It’s Got Good Bones.

Good Bones

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.

Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine

in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,

a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways

’ll keep from my children.

The world is at least fifty percent terrible,

and that’s a conservative estimate,

though I keep this from my children.

For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.

For every loved child, a child broken,

bagged, sunk in a lake.

Life is short and the world is at least half terrible,

and for every kind stranger,

there is one who would break you,

though I keep this from my children.

I am trying to sell them the world.

Any decent realtor, walking you through a real shithole,

chirps on about good bones: This place could be beautiful, right?

You could make this place beautiful.

“Good Bones” by Maggie Smith. Waxwing, Issue 10, June 2016.

This poem by Maggie Smith has been resonating with me lately. I’m not going to analyze why that may be here. I’m using this as a jumping-off point to highlight a few developments and realizations from the last week or so.

This community, it’s got good bones. It has the potential to be so incredible. We ARE improving this structure. I often quote comedian Kyle Kinane when discussing any analogy about home ownership, “Ownership is a lie because death is real.” That may seem morbid, but it is reality. We pay the cost of being the people responsible for stewarding a portion of the resources that belong to us all. I was often confused by the expression, “I’ll treat it like my own.” No! Don’t do that! Treat it like you’re borrowing it from someone. I’ve seen how you treat your stuff!

These actions, the facilities we are welcomed into, the energy and resources that we consume… All of it needs to be consumed and cared for with a full understanding that it belongs to someone who will be needing it 1000 centuries from now.

Too frequently we do not even perceive how our accepted habits of consumption do not even provide for those who are already here.

Is going to a food distribution event in the community only for those in need, or is it an act of sustainability and modeling efficiency in consumption by an individual who can perceive a connection to humanity extending beyond their lifetime?

We may celebrate the construction of a new manufacturing facility, but in reality, that is diverting resources away from people who need homes. We can do very little to defend ourselves from the increasing amount of damaging, severe weather events that are occurring more frequently. Thus, it becomes that much more important that we are mindfully stewarding and caring for the resources and infrastructure that we can protect from our damaging habits and perceptions that view resources and infrastructure as disposable or easily replaceable.

“Fort Myers Beach and its neighbors have received enormous amounts of help from the federal government and the state, along with private charities. Lee County officials spent last month taking public input from residents about how to spend a $1.1 billion housing grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The county still has to prepare an action plan explaining how it will spend the money. It’s sobering to realize that New York is still dealing with an equivalent HUD grant more than a decade after Superstorm Sandy struck in 2012, says Lee County Commissioner Kevin Ruane.”

“CoreLogic’s recently published Climate Change Catastrophe Report found that 14.5 million homes were impacted by natural disasters in 2021, which amounts to one in 10 homes in the United States. These disasters collectively caused $56.92B in property damage.”’s%20recently%20published%20Climate%20Change,%2456.92B%20in%20property%20damage.

“Approximately three million Americans were displaced from their homes in 2022 due to extreme weather events, and 18% of them, or 530,000 of those displaced, have not returned, according to a recently published study from HireAHelper.”,-in%20Daily%20Dose&text=Approximately%20three%20million%20Americans%20were,recently%20published%20study%20from%20HireAHelper.

Forbes and DS News are not liberal publications by any means. These are just examples of how the radically divergent innovations in perspective, behavior, values, and habit demonstrated by the community-led, direct mutual actions we are modeling in this community have relevance far beyond our food systems.

So, what are we doing with these “good bones”? What are we doing with these “good bones” that exist in our infrastructure, our possessions we bought the right to be responsible for, and with the human resources of skill, experience, and ability to contribute that are housed within our neighbors?

How are we working to better reach the potential available to each of us before we seek to spend money and expend resources on some other “thing” that we will not use to its full potential?

Well, in this community, we made some big advancements this week to better achieve our potential within the structures already available to us!

Starting on January 2nd, Community Dinners will be being hosted at the Zion Community Commons every Tuesday! That’s right, EVERY Tuesday from 11am-8pm, “Pay what you want/can” vegan/GF/nut free/corn free Community Dinners at 1697 Lafond Ave. STP, MN 55104.

