With this entry I want to take the time and promote a group that I think has the potential to be a great success. As with many of the issues we have addressed here on the-veg, perhaps the largest obstacle between the current way-of-things and a more holistic way of life is the set of values that society tends to cherish. The world is a diverse place filled with people with multitudes of backgrounds and perspectives. Focus on even a much smaller scale such as your neighborhood and you will that even in the most seemingly homogeneous areas will have a great deal of diversity if you spend the time to find it. Our everyday lives are subject to being exposed to a multitude of new experiences and vantage points but why don’t many of us seem to notice? As I write this article I am thinking of the many missed opportunities I have had in the past. It is much easier to just remain indifferent of falsely polite than it is to engage the people we encounter. I am not trying to say that we should strike up an in depth conversation with every person we manage to bump into while walking to work or sitting in a coffee shop but rather try to recognize those situations in which an exchange of knowledge and wisdom may occur. We are social creatures but many times our interactions seem closer to politics rather than anything remotely meaningful. Personally I would rather people engage me with the attitude of “I’m going my way, you are going your way and thats ok.” rather than being overly bubbly and polite all the time. When people do that I inherently clouds any sense of genuineness when people actually care how your day is going. Nothing is more amusing and potentially awkward than saying “Actually I am rather miserable at the moment” next time someone blindly asks “How are you today?” at the grocery store check-out line.
This is one of the foundations for a group in Austin, Texas called ‘The Front Porch Project”. As described by their literature and overview:
‘The Front Porch Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering community, dialogue and art in Austin, Texas. It is a social enterprise bringing diverse people together in coversation, giving new artists a place to show their work, helping new bands with a first gig. We encourage meaningful conversation between friends and strangers, and provide a place visiting professors, priests, philosophers, and assorted experts to share their ideas. We support the Austin community by providing space for local groups to meet in conversation and shared experience, and by networking with other nonprofits and local Great Places to enrich our mutual home.’ (From www.thefrontporchproject.org)
I met recently with one of the founders, Steve Kinney and we had a good conversation regarding various issues such as the environment, our respective projects and the like. Steve is a rather soft spoken but assertive person who seems to genuinely interested in what people have to say. Through our brief talk it seemed as if all of life’s offerings, good and bad, were taken with equal consideration and appreciation. I really liked his perspective on the issues and we casually agreed that a joint event might be planned in the near future (so stay tuned).
The Front Porch Project consists of a diverse group of individuals coming from many different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. They meet regularly to plan various events and programs through which they hope to achieve their organizational goals. They currently have a headquarters known as “Logia” in the works, a 7000 square feet multi-deciplanary meeting place with a large eating area catered by local chefs and farmers, book and gift store, and event center. Their vision is to have this center serve as a place for people to meet, converse, debate, perform and of course eat in the common goal of communicating their beliefs, emotions, and artistic viewpoints. While a definite deadline for Logia is not known to me, I will be sure to keep everyone informed (or better yet, visit their website and stay updated).
I very much like what The Front Porch Project stand for and will be looking forward to working with them in the future. Also, every other Tuesday or so, there are meetings at various places around Austin (usually Texas French Bread) where different films, presentations and other communications take place. I urge you to check this group out at www.thefrontporchproject.org.October 5th, 2009
Topic: Sustainability: Social Aspect, Walking the Walk Tags: None