Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Think Small" is My New Motto"

“Think Small” is my new motto. It helps me handle the complicated too-muchness of it all.” 
 -Maira Kalman (from And The Pursuit of Happiness)

Over the course of the fall, 2012, I attended a number of conferences relevant to my work. In September, the Nobel Conference, focused on “Our Global Oceans” which addressed the health of our oceans from many different scientific disciplines. In October, a conference examining the theme of economic democracy, with lectures addressing our economic history, our currently changing economies, the challenges we are likely to face in the future, and methods and models that might serve towards more democratic and stable regional, national, and global economies. In November, I attended the Sustainable Living conference, held in Grand Rapids, MI, which pretty much speaks for itself. Finally, I attended the “Great Unleashing” of my own little town of Viroqua as part of the growing transition town movement.

The Economic Democracy Conference and the Sustainability Conference both endeavored to knit theoretical concepts together with concrete action - community-building and active endeavors- while illuminating the historical and scientific underpinnings of the challenges that our communities, our nations and our world will be facing in the decades ahead. These are BIG challenges, big enough to make me feel very small and sometimes frightened. Sometimes big enough to make me want to bury my head and pretend that I don’t know, because there is not much that small, little I can do to affect change on such a massive scale.

When I registered for the conferences, my intention was that I would take notes and report back through this blog on what I had learned -that I would relay the details of information as inspiration towards action. But to my surprise, no matter the topic, my take away was repeatedly the same. This was a lot of information to absorb, presented by scientists and thinkers far more experienced than I. Time and again I walked away inspired, trying to figure out how to digest and report all that I had taken in. But at the end of the day the titanic issues repeatedly returned to me and my own small life of daily pursuit. What could I do that might make a difference?  Could I save the oceans? Could I reduce our dependence on fossil fuels? Could I fight the corporatocacy the undermines the physical, mental, environmental and fiscal health of our country? The answer, of course is no. And yes.

I often feel sad and inadequate that many-a-day I do not live up to even my own standards of exemplary behavior for making a difference. But I have come to believe that holding consciousness for what could be and building community around those intentions, plant the seeds for radical change. Being willing to start small – first and foremost, in our own hearts- nourishes those seeds, and by starting small, we are less likely to be overwhelmed by the scale of the challenges.

The problems of this world are manifold, complex, and often frightening. I am not naïve to this. But being an optimist, I am content to believe that even the tiniest actions can make a large difference when multiplied exponentially. Furthermore, collective action builds community and community builds resiliency. If collectively we can agree to use fewer fossil fuels, if collectively we can begin to share resources, if collectively we can support our local businesses, support sustainable agricultural practices, try to keep a connection to the products we consume and where they come from -we are building community. And when we work collectively towards a shared future, the sacrifices do not feel quite as impossible.

I remember as a child, hearing the stories of my grandmothers during World War II. Their husbands were off at war and the women were left to keep the country running. They had Victory gardens, their food, and fuel, and rubber tires were rationed. But there was community in the shared anxiety and sacrifice of the nation, and when those burdens were shared, they were diminished. In fact, sometimes when burdens are shared the feel weighty and more like challenges, that while daunting, are exciting to meet together.

Masses of people working collectively can create sweeping changes in a short period of time.  We cannot rely on our government to fix these problems, though if our officials feel the pressure of collective shifts they will be more inclined to act. The answer to our future lies within each one of us as individuals -our capacity to engage in our communities, share our knowledge, share our resources, commit to conversation, and build a trustworthy community network, designed for resilience. Localize for resilience. There is community to be discovered everywhere –from the tiniest village to the largest cities. Working on small can go a long way towards a healthier future.

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” 
Dalai Lama XIV

In closing, I would like to re-post the link to a TED talk “Community as Common Destiny”,  given by Renette Senum of Nevada City, CA (profiled on the RST website). Senum has spearheaded an impressive list of community action projects in her lifetime –a list that has sizably expanded even since the time of this talk. But the inspiration she brings for the strength and resiliency brought through community action is timeless.  Community as Common Destiny 

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Hopeful Note in the Wake of Disaster: Lessons from a Small Town in Kansas

Nearly all my family and oldest friends live somewhere along the East Coast, so naturally I have been consumed over the last few days by the news and images of hurricane Sandy. The devastation is shocking, sad, and unsettling. It is certainly difficult to find anything positive to report on the situation, and yet, standing at a distance, I am feeling hopeful that something positive might come from the catastrophe.

