Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Creativity as I experience it does not seem to operate in straight lines. Inspiration that can come as a special kind of *POP!!!!* in the form of an idea doesn’t need to be substantiated to be “true” – in the same way professional storytellers agree that “All stories are true, and some of them actually happened.”
I am reminded that over 30 years ago I tried to take a university course on logic. I barely lasted one lecture. I dropped the class. The same way that I tried taking bookkeeping in high school. I also barely lasted one class period on this subject, and also, as with the logic course, immediately rushed to authorities to drop drop DROP the class.
Now I am working through ideas connected to community art and creativity (I call creative living) that I want to offer free of charge is this little town. I THOUGHT I had resolved my problem, having talked with lots of people here of all cultures and income levels, to settle on holding the Saturday events specifically tailored to children, youth and their families at the public library.
The library is thrilled at the offering! Unfortunately the free room they offer has a 16 person limit – which is not all that big. I have been told by the children’s librarian that as long as nothing messy leaves the “art and craft room” people will be welcome to spill out into the children’s library section.
This creates logistical challenges, for example, of being able to provide hard surfaces for people to work on when outside the main room.
Well, I have been happy with this compromise and last week told the gracious people at the Food Co-op here of my new plan and dropped their so-kindly offered Community Room, available only on Sundays, as a possible location.
Until suddenly last Sunday an entirely NEW idea popped into my thinking arena. I will have all necessary supplies in my car (actually, a 1978 el Camino) from the Saturdays event – so why not ALSO offer something in the Food Co-Op’s Community Room on Sundays?
SMACK! Bird flying into a window at full speed SMACK! I am right back to having to consider the cultural and income-disparities between those mostly-Anglo people who figure out how to afford to buy all the wonderful organic products the Co-op sells – and those in the REST of the community.
The Sunday idea when it popped in the 2nd time came already named as “Dine’n’Doodle.” The Community Room is located in the Co-ops location a block north of the store at their Market Café.
Lighthearted shared creative play – really – fits so nicely with shared eating. Shared dining. IF everyone in the community is equally – what?
Which brings up the darn question, “What does “community” mean, anyway?”
Does community mean EVERYONE – until exclusions begin to chip away at who belongs and who does not belong?
Well, in my heart of heart thinking right there is a HUGE problem!
Who dines on what if such an event is held for the “whole community?”
Yes, it seems more than fair to me that people buy their meal from the Market Café to eat as a part of the Dine’n’Doodle event.
Yet 50% of the people who live in this town are AT the poverty level, I have been told – and this does not include those living BELOW the poverty level. 50% of the households are single parent homes – with no co-habitation.
On and on it goes from there! Even nationally –
US Statistics on Poverty
- 1 million people (13.5 percent) were in poverty, including 14.5 million (20 percent) children under the age of 18.
- 2 million Americans lived in food-insecure households, including more than 13 million children.
- 13.1 million children lived in food-insecure households in 2015.[i]
- Twenty percent or more of the child population in 30 states and D.C. lived in food-insecure households in 2014, according to the most recent data available. Mississippi (27%) and New Mexico (27%) had the highest rates of children in households without consistent access to food.[ii]
- In 2014, the top five states with the highest rate of food-insecure children under 18 were Mississippi, New Mexico, Arizona, Alabama, and Arkansas.[iii]
- In 2014, the top five states with the lowest rate of food-insecure children under 18 were North Dakota, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Virginia.[iv]
Yup, here we are in New Mexico. And here’s New Mexico again on a map of unemployment stats nationwide – HERE –
I know I could easily dig up more grim stats – even localizing it by THIS county and THIS town – but my mind travels right now toward the national tragedy of growing disparity between the haves and have nots in our nation. The United Nations tracked America at the very bottom of rich nations in the well-being of children –
+AMERICA, WHERE IS OUR SHAME/GUILT? ‘Child Well-being in Rich Countries: A comparative overview’, Innocenti Report Card 11– UNICEF Office of Research (2013).
True – there are plenty of problems all over this planet! But there are also SERIOUS problems right here!
Children in the Developed World
And there are also plenty of problems right here in this little town. I don’t want to be a part of problems if I can help it. I want to be part of solutions. I believe that what happens to any one of us as members of the human family, happens to us all. There is a moral element to positive community change. It is inescapable.
NOBODY in this town set out to create the problems that are here. Certainly NOT the hardworking, kind, dedicated people who work for the Food Co-op and who so generously offer their Community Room at their Market Café!
Right now, I just can’t think my way through this. I DO NOT have the answers! I don’t think any ONE of us does! These are all shared concerns! These are COMMUNITY CONCERNS that require COMMUNITY solutions! (If I had the money, which I most definitely do not, I would buy a whole bunch of food from the Co-op every week and cook up lots of yummy, healthy food to share. We COULD do this with potluck – but trying to accomplish this is “above my current pay grade.” I want to make the art part work!)
The Co-op/Market Café people are thinking about this. I will talk with them again next week to see if they have suggestions – and/or a bottom line – which I imagine they certainly might – which makes perfect sense.
I have also asked volunteers at a small thrift store in town here that raises money for “food concerns” to think about these things, as well. I will also see what they come up with next week. I will welcome ANY ideas about this!
Now, when this Dine’n’Doodle idea (concept) POPPED into my mind last Sunday – like a guest that did not even pause to pretend to knock – it appeared with “attachments.” I will try to line them up here!
