We have been asked if we can provide a kitchen and therefore cook at the Athens County Amateur Radio Association’s Field day event and I in turn have been tasked to evaluate that request. First, if you don’t happen to already know, field day is a 24 hour amateur radio event spanning the US and Canada, the goal of which is to contact as many stations as possible in that time. It usually takes place outdoors and with emergency power like solar power or a generator and so it’s sort of a test of amateur radio groups abilities to act in an emergency situation. Our role with the kitchen would be to provide food for all the hams working there and as a test to ourselves for the same thing: our ability to respond to and work in an emergency situation. I do believe that this field day event is a good test because it is just like a normal emergency in that it is outdoors (not in the comfort of our homes), requires emergency power, lasts for a full 24 hours and we will even be working with the radio group as well which will make the experience even better. All these things are good if we intend to become a good team, especially if we want to perform well in an emergency situation. Above all that, I can’t think of one good reason not to cook at field day.
For any current or future interns who have raised questions about editing logs: The way our logs are currently set up, interns can post entries but not edit them. This may seem like we are shutting people out and taking away control, but rather we have a very specific educational goal in mind with this action. First, we hope that by not allowing interns to edit logs, an intern will take the extra time to proofread and edit their own writing BEFORE posting it. Some of the logs have spelling errors, grammatical errors, etc. We hope that by drawing attention to the fact that it needs to be totally ready before it is posted will help remind our interns to take a few extra minutes to consciously proofread, or to get someone to proofread for them. A student wouldn’t ask to edit a school test after submitting it, and in a similar way, these logs are how we evaluate your writing skills, including an intern’s willingness to do their best even before submitting it.
Next, as it is mentioned in many places on this site, we want to develop transparent and open communication. For interns who want to make changes to their logs, they can either post a new revision, or add a comment to their log with their changes/ comments/ edits. By doing this, we have a running record of all the versions of the log document. This helps everyone see the thought process that happened between when the log was first written and the new ideas/ learning experiences which caused a desire to change what was written. If, after an intern wrote something, he/she had a new insight or something to add, we want to see both the original idea, and these new reflections. Again, this helps us see how an intern’s educational experience is progressing. It also helps us evaluate ourselves and to address problems with how we teach, to make it the best and most enjoyable learning environment. For example, this comment will hopefully help future interns to better understand some of the deeper purposes to the logs.
I hope this helps to better explain our reasoning behind the internship logs, and we would love to see any edits or updates as comments on existing logs, new logs, forum posts, on facebook, or any/all of the above. Thanks, and happy writing!
Last week, I had the great pleasure to work on staff at Boy Scout National Camping School. Along with two other staffers, I was responsible for teaching a class of sixteen participants how to run a safe and fun ropes course program. We taught everything from theories and concepts to safety procedures, standards, and paperwork. The participants in our class left the week with not only a certification card, but also a sense of accomplishment and readiness to lead their respective programs at their summer camps. As I watched them all go their separate ways, I couldn’t help but think back to my first time at summer camp.
There was one staffer who I remember in particular as being incredibly crazy and funny but also sincerely kind and patient. He had just been through the National Camping School ropes course class, and he is the one who first introduced me to the ropes course program at our camp. I still remember the exact moment during our session when I decided I wanted to work for him and “learn the ropes”, if you’ll pardon the bad pun. I went on to work at that camp for five more years, and I succeeded him as the ropes course director, which meant I got to go through the course at National Camping School myself. I developed a deep love of the program and the effects it can have on groups and individuals.
In my time as a director, I can remember so many staff and scouts who I helped. Some learned merit badges from me, some went on to be leaders at that same camp, their councils, and their communities, and some are still my best friends to this day. If you consider that all of those scouts were affected by me, and I was just one of the scouts affected by that staff member, and he was just one of the participants at his NCS session, that’s an almost unfathomable ripple effect. So, almost six years later to the day, as I watched the class I had just spent a week teaching and befriending reluctantly leave an incredible week to return to their camps, I thought about the ripple I had started, and I wondered in that moment just how many scouts I would have indirectly affected by the end of the summer. Scouts and staffers who I would never meet, but who would go on to do great things because I taught their teachers.
