Hello Farmer Friends!!!
Today is the first day in months that I’ve heard birds chirping up here in Vermont. It’s been cold up here but I know it has also been really cold for you guys a little further south. That said, the chirping birds reminded me that I really need to send this email out today. And so here I am at the library in Manchester, VT, typing away.
I am starting a new project called The Latitude Movement. I can tell you much more about the idea, but that’s basically what it is at this point, a cool idea that I want to work on and see how it develops. After spending several months thinking day in and day out about this idea, I finally talked with a strategic consultant friend who helped me understand a path forward. Strategic consultant: “dude just start in on it and see where it goes. There’s no reason you can’t start right away- reach out to your friends and get the thing going.” Me: “ok.”
What you need to know Now is:
a) I think this idea has lots of potential and
b) I am hoping to work with a few of you on it as a path to getting started, in very time minimal ways (time minimal for you because you are busy farmers).
c) the goal for 2015 is to start in on the idea in VERY, VERY SMALL ways. I have a full plate of work lined up for the next months, and I know you do too. So if you are interested in this project after reading some of the stuff below, email me back. Your total time commitment to being involved in this project is 1-2 hrs for the year. It would be a HUGE help to me, and of course you could get more involved, but how you get involved is up to you. To get started what I need is a few different farmers on different latitudes who are willing to minimally engage the idea of a latitude movement. I call it the Latitude Movement because it centers on travel, whether, virtual, imagined, or actual, along your latitude around the world. The idea is still very much in formation, but the only way to really form it is to just get started.
The Latitude Movement- what is it. Connection based on latitude. Conversation between farmers sharing the same latitude. Elevation- new perspectives gained, and inspiration for new projects whether big or small.
1. Connection based on same latitude/same light. Latitude lines go directly east/west around the world. Every farmer on your latitude shares the same relationship with the sun on a daily basis. A farmer here in Dorset, VT will have the exact same day length, and relationship with light on a daily basis, as a farmer in Bilbao, Spain, or Sapporo, Japan. While there will be climate differences depending on elevation, ocean currents, etc., there will be a common thread of same light connecting all the farmers and farms on the same latitude around the world. So the real connection is already there. The Latitude Movement will focus on specific latitude- down to the minute. Just as each hour is divided into 60 minutes, each degree of Latitude is divided into 60 minutes. A minute of latitude is approximately a one mile wide stripe that goes directly east and west around the world.
2015 Connection Goal: I want to help 8 or so farmers connect with their latitude. For my interested farmer friends, I will spend a few hours researching their latitude and I will send them a 2-3 page latitude report highlighting their mile-wide east-west slice of the earth. They will check out the document, and let me know what they find interesting about their specific latitude. This project is all about specific. Specific places around the world. From there, we hone in on
2. Conversation. Good conversation almost always develops from revealed connection. Oh you played frisbee at Carlton? So did I! Wait your farm is on N 43.15? so is mine! Part of the value of getting specific with Latitude is that we focus in on a narrow line around the world connecting your farm with other farms on that same line. Locally, your friends’ farm up the road may be on a different latitude if they are even slightly north or south, yet a farm thousands of miles away on the other side of the world could have more exactly in common with your farm from a latitude perspective.
2015 Conversation Goal: At this point, fostering global conversations between farmers seems a bit challenging, so this is where the “dude, just get the thing started” advice is helpful. The conversation I am aiming for in 2015 is a conversation about your latitude. With me. I could visit you at some point this year, we could talk over the phone, maybe we just exchange a few emails, but my goal is to make this as time minimal for you as possible. And through these conversations, I may gain better understanding on how to develop this project.
3. Elevation. Living and working in the mountains of Vermont, I have come to recognize that a big part of hiking up mountains is looking at the world below, and through that journey, gaining a new perspective. I can imagine conversations between farmers leading to travel trips, exchanges, summits, who knows. Maybe just sharing a few vegetable varieties, or recipes and other basic ideas. My general sense is that keeping to the core idea of ‘hey connect with others on your latitude, it’s cool’ will make this project easy to sustain at the outset.
2015 Elevation Goal: just get the project started dude, keep it simple, and see where it goes.
What I am going for here is creative spark. Something new. At the very least, you may have a new subject for your farm newsletter at some point. That must be of value, no?
The Latitude Movement. Eight or so farms in 2015. Small steps forward on the idea in 2015. Interested?