Village Harmony Concert benefits Heartbeet

In front of Greensboro United Church, July 4, 2014
In front of Greensboro United Church, July 4, 2014

Heartbeet participated in the Village Harmony Teen Ensemble Benefit Dinner and Concert in Greensboro, Vt on July 4th.  The event drew over 100 guests and raised more than $1200 in support of the Community Hall Capital Campaign.  Larry Gordon of Marshfield, VT; Suzannah Park of Ashville, NC; and Carlos Jurado of Pasto, Colombia; directed an ensemble of more than twenty teens, hailing from the state of Kansas to France.

The United Church sanctuary transformed to scenes of sugarcane milling in Columbia, working fields in the Republic of Georgia, the cathedrals of Renaissance Germany, to the waters of the American Atlantic coast and the green valleys of Appalachia.  An impressive pan of risotto, made with Heartbeet chicken and broth, plus Pete’s Green’s salad, Jasper Hill cheese and Connie’s Kitchen blueberry cake, satiated all our appetites through the two hour performance.

The concert and meal invited conversation.  Among those overhead: Connor and Suzannah’s new relationship (congrats!), meeting Parker’s second grade teacher, memorable first experiences feeling leather, stories from the first session of Camp Thorpe, and many, many new and ongoing conversations about life at Heartbeet.  As I sat in the performance, the familiar sounds of Max’s appreciation for good Appalachian music, the sight of Sam and Jared feeling moved to dance by the South African beat, and Kei’s ear-to-ear smile at the joining of two of his special communities, reminded me why music and the arts matter to communities, serving adults of all abilities.

A musical performance creates an environment in which I need only openness and willingness to participate with the best of my abilities. I can feel and see the awareness of openness, both in the performing teenagers and the listening audience, as each one overcomes the grip of inner anxieties with a rising tide of inner flexibility.  The sanctuary space was penetrated through the evening by growing numbers of nodding heads, tapping toes, and swaying hips.  The second factor, willingness, is present as each audience member as he or she stands, giving up their own personal safety to join with others standing, trusting each other to see the self, not for its inabilities, but for its interest in expressing joy for this beautiful music and performance.

The Village Harmony Benefit Dinner and Concert contributed to a community effort to raise $2.2 million needed to construct the Heartbeet Community Hall.  Suzannah Park, a former Village Harmony camper and now instructor, expressed the effect of musical expression and opportunity in the life of communities: “To lead big, full lives, no matter how you were born or raised.”  I experience the equality and opportunity that the arts bring to the lives of people with all abilities.  Therefore, I eagerly anticipate when Heartbeet, with financial help from all those in our community and extended communities, will lay the foundation for a Hall of its own.

Jonathan Flint

Friends and Family Day 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rewind to June 2013, Vermont hasn’t seen this much rain for over 100 years and what seemed like hilarious jokes about building an Ark instead of a community center are taking on a more serious tone every day! My finger crossing about 2014’s weather begin early in the year because even the tent that had offered shelter last year was lost to a gust of wind and I had to make a new plan.

If you’d seen the Machine Shed on Saturday June 28, you wouldn’t have believed the amount of machinery, buckets, wires, wood and random tractor parts that even Eric didn’t recognize that had strewn the floor just a week before, but when you move to community you quickly realize that miracles really can happen. Parker, Sam, Max, Jared and Lindsey can all be thanked for making a wonderful space in which to extend our arms in welcome to family and friends from near and wide.

The Sun shined on us and baked our skins but it was the familiar faces that lit up our eyes and smiles, the stories, the music, the updates on Heartbeet’s non-stop year, for some – the first glimpses of Amber Rose in all its summer glory and visions of hope and expectation at the spot where our community center will stand. We ate like Kings and Queens, the kids swam in the pond, it was a hive of activity and celebration. This is what it’s like to have a family that you can’t count, to be surrounded by love and to really belong to this world, this is community, this is Heartbeet.