- If there is a great response by community to the totally fun event that will be held beginning May 6th at the library, and if there is more interest than that space can comfortably manage, then
- People could be INVITED to come either to both events, meaning they would be welcome to show up for the Dine’n’Doodle event at the Market Café Community Room on Sundays, or just choose to come on Sundays because it’s a fantastic room!
- Perhaps a bridge could begin to be built between those without apparent means to eat the expensive foods from the co-op, but at least they might COME to that physical location in town – many for probably the very first time in their lives.
- Dietary kinds of education COULD take place – gently, kindly (no shaming, no judgment of current diet and income differences, etc. – which in this case might well be split between retiring Anglo babyboomers moving to this town and the rest of the community which has a large percent of Hispanic culture people) – informing people of positive impacts of – ??????????? I can’t say that I know ANY of this! I am NO kind of expert, but many who work for the co-op and Market Café ARE kinds of experts on these things!
- The literal, physical blending of “layers” of this community would, by itself, be a wonderful thing! “Newcomers” might begin to think in new ways. New customers in real time might come from this experience, and customers of the future might be connected to, as well. Time DOES march on, and populations from young to old march right along with it.
- Change takes time, but it CAN start somewhere. Somewhere small. Feeling welcome matters. How could that happen in this kind of complex situation?
But again here come the swirling layers of complexity connected to suggesting DINING along with community building and shared fun artistic and creative play! I can’t imagine it “proper” for people to bring burgers or Cheetos through the Market Café to dine with their friends and family in the Community Room (which does not seem to have a separate entrance). In fact, it would feel disrespectful of our hosts – the Cafe itself!
True, SOME might very well choose to order from the fantastic, healthy menu at the Café. I know, however, that I personally cannot afford to do that. How many others stand on my side of that line?
I fear – LOTS.
So, I would guess that a creative idea that pops in – might, for one thing, be entirely ahead of its time.
I could throw the Dine’n’Doodle idea right back out the door through whence it appeared. I could forget a Sunday event completely. I could simply change the name of the event to something like DoodleRama and be done with the complexity – at least for now. I could hold the Saturday event and let people there decide on a venue and then secure it if they want to.
I could simply (!?) LET GO of all these concerns, doing the best I can for the community with what is available to start with – and have faith that humans can grow things together – when they want to!
Meanwhile I have at least cleared my thoughts here, having created a storage facility for words attached to thoughts – tossed out into the digital, invisible world.
While I await other people’s input, suggestions, decisions.
It’s all good! Hopefully we are aiming in that direction, anyway!
NOTE: Some of the issues involved in my current dilemma are about access to QUALITY organic foods, as well as concerns about nutrition and how poverty here is limiting food choices. Cultural diet histories also hold powerful influence over food choices. Access, however, DOES definitely involve what people KNOW and how the THINK about food.
If the Sunday event COULD find a way to be most-comfortably inclusive, over time a LOT of good could grow out of this kind of opportunity.
And of course the CDC ACE study findings are seriously tangled up in all of these patterns, as this Laura Porter video on the subject so thoroughly describes.
Community, safe and secure attachment, and food are linked from birth in a social species. Quality of these earliest mother-infant interactions directly signal to the developing infant what the conditions of the environment it lives in – and will hence live in for the rest of its life in a body – are like. Trauma = scarcity of resources. Trauma altered development = changes to developing physiology on every level so that survival to reproductive age is assured as much as possible.
From the breast forward – community and food are intimately connected. We might think we can choose not to pay attention to what’s basic to health and happiness without paying a price.
Experts believe fixing food deserts is not enough – Medium
Sep 28, 2016 – Chicago based ecologist Nance Klehm believes that eliminating food deserts alone will not close the nutrition gap. “I don’t like the term food …
Food deserts limit New Mexicans’ access to food while community …
- Feb 3, 2012 -As you can clearly see from this snapshot, New Mexico is covered in food deserts, especially in the middle and western parts of the state.
Helping Food-Insecure Households in New Mexico Afford Healthier …
- New Mexicois a poor state with high rates of food insecurity and with too many …. too many areas inNew Mexico are considered food deserts without ready …
Fixing A Food Desert Isn’t As Easy As Putting A Grocery Store On …
Nov 11, 2015 – A mobile grocery store in New Mexico is no more. What’s sprung up in its place could be even better.
USDA online tool marks much of NM as a food desert
- May 4, 2011 -A food desert is made up of low-income communities without ready access to healthy and affordable food. Much of our state is considered a …
From farm to ‘food deserts’: Mobile Market provides local produce …
- Aug 5, 2015 -ALBUQUERQUE, M. — Within the high desert that is Albuquerque there are a number of “food deserts,” where people do not have easy …
Our view: Alleviate food deserts by planting crops – The Santa Fe New …
Jun 4, 2015 – They are prevalent in New Mexico. In food deserts, residents have limited access to a sole, full-service grocery store, leading to a higher …
Youth gardens can help address New Mexico’s food desert problems …
- Oct 20, 2013 -Hidalgo County M. youth garden helps to address the county’s food desert problem.
Here is my first book out in ebook format as it provides an outline of the conditions of my malevolent childhood. Click here to view or purchase–
Story Without Words: How Did Child Abuse Break My Mother?
It lists for $2.99 and can be read by Amazon Prime customers without charge. A daring book – for daring readers – about a really tough subject.
Tags: adult attachment disorders, adult reactive attachment disorder, anxiety disorders,borderline mother, borderline personality disorder, brain development, child abuse,depression,derealization, disorganized disoriented insecure attachment disorder,dissociation,dissociative identity disorder, empathy, infant abuse, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),protective factors, PTSD, resiliency, resiliency factors, risk factors, shame