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Unlearning: Waxing on our “Off the Map” Trajectory

Here’s another attempt to write more personal posts and not just use this space for info regurgitation. Trying to document some of  my internal processes and thoughts I share in our small community, my intention being a clarity and understanding that I’ve yet been able to manifest. Thanks, ~G

Sunday Morning, North Corktown, Sage on the altar.

Sometimes, I truly grasp the reality that the life Angela and I are pointing towards will land our family in extremely unfamiliar territory. This runs counter to the direction we’re told to head when we settle down, start a family and, ahem… grow up, but it’s my belief that peak oil, climate change, economic and diplomatic crisis have us all spiraling towards that unfamiliar. Though I admit to fumbling quite a bit, I prefer to be active rather than passive in the face such things.

Detroit Evolution is our attempt to be active in the shift away from the dominant culture into this unknown and is an expression of our admittedly idealistic hope for a just and humane realm for our kid and his kin. I’m already in pretty deep as I’ve been running this code, with its glitches, since my youth. Every time we find a way to make something rather than buy it and the more aware I become of my personal role in racism and oppression, I feel as though I move farther away from the place whence I came. All these little things increase momentum into that unknown.

I’m now honored to be working more closely with the East Michigan Environmental Action Council and the Detroit Food Justice Task Force. Due to this, I’m reconnecting with the so-called real world a bit to get a better grasp of the work at hand. As I watch the local news and try to thoughtfully process the cultural landscape of Detroit and its relationship to global issues I’m forced to take in more of the culture at large. Based in this new perspective, for someone who doesn’t care to be oppressed or oppress others, the unfamiliar still seems like the most viable option.

It’s is more dynamic than that though, damn dualism. As I move towards less comfortable and more active and often challenging physical and mental states, I’m experiencing a greater sense of inner peace and purpose. This is conflicted I know, but sitting with conflict is the call of the day. For me the more unfamiliar the territory, the more active my mind is and the more I become myself. Maybe this stems from my observation that the greater the differences and variables in a subject/object relationship, the greater the opportunity for engagement and participation. I’m still working on all of this.

There is another exciting unknowable element in this, the people, communities and cultures, seen and unseen that we have been honored to commune with. But I’ll save that, which I consider to be the axis mundi of this work, for the next. Shanti.

December 5, 2010   No Comments

Undoing Racism in the Detroit Food System Gathering

I’m continuously striving to become an aware, non-judgmental, active and outspoken ally of the organizations, individuals and communities of color that my family and I are blessed to share this space with. I feel the greatest common ground between all Detroit communities, all people really, seen and unseen, is Food. We all have a right to safe, non-genetically modified healthy food that does not carry with it the weight of oppression or resource abuse.

The Undoing Racism in the Detroit Food System Gatherings are both challenging and inspirational. I put forth that straight forward, safe discussions on race along with vigilant personal work to decolonize our hearts and minds are requisite for any viable localization efforts to take root in Detroit. I’m looking forward to this month’s film and have my fingers crossed that we’ll get a report out from those who attended the Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference last month. Please join us, share and thank you! ~Gregg

Undoing Racism in the Detroit Food System Gathering
This Saturday, December 4, 1 to 3pm at the MSU Center, 3408 Woodward, Detroit, MI

The film Homecoming will be shown.  The filmdraws on the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, which is intertwined with the history of black farmers. Inspired by Malcolm X’s contention that “Land is the basis of all independence. Land is the basis of freedom, justice, and equality,” Gilbert documents the tradition and decline of black farming, and explores the bittersweet legacy of the land, a symbol of both struggle and survival.” (from PBS website, http://www.pbs.org/itvs/homecoming/film1.html).  After the movie, there will be discussion and action updates on the Undoing Racism in the Detroit Food System work.

December 3, 2010   No Comments

Update – A Home, Vegan Holiday Class & Catering

This Update is dedicated to Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson, 1955 – 2010.

Please Note: There’s still space in Angela’s Vegan Holiday Party Foods Meet-Up this Wed, Dec 1st at Irene’s Myomassology Institute. (Thank You Irene!)

