properties for future community gardens.
Many thanks to Transition Cadillac Area’s dynamite steering team, (Affectionately known as our “Tran Team”) for all their hard work and donated time:
Steve Cunningham, our Tran Team v.p.
Rachel Whiteman, our secretary, and our webmaster who makes us look really good.
and our two newest members,
Kathy Fewlsess, our treasurer
And Mike Figliomeni
Our past Tran Team members for their foundational efforts and their continued support; Janice Heuer, Ruthann French, and Mike and Linnea Stifler.
Thank you, all of you, from the deepest place in my heart, for trusting in this process called Transition.