Recently, it came to light that there were some unexpected expenses for the training we have coming with Maria and David in July. Maria has asked for travel expenses to be covered for herself and David while they are here. This is not an unreasonable request, but it was, however, a shock to many of us, especially since we have been told the training would be free.For a number of days this request rolled its way around the circle members and a variety of ideas came out on how to come up with this money ourselves. Options like a sliding scale fee or sponsoring someone who cannot afford to contribute financially were among those hashed out. On Friday, the sustainability circle came together specifically to discuss this and look at it from as many angles as we could.From that discussion came an outpouring of love and offerings. We heard some offer to let Maria and David stay in their home instead of paying for an Airbnb or hotel. We heard offers of meals and offers of monetary donations. The outpouring of generosity, gratitude and appreciation was a stunning display of the love we feel.
In the end what we came to is that we are being offered something invaluable by two beautiful souls who love this community. We cannot afford NOT to hold this training. It is a gift we will find nowhere else and only a piece of the greater puzzle of rebuilding the farm into what we all dream for it.
So, now what?
After hearing the outpouring of love from the members of our own circle, we had an idea.
What if we were to ask the rest of the circle members/training participants what they would like to give or do or be for this program?
What if we open the doors to see just what we CAN do with what we have.
My favorite book as a child, and still beloved today, is Stone Soup. This is a story of a pair of travelers who stumble into a village and are turned away at every door. There was a drought and no one had enough food to share. So, as the story goes, they chose a particularly nice rock from the center of town and began calling out to everyone that they had the most amazing recipe for the best soup there ever was. The hungry villagers all came out to see what was going on. But, the travelers were missing some key ingredients! “We need a pot to cook it in.”, one said. “Yep, and fire to put the pot on!” One of the villagers in the back yells out, “I’ve got a big pot you can use.” Another, “I could spare a few sticks of firewood if this soup’s as good as you claim.” Together they get the fire started, the pot hanging and place the stone in the bottom. Everyone gathers around. “Now what?”, says a voice in the crowd. “Well, a good soup needs water”, the first traveler replies. “Oh, I can help with that! The pump is just around the corner”.Again, the crowd murmurs as they look into the stone soup before them. As they taste the stone broth one traveler looks to the other and asks, “Do you think there’s something missing?” “You know, now that you say it, yeah,but I’m not sure what it is.” “A carrot, I’m certain that’s what it needs!” says the first man. A woman in front of him jumps up and says she has a couple she could spare, IF this soup is as good as they claim. This continues for quite some time. The travelers tasting, and finding, the soup wanting. The villagers each coming in to contribute a potato, an onion, a couple of old turnips, a rutabaga, a spoon of salt, a sprinkle of pepper. In the end everyone had given something towards the promise of this amazing soup. Finally, while the village held its collective breath, one last taste test was taken and the stone soup was deemed ready for all. That night they feasted on the stone soup together in the middle of town and no one, not even the travelers, fell asleep hungry.
What if we take the stone soup approach to this?
Money is not all we need in order for this training, or any other program or event here on the farm.
The participants in this training are all circle members. Active members of the farm of peace community. On the ground working to build a better place for us all.
Let’s put this new concept into practice and come together. Instead of knocking on doors and asking for money. That is a model of our past that we are striving to work our way out of. Let’s feed each other. House each other. Hold each other.
I am going to take you through the financial expectations, as well as possibilities that we took into consideration when evaluating the sustainability of this training as it relates to the farm and as it relates to us, the true heart of it. Then, I will walk you through the registration form I created for each participant to complete. This will first work as a basic registration and tell us how many to expect so that we can come up with more accurate figures for things like meals and accommodation needs.
But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
This form also steps through a multitude of possible ways to give and ways to ask for help if needed. When you complete your registration it is suggested that you visit the donation page if you are interested in giving financial support. At the end of the registration period, which I propose to be 7 days after the approval of this proposal, we can then organize the information we receive from the participants and reassess the needs of this training.
Here are the financials regarding the monetary cost of holding the dialogue training program in July:
Maria & David are asking for $1,600-$2,100 to cover their room and board
This is $300 for gas, $300 for 2 meals a day, and $1,000-$1,500 for 12 nights stay at their hotel.
We feel it is important that we also understand that a no charge offering doesn’t mean there is no cost involved. This training will essentially take the IPC off the books as income generating for 12 days. So, there are 12 days of toilet paper, printer ink, running water, and lights that need to be paid for from somewhere.
The cost to run the IPC for 12 days comes to $1,952 – this number is found by taking the actual IPC exclusive operating costs of 2021 and dividing it by 365 to find the average daily cost of the building. General overhead is not included in this figure. These are utilities, supplies, etc.
Staffing is included in that amount but is only figured at one person for 3.5 hours per day for 12 days. This does not consider any extra duties that may come up for both Kamilah and Zainab during this time that are specific to this training happening and is far from the actual number of hours the two would normally put in for this time frame.
The question was raised regarding meals and, which, if any, would be provided.
Meal costs were considered at $6 per person per breakfast, $8 per lunch and $8 per dinner for a total of 18 people (the maximum expected) and only takes into account grocery expenses.
The expected cost will be adjusted according to how many meals we decide to provide in the end and the number of people who attend.
To provide only lunch for everyone (18) during the 9 days of training – $1,296
So, the total COST of this training is, at minimum, $5,348
There are also a few who would like to take this training who are part of one or more FoP circles who do not live nearby.
We do not feel it is fair to these beloveds to be expected to pay for the expense of room and board for a significant amount of time when the rest of us are blessed to live close by. If we consider $30 each way for gas + $65 per night for 12 nights this comes to $3,192. This is per person and does not include what they would spend on their meals during training.
Those present for the sustainability circle meeting, on Friday, agreed that this offering is worth much more than it costs us and saw that this is an invitation to each of us to take this opportunity to access the appreciation, gratitude, and the feeling of hospitality in our heart.
What if we see that by adding that one last missing ingredient, everyone is fed, everyone has a warm bed to sleep in, and we all have a way to show our gratitude and love to Maria and David, to the farm, and to each other.
The following form will take you through the registration process for training but will also look deeply into what your personal needs may be as well as offering a wide range of opportunities to show your gratitude and love in the way your heart desires. Whether you need help with travel expenses or wish to host several meals, there is something there for you.
Together we can create a container that is bubbling over with love before we ever step foot into the building.
Once the information is gathered we can begin to get a picture of what we have instead of looking at what we need and organize accordingly. We may not have anyone who needs accommodations at all. We may find that between us we can feed everyone every meal without looking to the farm to cover the grocery bill. Or, we may see that we still have a long way to go.
From there, is the opportunity to find how it all comes together, Insh’allah