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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Beacon Bits -- Beacon's Buzz

When you look at a beehive, you know there's a lot of productive activity going on inside. Every bee has a purpose and mission to fulfill, and collectively, the outcome is greater than the sum of its parts. So it's no coincidence that the Common Ground Farm Fair Food Committee* chose to host a free showing on July 15th of the documentary The Greenhorns, about young farmers, at BEAHIVE, the innovative and progressive workspace in the center of Beacon. The "hive" was the perfect venue to bring Beaconites together to view this film, which depicts the choices and challenges of sustainable farming, and to personally meet the local farmers and apprentices of our CSA with time for Q&A, refreshments and prizes.

In speaking to Scott Tillitt, founder of the BEAHIVE's Beacon site, the mission of the BEAHIVE was greatly clarified; I understood that the hive is more than renting work space to those who need an office, rather, it is an interconnected system of individuals who have common goals and values for sustainable living while advancing the level of community for all participants. It is a place  to come together to support the larger Beacon community and collaborate on projects of mutual interest. It is a place for belonging and membership.

*The Fair Food Committee offers support in the form of stipends for individuals who qualify for a subsidy to purchase a share for Common Ground's CSA; purchases a share that is distributed to two local food pantries (St. Andrew's in Beacon and First Reformed in Fishkill); and collaborates with the Cooperative Extension's Green Teens program that educates students about food justice by scheduling deliveries to seniors and those who may not ordinarily seek out healthy food choices based on convenience, habits, or limited funds.
Some food for thought: The buzz about Beacon has reached notoriety with the recent CNN advertisement with designer Mark Bastien's drive to Beacon and the New York Times article by Paul Appelbome after his July Second Saturday visit. But the real buzz in Beacon occurs in the center of Main Street, which Appelbome characterizes as middle America--"waiting for better days", the stretch between the east and west coasts--"where the cool people hang out". However, it is this very middle ground that brings Beaconites together as a community in the form of partnerships, meetings, gatherings and events, such as free film showings at the Howland Library, community chorus at the Howland Cultural Center, dancing at Rosa's Exercise Dance Studio or Yanarella's, purchasing chocolate delights at Alps Sweet Shop or bread at All You Knead, working together on a fundraiser at BEAHIVE and attending a book signing or  lecture sponsored by BIRE--where former Mohawk tribal chief James Ransom shared insights about Native American spirituality and the environment on July 19th at BIRE's Dennings Point location. He spoke volumes about community spirit; his comments about building community through common interests and activities amplified my own beliefs about finding meaning and purpose through participation and engagement in diverse activities (i.e., occupations) that are valued and important. This shared sentiment is what the real buzz in Beacon is all about. Take time to get involved. Sign up. Join in. Gather together. Reach out. Meet up. Support local business and nonprofits. Do something new. Contribute. Receive. Belong. Become a member of the hive!

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