Oct 182013

This log is more updates since my last log on 10-3. Besides things like more solo Seaman’s deliveries, another solo Athens’ farmers market, I did another OU mini farmers market, this time with four types of cheese: the regular 6 month plus 9 month, 2 year and 4 year. It was a bit slower than even the last mini market but I think it was worthwhile even as just advertising, especially for the cheese, seeing as how we can’t sell it at the regular Athens’ farmers market, so any chance to sell it is a good one. The next day (Saturday 12th) I went up to Columbus, solo, for the Athens Fest at the Hills Market, Downtown. We were invited to come up and sample out the bologna of ours that they have for sale up there. Besides the sausage and the other stuff I needed, I also took up some of the cheese, a bit of each, again 6 mo, 9mo, 2 yr and 4 yr for Amanda to try and see if that wanted to start carrying it. Besides all those things, we collaborated with Crumbs a bit in that I would take up their shipment of crackers instead of them UPSing it up there. I also sampled out the crackers on our table with our sausage and the cheese. As for the event itself, it went well, I think. It was not as wildly attended as we or Amanda had hoped, but it still went well. All the people enjoyed the sausage, cheese and crackers. Many people took business cards or the online store cards, saying they would check it out. A couple of the sausages we had out were also bought, so that’s a plus too.

This Saturday (tomorrow) we are also doing something a little different. A friend of Constantines, Gonzo, who used to cook at the Wild Horse Cafe in Pomeroy Ohio. He is working with us, making a new demi-glace with our beef. Tomorrow at the farmer’s market, he will be using that glace in a made-fresh-at-market beef stroganoff, which we will then be selling. In order to make it, he will be going thru the market looking for the other ingredients that he needs, like the noodles. It should be fun.

Oct 032013

This log is an update about everything (that I remember) since my last log.

Firstly, I believe that since my last log is when Alyse decided that her time at Athens’ Own was up, and it was time to leave. She has gone on to other things, and now it is just Constantine and myself, until new interns sign up. It has been a slight challenge at times, without her help, but it’s a good challenge. Without her, it’s pretty much just up to me to keep the website actually running and everything. She also made all/most of the weekly orders and that’s now up to us to do.

We have also recently stopped going to the Wednesday farmer’s market, for different reasons. One reason being of course it being the Wednesday market and later in the year, it got quite slow and just not worth doing. Another reason is that we can now use that time better for other things like planing a better, bigger, more efficient kitchen, which leads me to my next point. We have also more recently stopped cooking at the Saturday market until we get a kitchen plan together. I have been doing (twice so far) the Saturday market myself with just the coffee, cashews and sausage while Constantine stays back home and works on more important things. Before that first solo market, I also did the OU mini market. Since it wasn’t the other market, we could and did take the aged cheese to sell. That was fun, selling the cheese, since we haven’t sold any cheese at a market in a while.

Another important thing that has happened/is happening is that we are moving (slowly, but nonetheless moving) toward my working here at Athens’ Own being official paid work. I think there are multiple different reasons for this change in my work: Alyse is gone, thereby giving me a lot more responsibility than before. I have graduated from high school so the learning involved is not as important to my education as it was before. I am 19 so it is time/important that I get a job. Lastly, I think that it is also continuing my holistic goal to have financial stability, even if that stability is mostly saved for the future and not really for the present.

One other thing that has happened is that I have made some solo deliveries to Seaman’s, one regular scheduled Tuesday delivery with coffee and cheese and another delivery (yesterday) with meat, lots of meat. Besides being a solo, I believe it was also my first time on a meat delivery at all, and by that I mean a meat delivery that I was involved with.

Other things happened: a tour of kids from Fed. Hock. high school at Broadwell, other things I don’t remember and Athens’ Fest up at Hills’ Market in Columbus on Saturday, Oct. 12, and they have invited us to come up and sample out our sausage, like we did before. I will be going up to do that (solo) and that should be fun.

Sep 232013

Today at Broadwell, I washed some more buckets and lids. Before I did that, Kathy had some other new thoughts, or thoughts that I may not have gotten last time. Her first point was that the compost was like cooking: The scraps and the worms are all ingredients. The heat that the microbes and stuff create is what cooks the food. The end result is great, healthy soil. The  trade off is, just like regular cooking, in order to get something really great, there will be dishes. In this case, the dishes are of course the buckets. I do enjoy cooking, so I think I even more fully understand what Kathy means.

She also said that it is simply skills for the future. If something were to happen later on with, say, waste disposal, what would happen? Not many people would really know how to deal with it. Right now, I am gradually learning how to do just that, deal with the waste safely. That includes cleaning the waste buckets.

Sep 132013

While I was at Broadwell for a work day, I was given the job of washing a bunch of the compost and food buckets. While I was doing that, Constantine tasked me with thinking about a question to ask Kathy once I was done with that job. The question I was to ask was “You seem to enjoy and have fun making soil and the verma-compost and everything about that. Why?” (That wasn’t exactly the right question and I will address that later.) I found that washing the buckets was “work” and yet it seemed to me that Kathy enjoys her work with that all stuff. So I finished washing those buckets and went in to ask her. I asked and as I had somewhat anticipated, it blew up from a possible simple 5 minute answer to a nice hour and a half conversation mostly about that topic question, starting with her just thinking about it for a minute. Her first main point was that she did not in fact have fun, as I had put it, washing buckets. She went on to say that she did all that (partially) because she hates what we do: People in general don’t know what happens to their waste (of any kind), they just flush it, chuck it or what ever and that sucks. It is of course quite a bit easier to just throw that rotten apple away instead of composting it. The problem is that that apple will go into a landfill and rot with all the other organic materials in that landfill, creating tons of methane, which is a greenhouse gas. Besides that methane problem, it’s simply a waste: to throw away that food instead of turning it into something useful, like compost full of natural nutrients.

Another problem is that we aren’t responsible at all with our resources. We would rather use resource consumptive things like chemical fertilizers instead of good natural compost. Doing what she does is important to our future. She use very little resources to turn the food scraps into usable compost. So Kathy decided, on one part, to provide a community service of composting.

Kathy also said she partially does it because it means she isn’t contributing to the current problem. Besides doing it for herself, she does it for others by taking their organic materials and composts that for them. With her doing that, for herself and others, Kathy helps other to see and understand what and why she’s doing what’s she’s doing. If they learn something from her, and if they do what they learn, that helps them contribute less to the problem as well.

Lastly, she said that overall, she enjoys the ends results for her and the planet, but not so much the work getting there. She enjoys knowing that she is not contributing to the problem, and possibly, making it better. She also enjoys the continual learning that come with her job. Learning about what’s actually happening in the compost and why, what happens to the plants that use it versus chemical fertilizers. But also not just about the compost or whatever, but also the larger impact of the whole project. She enjoys telling people what she has learned and finding and meeting people that understand, both the problem that he is trying to help and what she’s trying to do.

In doing the service that she does, she enjoys the fact that people like what she’s doing for them and for the planet. Besides that, it’s an important thing to do, no matter how small the actual impact will be. So as Kathy said to me, “what’s fun got to do with it?” It’s important and it needs done.

Aug 232013

On Tuesday, I started by packaging the weekly coffee. The best part was that I got to bag the first “Turkish ground with cardamom” that we’ve had in a couple of years. The reason that we haven’t had any in a while is that Constantine could not find a good source of good cardamom. The new cardamom we have now was brought to us from Constantine’s friend Hazim from Souvlaki’s. Hazim brought the cardamom back with him from Jordon for us. Thanks to him, we can now again offer our Turkish coffee. After we were done with the coffee, Constantine arrived and the two of us wen to Seaman’s. I went in and inventoried everything while he went on and took in some fresh beef. Once I was done with the inventorying and after a little confusion on my part, we started the regular stuff, coffee and cashews. We put three of the four new Turkish grounds into Seaman’s, along with the normal items. Once done there, we went back to ACEnet we yet again modified the double burner. We have recently had problems with the gas flow and stuff, especially getting it to light right. So Constantine had the bright idea of putting a valve between the place the gas goes in and the rest of the outlets, like the burners and the pilots. The goal of that was to help the flow valve on the tank release the gas despite the pilots taking gas. The safety is designed to not let any gas flow if there is gas flow when the tank gets turned on. Anyway, we played around with different positions of the valve and finally decided on one. While we did that, I learned some how to put a valve like that on, especially how to tighten everything without turning anything backwards.

The main thing Wednesday was that we got to use the newly modified burners at the market. It worked great, exactly as we intended: turn off the valve, turn on the gas, open the valve when ready and light it up!

Aug 182013

This post is not really about anything I did today but rather my life goals, including those that may be achieved or at least helped along by my time here at Athens’ Own.
I don’t really know what my life goals actually are yet but I do know what I want now for my life.
I think that working here at Athens’ Own is and will keep helping with those things stated in my HG.

Quality of life:
I want good health, both mental and physical. This job is constantly testing my mental and physical health in everything I/we do, therefore making me better at those things.

I want financial stability and to be debt free. Working here at Athens’ Own has and is providing me with more money per week than I had made before working here so I am well on my way to having that financial stability that I want.

I also want meaningful friendships. Working with AO has given me so many opportunities to meet new people and become better friends with the people I already knew.

Forms of production:
I want to pr0duce profit from meaningful, fulfilling and worthwhile work. I am constantly producing profit, both monetarily and mentally from my work with AO. This work does mean a lot to me for various reasons, the first being it’s fun. It’s fun to work at the farmer’s market and to do a bunch of the other things that AO does. That fun is mental profit for me. The work is of course worthwhile simply because of what it is that Athens’ Own does. We are constantly working toward community resilience and sustainability, which I think is very worthwhile. It’s also worthwhile just to see people enjoying the food at the farmer’s market, whether it’s something that I cooked up or something else, like the coffee or the bologna.

I want to participate in activities that are fulfilling and inspire growth and development. Working at AO is fulfilling and certainly inspires growth and development. I am constantly learning new things, things about food, about the business of running a small business among many other things of course. I also think that after writing all these logs, my writing skills have improved over what they were before.

Future resource base:
I want the land to be healthy and sustainable. I am always learning how to live sustainably and resiliently through working here at AO.

I want to be known for high quality products and services. People constantly return to Athens’ Own at the farmer’s market and such because they know they can get a good quality product and a friendly smile when they come.

I want to live in a community where people take care of each other and make decisions with future generations in mind. That’s what AO does.

That’s what I’m doing with AO in relation to my holistic goal, but that’s not all I’m doing. I’m not exactly sure what my goals are from working with AO except that I want to learn. I could probably easily get a job at Walmart or Kroger and those jobs are probably quite easy but those jobs don’t involve any learning, it’s just “Hello, find everything ok?, your total is $__.__, paper or plastic?, have a nice day.” I don’t want that. Right now, I want a job where I can learn things. I want to learn things, even if they don’t really apply to my long term job goals (which I don’t really know yet) because learning is learning, good experience is good experience, and so on. Even if I don’t yet know what I want to do the rest of my life, I don’t think that means I shouldn’t learn whatever I can now. My only known goal now is I suppose, learn as much now in order to become the best I can at whatever I do later. That goal is being greatly helped by working with Athens’ Own.

Aug 182013

Quality of life:

1. I want good health, both mental and physical.
2. I want financial stability and to be debt free.
3. I want meaningful and enjoyable friendships and relationships with friends, family and co-workers alike.

Forms of production:

1. I want to produce profit from meaningful, fulfilling, and worthwhile work.
2. I want to participate in activities that are fulfilling and inspire growth and development.

Future resource base:

Land- I want the land to be healthy and sustainable.
Community- I want to be known for high quality products and services.
People- I want to live in a community where people take care of each other and make decisions with future generations in mind.

Aug 142013

It has been almost two weeks since my announcement of my intention to move on from my position here at Athens’ Own. In that time, I have been working very hard to complete many outstanding projects. I am currently feeling very satisfied with the progress I am making, and I also see many more tasks set ahead for the next two weeks. I am enjoying the feeling of crossing old projects off of my to-do list, and feeling a sense of completion and optimism that these things I have created will be extremely helpful to the person who picks up the hat after me. I know that I would have been very grateful to have this help when I first started!


A few updates on my progress:

Website info packet/tutorial nearly completed. I underestimated the time it would take me to get it all together and in an easily readable way. It is a lot of information, even including all the write-ups I have been doing along the way.
Finished (1st drafts) AFM handbook and Seaman’s handbook/ tutorial. The folder with Seaman’s info will be added to with more tutorials/info on other places we deliver to. It can be the “delivery driver” info binder.
Miles education: I have been checking in on him and supervising some activities over the last two weeks to make sure he (and I) feel confident that he can do those tasks solo. He is progressing very well, and he made his first solo delivery to Seaman’s yesterday, which went well for the most part. I believe he learned from his mistakes and will be better prepared for the next time.

The website is running much smoother, and some long outstanding issues have been solved, which will make the task of updating and maintaining the site much easier for the next person, although I plan to remain available for help and tech support in the future.


As I complete this week, I am turning my attention to the Athens’ Own team and the community, to ask what you think my last two weeks’ time should be spent on? I want to use my time and Constantine’s investment in me to help others as much as possible, and to try in some way to pay him and everyone involved “forward” for the opportunities I have been given. Please feel free to comment on this post with your thoughts, comments, or ideas.

Aug 132013

Since I haven’t written and posted any logs recently,  I am writing an update/summary of what has happened since my last log.
I of course don’t remember everything that’s happened but the high-point is the fact that I can package most everything by myself without a hitch. While Alyse and/or Constantine are off doing something else, I can continue and package the coffee, cashews, olives and probably even the cheese. As for today (the 13th) I made my first solo delivery to Seaman’s. Granted I didn’t take all that I could have, just coffee and cashews, but I still did it alone without any major problems. The one small problem was that I didn’t get the calculator from Alyse before leaving so I wasn’t able to double check all my math on the invoice. The inventorying and stock went smoothly though: I went in and inventoried everything, putting their quantities down on the inventory sheet as I went. I then went back out to the car and got out all the products that should be put in the store to bring them up to their usual numbers while also putting them on the invoice. I then went in, counted everything for the guy at the door and then finally put everything on its shelf where it belongs. The only problem in the end was that I had added the total wrong, but it was caught by the man I gave the invoice to in order to get a check.
I think that this can sort of go with my last post about the changing of gears in that since I started at Athens’ Own again and what I was capable of then, I believe I have certainly shifted some gears in my abilities and my speed in existing abilities.

Aug 122013

On Monday, August 12th, Constantine and Alyse met with several teachers from Federal Hocking Middle School to further discuss working to develop educational partnerships between Fed Hock, OU, and Athens’ Own. The following is the abbreviated transcript and notes from that meeting, as taken by Alyse.



Third Education meeting: August 12, 2013



Bill Elasky

Constantine Faller

Alyse Carter

Bill Clark

Cliff Bonner

Sarah Russell


BE: CF and AC have been trying to get working with me for about a year now. He’s interested as a business in the area in developing some kind of partnership with fed hock. We had a meeting a few weeks ago to explore possibilities, to see if we could get anything going between FH, AO and CARE. It sounded like you (teachers) were interested in getting some educational programs happening.

CF: Our approach to building resilience is based on the six basic needs. In that education is one of those six, we are open to areas where we can take an active role in building education. Knowing Bill was active in education at OU, I asked him if he was connected to other teachers who might be interested in developing some programs. We [Athens’ Own] have developed a worker readiness certificate to help address some of the gaps we see in education, and help students develop skills that we feel they aren’t getting from traditional education. How can we give college students the opportunity to develop modules, even self-help, maybe online? Even before they start working with us actively. In pursuing that with Bill, he came back to me with: “Hey, one thing I am doing is this program with student teachers at Fed Hock.” So I say, in trying to build community resilience, how can I be of service to Fed Hock’s mission, the care program, and to you as educators? How can we as a business help make your vision happen? Instead of just making widgets happen, our widget is community resilience. How can we build an opportunity to make what you want to happen, happen? How can what we do possibly be of service to what you are doing and what you are trying to accomplish?

BE: So we thought we’d start with something small and concrete with a specific goal in mind. One possibility is to center things around local food production, and looking into the possibility of maybe a meal for the cafeteria, some kind of end thing where we’d draw from local businesses. That would be the end, but the important part would be showing kids that there is a use for what they are learning and building resilience, critical thinking, research skills, composition skills, teamwork, social skills, creativity, all the things you are interested in seeing. It’s something that deals with real stuff, instead of filling in bubbles on a sheet. We thought the 8th grade team might be interested. With the past things that we have worked on together, it seemed logical that we could try to work together again.

CF: Looking at the FH mission statement, teamwork was strongly in there, as well as not just student teamwork, but multi-layered teamwork. The students have a hands on opportunity, and there’s latitude around what they can do. And that type of thing fosters creativity.

CB: At the end of the year, we were having conversations about doing things like this. So when CF showed up, I immediately thought this might fit in. It does fit perfectly with our operating principles. Particularly at the middle school.

SR: My goal is to make the kids think they have a purpose in life, that they can be a valuable citizen: How can I survive, but also learn all the core concepts along the way?

BE: I think it’s a perfect match to what CF is talking about. The students want to learn something to feel like it’s real and important right now. So we need to figure out what to do next and how each of us can contribute.

SR: So is our end goal to plan a meal for the cafeteria?

CF: I don’t think we got that far, it was a possibility. I think we’d rather start with you; what are your goals, how can the student teachers and CARE make something happen?

SR: Within the common core, the language arts portion is huge, and social studies has been pushed to the side a bit. If we could bring that back in, maybe we could add in social studies: what did they eat during a certain time? How could we tie in these other lessons and what he is doing? They could dress in character maybe. So, this could tie in social studies as well.

CF: Am I correct that both of you encompass the entire curriculum?

SR: No, I teach math, he teaches social studies, language, other things. Together we work on projects that encompass all of them.