After a week and a realization like that, returning to my daily tasks at Athens’ Own brought on a strange reflection: That although I have a similar position here as a teacher and a leader, I don’t really feel that same ripple effect. It might be because I started near the top, and didn’t get to experience as much of the outer ripples, or maybe because I haven’t been here as long, or that it is much harder to imagine the effects I might have from here. I certainly don’t think there is any less potential here. In fact, I think there is more. I have the potential to help shape an educational system which could help countless students and communities. But right now, it seems like the way our program is set up, there are some problems, and it isn’t producing the results we want, and the ripples are getting lost somewhere.
With this reflection, as well as some other feedback from the team during my absence, Constantine and I have decided to take a step back, and to take a critical look at how we are teaching our interns. We need to find a new way to expand education and to improve how much and how well our interns learn and apply their knowledge. Starting from scratch again today, we are going to try to improve our plan to find and use the best possible resources to give them the best possible educational experience, and to help them develop their own passions, desire to learn, and their own infinite ripples.
Monday, Constantine and I mainly only bagged coffee and cashews. The difference was in that Alyse was not here because she is still at her camper leader training camp, so Constantine and I had to manage by ourselves. It really gave me a chance to do both tasks without someone watching over and guiding me the whole time. I had to do them from start to finish mostly by myself (because Constantine was busy working with a broken scale) which is good because I now better know how to do them both all the way through by myself. That’s a good thing because if for some reason neither of the mare able to come to ACEnet, I am better able to do these things without assistance, if needed.
First on Tuesday, Constantine and I talked about me making myself a nice little workspace at home to keep all my AO papers and things safe because I seem to be able to lose whatever I bring home. After that, we mixed more cashews because we had used them all up on Monday. He showed me his style of the whole mixing process which was slightly different from Alyse’s. Both styles have their pluses and their minuses. After the cashews, we worked on pancake mix, which I had done anything with before. We started with mixing the flour and everything for the mix first, which was fun. After we mix all 75 pounds of it, we went on to bagging it. The pancake mix uses the same bags as the coffee does but is done a little differently in that the pancake mix goes in a separate plastic bag inside the paper one to keep it safer and so on. The paper bag also gets a single staple in it so that people don’t mess with it and open it. So another fun day with new things involved.
Friday, Constantine and I first bagged a few bags of Highlander grog because we had only one bag left, which is not enough for the market the next day. That’s pretty good because that means that means the rest that we had bagged Monday or Tuesday had all been sold somewhere in the community. After we did that, I sauteed some more onions for the markets because we were getting low on those as well. Once the onions were done, we mixed some sauce to marinate tofu in. We made the sauce and cut three packages of tofu and put them in the sauce to start marinating. I also took two sandwiches worth and cooked them as I would at the market; tofu with onions and cheese on a birdseed bun. I don’t normally eat tofu but I did quite like this one as did the Crumb’s people that we gave some to.
After all that, we checked the coffee makers and their progress. (If I didn’t say before, we left the the tanks with the heaters full of vinegar to break down all of the deposits so we could clean it easier.) We opened them up and as expected, one of them was quite a bit better than the other one. The one, the calcium came right off when brushed and so was quite easy to clean. The other one wasn’t so lucky. It had a different sort of deposit on it and the vinegar did not do nearly as good a job on it as it did on the other one. We cleaned the first one pretty well and then put the second one back to soak more and hopefully when we next check it, it will be cleanable.
