An Afternoon of Home: Poetry, Pies, and a Conversation with Hunter Johnny Sain

 

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Hunter, environmentalist and writer Johnny Sain will lead a discussion entitled “The Nature of Here.

Join us Saturday February 18th for an afternoon of events!

~ 3:00 Poetry and Pies: An intergenerational poetry workshop with yummy pies

~ 5:00: The Nature of Here: A Conversation with Hunter Johnny Sain.

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The details:

 

We’ll begin at 3:00 with an interactive workshop on poetry and pies. Samantha Dill, local educator, will lead a poetry activity, “How Do You Turn Yourself Into a Poem?” This is an all ages activity for children and elders alike. During the workshop you can enjoy some locally made pies and hear the stories behind them!

Beginning at 5:00 we’ll host a potluck and community conversation with local hunter and writer Johnny Sain.

 

Johnny Sain is an Atkins native who now lives in Dover. He’s a hunter, writer, editor, and environmentalist and has been referred to as a “philosophical hillbilly.” He’ll be leading an open community conversation on the importance of what makes this place home. From Johnny:

 

A “sense of place” is best described as recognizing the identity and character of a location. It’s an understanding of what makes here “here.” Various aspects such as flora, fauna, topography, climate, and history can all contribute to the distinct aura of the place you call home. An awareness of place is the foundation of culture. But sadly, this awareness is dwindling.

 

The key to resolving many of our environmental issues is understanding and appreciating our relationship to place. This can be accomplished by once again becoming aware. It really is as simple as opening our eyes and ears, of taking a deep breath and savoring the flavors. From this awareness will spring humility and gratitude. And establishing this deep, even emotional connection is how we will protect, preserve and even enhance what is left of our natural world.

 

Potluck will begin at 5:00 with the conversation starting around 5:30. Bring a peanut free dish to share or just bring yourself. Kids always welcome. Please let us know in advance so we make sure to have enough room!

Call 479-957-0551 for more information

 

Links to the fb invites:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1827152470867912/

https://www.facebook.com/events/1382117515156247/


These events are part of our year-long series focusing on the theme of HOME.  Thanks so much to Alternate ROOTS for helping us fund these events and give money back to the community.

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Growing a Garden, Carving Out a Space: A Review of 2016

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We got our start waaaaaaay back in 2008.

But it wasn’t until 2015 that we began offering events and programming at the house.

2016 was our first year to offer open doors and programing all year long! Thanks to funds raised from our second annual Harvest Run, we built a garden, offered numerous skill shares, opened our doors for community conversations and workshops, partnered with other places and organizations to host community conversations around the region, grew our cloth diaper bank, collected seeds to give away, produced a small amount of food that we used both in our events and gave away to neighbors, and so much more.

We know we haven’t been great at posting here regularly. We are a totally volunteer run organization, staffed by caregivers with full time jobs. Things move at a turtle pace. But still they move. And here we are.

It’s February and we’re now starting our 2017 events. Our core goals will be to continue to provide the community with hands on skills and a space for conversations and planning that build up “beloved community.” We hope you will join us. We need one another now more than ever. Support our work here. 

Take a look and see what we did last year.

December 2015

Second Annual Harvest Run

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Marie Williams organizes our run and the 2015 Harvest Run brought in 1,300.00! It was our biggest fundraiser yet. In January we met as a group to allocate this budget and make it last for the entire year. We are so grateful for everyone who took part and helped us raise this money!  The run was held at beautiful Bona Dea Trail and Sanctuary in Russellville, Arkansas. Bryan Moats designed our t-shirt for the run, which featured our plant symbol, the yarrow.Want to know more about why we love yarrow? Read about the backstory here. 

Check out this photo montage below!

2016: Here’s what we did with your support!

January

Open House and Healing Herb Skill Share

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Kristin Simmons shares information on chickens, herbs, and her families famous cold remedies.

We started off the year with a skill share and open house. It was led by Kristin Simmons, RN, BSN and entitled, Plants Heal Too!

Here’s our description of this event:

“An insightful look into easily grown and maintainable herbs with medicinal properties. We will also hold a workshop on how to make an old family herbal recipe to tackle the common cold and fever.” Simmons and her family live in Dover and raise chickens and plants. She brought homemade batches of her families famous healing herbal cough medicine. We now have the recipe on hand and you can come get one!

