April 18, 2008

The Farm Dream Evolves

The more I imagine (envisage as they say in the UK) the farm and tell friends about it the more real it becomes. When I talk about it people say, "I can see it". It is very visible to me too.

Simone and I were chatting and we started going off on a riff, as we usually do, about how this farm could be something more and we both had the epiphany of a retreat center. It would be a place where people come from around the country and the world to reflect, explore, create, connect...

As I mentioned in an earlier post I'm launching a business called Leading-Together which is crystallizing into "Inspiring community leadership". The farm is the next step in the business plan. It is a place where people come together to forge partnerships and develop leadership for building peaceful and sustainable communities.

The farm is as self-sustaining as possible - providing its own food, using solar energy, composting, and using well water. It has organic gardens - flower, herb and vegetable, that the visitors help maintain. There is a huge kitchen with lots of windows and plenty of counter tops so that meals can be cooked by groups. I am continuously inspired by the internship I had at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce where Liz Lerma, the former director of the community arts and education program, started every meeting by breaking bread. Sharing a meal is the best way to start a partnership.

There are several renovated barns that provide housing, meeting rooms, artist studios and plenty of fireplaces and cozy nooks for chatting, reading and relaxing. The property is filled with hiking trails for exploring and streams for gazing. With the help of Rachel, Anna and Dee-Dee there are horses, mules and ponies for riding. As my mom says there will be lots of kids around - perhaps school groups, community groups, children who may have never been outside of a city. I see people of all ages and generations seamlessly blending.

I know I can make it happen.