On Monday, Constantine and I mainly worked on some new coffee makers he had gotten. We took the two of them apart, carefully, and I better saw how they heat the water and how the separate hot water spout works. We saw the different timers for the hot water because they are two different models. The one has a physical analog timer for the water heater and the other one has a digital timer. The cool thing is that the makers of the machine used the same maker and simply switched the analog for the digital one. They wired it to existing switches so they managed to effectively upgrade the coffee maker design without really changing it, besides the one timer. I think that’s the way to do it, if at all possible, to utilize the existing design of something instead of designing something completely new. While we were doing that, Katie and Alyse were doing coffee. After that, Katie and Constantine went to stock Seaman’s and Alyse and I jarred some more honey, which is always sweet.
Tuesday, we went to Broadwell again. We couldn’t do as much stuff outside because of the rain but there were other things to be done. I sewed a total of 30 beef bologna bags which was also my first time sewing at all. It was also more fun to do because they have and use an old pedal machine from the early 1900’s and so that was some work getting used to. I went out and helped Kathy a little with her compost stuff between the rain downpours. Right before we had to leave, we helped Constantine with the massive roll of cloth (for the meat bags) and helped him downsize it to be cut. I hadn’t really yet seen the cloth before it was on the meat and now I have and I can say I’ve even sewn some of the bags.
Yesterday, we first bagged more coffee because we were really low. We finished the coffee about the same time Katie got there. We then had to mix and bag more cashews because we had only one left, which is not very many. There wasn’t enough spice to mix any so Alyse and Katie had to mix some new spice. While they did that, I cut and wrapped cheese for Seaman’s for the first time by myself. I also grated more cheese for the Wednesday and Saturday markets. After those things, Constantine arrived and while he and Alyse talked about some things, I showed Katie how to do the olives. I think that we did pretty good with both tasks in splitting up the tasks to make it more efficient and also go faster. Once done with all of that, Katie went with Constantine to inventory and stock Seaman’s with all of the things we had just packaged. While they did that, Alyse and I went to the conference room to stamp bags, which is always real fun. While Alyse talked to people ans placed orders, I probably stamped 150 bags, so hopefully we won’t have to stamp anymore anytime soon.
Today, the three of us went to Broadwell for a work day there. This was my first time back there in maybe 1 1/2 years making it quite fun for me. After saying hi to Kathy and Constantine, the three of us each took a note from a basket Kathy had prepared for us and on the notes were chores that needed to be done at some point. Alyse drew “plant skunk cabbage”. I’d never heard of something called a skunk cabbage before today so that was fun. Katie drew “mowing” and I drew “clean the dome”. She and I switched because she seemed to want to work on the dome and I mow a lot so that worked out well. The mowing was a bit more in-depth than I had done before because there were more plants to carefully mow around than what I had done before. I had to really learn to look out for more flowers and such than I usually do but it was good experience because the other people I mow for in my time also have plants that they wouldn’t want mowed over. Besides that, it helped me learn that I need to keep more attention at the task at hand and look out for either flowers or something else in whatever task I’m engaged in and therefore not do something I’m not supposed to do. We also did a few other things like Alyse made some orders that needed done, Katie and I both (but mainly Katie) worked a little with the vermicompost and I moved some dirt that is for an area that Kathy is working on. Also at some point in the day, Kathy went over a thing she has for task evaluation called S.M.A.R.T.. The S being Specific: “is the task a specific mission, over maybe more of a broader request?”. M is Measurable. I don’t exactly remember what this one is for but I think it was something like: “does the task have a measurable outcome, i.e., is it worth doing?”. A is Attainable: “is the given task an attainable one, can it be done?”. R is Relate-able or Relevant: “is the task relate-able to the worker? Can the worker relate to the task and therefore fully understand it?”. And lastly, T for Time Sensitive: “is this task time sensitive? Can it be done in a timely manner?”. I think that that is a good way to look at not just those sorts of task, but lots of other things as well. As a result, I am looking forward to the next time I can go back to Broadwell and do some stuff again.
