October 2018 Resilience University – Enroll NOW for upcoming 2018/2019 workshops

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Just how do we build local wisdom, capacity and skills in the face of a dramatically changing climate and growing economic disparity in the rural communities of the White River watershed? 

Resilience University (Resilience U), launched by BALE in October 2018, is a series of programs aimed at just that: Call it continuing education for the life skills needed for the 21st century. Skilling and reskilling knowledge in a time when local strength and capacity will mean being more resilient.

Workshops, classes, and seminars will be conducted by area presenters in both Randolph and South Royalton from October 2018 through May 2019. Coming programs will range from skills for the kitchen, garden, farm and forest, transportation, energy, traditional wisdoms… and more. Anyone wanting to offer their wisdom is encouraged to seek a space in the programming. For more info, contact Jessica Taffet at jessica.taffet@gmail.com.

Resilience U Upcoming Workshops (please check back for additional programming):

November 14, 2018
Barbara Paulson – The Marionette Connection

Thinking creatively helps to develop grit, tenacity and an increased ability to navigate the unknown. Engaging our creative neural pathways amps up our Resilience! In this participant driven workshop, all ages are invited to explore a series of fun, interactive activities that reward experimentation. Have fun as you enhance your ability to collaborate creatively, all under the umbrella of art forms that make up the puppeteers’ trade.
Bethany Church, Randolph, VT

November 17, 2018
Cat Buxton & Henry Swayze – We Can Cool the Planet: Food, Water, Soil, Climate, Hope

The ripples of our daily choices directly impact climate change. Cat Buxton and Henry Swayze offer accessible, positive solutions that will help to cool the planet while restoring water, soil and public health. Henry covers the science of the natural systems that allow for planetary cooling and Cat digs in to understanding healthy soil and watershed function and how the average person can effect change in the backyard and in the marketplace.
BALE Commons, South Royalton, VT

December 8, 2018
Sylvia Davatz – Seed Saving
Since the turn of the 20th century we have lost over 97% of our commercial vegetable varieties. Saving seed from the vegetables in your garden offers the opportunity to reconnect with the richness of endangered history, culture, and flavor, and to preserve beloved varieties. This workshop will cover the basics of saving vegetable seeds, explaining issues of pollination, timing, spacing, annual vs. biennial varieties, isolation, and harvesting, cleaning, drying, and storing seed. Terms such as open-pollinated, hybrid, “selfer” and “crosser” will be explained, and we’ll talk about the philosophical as well as the practical benefits of preserving our irreplaceable vegetable and grain diversity.
BALE Commons, South Royalton, VT



November 9 – December 16, 2018 – 3rd Annual Online Auction

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Bid for BALE and Build A Little Excitement!

Visit the online auction for great gifts and special treats.

And, still accepting donations:
Auction Donation Form

BALE is currently hosting our 3RD ANNUAL ONLINE AUCTION NOW through December 16, 2018.  This event has quickly become a hit for helping publicize area businesses, services and organizationsAND has allowed us to build our biggest fundraising event of the year.

WILLING TO DONATE some item or service to this auction? We know from past years that our auction increases traffic and participation for those that have signed on. We see this as a real win-win opportunity.  You can view last year’s auction items HERE: https://www.32auctions.com/organizations/28997/auctions/42372

Our community generously donates awesome items like massages, unique Vermont products and gift certificates for local restaurants and vacation getaways. These donations are vital to help sustain our year-round work with local economy initiatives. Treat yourself or a friend AND be a part of the change. Our GOAL this year is $12,000 and your participation will help us:

  • Keep the Commons @ BALE (a free community and art space in South Royalton, Vermont) thriving with a variety of programs and gatherings
  • Launch RESILIENCE UNIVERSITY, a hands-on community education program for everyone in the region
  • Create and produce 12 more “deep-dive” programs in the “Building Resilient Communities” series in Randolph and South Royalton
  • Get the film Dancing with the Cannibal Giant: Five New Stories for the Great Transition (a BALE-produced film) into every town in the region… and beyond!!
  • Launch the White River Community Solar initiative… community owned solar power for people who want to get off fossil fuels
  • Continue to serve as a strong collaborator with a diverse group of community organization… the hub of a regional community

To donate an item or service, please fill out and return our Auction Donation form. Thank you for your support!

