Howdy from Highway 90 West as our bus chugs its way to Detroit, Michigan. We have had a wonderful week in Vermont and New York; visiting old friends and learning from some amazing farmers, artists and teacher along the way. Our last update was from the beautiful state of Vermont where we spent time in the towns of Johnson, Warren and Burlington. Hands down the highlight of our time there in the Green Mountain state was Reid’s practicum presentation at Willow Crossing Farm!
Over the last year Reid has been completing his certificate in Sustainable Building and Design from Yestermorrow Design/Build School. His experience and expertise has been a huge asset to our national tour and gardening program. After five months of classes at Yestermorrow last year and nine months of work with the Sol Food bus, Reid was become one of only nine students to graduate with this degree from Yestermorrow. Before departing for Burlington, VT our bus crew and over thirty visiting farmers, neighbors and professors were able to sit in on Reid’s project presentation. The evening began with a beautiful dinner, tours of the Sol Food bus and a presentation of the bus design process in the Willow Crossing yurt. Everyone was blown away by Reid’s work and we made some great friends and connection through the process! Keith Morris, the owner of the farm and the founder of Prospect Rock Permaculture was both a wonderful host and an amazing mentor to us all. Many thanks to Keith and his family for their generosity and donations!
At the end of that week we made our way west across the state and into Burlington, VT. For those who have never visited this amazing city, it is worth the visit! Upon arrival in downtown you are greeted with the view of beautiful Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountain range of northeastern New York. There is a great lake front park, wonderful restraints serving local foods and a huge array of farms in the Intervale district downtown. We unfortunately missed the Burlington farmers market by two days but we met some great food advocates and got in a day of exploring in the city.
Our next stop was in Alexandria Bay, New York right on the Canadian line. There we visited our friend Richard Bell, from Durham, and stayed with his family on an island in the Saint Lawrence River. Our three days in the Thousand Island District was our first vacation in six weeks of life and work on the road. We were able to enjoy hot showers, home-cooked meals and real beds for the first time in quite awhile. It gave us all the energy we needed as we continued south to Buffalo, NY.
In Buffalo, we got the chance to tour The Foundry and visit an amazing urban homestead. The Foundry is much like the Scrap Exchange in Durham with its intense focus on creativity using recycled and found materials (hence its name). The Foundry is located in a densely populated area in central Buffalo and is located in a large warehouse. The warehouse is now being converted into classroom and studio space for local artisans and community members. Inside you can find lumber and reclaimed materials stacked ceiling high. There are workshop rooms filled with communal carpentry equipment, a theatre space, rooms for local craft design and a roof top growing hops for home brewing. Next door is there newly developed community garden using everything from old tires to bike spokes to support their flourishing summer vegetables. One the adjacent lot is a homestead owned by friend Andrea and Megan that offers community workshops in sustainable home renovations, backyard gardening, cob oven building, composting and other funky projects.
The whole space is truly inspiring and our hats are off to Andrea, Megan, Michael and all the folks with Detroit Re-Use and Net+Positive for their hard work and ingenuity. Our final stops before this day of travel was to Detroit were to the Zoar Canyon and Niagara Falls in northern New York. two incredible places of natural wonder! Our trip so far has been so filled with adventure and wonderful that we can only expect that and more from our upcoming time in Detroit, Ann Arbor and Chicago.
Until next time, cheers from the Sol Food bus crew!