First,  I hope that coming so close to the election, this disaster will draw some political attention to an issue that has been noticeably absent from the discussion: that of climate change. There is little doubt that our choices, individually and as a nation, have contributed to global warming and global warming is contributing to colossal shifts in our weather patterns. In the end, as Sandy and others before her have so poignantly punctuated, mother nature will prevail. It is time to show some respect. If we don't, we won't have an economy, health care initiatives or jobs numbers to worry about.

Second, I hope that in the face of such devastation, people will be able to come together and think creatively about sustainable options for the future. Sometimes, when things are stripped bare, our prime concerns come into a sharper focus and we have the incentive needed to create meaningful change.

I have seen transformation of this sort in my small towns work. In 2007 the tiny, conservative farming town of Greensburg, KS was obliterated by an EF5 tornado that destroyed 95% of the town. Within a week, a soft-spoken man -a transplant from the liberal enclave of Denver- delivered a concept paper to state and municipal officials suggesting that the town rebuild to LEED- platinum standards. Remarkably, in the wake of complete and utter devastation, folks who might normally find themselves on opposite sides of the political aisle were able to find common ground and creatively and energetically come together to create something positive and lasting. They were able to construct a sustainable future together as the municipality led the way for homeowners and businesses. Fueled by 10 wind turbines, the lessons learned in a small Kansas town have now undulated outward, creating a legacy. The people of Greensburg have reached out with support and guidance to others across the nation who have been touched by similar disasters. And while it may seem implausible that the East Coast, teeming with industry and humanity alike could have much to learn from a humble Midwestern town, the shared plight of humanity would suggest otherwise.

It is my hope that, as we rebuild up and down the East Coast, we will respect the power of mother nature and give credence to the models that have done so before.  Ultimately, by treading lightly in the face of this tremendous tragedy with have an extraordinary opportunity to improve.

To see images of the destruction and re-building of Greensburg Kansas, click here:
Stefan Falke/Greensburg Kansas

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What Is Working

As the second anniversary of the RealSmallTowns website approaches, I feel inclined, once again, to present an overview of the work I've been doing and why -though it is slow-going- I am still enamored with it.

While my original intent was to create a travel site highlighting progressive small towns, the past two years have presented me with challenges and questions that continue to inform and shape my work.  When I first set out with my vision, I anticipated it would be easy to find the kinds of towns that I was looking for. Surprisingly, it has been quite difficult, but there are still many sources of inspiration to be found.  This unexpected challenge has led to the question of why some small towns are flourishing while others -even just a few miles down the road and saddled with the same set of environmental and cultural constraints- are not? While I have not been able to answer these questions definitively, I am increasingly able to see a series of touchstones that are common among the towns that are working.

First, the towns that are thriving are doing so because they reflect and embrace the people and culture of their particular place. Those towns that have tourism welcome their visitors into a local culture that is centered not around attracting tourism, but around the people who live and work there. They take advantage of the tourist traffic, but are not overly focused on trying to attract tourists. Belfast, Maine and Ouray, Colorado are good examples of such towns. 

Belfast has plenty of summertime tourism, as folks flock to the mountains and water that distinguish the area, but the town itself, with its thriving food co-op, restaurants working collaboratively with the regional farm families, and its celebration and support of local arts, works to support the needs and skills of the local community throughout the year. The same is true for the rugged mountain town of Ouray. Those who live there are drawn to the uncompromising landscape and the lifestyle that accompanies it. Folks who live and work there year round do so because they love it, and that energy is palpable throughout the town. The biggest concentration of visitors actually comes in January when Ouray hosts the International Ice Festival; an event that grows in attendance every year and was the brainchild of a few dedicated ice climbers who transformed their passion -at that time known to relatively few devotees- into a larger movement, making ice-climbing increasingly accessible to larger numbers of inquisitive athletes.

Second, the towns that are thriving consider sustainability as an important piece of their long-term planning. They have leaders who are able to bridge differences and form collective alliances for a sustainable future. The qualities of these leaders vary, depending on the local culture. Interestingly, most of the towns I have visited exhibit some tension between those who are "from here" and "not from here" -the old and the new. Bridging the gap in perspectives can be an enormous challenge and some leaders have managed it better than others. Greensburg, Kansas and Fairfield, Iowa are two towns with respected leaders who have shown strong stewardship and capacity for community-building.