People left with a recipe for Kristin’s family’s traditional cold medicine and a fresh batch to try at home.

A few photos from the gathering

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February

Reducing Incarceration Rates in Arkansas, a Community Conversation with Seeds of Liberation

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In February we partnered with Omavi Shakur and Seeds of Liberation to host this conversation at the Cavern in Russellville. Seeds of Liberation is “an organization working alongside Arkansas’ marginalized communities to create a just, equitable and empowering means for addressing crime through policy research, community education and amplifying the voices of the formerly incarcerated.”

Arkansas has one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation. Once incarcerated, former felons—urban and rural, men and women—find it hard to gain employment and build back their lives.

Shukur is the author of the recent article, “Prisons, Profit, and Politics: How Arkansas Politicians “Fixed” a System That Wasn’t Broken.” Before founding Seeds, Shukur was a Staff Attorney at the Orleans Public Defender’s Office in New Orleans.

A few photos from the event:

February Skill Share

Home Weatherization with Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light and the United States Green Building Council

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Matt Poe of the United States Green Building Council led the workshop and walked participants through simple, DIY techniques for keeping older homes warm in winter and cooler in the summer. Participants left the workshop with the tools and skills needed to make changes in your own property as well as a free goody bag filled with LED lightbulbs.

In addition to leading the workshop, Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light donated all the materials to weatherize our 1940s building and hosted an interactive skill share for the community. They also hosted all participants for a free lunch at Tarascos in downtown Dardanelle.

This was a beginning step in turning our center into a working example for home owners, renters, and landlords seeking to make similar changes to their own properties.

The Arkansas Affiliate of Interfaith Power and Light is established by individuals and participating congregations who share a concern for the earth’s environment from a unique, nonpartisan, theological perspective. In addition to leading this workshop they are also working with the McElroy House to raise money for our weatherization work, enabling our center to be a working example of affordable and sustainable green retrofitting.

A few photos from the event

March

Garden Work Begins!

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Since we first began in 2008 we have dreamed of—and planned for— a garden. This year we actually began to build it! We got compost from the city and began with a handful of donated plants from volunteers. Terry Sigle of Dardanelle donated cedar wood from his property for the raised beds, and a crew of volunteers helped us build our first beds.Volunteers from Tech came to help us build the beds!

Each year we will grow the garden, adding more raised beds and in ground gardens. We will also add more potted plants in the coming years. We intend for the garden to be a working example of a variety of growing techniques, applicable to all kinds of homes.

Creating ADA Compliant Raised Beds

Our goal is to make our space ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. We are a long way from getting there, but we are making small changes as we are able. After building the beds we realized they were not high enough for wheel chair accessibility and so we raised them.

Below are a few photos examples of how we did that.

We are far from being ADA compliant. If you are willing to help us become more so, please let us know. We need donations and volunteers to reach our goal. If you have experience in writing grants to help with this work, we would greatly appreciate that!

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Here is a photo of Terry Sigle, who donated the local cedar for the beds. Thank you, Terry! We are so grateful to use local wood!

March Skill Share

Caregiver Expo

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Anola, Samantha and Sarah Aspel of Riverfront Doulas hosted an interactive skill share on cloth diapering, allergies, and doula work. Anola worked hard to build up our cloth diaper bank, and started a facebook page specifically for this growing community resource. Go here to learn more. 

Our cloth diaper bank is open to anyone who can use it. The application process is simple and does not require any special paperwork. If you can use the resources, they are your’s to borrow. No questions asked. If you are interested in helping us get more diapers out to the community, please let us know! Samatha will get you to work!

April

McElroy House Cloth Diaper Bank Visits the Green Day Festival

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We partnered with the Green Corner Store and the Bernice Gardens to host a booth for our diaper bank during their Earth Day events. Anola put together a wonderful display about the importance of choosing cloth and many people from Little Rock came to donate diapers for the bank!  We also got to connect with others interested in this work.

Here are a few photos from the event:

April Skill Share

Butterfly and Bee Gardening for Grief and Healing

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In April we came together to grow our garden into a story space and plant heirloom flowers and native varieties known for attracting pollinators. We asked participants to bring “story” plants to the gathering—the kind passed down among generations and communities and/or any varieties that are especially meaningful to you. The plants could be something in honor of a lost loved one, a past home, or even a plant in honor of an idea. We then listened to one another’s stories and planted these in our growing garden space.