 ‘Visions of a Better World’ in Your Community

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BALE (Building A Local Economy) wants to bring an intriguing program to your woahhcommunity, be that your town hall, library, or even your living room. “Visions of a Better World: Social Movements for Transformation” is a two-hour program available for free that will spark timely dialogue. Millions of people across the U.S. and around the world, stirred by visions of a better world, are daring to rethink and reinvent institutions on local, regional, national and international levels. Reflecting diverse influences and points of view, these activists and thinkers go beyond conventional partisan arguments. They share an emerging realization that modern civilization has entered a phase of historic transformation, a fundamental shift in our worldview.

Join historian/educator Ron Miller, coordinator of the Woodstock Learning Lab and a BALE board member, for an overview of these diverse new visions, including movements and concepts such as the “new economy,” agroecology, permaculture, transition towns, food sovereignty, relocalization, reclaiming the commons, Slow Food and Slow Money, and others. Through our conversation we’ll become better acquainted with the concepts, leading thinkers, and origins of these evolutionary trends.

Help us organize a vital dialogue that digs into the contemporary shifting landscape of our time. To schedule a gathering this Fall, contact Chris Wood at 802-498-8438.

June 23 — Fable Farm Hosts Showing of BALE Produced Film that Features Fable Farm

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FILM: Dancing with the Cannibal Giant: 5 New Stories for the Great Transition

A film to inspire changemakers and those who are moved to act in a time of great change

BALE (Building A Local Economy) has produced a 45-minute educational film to be shown in schools, town halls, churches, and around kitchen tables. The film’s intent is to build courage and hope in a time of disenfranchisement and despair by showcasing

Aerial view of Rumney Barn at Fable Farm.

compelling, vibrant, successful examples of resilience that are happening now in the northeastern U.S. The heart of BALE’s work has consistently been to deepen a community’s understanding of our current global crisis and offer transformative and hope-filled solutions.

Fable Farm in Barnard, Vermont, is one of the stories woven into the Dancing with the Cannibal Giant film. It is an amazing story of two brothers who, together with other local farms, are the driving force that is creating a renewed sense of community in this small rural town. Now, this special event will feature the showing of the film at Fable Farm along with a locally produced-and-made, organic dinner at the beautiful new barn that is the hub for Fable Farm, Heartwood Farm, Eastman Farm and Kiss the Cow Farm on the Royalton Turnpike in Barnard.

Dinner is served at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 23 and is followed by the film showing at 7 p.m. Following the film, there will be a dialogue with the producer and Jon Piana. The cost of the dinner and film is $25 with all proceeds going to Fable Farm. RSVPs are required as space is limited to 45 people. For reservations, call 802-498-8438 or email info@fablefarmfermentory.com.

Why Cannibal Giant?

Screen Shot 2018-04-03 at 10.48.54 AMIn recent years, at BALE’s workshops, educational programs, film showings and many other settings, people often asked, “but what can we do?” We saw the need for an effective tool to activate and engage those who ready to step into a “new story” of how we see our relationship to the world around us. We also saw value in reaching those who may be just becoming aware of the great challenges our culture faces.

For the White River watershed in Vermont, we’ll be showing this film in nearly all towns in the region (BALE’s organizational focus is in the White River Valley). In Vermont first – and then the Northeast – we’ll connect with many groups doing similar work, and urging them to use this resource in their own communities. We acknowledge that the stories portrayed in this film are only a small sampling of the amazing work that is being done throughout the region. The post-film dialogue may well be the place to bring forward these powerful examples in one’s own community.

In many ways this documentary is a follow-up to the film The Wisdom to Survive: Climate Change, Capitalism and Community. The purpose of Wisdom to Survive is to raise awareness of the many social and economic justice issues that are related to climate change. This new film has a different and more specific purpose. That purpose is to

Naima Penniman and Alixia Garcia in Dancing with the Cannibal Giant.

inspire actions and initiatives in local communities, as well as to reveal the deep motivations that are necessary for individuals to step into the culture shift and awareness so critical at this time. The reason it is limited in length to 45 minutes is to allow more effective use for community and school settings (as well as some places with time limitations). This allows for an active dialogue with all participants. The intent is an organizing tool, not just for the efforts of BALE, but for everyone who can use this film to build engagement and deep relationships in their communities.








