Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Traveling with Tron, pt. 2 - Austin, Texas!

Two Thursdays ago, James, Trey, Ron, Katie and I all traveled south to Austin, Texas to meet with people and organizations that Ron and Trey had told us about. These people are doing great things down there and I really wanted to meet them myself, in order to develop a relationship and connection. I thought they could be potential speakers or teachers for SixTwelve, and an Austin/OKC partnership would be ideal!

Ron, Trey, James and Katie at Curras Grill in Austin

Our first stop, after some yummy mole enchiladas at Curras Grill, was Reclaimed Space. This is an organization that takes old lumber and resources from buildings that are being torn down, and builds new houses out of it that are a little smaller and eco-friendly. These spaces are beautiful! They also keep land use and preservation in mind when helping customers plan the perfect layout. This vision is also revealed in their collaborations with others in the Austin area, promoting gardening, farming, community gathering and education. I would love to live in one of these "spaces." Everything we saw at their location was inspiring!

Reclaimed Space's outdoor community space with a new stage - 
you can see the living space in the background. Rad. 

After we left Reclaimed Spaces, we traveled to a micro-grocery store called, in.gredients. Man, oh man, this place was just as cool as RS! Their vision is "to minimize waste and promote healthy, sustainable lifestyles by selling local food with pure ingredients, package-free." Did you know that over 700,000 tons of garbage is added to American landfills DAILY?!?! in.gredients only contributes about 1 pound/month to the landfill. Word. Some products that they sell have to be packaged, like meat and milk. But the rest of the products they sell are either dry goods that come in bulk or fresh, local produce (Mostly from Austin, but some from the state of Texas) that has no packaging at all. How does it work? You can either bring your own containers, weigh them before filling them, and then pay just for what you filled them with, or you can buy a glass jar from limited selection they offer in the store. (That would be for people like me who forget things. Ha!)

The community garden and eating space in front of in.gredients
James is excited about in.gredients!
I'm excited too! I loved their granola!

That evening, after checking into our hotel, we went to a place called Casa de Luz. This "place that houses light" is an all-organic dining and community center. As soon as we entered this place, I could feel a change in me, and it was more than the food. I looked around at all of the plants and smiles on people's faces and instantly became inspired! I also couldn't wait for others to experience exactly that at SixTwelve. What a blessed journey I am on. I can't wait to give this to people. I heard that they also had a pre-school on location, but it was late in the evening, so we didn't get to see that. Might just have to go back to Austin soon to take a look. Twist my arm. :)

Casa de Luz is gorgeous! 

The next morning, we all loaded up and drove to Urban Patchwork Neighborhood Farms. This was not only a fun trip, but informative too. I loved seeing chickens, a greenhouse, gardens, dogs, and every inch of a back yard used like a farm...right in the middle of the city!!! The women who greeted us were so willing to share their knowledge of how to organize neighborhood farms and THIS IS WHAT WE NEED! We want to learn about the best models and practices in organizing neighborhood farms, so that we can be most effective here in OKC with what we do through SixTwelve.

Urban Patchwork Neighborhood Farms

Thanks to Paige Godfrey who gave us a tour of her back yard! 

Katie is checking out the chickens and the crops!

I want to make sure that everyone knows that I believe OKC already has great things going on too. There are people here farming in their back yards, valuing local food and supporting the creative, local community. We are experiencing great energy and progress here and you don't have to look too hard to find it! What we hope to do at SixTwelve is to give these people a central meeting spot (if they want it), a platform to amplify their voice and to bring in ideas from other places to share. We also hope that some of the leaders in our own community will share their ideas with people and groups in other areas of the country. The more people working together, the better (in our opinion.) We want SixTwelve to be a local node within a bigger, more global, community of like-minded people.

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