The Viva Vine: vol #3, no #3: May / June 1994
Dedicated to Lessening the Human Impact on the Earth

(Ed. Note: In mid October of last year, The VivaVegie Society helped sponsor Ashley Gilbert and Jeremiah Wallack in pursuit of their sojourn to Earthlands. They were able to attend a weekend workshop entitled The Biggest Button Pusher of All?: Our Food Choices and What's Behind Them. The featured speakers were Sally Clinton, Terry Gips, Howard Lyman, Wayne Pacelle and Heart Phoenix among others.

Ashley and Jeremiah came back with the following report.)

Earthlands is a community-based organization located in rural New England. It was founded on the premise that humanity's greatest need and challenge is learning how to live in harmony with itself and the Earth and all its creatures. Earthlands lovingly serves as a center for sustainable living, activist training, and personal retreat.

Being at Earthlands got us in touch with the powerful connections that exists between ourselves and our environment on vast and complex levels. We became acutely aware of the importance of taking responsibility for our everyday actions and feelings. Every day of our lives we are faced with decisions about what we consume, especially what we put inside our bodies. These decisions have an impact on the world outside our skin as well. The highly centralized and inefficient systems of food production in our society are causing immeasurable pain and suffering and are simultaneously depleting the Earth of its regenerative powers. Our reliance on large corporations to produce food and to transport it to disparate regions has separated us from the immediate results of our purchases.

At Earthlands, there is a heartfelt commitment to lessening negative impacts upon the Earth. Much of the community's food comes from its two organic gardens. Workshops and programs deal with the transformation of industrial society and with the healing of the planet. The weekend workshop we attended on food choices strived to incorporate the issues of animal rights, raw foodism, veganism and vegetarianism, as well as food production and distribution. Value systems and cultural sensitivities were dealt with head on as well in the context of sustainability and respect for the land. Discussing topics ranging from hunting, to harvesting, to shopping, to sharing, we gathered in circles to bring our life stories to the collective. Each shared his or her own unique answers to the issue of lightening human impact upon the planet. In the process, we planted seeds for the creation of a more healthful and hopeful future.

For more information about Earthlands, write them at 39 Glasheen Rd., Petersham, MA 01366. Or call, 508/724-3428

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