Greetings Detroit and all who grace us here!
As always Detroit Evolution-land is full of twists, turns and surprises! I’m slightly sarcastic, but there is sincerity in the excitement. Thanks to everyone for the care and concern over our recent eviction. Though it was a challenge to find, we just signed the paperwork on a new rental in our current neighborhood. We’re still trying to help our landlord keep his house, but all the other tenants have moved out and we’ve been advised to move as well, so we’re turning another page.

A Bit Of Our Story
For those of you just joining us, welcome and thank you. If this all seems a bit personal, it is. We tend to wear our lives on our sleeves here and feel it’s only right to be real and share our challenges and our adaptations along the way. Long time readers are familiar with the fact that we’re just getting settled in North Corktown after quite an upheaval. We used to run a joint called Detroit Evolution Laboratory in Eastern Market that closed when our son Aya was born.

Due to mistakes we’re still trying to own, we lost our shirts on the Lab. We ended up displaced for about a year, sleeping in spare rooms, basements and temples with our ever joyful one year old. We share our story to illustrate the depth of the tension we feel around moving and the fact that the transition to more mindful lifestyles isn’t always smooth sailing. That being said we are very blessed and know that we’ve chosen this path. Angela and I, unlike many Detroiters, have the option to live this way or that. Again, we’re very blessed.

Thanks to a loan from a friend and supporter we ended up being able to put first and last month’s rent on our current place. It took us a while to calm down enough to even unpack. It was like we’d been in a bad relationship and it took about 6 months to begin to trust that we were not in jeopardy. Connecting with our fellow tenant, who is also our landlord’s son, we planned our first urban garden, Geodesic Dome and all. But that wasn’t meant to be.

Speaking of Domes
We were building the dome next to the house here on 14th for the Food Forward cameras when we were told that we were being evicted. It was a struggle to carry on building in the cold rain, knowing that our attempts to find a bit of security had failed. I remember trying to smile my way through the interview, I was stunned and didn’t know what to do.

Needless to say, work on the dome has been on hold while we try to establish more secure footing, which we hope to find in our new space. I’m bothered by the fact that we’ve yet to fulfill our Kickstarter obligations around the dome and the whole team is excited to get started on systems design. We’ll refocus on the dome when Angela, Aya and I land safely. You can keep up with this work through Detroit Domes.

Evolutionary Holidaze – Classes & Catering!
Please try to catch Angela’s Vegan Holiday Party Foods class at Irene’s this Wednesday! She’ll be sharing recipes and sampling delicious vegan goodies for just $15. Spread the health!

Also, don’t forget Detroit Evolution for your local holiday catering needs! Check out our Catering Menu or give us a call 313.316.1411. We’re very thankful that so many of you have made Detroit Evolution a part of your holiday traditions.

Corktown Community Kitchen
The Corktown Community Kitchen is laying a new foundation as well! Stay tuned for the exciting news and how you can get involved. In the meantime, the kitchen is honored to have landed at Spirit of Hope Church and we’re planning exciting community-informed and -inspired offerings in 2011.

People’s Yoga Detroit!
People’s Yoga Detroit thrives on through the many challenges offered a donation-based yoga studio that takes form in the beautiful, but weather-challenged gym of Spirit of Hope Church.

It’s a little cold! We’re currently raising funds to weatherize the church and will have plastic across the windows sometime this week. This will do wonders keeping in the heat, but the curtains we’re raising funds for will seal the deal and keep Detroit in Free Yoga all year round! Please shoot me an email if you would like to help. gregg@detroitevolution.com

Other items on our wish list: slightly used yoga mats, blankets and props. Also, we need to tidy up a bit and are looking for a lockable cabinet. Maybe there’s one in a basement or garage somewhere? We’re very thankful for your consideration and hope that you’ll be able to practice yoga with us soon.

Also! Please read about the Free Movie Night in Eastern Market’s upcoming transition to an exciting collaborative format below! Detroit Abides is expanding to reflect Detroit.

