A Beginner's Guide to Cultivating Caring Communities
Published by: Indiana University Press
Anger and hopelessness can overwhelm communities. So what can everyday people do to actually grow some good in their own hometown?
Growing Good: A Beginner's Guide to Cultivating Caring Communities shows how ordinary people have transformed themselves into volunteers and activists. Centered mostly in the Midwest, this collection of essays brings together the stories of normal people who have rolled up their sleeves to make their community a better place by serving nonprofits such as Gleaner Food Bank in Indianapolis, Indiana; Migration and Refugee Services in Louisville, Kentucky; and Patchwork Central in Evansville, Indiana, along with national organizations like CASA. For instance, a teacher and his student started a native plant garden to help local insects thrive in a disused corner of their school property. A woman saw a billboard and was moved to become a voice for children in need. A professional photographer offered his services to people experiencing homelessness in order to help others witness their humanity. Editor Bill Hemminger also writes of his own extensive experience with community gardening to feed hungry neighbors.
Filled with simple actions, clear steps, and useful lists, including how to care for and nurture your own inner peace and creativity, Growing Good will help readers of all ages plant seeds of hope and cultivate communities where everyone thrives.
Introduction: "Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?", by William Hemminger
1. Why Both Feed the Line and Reduce the Line?, by John A. Elliott
2. A Refuge in the City, by Shelley Dewig
3. Made for Belonging: Spiritual Practice and the Pleasures of Bridge-Building, by Kyle Kramer
4. Standing Up to the Super, by Wendy Bredhold
5. Making Your Garden Native and Natural, by Cris G. Hochwender and Anna Jean Stratman
6. A Community of Gardeners, by William Hemminger
7. Sister Joanna's House of Bread and Peace, by Jes Pope
8. Creating Community, by Amy Rich
9. Friends and Neighbors: Photographs from the Open Door Community, by R. Calvin Kimbrough Jr.
10. Advocating for Children, by Trisha Brown, Yvonne Mans, and Sally Carr
11. Books to Open Young Minds: For Preschool through Middle School, by Kamela Jordan
12. The Sweet Spot of Climate Action, by Jim Poyser
How many of us crave for something and don't always know what or where it is? We sense something is missing, and are trained by society to search for specific things in particular places. But perhaps, what we actually yearn for, lies rooted underground in the vague and all-encompassing world of connections. Where "growing" means cultivating ourselves to naturally touch and relate. Where "good" is more about following our hearts and innate sensitivities than following rules and regulations. Growing Good: A Beginner's Guide to Creating Caring Communities reminds us of the oh-so-many simple ways we can come together with care and respect for each other and our spaces to create beauty and. And in that process, discover we are fully and wholeheartedly nourished.~Athena and Bill Steen, The Canelo Project, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting people, culture, and nature
Growing Good: A Beginner's Guide to Creating Caring Communities hits the nerve of the times. Amid the pandemic, the book addresses existential questions of the collective consciousness, "Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?" But that is not all: it offers concrete solutions and hope to societal ills such as food shortages, the refugee crises, abuse, and pollution in the region. While Growing Good rejects the notion of community in favor of social networks, it is a call for personal and political activism to improve lives.~Silvia Anna Rode, Chair of World Languages and Cultures, Interim Director of the Center for Communal Studies, University of Southern Indiana
Growing Good: A Beginner's Guide to Creating Caring Communities is a powerful, affirming guide to taking on today's problems – together. It is written by people whose experiences demonstrate how vision and collaboration can make a profound difference. For inspiration, turn to any chapter!~Laura Grace Weldon, author of Portals and Blackbird
Bill Hemminger has compiled a dozen stories of seeking, finding, experimenting, succeeding, sometimes losing momentum, all leading me to face his opening challenge, to truthfully answer: "Where Do We Come From"? What Are We? Where Are We Going?" . . . He sets the stage for the stories that show how clusters of caring communities are helping to bring positivity to challenges by opening opportunities for those facing small and huge challenges to become part of their own forward momentum.~Rita Kohn, NUVO