Greensburg was a remote, agricultural, Kansas town that was losing numbers to the twin problems of an aging population and few opportunities for young people. But after a 2007 tornado demolished 95% of the existing structures, a soft-spoken newcomer brought a carefully crafted proposal to the city council, suggesting Greensburg rebuild to LEED-platinum standards. After lengthy discussions and debates, the city council voted to rebuild all municipal buildings to such standards, and many of the residents have followed suit with their homes and businesses. Today, the town of Greensburg gets its energy from 10 wind turbines. All municipal, and many other buildings in the town have met LEED-platinum standards. The local initiative Greensburg GreenTown was founded to help local residents learn more about eco-friendly resources and it now serves as a national model from which other towns can find resources and inspiration. Many of the towns that were devastated by the string of tornados that ripped through the South in spring of 2011 have turned to Greensburg for information and inspiration in the wake of their own tragedies.  The fact that someone “not-from-there” was able to bring a radical idea and garner support for such a radical idea is truly remarkable.

The story of Fairfield, Iowa is an equally astonishing one. It also was a small, traditional, midwestern agricultural community until 1974, when Maharishi Mahesh Yogi purchased the campus of the bankrupt Parsons College, and opened Maharishi University of Management there. With the university came a large influx of academic East and West Coasters, and with them, a demand for the cultural corollaries: arts, unfamiliar foods, and more liberal ideas. Swiftly and strongly, two vastly different worlds collided.  It is difficult to imagine the tension that came with it. But today, a short 40 years on, one finds a dynamic community that celebrates both midwestern traditions and “New Age” ideas, often knitting the two together.

Finally, the towns that are featured on RST are driven by creative thinkers who are willing to lead.  By "creative" I am talking not only about the artists, but about anyone who can think outside the box and look for creative solutions to local challenges. I am talking about people who question the status-quo and do not believe that there is only one solution to a problem. I am talking about people who do not accept the idea of "TINA" (There is No Alternative). I am talking about people who are willing to invest their time and energy into creating new realities. These are creative folks who can envision alternatives and challenge the status-quo. They have the initiative to try a different path. My own town of Viroqua, Wisconsin gives plenty of inspiration in this regard. From the thriving Organic Valley Cooperative to the sensational food co-op, the regional sports co-operative, the large number of alternative schooling initiatives -including a folk-arts school- the variety of choice when it comes to health care, birth, and even death, the common practice of trade and barter, and the increasing solutions to combating our dependence on fossil fuels (including an eco-village initiative and, as of next week, our official status as a Transition Town), Viroqua is rife with energetic and innovative thinkers willing to act on good ideas.

In short, the towns I see thriving are those that are focused on creative solutions that work with both the assets and the constraints of their local community. They are places with popular energy, and they reflect my absolute belief that the global challenges we face can only change when we change ourselves first, when we develop and expand the number of grassroots initiatives in our own towns. It may be slow work, but it’s necessary, with the potential to empower people and communities.

My hope is that RST can ultimately be more than just a source for travelers. I hope to provide a place for towns to connect, share ideas, learn from each other, and be inspired. Two years in, and moving at a snail’s pace, I find the work more meaningful than ever. There is so much good happening out there, good people with integrity, intelligence, workable ideas, and the enthusiasm to make something happen. My work may be slow-going, but it is fun, engaging, and rich with discovery. Again and again it reveals to me the significance of place, the power of good leadership, and the joy of community.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Warts and All

As a mother of two teenagers, I am often amused and sometimes heartbroken as I stand by and observe my children in the process of figuring out who they are, what they stand for, and where they want to go. When they are clear and passionate, there is a truth and vigor that is immediately apparent and radiant. But more often, the struggle of the teen years is defined by the uncertainty they feel as they try to differentiate themselves from their parents and peers, and negotiate their ways into adulthood.

As most of us know, this struggle does not end with the teen years and plenty of adults continue to find themselves at war with how their expectations of life do or don’t  match up with their realities. At 46, I still grapple with many of these issues myself, though thankfully with much less urgency than was once the case. As time has passed I have become increasingly comfortable in my own skin and have learned to simply accept and even embrace some of the quirkier parts of my personality. What has been clear, both in my own journey and in watching my children grow and change, is that when we feel  comfortable with who we are —even when we don’t meet the expectations of others— we shine. Self-acceptance —warts and all—  does not mean complacency or that we should not still strive to improve, it simply means being comfortable with our own unique identity and embracing it. 

