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Building Genuine Community

Building Genuine Community

Urban Farming meets community building at the Fairy-Tale Farm’s Summertime Salon tonight in Santa Cruz, CA. Check it out & if you happen to live there – Participate!

Tonight’s activities include a performance by Vishu’s Secret, as well as an open music jam, free figure drawing, games, collage, good homemade treats, and an opportunity to offer up your own creations.

It’s been over a decade since I lived near and spent time with my good friends Karsten & Debbie Wade, and I was happy & impressed to find out what they’ve been up to lately when I recently read their Fairy-Tale Farm blog.

“Why did you name it Fairy-Tale Farm?” I asked Debbie. To my amusement, she replied:

“Everyone told me it was a fairy-tale to think I could make a profit off of the land and not build condos, so I named it fairy-tale farm.”

Home-made pie goodness!

Home-made pie is good for the spirit.

Excellent! I salute her endeavor and its uniqueness. It’s an authentic experience that is accessible to everyone, at a price that doesn’t require a large portion of your disposable income.

Check it out if you can, or if geographically challenged, take note and start your own similar endeavor. Get to know the neighbors and join forces to create inexpensive, mutually supportive community building & enriching activities that will help get the kids off the tube or World of Warcraft once in awhile. There is a lot more to life than what’s being mass marketed to us and often it’s right there at home or just around the corner.

It is not easy opening oneself up to other people, but the generation of unique experiences and encouragement of individual expression and micro economies is, in my opinion, extremely valuable.


  • I LOVE this idea! Thanks for the article!

    I’m about to go wander around Dolores Park this weekend hawking my wares and hopefully making some valuable connections with people. It’s scary and rejection can sting, but the world needs a little kindness and it can only start with yourself.

    • Agreed, it can be hard putting ourselves out there. A few people are born with some freaky gene that allows them approach total strangers and not care about rejection. For the rest of us, we all construct some personal model that gets us through (or not.)

      I predict that you will make at least one good connection, and what you are open to and say you are looking for will have a chance to come to you. I can’t quite guess what that is for you, but for us it was “collaborative, community, fun” as well as “food and music.” :)

      We started doing the Fairy-Tale Farm thing many years ago in dreaming and talking and being buried in the day-to-day of just caring for the garden. And then we got a bigger garden. We finally kicked it off when we heard of some friends who had just successfully hosted an underground restaurant dinner in a way less nice location, and one of us said to the other, “Let’s just pick a date and do it.” Within 36 hours we had met with the chef from that first event, we bonded, and he threw himself in to the mix to help us get ours going. He cooked a fabulous meal, we created a fabulous space, and it was pretty great.

      There have been a lot of experiments along the way, but one consistent theme that works has been the value of opening our gates to a community, their ideas and interests, and how it can happen here.

      Last night we had the first Summertime Salon and Urban Farm Market, which was a lot of fun. Kthread happened to be there and she posted a great story of the evening on her blog. Enjoy the pictures. :)

    • Underground Restuarant Chef would be my dream job.

      Thanks for the story, and the link, and the amazing work you do.

  • I agree Rugburn! It is worth braving the stings of rejection and judgment for the few connections and genuine interactions that are pure gold.

    I miss the community I’ve been a part of for the last decade and am likewise challenged to find and / or create new connections and interactions from scratch which is darn intimidating.

    Sally Forth!

  • We need to know our neighbors. If the events of the last five years didn’t teach us that, we don’t know anything.

    We need to get back into the habit of relying on each other locally, for entertainment if not survival.

    Like The Hun used to ask, what’s the worst thing that happens if you fail?

  • […] coincident with the salon and market was a post on Love and Trash, “Building Genuine Community”.  It’s a flattering review of the Big Picture of what we are trying to do here on our little […]

  • im crying over here.
    Raggedyanarchy, its my dream job too. maybe when i get back to the states we will have to do some sort of bicoastal salon 😉
    ive been wanting to start a secret kitchen for a few years now and I have been graced with logistics simply falling into place it and lots of friends to promote it. but one thing or another keeps getting in the way. (like moving to Costa Rica). Ive been talking about it with friends here and they have all freaked out about it and think its a great idea. The logistics here are much easier and much harder, in opposite directions from how they are in NYC. So a new approach is in order.
    Im planning on picking a night, advertising around town at the beach and see what happens.
    getting just about everything that i need to cook locally is so easy here and not as expensive as it is in the states because “local” isnt a novelty or hard to do because any one trying to grow things locally here isnt warring with developers over land.
    bravo to you all for making it happen.

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