Meadow House Collective
Come alive in the backcountry
Meadow-House pond and bonfire gathering space. Full composition here Photo courtesy Andrew Wyatt
Raising Earth Stewards
Mi Meadow Casa Es Tu Meadow Casa:
It's a personal journey for my kids and I, but we love sharing our home with friends old and new– especially those that vibe on living in unison with the backcountry.
Sadly, these days some seem to care less about the protection of the significant natural resources just a stones throw from us. As one of Vermont's most heavily visited backcountry recreational treasures, Mt. Hunger hosts a spectacular set of waterfalls within the Hunger Ravines.This lower half of this trail was relocated once before to accommodate a subdivision development that started out as just three lots. A decade later though, and the developers have maximized the real-estate profit across many more subdivisions. This now sets a rather dangerous "normalizing" of residential building densities within massively significant watershed and wildlife corridors- not to mention historically relevant public recreational use.
For many of the past generation, it has become a game of exploiting lands and resources for maximum profit rather than conserving the resources for our collective future generations. Instead of feeling blessed to be in a position to protect, some in this community have attacked my family and I on personal levels and with malice towards our sense of environmental stewardship for these priceless wonders of natural form and function. So be it. I think there are more in this community that recognize the influence of power in Vanity Ridgeline Real-estate (or VRR) developments that are moving increasingly higher up throughout this range. Many long-time locals find this behavior a crass commercialization of the backcountry experience but it is in keeping with the gentrification of alpine mountain communities sweeping across the country. We will do our part to find positive alternatives going forward, but this is not Vail and we will fight fire with fire to protect the backcountry. Also called a metaphorical prescribed burn.
Your engagement with the MH experience allows us to continue advocating for the importance of the Worcester Range- the mountains in which we live, work, and volunteer- hopefully for the good of all. In that spirit, this year we collectively decided that we would shift gears from our artisanal maple syrup and elixir production efforts to completely focus on our artisanal, mountain-filtered deep-water aquifers. Adding this focus to our community scale agricultural efforts at Meadow House will help us transparently generate the funding that will be needed to support our conservation efforts in the high-elevations of the Worcester Range.
Anecdotally, it seems more than 80% of the visible high-elevation developments have popped up throughout the range just in the last 5 years- an exponential rate that is not sustainable from a wildlife, watershed, or recreational perspective. We have witnessed it here in the Waterbury area (SW sector of the range) at a much more rapid clip but it should serve as a wake-up call to residents of this range and valleys to pause and consider the unforeseen impacts of these high-elevation subdivisions. Some say this rate of development is a rush to cash in on land deals before a moratorium is placed on development over 1100' (final elevation tbd) and like they did in the mountains surrounding the Mad River Valley. We will look to protect these lands as well, but we intend to offer a different model than solely relying on public allocations of more tax revenue from which to procure and manage public lands. For more information, goto the Worcester Range Collective and/or Meadow House Facebook pages and get engaged.
Thanks and Cheers!
Disrupting the Corporate Water Model
From Point Source to Last Sip:
We will all have to play an increasingly larger part in disrupting the global corporate stranglehold on water together and we believe we can pilot this model through the mobilization of purchasing consumers. We are aware that even at a capacity of 3 million gallons this year (well below state standards and 100% consistent with local agrarian, municipal, and conservation zoning for these parts), we will not make enough direct impact on the market place to shift any noticeable level of demand. But, the beauty of this Community Supported Water (CSW) model is that it is extensible across communities, watersheds, and mountain ranges. That is where the impact will find disruption.
Today we are working towards conserving watershed in the Worcester Range, tomorrow it could be yielding phosphate and nitrogen reduction efforts for a another organization working on behalf of a Great Lake somewhere. Or maybe some other worthy cause and partnership that we would love for you to share with us. We are believers in open-source frameworks and hope to share the Do It Ourselves process in the coming months. The purpose of this experiment isn't to build an ever-growing business profit for my family or even the land conservation efforts that we support. The purpose of this pilot up here in the backcountry of Vermont, is to scale out what we do just enough to generate a sustainable model for water consumption that reduces the obscene amount of packaging and transportation waste that goes into the bottled water marketplace. We also hope to inspire other local initiatives like this, and hopefully as a collective, we will make a huge disruptive impact on the current disposable economy of hydration and wasteful resource transportation.
Our water is 100% natural and comes from rains and snow that have been filtered clean by an undeveloped mountain watershed. This coupled with deep and plentifully protected aquifers has never left us wanting more and for that we are grateful. In this journey, we will seek to demand change in water rights globally and hopefully increase our own awareness from so many on the front-line of water rights and environmental justice. I may even start blogging about quality standards and offer an alternative fresh resource for those in the local Valley's looking to get away from their fluoridated and treated supplies coming out of these public pipelines. Water technically can't be certified "organic" by the USDA but our wellsprings are as close to organic as water gets. We will most definitely continue our stewardship of these natural resources and hope you join us in the movement.
What happened to the water supply in Flint Michigan (and in many other areas both here in America and around the world) is reprehensible. Clean water is a basic human right and it is a crime that we allow profiteers of corporate solutions- particularly at that Wall Street scale- to continue to deplete local resources at the expense of basic human justice and equity. This goes for all resource extraction and exploitation really.
With proper consideration, we believe most Americans understand that it is in our best interests collectively to at least filter cleaner pipeline waters and replace failing urban infrastructure in order to restore levels of acceptable potability and microbial tolerances.
Unfortunately water is one of those things that we are taught to not think about yet the beverage industry has conditioned us to pay a premium for it... and many still think distilled water is the same as naturally filtered spring water. Some say water is the next gold. We are focused on making a straight-forward transaction in the purchase of water that inherently is better for the environment than what the market offers today.
We're also interested in this on one level as an experiment- by using a product as simple as water- and being sold at below comparable cost rates (akin to timber sales on USFS lands in the '90's, e.g., Tongass) but with the distinct difference of building some profit sharing mechanisms into the model that directly takes business away from corporate water brands like Poland Springs and Fiji. To further confuse the most basic of capitalist thinkers, we will simultaneously set socially responsible production caps to model a better path forward if nothing else. Theoretically we could annually generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for land conservation efforts at a fraction of full capacity. Will the experiment work?
While we have some logistics to work through in the coming months, we believe that like a pebble on the surface of a pond, our impact will be felt. The revolution for water rights rolls on and we intend to bring it: for the people, by the people, and of the people. All advance orders are fully refundable if we can not fulfill on the order by August of 2017. Alternative collateral options exist for bulk volume partners and we encourage you to contact us to join in the CSW movement.
Many corporate evangelists and forces coveting these aquifers have been working to hurt our economic interests, and sadly at the cost of this amazing planet. We are pushing back though. If you want to see how we do things 802 style, come visit- we're at the base of one of Vermont's most frequently visited hiking trails- from Meadow House to the waterfalls of the Hunger Ravines by foot is only 1 mile.