Dedication of the Lanark Eco-Village (LEV) Summer Kitchen

Sitting on a small hill to catch the cool summer breeze, I noticed a rock formation that would provide a good start for a convenient cooking surface. Four years later a masonry barbeque-grill and bake oven sit upon those rocks. That and a substantial meeting / eating area are now under a roof that will long protect it all from rain, snow and intense sunshine. The story of that construction is told in pictures here.

The shelving, cupboards and counters making the kitchen functional were, for the most part completed from the Fall of 2017 to Spring of 2018. Along with enhancing a beautiful, breezy place to sit and share, LEV's Summer Kitchen has purpose to which it is dedicated within the context of sustainability.

Eating together
Preparing and eating food together is central to this dedication. Eating together is an age-old tradition. Nourishment is essential to our lives. Sharing it is inherently a celebration around having food to eat and to share. Three seasons of the year, and occasionally in Winter, this place will be able to feed many people.

Further, at LEV, as much as possible, the food we eat is produced from soil close by our tables – soil that is honoured as the source of life and which is treated with respect for the full cycle of nutrients that flow through people, micro-organisms, soil life, growing plants and back to humans. Many of you have visited and heard the stories about how the substance of our bodies is constantly being replaced from soil and how by returning nutrients to the soil, our community can eat forever. These stories are recorded in the short videos, #4 and #5 here.

Long Body
The notion of one's long body is thought provoking. The material substance of our bodies changes constantly throughout life. Your long body consists of all of the material substance that composes your body, from the moment of your conception to the day you die. While only a small portion of all the substance that flows through your form is within your skin at any one time, it is all you. Most of it is presently in the environment around us. We need to protect the Land, Air and Water (LAW) which contain the substance of our bodies, past and future, and from which all future generations will have to build the bodies that carry their lives. All living things depend on the same biomass.
(More on long body here.)

Talking together
Traditionally, and to this day, much of our contact with other people takes place over food and beverages. When we eat together, we share our stories. Familiarity and trust grow around eating and talking together.

Most of our Open Houses include a Speaking Circle. (More accurately called a Listening Circle.) Each person has an opportunity to fully express their ideas, thoughts and feelings. In a world where one often can't finish a sentence before someone else jumps in, the opportunity to speak uninterrupted is empowering. Reciprocally, it is inspiring to hear what is moving in others when they have a chance to collect their thoughts.

The themes of the Listening Circles in the Sumer Kitchen are community, current affairs, the future, eco-sensitive living, hopes, visions and concerns. Clear-headed, heartfelt expression met by sincere listening enables co-intelligence.

Co-intelligence is what happens when people of goodwill exchange their knowledge and creative thinking with others. The process enables deeper understanding and better plans for action. Thinking together in such a manner yields greater potential than might emerge from the sum of all our individual efforts. For an outline of one way to nurture co-intelligence.

Meeting the challenge of our times
Developing our thoughts and our ability to think together is important – very important. Humankind, our communities, our families and we ourselves are challenged as never before. The LEV Summer Kitchen is dedicated to exploring the problems and solutions of our times.

Living for Life
One key solution is to focus on living, rather than on things. Relating with others, learning, appreciating the wonders of the world around, sport, music, art, dance, service, and anything else that is made possible primarily because we are alive, offer unlimited opportunities today and forever. Seeking satisfaction from life-based activities is not only more effective, it reduces the impacts that our lives have on the Earth. By so doing, in the context of the other parts of this dedication, we can indicate one way to navigate a positive future.

Building the vision
Beyond enjoying life, thriving on the continuous flows of nutrient elements and developing co-intelligence in the interest of a sustainable future, this Eco-Village project aims to build facilities to enable sustainable lifestyles. This will include solar heated spaces for individual and for shared activities, other renewable energy systems, gardens and season extenders, storage facilities, techniques to get food through the winter and all manner of productive crafts.

LEV encourages making our living as compared to earning it. When one earns a living, one makes money and buys whatever else is needed. To make a living is to grow the food, build and maintain shelters and attend to the various tasks that support living and make life wonderful. While we are a long way from doing all that it takes to live, it is a goal toward which we work.

Communities, nations and even civilizations evolve on shared vision and the efforts of the individuals involved to bring that vision into being. Our present civilization has found a dead end in building a form where one only needs to make money and then choose from vast quantities of things offered in catalogues and on store shelves. With only the vision of earning more money, life has turned sterile for many. Without concern for inequality and our finite, living planet, increasingly dangerous side-effects are emerging. With the natural consequences of playing out the Global Monopoly Game, more and more people are excluded from the advantages that this system used to offer.

The vision at LEV is to support our lives amidst the circulation of nutrient elements, to utilize the power of the Sun and to celebrate what being alive offers. To this the Summer Kitchen is dedicated. We seek to implant the vision in a way that results in efforts being made toward the manifestation of the life envisioned. With each ideal grasped and each seed, stone or board put in place, the vision becomes more real and easier to share.

We hope that you will join us in sharing the Summer Kitchen space. We can eat together, share our thoughts, celebrate life, envision a new world and set to work to bringing the vision into being.