Thank You!
It’s rare that I get to ramble on too much in these updates these days. We seem to be in a constant rush with Aya and with the continuous flailing about that it takes to keep this all going. I don’t have time to get philosophical here, but I will take a moment to share the immensity of gratitude we feel towards those who have supported us to this point. Even if we haven’t seen you in a while or our missions have shifted trajectories, we’re very glad for and celebrate our connection.

We fully acknowledge that we wouldn’t be doing what we are doing without the direct support of the many communities and individuals that have seen value in our expression of what decolonizing hearts and minds and re-localizing neighborhoods can look like. Please consider this a deep bow of gratitude and respect.

Thank you all so much for your continued support. As always, our blessings to you and yours.

In Health, Joy & Liberation,
Gregg for Angela, Aya and the entire DE Crew

Irene’s Meet-Up – Vegan Holiday Party Foods
Wednesday, December 1, 6:30-9:00 pm, Cost $15.00
Irene’s Myomassology Institute

26061 Franklin Rd, Southfield, MI 48033 – 248-350-1400
Share the gift of health this holiday season by bringing one of these delicious and humane dishes to your next gathering! We will talk about the basics of a vegan diet, how to eat well on a budget and of course we’ll sample the fantastic food! Menu: Olive Tapenade Stuffed Mushrooms, Pumpkin Falafel Bites with Spiced Tzatziki, Masala Paneer on Mini Chapati, Apple Cheddar Turnovers. Please RSVP through the meet-up page! Thanks!

Holiday Food Bazaar
Friday, December 10 at 7:00pm, FREE!
Detroit’s first underground food fair! Featuring artisanal edibles from Detroit’s most delicious purveyors, these items make great gifts for teachers, friends, colleagues or anyone who enjoys fine food. Wine, hot chocolate and a variety of appetizers will be available for purchase to enjoy while you shop, with DJ Michael Geiger providing the soundtrack. Free admission, but bring plenty of spending loot as this will be a CASH ONLY event!

A Collaborative Free Movie Night – Detroit Abides Transitions
On November 17th, we quietly closed the 2010 season of the Free Eastern Market Movie Night known in some circles as Detroit Abides. We at Detroit Evolution were honored to partner with Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit and Eastern Market Corporation to offer this monthly event that began over three years ago in our living room at “the Lab” and quickly shifted into the Eastern Market sheds.

Angela and I want to thank everyone who has assisted us in keeping this important event going. Consistently, people have performed near-miracles or produced rare audio connectors out of nowhere to make this or that work and keep us above ground. Thanks to those who have carried chairs and struggled to hear over Burt’s karaoke. There have sometimes been obstacles to overcome with this one, to be sure. But mostly, thanks to everyone who attended. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to share films that have changed and informed our way of living and we’re honored to have shared a small part in the greater change that’s reared its head in Eastern Market and other like-minded places in Detroit.

We’re pleased to share that this Free Movie Night will carry on as a collaborative work with other organizations and individuals we respect and admire. One of our personal goals is for our work to reflect the needs and interests of Detroit’s many and varied communities. Our participation in this collaborative moves this awareness-raising event closer to that goal. New partners like Zero Waste Detroit and the Capuchin Soup Kitchen’s Earthworks Urban Farm will present movies and discussions that will bring both new and experienced Detroit perspectives to the table.

We want to encourage you to look towards the 2011 Season of this Free Movie Night! To inspire you, here’s a sampling of the important films Eastern Market Corpration, Great Lakes Bioneers, Detroit and Detroit Evolution have shared: A Man Named Pearl, Ladies of the Land, Where Do The Children Play?, Alcohol Can Be A Gas!, Fierce Light, HealthyTown Detroit, Big River, Garbage Warrior, American Harvest, Food, Inc., Consuming Kids, What Would Jesus Buy?, Our School, Coming Home, A Convenient Truth, The Greening of Southie, FLOW, The Garden, The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil, Race: the Power of an Illusion, Kilowatt Ours, Food Matters, The End of Suburbia, King Corn. Wow! It’s been a pretty impressive run, eh? Thank you all so much & please stay tuned in 2011!

November 29, 2010   2 Comments