We also planted our native varieties we purchased from Pine Ridge Nursery, a regional business working to preserve native plants.  We were also given donations from New South Nursery, a small nursery working with heirlooms.

Our garden went from one small stretch to a large square and now it’s filled with stories passed down! We will keep adding to it each year until it covers the whole yard.

The Garden Grows

Our tomato plants, donated by Linda from Dardanelle (see photo above), were passed down in her family for over a hundred years. They soon started growing, as did our many wildflowers and walking onions. We tried to take photos of the plants in progress. We also dug up some wildflowers from private land to bring to the center.

May Skill Share

Rain Barrel Workshop with Sergio Picado

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In May we used some of our money to buy recycled rain barrel safe containers and Sergio Picado taught us how to build our own rain barrels!  As time goes on we will continue to build more and have a working water system on hand that can be used as a teaching tool for the community. These rain barrels are connected to our drip hose watering system.

As part of the event we also recorded part of Sergio’s talk and taught people a little bit about documenting stories. As always, our skill share was open to young and old alike.

June

Garden Grows, Diaper Bank and Caregiver Resources Expand, Behind the Scenes Planning, Bees Come to Visit

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Throughout the year we grew our diaper bank.  Samantha took over the bank and began to build on the strong foundation Anola created. Samantha also hosted knitting circles with out yarn stash at her classroom in Danville. All the while, the plants continued to grow and the bees and butterflies started to come to our space. Some days you could hear the wings and the buzz from the front porch.

July Workshop

Building Strong, Diverse, and Beloved Communities, a partnership with Catalyst.

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Catalyst came to Arkansas to work with us and Little Rock Collective Liberation to host workshops on helping us name and fight racism. To learn a little more about this workshop read the write up here:

Hate, discrimination, racism, and fear are pervasive in our world today. It’s not solely up to people in the cities to address this problem. Here in the smaller towns and communities we must take a stand, love our neighbors, and develop locally-grown solutions to the national rise in racism and fear.

A central goal of the McElroy House Organization is to provide spaces where we can can reach across the divides of racial, economic, religious, and various boundaries and stand in solidarity through the inter-relatedness of our lived experience. As an extension of our core values, we are partnering with Catalyst Organization for an interactive community-wide workshop to talk about race and racism and learn about what institutional racism is and how it shows up in our everyday lives and in our communities.

Catalyst Project is an education and movement building organization committed to engaging white people in fighting racism. Aspects of this training will be specifically geared toward helping white people gain a deeper understanding of how racism shows up in white communities and the importance of standing alongside communities of color to make a difference.

This workshop isn’t just about naming the problems. It’s also about digging into our common visions for the world we want to live in and the world we want to leave for our children and grandchildren. We’ll be reflecting on our visions for the future and begin to develop some practical tools for getting there. The training is open to everyone interested in developing local solutions to fighting racism.

Lunch and childcare will be provided. To ensure we have enough volunteers and food, please rsvp before Wednesday July 13th.

Our event was well-attended and we came away from the workshop with a deeper understanding of history and future. We are grateful to Little Rock Collective Liberation for helping us make this happen. After their visit, Catalyst worked to raise money for our organization, bringing in 1,500.00. We still have most of it in the bank for our 2017 funds. We’ll be using it to provide free internet service at the Mc House and we also purchased a screen door to help our place be more welcoming.

A few photos from that day

Yard Sale

Samantha and Eliza hosted a yard share and sale on the same day! We took donations and gave away things to the community, including bouquets from our garden. Someday soon we hope to give flowers away all the time. We also plan to keep doing yard swaps in 2017!
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August

Community Talks Gathering: Building Safe Spaces for Transgender Communities

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Kat organized this wonderful event featuring panelists from around the state. It was our best attended event, with great conversation and community building. Here is the write up from Kat:

Come visit us at the Train Depot Park in Russelville to listen to leaders, allies, and people who have a lot to share about how to be an ally to the transgender community and learn about important issues. The event will be panel style with breakout sessions to get into more depth about specific issues or learning opportunities.