So many Thank You’s for everyone that made this happen; Pete Johnson, Patchwork Bakery, Buffalo Mountain Coop, GMR, The Flower Basket & Calkins and all the food donations, same time next year? Bring your umbrellas just in case but mostly just bring yourself!

Clare

Heartbeet makes Saveur Magazine Cover

Heartbeet Kitchen

Saveur MagazineHeartbeet has been featured on Saveur Magazine, a national food magazine based in New York City. Saveur, now in its 20th year, is a magazine that explores and celebrates not just recipes and cooking, but the stories behind those things – the cultures, families, individuals, histories, that give rise to the food we make and eat.

Karen Shimizu, senior editor of Saveur magazine and older sister to one of our residents Kei, visited us last February with her husband Chris and daughter Akiko to help produce a photo shoot for the magazine. The talented photographer Corey Hendrickson took photos of the Sunday brunch which featured Hannah’s “crazy day” crepes and a bacon, cheese and spinach frittata.

Saveur devoted their May 2014 issue to showing great food moments from around the world, starting early in the morning and going until late at night. Karen proposed that one of the moments in the magazine’s “Best Food Moments” issue be at the breakfast table at Heartbeet. Her fellow editors happily agreed!

And so our crepes were featured on Saveur’s May 2014 cover. More photos of the Sunday brunch, are featured on the magazine’s online version.

We are very grateful to Karen Shimizu and to Saveur Magazine for this wonderful opportunity!

Within the Knotty Pine Walls: A Barn Story

Heartbeet Barn

Nestled in the center of our lifesharing community, the Heartbeet Barn is a characteristic Vermont icon. A distinctive atmosphere emanates from within the knotty pine walls of the native rough cut timber structure, which provides much more than warmth and shelter for our animals. It also encompasses all the memories of countless stories told, of songs sung, of bitter cold fingertips and toes, and of emerging friendships in the spirit of working together, revealing experiences of birth, burgeoning life and of death. Furthermore, barn life offers everyone a unique, regular daily routine and an environment that thrums to a definite rhythm or pulse in likeness to the beat of the human heart.

The barn door swings open on the morning of the spring equinox, allowing entrance to eager snow flurries blowing in from the cold and in the company of Connor’s wide, bright and friendly grin and his, “Good Morning Ladies!” He was not referring to the Cows; but rather this is his usual merry greeting for Sequoya, Annie J. and me while we were busy brushing the Cows. “I am going to milk two cows today!” I stopped to think of Brittany, learning to hand milk a cow and sharing the gratification of her success with family, friends and new acquaintances with- a twinkle in her eye, “I milked the cow…and the cow made chocolate milk.” Meanwhile, Jared faithfully checks and fills the animal water troughs in a typical and systematic fashion and completes his routine by sweeping the barn floor until spotless, stating, “I think it’s ready for the Board Meeting.” Ann B. is giving a tour of the barn and is delighted at the newest spectacle, the birth of a kid goat, Lavender, who is taking her first steps. Every day on his afternoon walk Sean collects the compost buckets from all the house kitchens and with great satisfaction feeds the appreciative pigs. The barn chores occur every day, twice a day, rain, snow or shine. They provide the Heartbeet Community with cow milk, goat milk, butter, yogurt, kefir, cheese, eggs, beef, pork, chicken & turkey, and represented a value-added savings last year of $60,000.

The animals and our crews have been deeply grateful for the renovation of the back part of the barn, completed in 2010. It is serving our animals well. Now the oldest section of the Heartbeet Barn has aged to a timeworn stage and deteriorated to the point of needing repair. We have plans to re-establish the foundation and have collectively envisioned and approved the design of two new additions on our barn to meet the needs of the growing community. Community members have rallied in support of caring for the barn and are excited to increase its size and thereby improve animal housing and productivity in our daily work. Construction is scheduled to begin June 2014.

