Dear friends and supporters of the Living Environment Foundation (LEF),
2018 was a busy and productive year for LEF, with many opportunities made possible by your support.
The highlight of the year was our collaboration with Patricia B. Gans, MD, Director of the Trillium Deaf Program, a small 501c3 working to bridge the gap between Deaf and Hearing cultures. LEF supported the hosting of five young people between eighteen and twenty-one years with hearing challenges, to join the Meadowlark Hearth farm community in July for a month-long internship for Deaf students transitioning from high school to the mainstream work world. In Dr. Gans’ words, ”The participants worked and learned in a communication accessible environment as part of the larger farm community. Participants taught American Sign Language to farm staff and we all worked together to build communication skills and strategies. We cooked together, farmed together, milked together, shredded and jarred sauerkraut together, braided garlic together, sold at the farmers market together, and played together, learning to appreciate each other’s gifts and challenges. The experience of inclusivity is a priceless treasure.”
The sixth annual Labor Day Seed Festival held September 2018 marked the completion of LEF’s Specialty Crop Grant through the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA). This three-year grant supported seed production workshops for at a few hundred growers and “eaters” in the region in learning how vegetable seed is grown. Several have started growing organic seed for sale to organic seed companies, after participating in these trainings.
LEF also supported several school visits throughout the year, most recently a high school group from Denver, Colorado. Ten sophomores helped harvest two tons of onions, as well milking and working with the animals. In addition to all they learned and all the help they provided, by the end of the week they were a closer-knit group with friendships which otherwise would probably have taken much longer to develop.
In November 2018, LEF initiated two very different but important events. The first was that solar panels were installed on the old barn and the LEF building west of the barn, so that both LEF and Meadowlark Hearth Farm can better utilize the western Nebraska sun and depend less on fossil fuel.
The second is a full-day pre-conference workshop held prior to the North American Biodynamic Conference in Portland Oregon entitled, “Biodynamic Seed for North America: How to Build International Cooperation to Strengthen a Coordinated North American Biodynamic Seed Movement.” This gathering, to be held November 14 and led by Nathan and Beth, will create a plan for taking the biodynamic seed work on this continent into the future.
Your support has made these accomplishments possible! Thank you! We hope that you will continue to partner with us with your financial contribution in 2019, as we seek to:
- Recruit and provide for more onsite interns who want to learn the seed trade, a crucial need as Beth and Nathan work on training and transitioning this work to the next generation;
- Create a certified kitchen to serve as a central gathering and eating place on the farm, allowing the community to connect with and learn from the vital mosaic of the living environment. Additionally, the kitchen would make it possible to process seeds and create value-added products from certified organic Meadowlark Hearth produce, bringing in additional revenue for the farm and better enabling the long-term sustainability of LEF.
- The purchase of a seed cleaning machine to more efficiently clean large amounts of small seed;
- Completing the purchase of the 140-acre Richard Everett Nature Preserve; and
- A cost-share program, for low income families to participate in the Meadowlark Hearth Farm CSA.
Please check out the LEF website, to see the latest activities and events that your financial support have made possible: https://livingenvironmentfoundationne.org/
We look forward to working with you to take these projects and the mission of LEF forward in 2019.
The LEF Board: Santana Tamarack, President; Anne Radford, Vice President; Joyce Evans, Secretary; Megan Taylor, Treasurer; Nathan Clark; Sean Collier; Beth Everett; Tyler Irvine; Cora Lee Khambatta; Frank Young