Ultimate Block Party: A Food Challenge Makes a Neighborhood.
May 01, 2012
Growing food can result in a sense of empowerment; for individuals and communities. In recognition of this growing trend, Sunset Magazine launched the One-Block Challenge, a grow-your-own block party consisting of neighbors banding together to grow and raise the ingredients for a celebratory dinner. This tested not only their collective green thumbs, but also their ability to operate as a community.
The winning team came from Morro Bay, a small town located on California’s Central Coast. Team name – The Beach Tractors consisted of 15 adults (and 16 kids) and they milked goats and made cheese, farmed oysters, raised chickens and even made their own salt! Even though they had very little experience farming or gardening, they realized that creating their own meals was merely a result of their willingness to connect for a cause.
Here are the reasons why The Beach Tractors succeeded:
1. Educate then delegate--Growing the menu
The Beach Tractors first chose recipes with careful research and then decided who would raise which ingredients. Every individual had a specific job, which was crucial to success of the operation.
2. Meet to defeat—Communicate
In an era where neighbors are merely acquaintances, the Beach Tractors proved that no one was a stranger. Monthly meetings, a group website and flurries of emails helped keep the project on track.
3. Utilizing their resources--From land to sea
From goat milking, cheese-making and oyster harvesting, the Beach Tractors took advantage of their location. For example, their prime coastal location made it relatively easy to farm oysters.
4. Support—Making it more than just a contest
The project became more about the people involved then the food itself. Ken, a retiree, led the chicken harvesting operation who admitted to the team that it was the most useful he had felt in years. The desire for re-connection became the glue that kept this team together.
After a whirlwind summer, The Beach Tractors had a fabulous feast. And, while they celebrated their new-found abilities, the real value was found in transforming this quiet surfing outpost into a self-reliant, empowered, close knit community.
Read more about the grow-your-own projects and the other nine finalists at sunset.com/oneblockcontest
|filed under: Sunset Magazine One-Block Diet Food Revolution Ultimate Block Party|