We welcome anyone and everyone who wishes to open a new doorway to discovery: a place of honest work, friendship and understanding and an opportunity to cultivate a genuine love for the Heartbeet Barn…for many years to come!

Heartbeet Community Center Update

Green day photo

We are once again in our spring transition. This long snowy winter gave us time to catch our breath, settle in and forge new friendships. It was punctuated with new forms of celebration — an amazing New Year’s party in Kaspar House with Björn’s fireworks and the best awards ever given; a Fasching party with dancing and craziness; and wonderful evenings spent getting to know our community in its new constellation. Already in late fall a small “Community Center Group” was formed to develop a collective picture of what our community center would need to encompass. Small and large meetings, trips to other buildings and other communities, and lots of research took us into early winter. The architects, the Community Center Group, the Building Committee and the Board all helped to make sure that this building will serve the future needs of the community. We are now celebrating spring with the final details of the design, which we are excited to share with you in this newsletter.

All of us here already love our new hall and can envision it standing at the top of our drive to welcome our visitors. As with most things at Heartbeet, it has ended up better than we could have imagined.

A Gathering Space

This building will provide the space for the maturing of our potential as community; it will be a gathering space for social, educational, and cultural events for Heartbeet and beyond. With limited numbers of building sites at Heartbeet, it is a multi-faceted building. Its center will be the theater/gathering space. It will also house a processing kitchen, a community library, therapy rooms, and administrative space. It will enable us to collaborate and share musical and dramatic performances with others. We look forward to preparing plays that we can take outside as well. This inclusive environment will celebrate differences through arts programs for a diverse adult population, providing a more gentle and non-competitive environment for creative expression.

We are excited to expand our food processing so we can eat more of our home grown food. We are dreaming of making cheese and increasing what we put in both cooler and freezer. Food processing is an art that many in this community feel deeply connected to—this kitchen will make us more sustainable for the future.

A Milestone

The Community Center is living in the realm of potential; it is a milestone in the history of the community, offering opportunities to expand programing and to collaborate on many levels with local business and cultural endeavors. This is a 2.2 million dollar building, and to date we have raised $700,000—it is a big leap to get to where we need to be, and it will take extraordinary gifts to get us there. We really need your help to take the next step so that we can confidently hire a general contractor and bring this building from imagination to reality!

This is a big moment that calls on all of us who feel strongly about Heartbeet to give!

With gratitude for your generosity and a hopeful heart filled with pictures of this amazing new space.

Heartbeet Lifesharing Community

This video is about a 160 acre farm in rural Hardwick, Vermont where the able and the disabled work together. It is a testimonial to the fact that we are all divine, no matter what our differences may be. This is an important story in the face of the state of our nation today as racism and discrimination keep rearing their ugly heads. We are all the same. We all have gifts to bring to the table.

Video produced by Backroads and Blacktops Video

A Tragedy at Heartbeet

At Heartbeet with feelings of blessing that nobody was hurt we are a community sharing a deep sense of loss and sadness. On January 26th 2013, at around 4:45pm Marcianna Beyer coming down the hill with her friend Sean smelled smoke and spotted flames coming out of the roof of Heartbeet’s new home still currently under construction. The house was about 85% complete with a projected move in date of late March, early April. 911 were called and a generous number of firemen and departments arrived within a very short time. By early evening the fire was thought to be extinguished and night set in with the understanding that the house had sustained serious damage but was repairable.

Eric Tidblom was woken at 4am by a noise, which sounded like a loud explosion and in looking out of his window he saw the house was fully ignited. 911 was called again and the local Hardwick fire department returned to what was this time an unsalvageable situation, little if anything of what is left can be kept! We do have insurance and the claim process has been started; more on that front will be brought later.

Over the next days we will be focusing on a plan B for our new families and friends and although we are deeply saddened by this experience we know that it already is and will bring our community together, along with all those extended community members who by pulling together will make us stronger than we can imagine.

Our needs at this moment are somewhat unknown and as the situation unfolds we will be in touch.