I see this in my small town work as well, as I travel around the country looking for towns that embrace certain values and  possess  a particular energy. It is not easy to be small or rural these days, and trends suggest that many small towns —towns that were once thriving and vibrant— are simply withering away. But through my travels I have consistently found that those places that thrive are the ones that embrace their roots while evolving and adapting to change. They move forward with the issues of the times -holding and considering the needs of the future while continuing to embrace the cultural backstory of time and place. Towns that are unable to embrace change seem to be destined either to die out or to be caught in a crisis of identity, where the old and the new remain in conflict. The ensuing muddledness is detectable in the atmosphere.

I recently visited a town that had everything going for it — amazing outdoor resources, an impressive local food scene and a thriving arts community, but something was missing. The town didn’t d feel as vibrant as I would have expected from a place with so many valuable resources. After much pondering, I have come to the conclusion that the reason for this is because the community itself did not have a clear vision of the identity of the town, and instead of embracing, celebrating and nurturing a multi-faceted vision, they were at war with themselves. Just as it is palpable when an individual is clear and focused, likewise with organizations and towns: the "real" in realsmalltowns.com speaks to a clarity and authenticity that resonates outwards and inspires.

"One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don't invest any energy in them, because I know who I am."
- Michelle Obama

Friday, April 13, 2012

Backyard Bounty

As I traveled with my child last week for Spring Break, I picked up a Sunset magazine in the airport. I love Sunset, as it has a similar and complementary flavor to what I am trying to achieve with my website so, not surprisingly, when I cracked open the pages I was delighted to find an idea that I loved— loved enough to share here.

Apparently, Sunset's One Block Feast  has been going on since 2008, though this month's article was the first I had heard of it. Four years ago, galvanized by the expanding locavore movement, the magazine's staff set out to grow, raise and produce everything needed for a summertime feast. They started a backyard garden, raised chickens and bees, and learned to make ingredients like cheese, vinegar, beer, wine and salt—all within the parameters of small scale backyard gardening.

"All sorts of eye-opening things happened along the way. [The group] came to venerate the people who make their flour for instance (winnowing wheat is a gigantic pain, to put it mildly), and artisan cheesemakers who create consistent results (none of their cheeses ever turned out the same). They changed the way they cooked and began to truly understand everything they ate. While harvesting honey, pressing grapes, and cleaning the chicken coop together, they also became better friends, [and] decided to keep growing."

They launched a blog during that first growing season ( sunset.com/oneblockfeast ) which ended up winning a James Beard journalism award, spawned a book and, eventually, the contest written about in this month's (April) magazine. The contest challenged nine teams across the West to their own One Block Feast. (To read more about the contest and participating teams: sunset.com/garden/sunset-one-block-feast-00418000074947/)

I love this idea --that friends and neighbors of all ages can come together and, in the process of working together, connect more deeply with what is most meaningful in our lives: our food, our land and each other. Participating teams in the Sunset challenge produced a wild array of foodstuffs ranging from oysters and prawns, to honey and pickles and a vast assortment of fruits and vegetables. All attested to the fulfillment and sense of connectedness they garnered from taking part in the project and, it seems to me, that even a scaled back version of this challenge could bring a host of blessings to any group, anywhere, willing to invest in the process. I like the idea so much I'm going to present it to a group of my friends. So how about it? Are there any RST readers out there who want to embrace the challenge? Those who do, please be sure to let me know how it goes! 
Happy Growing!

To read more, or to order the book, check out the Sunset website:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Big Meals Keep on Turning

(Photo Courtesy of Drew Shonka)

A friend of mine, whose child is on a very restricted diet due to some health challenges, recently commented to me that she had never realized before how much she used food to express love and comfort for her children. This got me thinking about how I see the married roles of food and love in my own life.