The Athens Farmers Market on Saturday is the social event of the week. The smell of food cooking and the joyful sounds of music compliment the local farmers, producers, and distributors that gather together twice a week on East State Street. The bell opens the market at 10:00 for three hours. The excitement is inspired from the abundance of local organic food, plants, soap, candles, and art for sale. It is enchanting to see a mindful community unite with smiles on their faces as they exchange money, goods, compassion and information. As their baskets and cloth bags become full the support for the local economy grows and the potential for expanding the quality of life in the community continues. The local political and non-profit groups allow for education, generosity, and the relevant news to flow, facilitating democracy through engagement.
Another form of democracy is actively supporting your community by buying locally. The Athens Farmers Market is located at the mall on East State Street, named The Market on State. It is in the parking lot and is easily accessed by the highway or the bike path. Constantine Faller, owner of Athens’ Own and Faller Foods, can always be found near the far entrance of the market cooking something and smiling at everyone. In the two weeks that I have been working at Athens’ Own Constantine and his intern Miles have always cooked local beef hamburgers that have been hung to age, giving it the old fashion taste. Their menu is always changing, but so far I have had their eggs, grilled cheese, raisin oatmeal, and vegetable bean soup with rice. Athens’ Own also sells Dawn Chorus Coffee by the bag or ceramic cup, sweet beef bologna/salami, spicy cashews, pancake/waffle mix and spicy peppers in a jar at the Athens Farmers Market. It takes an hour to prepare the food and pack the truck at the Appalachian Economic Community Network, between five to ten minutes to drive to the market, and another forty-five minutes to set up the Athens’ Own Emergency Response Mobile Field Kitchen along with the other items for sale. It is a lot of work to have a business but from what I understand is worth every minute.
Unfortunately, there is one problem that cannot be ignored at the Athens Farmers Market. The landlords of The Market on State have only given the farmers, distributors, and producers a month to month lease. A month to month lease is only acceptable to gypsies and although the vendors have canopies, they should be respected as the foundation of success and sustainability in the town. On April 6th the owners Brent Hayes and Tom Parfitt decided that they do not want politics at the market. Tom Parfitt was quoted by David DeWitt from Athens News saying, “We’re giving them space down there to sell products. We’re happy to do that. They’re welcome to do whatever they do to help farmers out. But we don’t want any political things down there, no matter what it is.” The problem became apparent when the Bill of Rights Committee was going to collect signatures for a petition to ban hydraulic fracturing from the city of Athens to twenty miles up the Hocking River at the market. Bill Hayes is partnered with two Athens County deep-shale wells and hopes to lease hundreds of acres to expand the hydraulic fracturing operations by the gas and oil companies. Therefore the Bill of Rights Committee was banned from the Athens Farmers Market as well as “ANY POLITICAL THINGS” along with them. It is laughable politics is everywhere and is in the statement itself.
What I have always found interesting about this topic is that farmers are given the choice of leasing their land to compensate for the lack of revenues that their hard work and dedication provides. One in every seven jobs in the state of Ohio is created by Agriculture, yet the struggle for food security continues. Rather than our representatives seeing the hardship, they look at the leasing of farm land as a sign of approval! No farmer wants to jeopardize their business, yet all farmers that have hydraulic fracturing or injection wells on their land or near it are risking their livelihood, inheritance, retirement, air, water and food supply. Gas and Oil companies are not regulated under federal environmental law: The Clean Air and Water Act, The Safe Drinking Water Act, or The Superfund Act. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is not only tasked with approving gas and oil permits but they are also dependent upon the permits to fund their department. The Environmental Protection Agency is not well funded for the increasing demands. They need to be funded to staff all of their sites and conduct research, which it currently cannot do. Until real oversight is created there will be citizens petitioning, protesting, and writing to the paper. The Farmers Market is the appropriate place to be engaging the community.
The real question is where can the Farmers Market be located other than at the East Side Market? It needs to be a large area, have easy access for cars, trailers, and bicycles, the parking needs to be free, and respectful engagement with the democratic process must be allowed. It is time that the nationally recognized Athens Farmers Market be honored with a location of their own. Until then those working at the market talk and share information so no matter what and no matter where you are, there is business as usual.