This event is a safe space and also a space of empowerment. So bring your respect, open your minds, and lets get ready to learn together!

More information will be added as time will go on, but mark your calenders and follow the event to learn more.

August Skill Share

Budget Meals and Bumper Crops

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We came together to share food and talk about using local produce. Ray and Jill came to the event to tell us more about the Diamond Access Pipeline resistance and share ways we can get involved. There were caterpillars in the garden and food on the table. Growth is always.

September

Welcoming Wings

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We didn’t have any public events in September, but things are always happening behind the scenes. The garden kept growing, we added an organ to our living room, we started giving away free tomatoes, hung up an inspiration quote wall to help us learn more about organizing around the nation both past and present, harvested some luffa gourds, and welcomed in more butterflies and bees than we could count.

September

Kat goes to Southern Movement Assembly!

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Thanks to our funding from Catalyst, we were able to send a representative to the Southern Movement Assembly in Chatanooga. Kat was was able to meet with people from other organizations around the south and develop a strategy for work in central Arkansas across rural and urban divides! Look for more updates on this in 2017.

October

SMA Reportback and Art Sharing

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Kat updated us on her trip to SMA and we shared art pieces and creations that are close to our heart. People brought quilts, visual arts, and we had some music. And, as always, great food. Kenny and Ben visited from Little Rock to speak with us about building rural to urban cooperatives.

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Kenny and Ben talk about cooperatives.

November Conversation and Skill Share

Learning about Ella Baker, Grandma Pie Circles, and Work Day!

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In November we came together to to learn more about Ella Baker and her models of community leadership. And, of course, we had pie.

Here’s a little bit about that event from our press release:

We’ll be learning more about Civil Rights leader Ella Baker and her ideas on building up leaderful communities. We’ll focus on the ways in which her ideas are essential to our work today.

We’ll share some seasonal pies and swap ‘grandma in the kitchen’ kind of stories, learning more about where we’ve come from and how to make much out of little. And we’ll get some work done in the garden, work on the rain barrels, put in some bookshelves and grow our space for the coming spring! Everyone is invited to take home some yarrow seeds for their home garden.

These events are open to everyone and we’d love to meet you! Pie and discussion on Ella Baker will take place at 3:30 with work day to follow.

We’ll close out the night with a meeting and our monthly potluck. We’ll be talking about our upcoming run, have a report back on the rural faith and justice gathering, meet with area activists and organizers to find ways to partner and much more.

Everyone is welcome to stay for the meeting!

December

How Did We Get Here? Histories and Elections

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Historians Marie Williams and Eric Totten

After the election people in our community began to wonder where we go from here. We are an organization that loves people and our home. We do not welcome hate.

So we invited two historians to come and talk to us about how we got here and we all brainstormed where we could go from here. From our event invite:

Many people are wondering how to make sense of the election season and the election results. Everyone is welcome to this event, regardless of how you voted or didn’t vote.

Join us and take part in an open discussion with Marie Williams of Dover and Eric Totten of Fayetteville, two American History PhD students, talk about the historical context of this election. We’ll bring this information into the present by talking about how we build more loving communities.

The McElroy House does not affiliate with political parties, but we do have a strong stance on loving our neighbor as ourselves and building up local solutions that bring people together across race and region to stand against poverty and hate.

Bring a potluck dish to share or just bring yourself. Childcare will be provided but please rsvp so we can make sure to have enough. If you have accessibility needs, please let us know and we will do our very best to address them.

The gathering was very well intended. We saw old friends and new faces. We talked about growing our work in bridging cultural divides. And we started making plans for 2017. And we were overflowing with children! Extra special thanks to Little Rock Collective Liberation for providing childcare for us!

Here are a few photos:

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The Loose Ends:

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything could easily be summed up?  Yeah, life is not like that. And running an all volunteer organization on little money is CERTAINLY not like that.

Here are a few other things to know about us that happened this year. Throughout the year our garden grew, we made some signs for our building, and a lot of behind the scenes work took place:

Given our schedules and life, we were not able to do a Harvest Run this year. We were pretty sad about that, but this work is never linear. After Catalyst came to visit this summer, they worked to recruit some of their friends to donate to our cause. Thanks to their fundraising, we raised 1,469.00 which will be going toward our 2017 work.

So far we have used the money to get internet access and a screen door, Two essential organizing tools for our community!

Stay tuned to learn more about our upcoming year of work. Thanks to Alternate ROOTS and Catalyst, Little Rock Collective Liberation, and YOU, we are able to provide this space and put resources into the community’s hands.


Story Plants: The McElroy House Garden

A version of this column first appeared in ABOUT the River Valley Magazine. 

13528609_1139200962810424_6506698281333317111_oWe started our McElroy House pollinator garden during a workday back in the fall of last year. We put down cardboard across a square of the front yard bordering Second and Green Streets. It wasn’t much, but kept down the weeds and served as a marker throughout the winter, reminding us of the spring commitment we’d made.

In March of this year we started removing strips of the cardboard slowly, digging into the loamy soil and planting as we went. For a while it was just a small little row of yarrow and day lilies. But as time went on we pulled back more and more cardboard and dug new patches, being careful to work slowly enough for the plants to take root. Then in April we hosted our flower planting skill share. We pulled back the last layers of cardboard and dug up the entire square. We’d purchased native plants from Pine Ridge Gardens in London and New South Nursery in Roland. We’d brought more yarrow and Black-eyed Susan and Echinacea And we’d put out a call to the community to come bring seedling versions of their favorite flowers to add to the beds. Most importantly, we asked that people bring story plants and share their stories as we put them in the ground.

What exactly is a story plant, you might ask. Well, it can mean any number of things. For starters, plants have their own stories about how they replicate. Plants can live very long lives — especially in the multi-generational sense —  and they replicate in a myriad of ways. Take for instance the yarrow, our plant mascot for lack of a better term. It produces by rhizomes, a kind of stem that actually grows underground.  Basically, yarrow grows from it’s offshoots. And it’s tenacious and drought-hearty. Cornflower, the delicate blue flowers that covered our garden in the spring, are self seeding. They’ll return on their own next year without our having to do much of anything. Others, like Echinacea, are perennial. They die back in the winter to return in the spring. The day lilies  grow by bulbs. They stay dormant in cold weather and shoot forth new growth when it warms up.  So first there is the story of how a plant keeps going.

 

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But beyond that, plant stories are about how plants become connected within our own lives. There is the ancient story of people and food—a story we too often take for granted—but there is also the very recent narrative wherein old plants weave their way into our short lives. You may think you don’t know any story plants. Or maybe it’s just you don’t know the plant names. But you still know the stories.  Maybe you see an iris and think of a grandmother or grandfather. Maybe a patch of wild daisies reminds you of your mother. In many instances we can write new stories with plants. A sunflower can become a new beginning; a hyssop can mean building community; a yarrow is knitted into a story about persistence. Plants help us learn about solidarity, about who came before, and about what we can do now right where we are. Plants remind us that the world is so much bigger than we can ever imagine and that our interconnectedness is more vast than our language could ever convey.

Everything we planted at the McElroy House garden is there for the butterflies and bees. We worked with native plant and pollinator specialists to make sure that our garden is quite the buffet for them. And these days the garden is crowded. There are little yellow sulphur butterflies and buckeyes and monarchs. The bees are everywhere, too thick upon the bee balm to even begin to count. We’ve got some tall milkweed growing, the only plant where the Monarch will lay its eggs.

But the garden is also for us. It’s there for us to remember people we’ve lost—the ways we’ve lost ourselves, even—and to sit with our grief in a way that gives honor to these struggles and these memories. It’s there to remind us that no matter how many times someone uses the metaphor, it’s fundamentally true that everything in the garden starts as a small, fragile seedling. It’s there to help us have an ever-growing visual image of what happens when hard work meets solidarity. And it’s there to liven up the place, to fill the space with color and wings. Building an intentional place of beauty is never a frivolous undertaking.

Beyond that, the garden is there to help us build up collective stories that are both new and generations old. We are an organization that stands for justice and solidarity–across class, across race, across region. We believe in centering the diversity experiences of our community as the foundation for our work. This doesn’t always lend itself to tightly wound mission statements or bullet pointed lists so readily employed by the majority of the non-profit world. We are an action organization but we are also an idea organization. And we move at the speed of caregiving. We care for babies; aging relatives, and our own bodies with all their struggles and beauty. Most of us live paycheck to paycheck, and there are no paid positions at the McElroy House.