I was fortunate enough to grow up with a mother who expresses her creativity through the planning and preparation of food. She pores over newspapers, magazines and cookbooks looking for inspiration. She watches the Food Network. She is kept awake during the night with menu minutiae before a big party.  One day, long ago, she told me that she saw the daily act of planning, cooking, and serving a meal as an expression of love from beginning to end. This tiny revelation, shared in a fleeting moment in the kitchen, changed my understanding of my mother immensely. My mother is discerning and does not suffer fools lightly. She often has a sharp tongue and a biting wit. But those who know my mom best also know that she is fiercely loyal, always dependable and a caring friend beneath the prickly shell. The recognition that the large percentage of her day was devoted to love and service, nourishing her family -which also often includes a large network of friends- was an awakening for me. Every recipe clipped, every trip to the grocery, every pot and pan scrubbed was an act of tenderness, easily overlooked.

 Of course now that I am a mother myself, I see how my time devoted to growing, planning and preparing food is laced with care. I have also been graced with dozens, if not hundreds of wonderful meals prepared by friends and community members. Which is to say that the older I am, and the more I examine the historical, cultural, and emotional aspects of food and our relationships with it, I am grateful to live in a community where food not only provides the basic calories necessary to make it through a day, but where it is appreciated as a form of beauty and creative expression; where the preparation of food, from farm to table is viewed as foundational nourishment  -on physical, emotional and spiritual planes.

When we first moved out to our small agricultural town, I was surprised and slightly befuddled to discover a whole new layer of food culture. First, the common practice of “potlucks” –for any and all occasions- was a new, and somewhat disorienting practice for one with stodgy Eastern roots. On a recent visit, my mother was completely shocked as I hosted a dinner party for 25 people from a prone position on the couch as I wrangled a crushing case of Lyme disease. The ability to give up control -to trust that others could and would happily put together a fabulous meal- has been a hard-won gift from living here.

But true awakening has come in the form of the “meal wheel”.  The meal wheel is another one of those "new-old" ideas that makes so much sense, has been practiced throughout history, amongst many cultures, but is being re-discovered and refined with the aid of technology.

A meal wheel is established under any circumstance of extra need: the birth of a baby, an illness or death, a natural disaster, or any other circumstance in which extra support is needed. Though friends and family have supported each other with meals for as long as memory serves, the beauty of the meal wheel is that it draws from a much larger pool than any one individual’s closest circle. My first exposure to meal wheels came over 10 years ago when many of my friends were still having babies. One person, usually a close friend of the person in need of support, would take on the task of coordinating the meal wheel and getting the word out. As time went on, members of the community –some closely tied, others just wishing to offer sustenance- would call the coordinator and sign up for a day (or days) to bring a meal to the family. It is such a simple task –we all make dinner as it is, so it usually is not a lot of extra trouble to double the recipe, and the provider can usually choose a day that works into his/her schedule with some ease. But when the simple offering of a single meal as a gesture of support is magnified and expanded by the invisible web of a wider community, the impact is profound. In our tiny town, recipients of meal wheels have often had meals delivered to their homes for more than 6 weeks. Let's face it. It feels good to offer support to someone in need. People want to help. And the gift of a meal is both simple and complete. It is an offering of nourishment to body and soul alike. Friends who have been the recipients of meal wheels report being both stunned and humbled by such outpouring of support. The body is nourished and the stress of having to think about food is eased, but more importantly, the tangible evidence of love and support from people they may not even know very well, has far-reaching repercussions. It is a ripple of love, returned in matching pieces of Tupperware.

These days, the meal wheel is even easier to implement. Gone are the days of day- planners and the good luck needed to catch someone on the phone at a convenient time. The most recent crisis to hit our neighborhood introduced us to a new, online grid called “Meal Train” making it even easier to plug in.

If you are interested in starting a meal wheel in your community, try using the Meal
Train website:

Try it and see how the nexus of food and love can transform a life.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Truth and Beauty in Death and Dying

When I gave birth to our first child at home 18 years ago, the idea of home birth was regarded with significant skepticism and resistance. Though routine practice in countries like The Netherlands, in the U.S. home birth was still predominantly considered to be the domain of 19th century women, crunchy new-agers, and hippies. It was, to say the least, an uncomfortable idea amongst my prep-school-educated, East Coast network of family and friends. Many of my closest friends and family members questioned our judgment and the wisdom of our decision, and my first-born was affectionately nicknamed “Little Tofu” by her adoring grandparents. Being the first amongst my friends and siblings to have a child, it was sometimes challenging to be a trailblazer. But nearly two decades later, one of my sisters and several of those same friends have themselves made the choice to birth at home, and my once-skeptical mother, having now attended four home-births, is as strong an advocate as any. Nationwide, the practice has become much more mainstream and is rarely regarded as an “irresponsible” choice, though still not the elected by the majority of women.  The point is, that today women and families are increasingly aware that they have choices when it comes to birth and that there are many ways to approach the same situation safely and with integrity. Exposure, fortified by positive experiences has allowed the initial resistance to slowly peel off, thus providing a gateway for new ideas to take hold.

