September 23, 2015
A huge thank you to Moqui Jane and her crew for hosting our annual Fall Retreat at the Fury Family Funny Farm. Thank you

This past weekend, Ricky and I drove with our student staff -- some wide-eyed freshman new to the EC, others wizened Senior sages -- out to one of the most magical spots I have yet to stumble into in this exceptionally magical Southwestern corner of the world. The Fury Family Funny Farm - yes, this is their official name - is a second-generation family farm tucked between the curved folds of McElmo Canyon's redrock walls. Amidst the spiky desert landscape and the sentinels of 500 year-old cliff dwellings staring down from the canyon walls, the Fury's land raises up as a green utopia. The mother-daughter farming team shifted to a permaculture model three years ago and their land reflects this---between the pond and orchards and cattle-on-rotation and food forest and snaking swales, the place literally vibrates with life. This effect is amplified by the people -- creative, inspired souls who very much live a relationship with place.

This spot served as the landscape for our annual Fall Retreat-a time when EC student and professional staff get together to build team, plan for the year ahead, and take part in some form of alternative living. In addition to helping to build an earth-ship style foundation for a new adobe strawbale structure, milking cows, and singing around the campfire, our group used our time at the Funny Farm to fine tune the work that we will be doing this year....Enter the Golden Circle!

The Golden Circle is Ricky's creation. It is a model crafted from the work of inspirational change makers that asks you to dissect your work into three categories---What it is that you do? How you do it? and ultimately WHY you are doing it? This latter elements is the core of this model and of the Golden Circle, as it holds the vision of the world that we are attempting to create and serves as the spark that ultimately engages others and in the parlance of community organizing, "builds power".

As our students worked through mapping out the What, How and Why of each of their project teams - Real Food Challenge, Local Food Security, Zero Waste, Campus Sustainability, and Creative Collective - I found myself working through the Golden Circle of the EC. My reaction to performing this exercise was the same as the students-in having to clear away the 'to do's and daily clutter of our work and get back to the essence, we were able to shake the dust off of what matters most. In rediscovering our why, in the words of Senior Dylan Malewska, we were reinvigorated to "keep the march moving forward".  The power of this exercise was startling-in sharing our individual visions for this world, our group begin to pulse with the same living energy as the farm around us.

In future episodes of the Digest, keep your eyes peeled for a new section-one in which our students share their Golden Circle: What, How, & Why of the work that they are doing. We invite you to join in this inspired journey! If you have 30 minutes this week, grab a piece of scratch paper and a pen, sit down in a quiet spot, and hash it out. If you care to share, we will happily put the word out in our next Digest....stay tuned for inspiration ahead! 

Signing Off,
Rachel Landis
EC Coordinator

Gratitude to Paul Cezanne for this amazing painting

A Picnic to Celebrate our Humane-ity - October 1st 11:30 - 1:30
Join Temple Grandin, the Environmental Center, and the Real Food Challenge at FLC for a picnic to celebrate Temple's work to promote a system wide shift to more humane practices within the food industry. Our menu will feature humanely-raised meats, seasonal local produce, fair foods, and ecologically sound products.

Tickets are limited to the first 100 hungry eaters for only $7 for FLC students and $10 for non-FLC students. Purchase your ticket before they are all gone at the FLC Environmental Center (Student Union Room 145) or online at: 

Proceeds support continuing efforts to advance the Real Food Challenge at FLC and across the nation. For more information, visit: 

Cream Bean Berry Launches their Annual EC Apple Ice Cream 
The EC is excited to have once again partnered with local artisanal ice cream makers and food activists Cream Bean Berry to produce a limited batch of our seasonal apple ice cream! This delicacy not only will make your belly happy, but it will also benefit area bears - it is made from apples that students gleaned from local fruit trees.

Get your scoop at our booth at Apple Days or at Cream Bean Berry! All proceeds go to support the Environmental Center's efforts to bring you fresh, local food!

Brewmeisters Wanted
The Environmental Center is seeking out a student or community member  interested in teaching a home-brewing workshop as part of our annual Hops Harvest and Beer Brewing workshop. Our hops will most likely come off the vine in mid to late September this year, so we are looking to host this workshop sometime during the week of 9/28 or 10/5 based on your availability. In addition to bringing your expertise to this event, we are looking for someone who is able to provide homebrew equipment to use during the workshop; the EC can provide hops and any additional supplies required.
Interested Brewmeisters can contact Rachel Landis at or 970-247-7091

Many thanks to Botanical Concepts for their generous donation to the Environmental Center's Campus Garden, Greenhouse, & Orchard. Thanks to their generosity, we hope to bring you apricots, plums, herbs...and elderberry champagne next year!

