There is no reason to keep all of these matter of fact and kind words to our Little Artshram selves. This week we will have yet another important opportunity to sit around a table discussing how, where and if Little Artshram is allowed to follow through on our long-term, leased home-base at the barns property and community garden in Traverse City, at the Historic Barns Park.
A series of unfortunate, sensationalized press reportage, along with fear-based mis-perceptions has contributed greatly to the past seven months of disruption and difficulty for our little, Little Artshram.
The long line of amazing board members, supporters, sponsors, CSA members, program and project participants, and especially the children, youth and their families has remained steady on, many responding with letters of support. These letters of support have helped raise the spirits of the present hard-working, volunteer board, as we’ve plowed through meeting after meeting, all the while having our on-site programs suspended and being closed out of our workshop space.
In honor of this week’s work, which culminates in a mediated meeting, of necessary discussion setting “guidelines on how we are going to be together”, we are reflecting on the power of the word—of the people in lending their voice to justice and doing what’s right. Big—as in Monsanto and other such nationwide issues, AND little—as in our humble attempts to create a thriving community garden and community learning center on public-owned property—-we believe that our place and practice deserves the opportunity to remain at this green-space we’ve invested so much of our work in for the past several years.
Many thanks for the thanks.
This is a supportive note from one of our Summer Camp families:
We are writing in support of Little Artshram with great hope that they will be permitted to operate their summer camp in 2012 and beyond. Our daughter, six years old at the time, participated in the summer day camp run by Little Artshram for several weeks last summer. It was a pleasure for both my husband and I to learn through her young eyes and to hear of the experiences she had each day in our own back yard. Such experiences however, can be had just about anywhere. What sets Little Artshram apart in our mind is the sense of independence, stewardship and community they have been able to cultivate among the participating youths, and by extension their families.
After the first few days, our six-year-old was able to lead us on a long hike through the trail system behind the barns to “Grandmother Willow”, a mulberry tree, the bubbling spring, et. al., pointing out and identifying plants of all kinds along the way. Her narration of our adventure was well thought out and animated, including commentary of what we need to do and how we need to behave in order to preserve these treasures, which we are privileged to see everyday. In fact, she was heartbroken when we hiked to “Grandmother Willow” on a fall day only to find her defiled by vandals. An unthinkable act to a child having spent time at Little Artshram.
Further, the children’s “work” in the gardens was invaluable to their education about the cycle of food in our culture from seed, to plant, to plate. She learned to place a value on potential food waste and find ways to utilize it productively, namely through composting. The residual benefit in the months since camp has been our daughter’s continuing respect for the food she receives and a curiosity about its origin and treatment. At seven, she sorts her waste without even thinking between compost, recycling and trash.
Whether the stewardship and environmental consciousness that Little Artshram encourages and the fact that it sticks with the kids has any bearing on your decision; I cannot be sure. What should certainly matter is that each day we dropped off our daughter, we left her knowing without a question that she was being well cared for in a way that stimulated her mind and provided her with continual physical activity with safety on all levels being the first consideration of the adults responsible for the camp’s daily operation. This peace of mind over the healthy development of our children is important to us as parents and countless other families that stand to benefit from their programming should Little Artshram open again this summer.
With deepest sincerity,
If you would like to write a letter of support for Little Artshram remaining in it’s place of residence at the Historic Barns Park, please address it to:
The Recreational Board of the City of Traverse City and Garfield Township
and forward it via email to our board president, Mr. Rokko Jans at: