Newsletter – January 2015

Newsletter – January 2015
Many Small Elegant Solutions
New Year – New Possibilities


At the Slow Money conference in November, Joel Salatin suggested that we won’t fix our food system with one big answer, but with “many small elegant solutions.” As we all readjust our attitudes for a hopeful new year, I offer up this quote from Howard Zinn, an American historian, playwright and socio-political activist.

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

I would encourage people to look around them in their community and find an organization that is doing something they believe in, even if that organization has only five people, or ten people, or twenty people or a hundred people…. and join them.

History is instructive. And what it suggests to people is that even if they do little things, if they walk on the picket line, if they join a vigil, if they write a letter to their local newspaper, anything they do, however small, becomes part of a much, much larger sort of flow of energy. And when enough people do enough things, however small they are, then change takes place.

Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.”

Meet the Change-Makers

At the recent Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference in Iowa, this panel of veterans rocked the room.  Hosted by Brent Elrod (far left), of the National Institute of Food & Agriculture, these veterans are each running their own farms, training other vets in organic/sustainable food production. These guys each came back from war and began “direct action as concerned citizens.”  Representing programs in California (Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training), Washington (Growing Veterans), West Virginia (Veterans & Warriors to Agriculture) and Kentucky (Growing Warriors), they are leading the charge for national food security.  With every new farm and farmer, a community becomes healthier & more resilient for the changing world in which we live. 

Send us a name, organization or link!

Help us reach more veterans in 2015. We are creating a Resource Guide, that will accompany the DVD, to help beginning farmers and ranchers get started. Please send us any info you might have about veteran farms, college programs or training farms in organic and/or sustainable agriculture, including your favorite books, films or other sharable resources. 

Go surfing ……The website is sizzling!

Check out the Veteran Resources — Even if you’re not a vet, there are books & films for the armchair farmers.  

Tax-deductible donations for us to continue this educational outreach are gratefully appreciated. (We didn’t want to hit you up with the zillion other non-profits in December – anytime in 2015 will be just dandy!)

Wishing you a hopeful New Year,

Dulanie Ellis & Raymond Singer, Producers
and the whole Ground Ops team!
206 So. Blanche St., Ojai, CA 93023



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