We are all incredibly thankful to the community at Hamline Church United Methodist, and are looking forward to hosting a variety of outdoor, weekend Community Dinner events with them this summer. I cannot thank Mariah, Heather, Mo, Steph, and everyone else at Hamline Church enough for all that they provided and participated in over the last 2 years. This adjustment is in no way a severing of any partnership, only an opportunity to make sure that every resource being consumed was benefiting the community to the fullest of its potential!

This is a very important expansion for many reasons:

1. It is more opportunities for accessible nourishment, community, and a warm and welcoming place to be during the winter months ahead.

2. This is going to be so much easier to promote and for the community to keep track of. The different locations and the “2nd & 4th Tuesday” schedule was complicated. Removing this friction point will hopefully make it much easier for those wanting to or needing to access this resource.

3. The synergy being nurtured between this Patreon Community, the food justice initiatives at Zion, and further development with other food justice efforts within the Twin Cities will be better able to achieve their potential for getting nourishment onto plates and into households. Our ability to track inventory, be creative with the resources on hand, and process them when needed to make them as accessible as possible to the community will be able to happen with much greater ease and efficiency.

4. We are becoming MUCH more involved with the Thursday afternoon food justice initiatives at Zion. On this last Wednesday, Patron Jules and I, along with a couple of other partners made a connection with Karen and Jessica at the Midway Project Food Shelf that happens on Wednesdays at Hancock Rec. Center. We were able to offer assistance in taking any perishable items they have left over, excess shelf-stable items, and also took the opportunity to give them more information on all that was happening with the Community Dinners, the Open Market Program, and the food distribution that has been occurring at Zion on Thursday afternoon for over 20 years.

We loaded up the cargo bike and a car with several hundred pounds of food, and took that to Zion to be distributed yesterday.

Next, we went to the Hamline University Food Resource Center, (Jules has been facilitating collaboration between our communities for a year now) and loaded up the cargo bike and the car again, and helped clear them out before they took a hiatus for the winter break.

The vast majority of the food that was gathered in support of and partnership with these adjacent organizations was all distributed to neighbors yesterday. The idea of individual ownership is as outdated and stale as the belief that more lanes on a highway reduces traffic. (it doesn’t. It only encourages more traffic: )

Our collective resources were used to produce and distribute and store and prepare these food items. Making sure that they get used for their intended purpose (nourishing a life) is a collective responsibility of everyone in a community.

What further steps are ahead of us in 2024?

After the Hamline Midway Coalition offices open again on January 3rd, we will be stopping in there to see how we can assist in facilitating even greater collaboration between mission-aligned endeavors in the neighborhood.

A lot of you are helping to make this beautiful! Since the previous post:

2 Patreon Community Members have increased their monthly patronage.

2 Patrons have sent a one time act of solidarity through the Venmo. (@ Chef-Collective-1123)

Many of you joined us at Zion yesterday, and have also been increasing your time spent assisting these actions directly with the contribution of your time! We will be back at Zion this Wednesday from 2-5pm doing some prep. If you want to join us, just show up. If you want to help out on a Thursday, anytime between 9am-4pm, show up! Thank you, so much, to Patron Community Member Karen for the assistance yesterday!


We will keep the option to get a year of membership and access to this page for a one-time payment open through the 31st. So, if you want to gift a membership to this Patreon Community, you still have time!

Finally, here’s a link to how to best utilize Instagram for sharing anything about the Chef Collective. Our tag on Instagram is the.t.c.v.c.c_

A lot of you have asked for us to demonstrate how to do that. This page explains it all.

Remember, this is not just about spreading the word, but by tagging us, we can then see it, share it, and that then inspires others to do the same.

On that, as Instagram has jumbled its algorithms and such, we have found that posting less has been creating more engagement on the posts we put out when we do post.

That is quite encouraging. We have no big “Venmo Funded” Open Markets scheduled at this time. Communicating information and updates through this page continues to be impactful.

So, knowing that we do not need to spend so much creating content for social media has us all optimistic.

We are all stepping away from this until the New Year. Zachary and I will both be at Zion from 1-3pm on Thursday, 12/28. Stop in, say “hi”. Grab some nourishment.

Do not hesitate to reach out via text, or email, or direct message.

Let’s keep the momentum built this year and these last couple of weeks really moving and building into 2024!

Thank you all!


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