More recently, in my small corner of southwestern Wisconsin another “old idea-reborn” has been evolving over the past decade, as our community has increasingly been exposed to the practice of home funerals, green burials, and death and dying with consciousness.

Though the dormant seeds had long been present, the movement sprang to life 8 years ago when a beloved member of our community and young mother of three passed away.  When the coroner inquired about funeral home preference, the woman’s mother replied that she “would like to bring the body home.” Though widely practiced throughout history, the custom of having a wake and/or funeral at home was very unfamiliar territory for most of us at that time. Nevertheless, a community of do-ers we are and if our friend’s mother wanted her body at home, by-gum we were going to make it happen. Neighbors, friends and family members sprang into action trying to knit together all the strands necessary to assemble a home vigil and funeral for our beloved friend. Women cared for the body, made arrangements and prepared meals. Men came together and crafted a beautifully simple casket from local wood stored in a neighbor’s barn. Family and friends grieved together as we planned the celebration of a beautiful life. The experience of family and community coming together, attending to all the details of a home wake and funeral, bonding through grief and celebrating life was the impetus needed for a group to form.

In the winter months of 2006, further inspired after attending a workshop on death and dying, Charlene Elderkin, Susan Nesbit, Kathy Doerfer, and Kathy Neidert formed The Threshold Care Circle in Viroqua, WI. The group set to work educating themselves on care of the body, dying at home, home funerals and green burials, eventually releasing a workbook: My Final Wishes. At the time, there were no other groups doing this work in Wisconsin, and the women received invaluable guidance from the Minnesota Threshold Network, a group formed not long before. The primary mission of the group is to educate the public on what options surround death and dying, gently guiding people to think about what their final wishes are before the time of death. The women did their work –researching, educating and supporting- quietly and diligently for years until, in May of 2010, our community was engulfed in tragedy and grief when two 18-year-old boys were killed in a car accident in the early-morning hours of Mother’s Day. Living in a town as small as ours, no family was left untouched by the heartache of this tragedy, and once again, the community rallied together. This time, however, there were more resources in place for grieving family members who might wish for an alternative to the traditional choices of funeral and burial. With the care and guidance of the Threshold Care Circle, the family of one of the boys chose to bring his body home, bathe him, and hold a 3-day vigil on their front porch.* The home-vigil was new to almost everyone who experienced it, and the family’s choice to do this undulated outward, reaching an unexpectedly large group of people. But in the midst of unimaginable despair, those who were sharing the experience were finding extraordinary moments of truth and beauty. All were profoundly moved and forever changed through exposure to such tender caring and collective grief. A wide segment of our community had been initiated into an alternative view of death and dying, and it deeply touched a place of longing and need.

Since that terrible day in May, the way that our small, rural community deals with death and dying has been permanently altered. Many others have crossed over, some before their time. But increasing numbers of people are considering their final wishes, writing them down, and discussing them with kin. Many are choosing to die at home, in the presence of family and friends. Home funerals and green burial are also on the rise, and the Threshold Care Circle has expanded its numbers and its reach. Just as with birthing, the human longing for intention around the processes and rituals of death and dying too often go unmet. The response of 4 women to a need-identified, has changed our community forever and continues to ripple outward.

*to read about this in more detail, read Elderkin’s article "The Call"  in Lilipoh magazine:

Additional Resources for Threshold Care, Final Wishes, and Green Burial:

Threshold Care Circle

“My Final Wishes”

Minnesota Threshold Network

Novalis Institute: DEATH AND DYING: Beholding the Threshold Consciously

Anne O’Connor: Death can be a moment that connects us, even as it parts us http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/11/29/oconnor/

Joe Orso: Midwifing death at home

Minnesota Public Television: End-Of-Life Choices: Through History

Considered the “grandmother” of the movement: Nancy Poer:

Green Burial: Natural Path Sanctuary

Green Burial: Kevin Corrado of Natural Path Sanctuary interviewed on WPR: