Our Purpose and Vision
By Teresa Foudriat
The Long Spoon Collective works to create a way of life that meets needs while nourishing the systems that sustain us. We are responding to the intertwined problems of climate chaos, the economic inequality inherent in our globalized capitalist economic system, ecological devastation, and our spiritual alienation from the other members of earth’s community.
We are not sure what the future holds: apocalyptic collapse, a slow decline as fossil fuels dwindle, or business as usual, with a small number of people using up an ever larger portion of the world’s resources at the expense of the rest of the planet. Whichever scenario unfolds, we are working towards resilience and the paradigm shift we believe is urgently needed.
We are doing this for future generations so that human beings can learn to thrive without destroying the planet and the creatures on it.
This mission is the heart of what guides our work, but in more immediate, concrete terms, we are building infrastructure that can meet the needs of a large number of people around Saugerties in ways that don’t rely on fossil fuels.
We understand that in doing the work of relocalizing our systems of energy, food, transportation, shelter, economic exchange, and health care to prepare for the changes ahead, we need to deepen our perception of our interconnection with all life as well as our sense of connection to the place where we live, the Hudson Valley.
As individuals we work to change our habits; as a community we recognize that what we can accomplish together is exponentially greater than what we can do alone. We believe the power of community can provide the greatest leverage for large-scale societal change.
We are using several strategies to establish this non-exploitive, localized infrastructure:
First, we are facilitating a network that shares resources (food, skills, tools, space, etc.). By spending time with interested community members talking, working, and sharing food and fun together, we can then come up with a plan for how we can all work together, creating a cloud of positive activity that helps those involved live more cooperatively and sustainably.
Second, we are working to develop 4 larger plots of land into models of sustainable living. These pieces of land will:
• House and feed a core labor force, a group of individuals committed to working full time to meet the needs of the greater community.
• Act as a “living laboratory,” a center for intense experimentation in sustainable living and food production. We hope to generate knowledge and experience that can be used to help the entire community.
• Provide a central space for educational programming focused on experiential learning to teach children and adults the skills needed to meet needs in ways that nourish the systems that sustain us.
Third, we are disentangling ourselves from the consumer economy that degrades the environment and reduces human interactions to transactional exchange. We’re moving towards a gift economy that asks, “What can I give?” rather than “What can I get?” In line with this strategy we don’t ask for payment for our work or for the food we grow. We realize that some form of financing is needed to allow the work of the collective to function. Therefore from time to time we may offer goods for recompense and we are open to the generosity of others.
Long Term Goals
Over the course of the next five years we hope to:
• Establish a new food-growing infrastructure in this area that can provide households with free, organic, food grown without the use of fossil fuels.
• Further develop the network by helping individual households set up and maintain gardens, plant trees, build off grid infrastructure and housing, provide salvaged materials, teach skills, etc.
• Facilitate educational programs throughout the year on the primary plots of land while breaking ground on innovative ways to live more sustainably.
Our Foundational Story
An angel appeared to a pious rabbi in his dreams and granted him a wish. The old man decided to see what awaited him in the afterlife, so the angel first took him to Hell. It was a horrifying sight. A huge banquet table stretched out as far as the eye could see, laden with platters of the most delicious, sumptuous food imaginable. Yet the people seated around the table were emaciated and moaning in hunger because they all had long spoons splinted on both arms so they couldn’t bend their elbows to eat.
Next the rabbi visited Heaven, where exactly the same scenario was repeated: the long table, the magnificent feast, and the same long spoons strapped to arms of the inhabitants. This time, though, the people were smiling and well nourished, because they were reaching across the table and feeding each other.
This story conveys the spirit of the Long Spoon Collective. Thank you for your interest in our work of building a more resilient and sustainable infrastructure for the children who will inherit our world.