Events + Activities
Campus Garden Workdays
Tuesdays from 4-5 beginning September 8
Join our Local Food Fellow, FLC Student Duke Jackson, for an hour of garden goodness. Depending on the season and the garden's needs, you may be helping to harvest tomorrow's dining hall dinner, planting up next year's garlic or plucking hops for our beer brewing class. All are welcome and no experience necessary---just show up at the EC Campus Garden (located just north of the Center for SW Studies and across from the new soccer fields).
For more information, contact Duke Jackson at  
Gratitude to Claude Monet for this amazing painting
Durango Green Drinks | Thrive! Living Wage Coalition
Thrive! Living Wage Coalition will be hosting Green Drinks in September. The mission of Thrive! Living Wage Coalition is to enhance the quality of life in La Plata County through fair and just wages for all. Our work is to:

  • Build a diverse coalition led by low-wage workers
  • Educate the community about the importance of a living wage
  • Publicly recognize employers who pay, or aspire to pay, a living wage
  • Advocate for improving wages at the local, state and national level

At the Green Drinks gathering Thrive! will explain how the Employer Recognition Program Works and talk about how you can get involved.

When:  September 24, 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Where : Carver Brewing Company
More Info at: the Facebook event page

Green River Clean-up
Join Outdoor Pursuits as they raft the Green River and collect trash along the way - a great way to get on the river and give back!

When: Friday, September 25th and Sunday September 27th
For more info. call:  970-247-7293
Cost: $25.00 (Includes transportation, food, & equipment)

Sign up at Outdoor Pursuits (You don't have to be a member). 

Phil's World Work Project
Join Outdoor Pursuits and the San Juan Mountain Association by giving back to the mountain bike community with a work project at Phil's World in Cortez, CO. After some hard work in the morning, we will explore the trails with an afternoon ride!
When: Saturday, September 26th
For more info. call: 970-247-7293
Cost: FREE!
*Previous mountain biking experience is required*

Sign up at Outdoor Pursuits (You don't have to be a member). 

Political Internships with Impact
If you want to make an impact on our environment, our democracy and our future, apply to be an Impact intern today: 

What do interns with Impact do?  

You'll help us educate and engage more students and citizens on the most critical issues of our time. You'll help us get our issues into the media, build coalitions, organize events and lobby decision-makers. Ultimately, you'll help us build the kind of public support it takes to make a difference.

If you agree that it's time to solve these big problems, the best thing you can do to get involved is to apply to intern with Impact today 

We're looking for students who care deeply about the environment and our democracy, and are ready to make a difference now.

As an intern:
  • You'll learn how to analyze problems, push for smart solutions, and build the public support it takes to win
  • You'll work side-by-side with one of our organizers, learning the ropes.
  • And you'll attend briefings and trainings to learn even more about the issues and gain organizing skills
And if you're thinking you might want to make a career out of solving big problems like global warming - interning with Impact is one of the best ways to get started. Not only will you get the training and experience you need, but we hire our most talented and committed interns to join Impact as campaign organizers when they graduate:

Apple Days - Sunday, October 4th: Growing Partners Needs Your Help!
Growing Partners of Southwest Colorado invites you to participate in an amazing community tradition - the harvest of our apple abundance to support the 8th Annual Apple Days festival. Please mark you calendar for the festival, which is from 11:00am - 4:00pm on Sunday, October 4th. You can also be part of the fun by volunteering your trees or yourself in support of the event!
Volunteering: We need volunteers for a variety of tasks from September 14th to October 4th. Visit Sign-Up Genius for more information and to sign up:
Apple Trees: If you have fruiting trees (even just one!) you would like to have harvested and donated to this community event, please complete this form. A member of the Apple Days Planning Committee will then contact you to confirm your registration and provide you with additional details regarding our harvest process in the week leading up to our Sunday, October 4th festival. If you prefer to register your tree via phone, please contact the CSU Extension Office at 970-382-6463.
When: Sunday, October 4th, 2015 | 11:00am - 4:00pm
Contact: Joni Podschun, Growing Partners Executive Director - or 970-833-1328
Take Action Bibliophilia
Democracy Now reported on a recent article which shows that if all of the world's coal, oil and natural gas deposits were burned then the entire Antarctic ice sheet would melt causing a catastrophic sea level  rise of more than 200 feet. 

The Center for Biological Diversity reported that in response to these findings, the "Keep it in the Ground"  coalition, a group of more than 400 notable organizations, formed and recently called on the White House to stop issuing new fossil fuel leases on public lands and oceans.

Journalist Tim Dickinson adds to the story in Rolling Stone with the finding that "present levels of carbon pollution have already baked in what is estimated to be a six-fold increase in wildfires within 35 years". CREDO action has responded with two petitions related to this issue:
The EC Library featured find:

"This is a cult classic which might strike those without an outhouse as disgusting. But the methods outlined within have the potential to change the ecological fate of the world." 
- New Yorker Magazine, May 22, 2009

"The handbook contains a lot of hard information taken from the author's humanure composting experience." "Jenkins provides a convincing case that human waste can and should be a safe composting material." 
- Mother Earth News

"...outrageous humor and brilliant, diligent research." "This is one book that could save the world!" 
- Permaculture Drylands Journal