Some people might call our work slow. We’d probably agree. But when we look at the garden we see time differently. And we can begin to see that what we do is root work. Not everything is visible above ground—at least not all the time.

We remember that our work is in everything we do in and outside of the McElroy House: Caregiving, working low paying jobs that seldom make the bills, struggling with mental illness, fighting the destructive world of poverty, teaching in our public schools, teaching in universities, getting PhDs in history, single parenting, struggling with family members who don’t understand us, studying the effects of racism on our population, building rain barrels, speaking up for ourselves or our trans friends in a community that fears us/them, breaking down ideas of race, class, and gender in our communities, sharing stories of how we learned to fight self-hate, forging paths for women in engineering, growing a little patch of food, letting our kids see us wrestle with injustice, writing music, standing up for justice even when we don’t know all the terms our urban friends so readily spout, wrestling with the role of white people in #blacklivesmatter, working to understand immigration and stand with our neighbors facing fear of deportation, fiercely loving our homes—pain and all, refusing to take part in fear of our neighbor, and a rejection of the so-often told stories, that it’s “normal” for all of us to be fearful and divided.

And when we forget this—as we so often do— we can look at the garden and remember.

The world is full of injustice. There is so much work to be done. Plants can help us forge new ways of fighting this—in our own communities with the tools and resources we have right in front and inside of us. It can remind us of the skills that live inside of us. It can remind us that the fight for racial justice, indigenous solidarity, eradicating poverty at the roots, is important no matter where we are. It can help us develop new models for ancient struggles. It can collapse time and connect us to something so very far beyond ourselves.

13606505_1142793365784517_6649053907878097659_nThis fall we’ll put down more cardboard to prepare for the coming spring. Our goal is to slowly add onto the garden each year, filling the yard with flowers (and stories), leaving only a walking path large enough for wheel chairs and feet to pass thru. It’ll take years to get there, but there is no better place to learn patience—and perseverance— than a garden.

We’d love to have you come join us. Bring a plant in honor of a loved one or as a nod to a new story you’re writing. Or perhaps both. We believe in people coming together across differences; we believe in equality and equity, and we are certain that our plants — and our stories — are stronger together.

Keep up to date with all our work on facebook by clicking here. 

Want to work with us? Learn more and fill out our volunteer form here:


May Skill Share: Building Basic Rain Barrel Systems

May Skill Share photoWhat: Community Skill Share on Building Basic Rain Barrel Systems

When: Saturday May 21st 12:00-2:00

Where: McElroy House 420 S. 2nd Dardanelle, Arkansas

Contact: 479-957-0551 or McElroyhouse.wordpress.com

Click here for fb event. 

About:

The McElroy House: Organization for Cultural Resources invites you to join us for a workshop on building basic rain barrel systems for your home or business!

Sergio Picado of Dover will lead this interactive skill share on building and installing simple rain barrel systems in your home or business! He will build and install our system at the McElroy House while explaining the process and walking participants through each step. You’ll leave with tools needed to implement similar systems at your home.

The McElroy House: Organization for Cultural Resources offers one skill share a month led by community members and visitors. All events are free and open to the public!  Keep up to date with us on facebook by clicking here. 

For more information call 479-957-0551


April Skill Share: Butterfly and Bee Gardening for Grief and Healing

first bloomWhat: Community Skill Share on planting butterfly and bee loving story gardens

When: Saturday April 30th 12:00-2:00

Where: McElroy House 420 S. 2nd Dardanelle, Arkansas

Contact: 479-957-0551 or McElroyhouse.wordpress.com

About:

The McElroy House: Organization for Cultural Resources invites you to join us for a workshop on creating butterfly and bee loving gardens.

During this event we will be planting heirloom flowers and native varieties known for attracting pollinators. We’ll learn more about what kind of varieties we need to support butterfly populations and keep our crops healthy, and we’ll also be putting in some drip hoses for watering. Gardens are places for both grief and healing. Let’s share stories and grow a garden together!

McElroy House volunteers getting our raised beds ready.

McElroy House volunteers getting our raised beds ready.

All of our workshops are interactive, and for this workshop we are asking community members to consider bringing “story” plants to the gathering—the kind passed down among generations and communities and/or any varieties that are especially meaningful to you. Together we will add these plants to our butterfly story garden. If you are willing to share, we would love to document the story behind your plant and keep it with our garden so we can share it with the wider community. Your plant could be something in honor of a lost loved one, a past home, or even a plant in honor of an idea.

Of course, no need to bring a plant to attend! Just bring yourself! You’ll leave with information and resources for creating a butterfly garden at your own home or business.

 

McElroy House members and volunteers getting city compost for the garden.

McElroy House members and volunteers getting city compost for the garden.

Follow McElroy House on fb at www/facebook.com/mcelroyhouse


February Skill Share: Home Weatherization with Interfaith Power and Light

 

interfaith power and lightWhat: Home Weatherization Skill Share with Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light

When: February 27th 9:00-3:00 p.m

Where: McElroy House, 420 S. 2nd Street Dardanelle, Arkansas 72834

Contact: Meredith at 479-957-0551 or meredithmartin_moats@yahoo.com

Join us for a free hands-on skill share in partnership with the faith-based group Interfaith Power and Light. We’ll be working together to to weatherize our building while also offering a working example of how to translate these techniques for your own home or rental property.

Matt Poe of the United States Green Building Council will be leading the workshop and will lead participants in simple, DIY techniques for ensuring that your older home stays warm and saves energy. You’ll leave the workshop with the tools and skills needed to make changes in your own property as well as a free goody bag filled with LED lightbulbs.

Interfaith Power and Light will also be providing all participants with a free lunch at Tarascos in downtown Dardanelle.

The Arkansas Affiliate of Interfaith Power and Light is established by individuals and participating congregations who share a concern for the earth’s environment from a unique, nonpartisan, theological perspective. In addition to leading this workshop they are also working with the McElroy House to raise money for our weatherization work, enabling our center to be a working example of affordable and sustainable green retrofitting.

Once complete our building will serve as a working example for home owners, renters, and landlords seeking to make similar changes to their own properties. The McElroy House is working alongside Interfaith Power and Light to seek donations earmarked for this work. Donations of 100.00 or more will have their names engraved on bricks for our walkway. If you’re interested in making a donation to our green building fund, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Please call 479-957-0551 for more information!

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Upcoming: February Conversation: Reducing Incarceration in Arkansas

Arkansas-Prisons_Shum

Image from Seeds of Liberation director, Omavi Shukur’s article , ““Prisons, Profit, and Politics: How Arkansas Politicians “Fixed” a System That Wasn’t Broken.”

What: Reducing Incarceration in Arkansas, a Community Conversation with Seeds of Liberation director, Omavi Shukur

When: February 6th 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.

Where: The Cavern, 316 West B Street, Russellville, Arkansas

Contact: Meredith at 479-957-0551 or meredithmartin_moats@yahoo.com

Please join the McElroy House: Organization for Cultural Resources for our February Community Conversation in partnership with Seeds of Liberation, an organization working alongside Arkansas’ marginalized communities to create a just, equitable and empowering means for addressing crime through policy research, community education and amplifying the voices of the formerly incarcerated.

Arkansas has one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation. Once incarcerated, former felons—urban and rural, men and women—find it hard to gain employment and build back their lives.

Seeds of Liberation Director Omavi Shukur will provide some context on Arkansas’s incarceration rates and then open up the room for discussion. Formerly incarcerated people and their families and friends are especially welcome. Please come share your stories, learn more about Seeds of Liberation, and come together to build just systems for all.

Shukur is the author of the recent article, Prisons, Profit, and Politics: How Arkansas Politicians “Fixed” a System That Wasn’t Broken.” Before founding Seeds, Shukur was a Staff Attorney at the Orleans Public Defender’s Office in New Orleans.

Learn more here: http://www.seedsofliberation.org/

About Our Living Room Conversations: This event is part of our Living Room conversations, a series of monthly gatherings hosted by the McElroy House. The goal of these events is to bring community members together to discuss human rights, economies, and building what Martin Luther King called “beloved community.” These conversations serve as a catalyst for community action that brings people together across division. Some of these events take place in our center in Dardanelle; others are hosted at community buildings around the area.

For more information call 479-957-0551

View and Share the facebook invite here.