June 20 — BALE’s Solstice Party & Farm-to-Table Dinner

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Just once a year, BALE (Building A Local Economy) asks friends and supporters to gather for a Solstice Party & Farm-to-Table Dinner. This year, that event takes place at Wild Roots Restaurant in Royalton on Wednesday, June 20, from 5:30-9:30 p.m. 

The other 80 programs that BALE has sponsored or co-hosted over the past year havewild roots 2 been free… or, rather, by donation. “This is the one gathering where we ask for financial support to keep us creating the kind of solution-focused programming I believe we have become known for,” says Director Chris Wood. “We are grateful this year, to have matching funds from Canaday Family Charitable Trust, which will essentially double the amount of your donation that goes to BALE.”

And what an amazing event it is. A locally sourced full course meal – served family style – from one of the state’s best local food focused restaurants, live music with the The Big Ordeal (Chloe Powell, Justin Park and fiddler JoeBob), and engaging conversation with a great community of supporters.

“Come hear about the new initiatives from BALE that weave together the new stories of resilience and regeneration in the White River region of Vermont. Join the dialogue and meet with key collaborators. This is a great way to honor the efforts of an organization that inspires both practical action and deep, reflective commitment,” says Wood, who has helped guide the organization for the past six years. “We promise you an inspiring, delicious summer evening!“

The cost is $125 per person. This means that $55 goes to Wild Roots and their waitstaff and $70 goes to BALE.  And that $70 is doubled to $140 thanks to the matching grant. Says Wood, “this is a great way to support us, support the restaurant and all the area farmers who help build our local economy in very real ways.”

This event sells out each year, so RSVPs are required by calling 802-498-8438 or emailing balevt@gmail.com.

April 25th – Slow Growth, No Growth, Degrowth: What is in Our Future?

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Join us for Session #5 of the Building Resilient Communities series .

At this event, we will take on the conundrum of economic growth in a time of climate change and resource depletion at the Bethany Church in Randolph on Wed., April 25 at 6:30 PM. Economic growth brings growing resource use, growing waste generation, growing material wealth for the already-rich, and mounting busy-ness and stress for most people…  in an economy that can only grow or collapse. What might a simpler, slower Vermont be like? Let’s talk about it. The degrowth hypothesis is that we can live well together with less if we share more and shift from valuing efficiency to valuing sufficiency. The degrowth movement aims to transform human relationships with each other and the rest of nature toward justice and sustainability. Those are lofty goals and nobody knows for certain how to go about achieving them. Surely, degrowth will look different in different places. Discussing what kinds of futures we want and imagining how to make them happen in our communities is a radical exercise. Come join the exploration with presenter Sam Bliss, a PhD student in ecological economics at the University of Vermont and a member of the academic association Research & Degrowth. The series is organized by BALE and cosponsored by Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission and Randolph Area Community Development Corporation. $5 suggested donation (no one will be turned away). Funded by the Thomas W. Haas Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the Sustainable Future Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation. For more info, click HERE.

April 22 – Film Screening: Dancing with the Cannibal Giant, Thetford

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Film Screening Thetford Center Community Building

Sunday April 22 at 7 pm

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Dancing with the Cannibal Giant: 5 New Stories for the Great Transition

Sunday April 22, 7:00 pm

Thetford Center Community Building

Free and open to all

“It’s 3:23 in the morning and I’m awake because my great great grandchildren won’t let me sleep. My great great grandchildren ask me in dreams what did you do while the planet was plundered what did you do when the earth was unraveling, surely you did something…” – Drew Dellinger

Come see this hope-filled documentary film, filled with the wisdom of people, mostly younger, who see the wounds being revealed all around the world and are actively engaged in healing the planet in their own inspired way.

Dancing with the Cannibal Giant is a 45-minute film that captures five remarkable stories of people and places that are transforming the world. It follows the work and inspiration of people like Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm, Alixa Garcia and Naima Penniman of Climbing Poetree , and Gillian Kapteyn and Russell Comstock of Metta Earth Institute. It is a regional film (the Upper Valley, Maine and upstate New York) as the filmmakers believe in the power of place and the distinct nature of place to evoke stories unique to that location… and meaningful to the people who are grounded in place and community.

The film screening will be followed by a discussion designed to move us beyond disempowerment and despair, into spaces of action and hope.  We’ll have some light desserts.