BE: I think one of the things we’d like to incorporate into it is what is going on in the local area. Transportation, marketing, etc. I think you could do that still. If we’re looking at community development, one of the things that would be nice to look at is what are people doing in Athens county? Food production, distribution, etc, whatever’s involved. How does it get on the shelf? What’s the advantage.

CF: The opportunity there – where do we buy things? There’s math, science, social studies, in that. What does it look like now, what are some of the alternatives to that now?

BE: And I think the idea with different periods of time, I think it could be melded together. We’re not pushing anything in particular on you, but I think it would be great to incorporate what’s going on in the area.

SR: What is the time frame for this thing?

CF: As a pilot program, one year is a good goal. From my perspective, I am not going to only offer one year, these kids are the future, this is a long term investment. How can I be a part of this now, make a more grass roots involvement?

SR: If we started somewhere small, and added a different portion each time?

BE: Yeah, we can evaluate after each time and see what we think.

CF: Sometimes things like this can get too big too fast. I want to hear what you two think would be substantive. Here’s one example: how important dirt is. If food is the window we are going through, the importance of dirt, in a very simple way. That kind of simplicity.

BE: Ok so, I guess maybe if you’re interested, part of it is then how we will be able to work together. One of my goals is to help facilitate things between you guys.

SR: I think I have three oo four care students this year. Are you thinking they would be focusing on this project? You might be able to start with some younger OU students and as they go through the program they would become exceptional leaders.

BE: I think that would be great, I’d like to slip some sophomores and freshman in there if you’d be open to it. I’d like them to see some of the planning, maybe contribute to it as well. If that works.

BC: My imagination is going wild with all this.

BE: To me it boils down to language, language is key to everything. I think Constantine comes with a business perspective on the kind of skills you’d like to see creativity, teamwork, etc. I think we have a wealth of resources available locally to us. I think we have a totally unique vision of business here.

CF: Just to throw this out there, one of our partners is the red bird ranch. We buy their beef, that is happening in this circle, in any way that that could be beneficial in this effort. There’s definitely a lot of math opportunities, yields per animal, how much sources to feed a certain number of people, etc.

SR: Or even just to understand that beef comes from a cow! We have students who don’t know that!

BE: There are people that make a living, making that bacon and sausage.

SR: We have kids who have to give presentations on things like that for their 4H group. We want to tie in what these kids do outside of school, bringing that into what they are doing in a school day.

BE: Alyse has experience working with kids in non-traditional settings, so we can bring that to the table today.

CF: I should mention, I live out at the Broadwell stewardship center, in any way that might be of interest for any of the academic disciplines.

SR: Keith does a lot with soil composition. Mixing in Volume with me, cubic yards, etc. That was going to be one of our trips, tying in science with math, looking at the soil in our area.

CF: I’m glad you bring that up, Kathy is an avid worm farmer, she studies soil health, etc. That is definitely an area of strength.

SR: the kids struggled last year with the difference between a square and a cube. So someone brought up the idea of having them dig, and that ties it into science. How can we put all that into it, if we make raised beds, to plant new things, etc.

CF: That’s an awesome challenge of conveying 3d thinking.

SR: So he said, let’s make them actually dig a square foot, how do they measure it, where do they start? Now, let’s make a raised bed, what’s the volume we need to fill it? Proportions, scale drawings, they plan out their garden, then start the process of building it. As teachers, with the new evaluation system, we have to involve businesses, etc in our lessons. We can bring in construction companies, etc to show them how to build, measure angles, etc. Measurements aren’t in the common core anymore, its all algebra.

BE: Is there any modeling involved in that?

SR: It’s used about three different ways with the word modeling in math. There are a lot of different ways to model equations, etc.

CF: With the raised bed thing, it ties in decision-making and critical thinking. Do we just buy dirt? What’s the cost/benefit? If we have compost that we carry out of Athens, there’s a choice, could we build it, with compost, worms, etc? Maybe stepping down from buying it first, and start building it over the years. Building soil out of clay, with Kathy you can see the sequential progress, she has different areas at different places in their life cycle.

SR: Even figuring that out, when the kids do soil testing, what would it cost to transport some of that soil here? There’s a math tie-in again. What PH scale of the soil do you need to grow certain plants? Just getting them to understand just everything that goes into it. What process did food go through to get to you? Kids can memorize equations, word problems, they probably don’t read it, but what does it mean to them, they need to be able to connect to the words in it, make a real-world sense from it.

BC: The only thing I’m personally lacking, I can appreciate the goal of eating a fully supplied meal in our cafeteria, and I think we can understand how to get there. So I need a direction to go in.

SR: It think that is definitely an obtainable goal. I don’t think that is diving in too deep.

BE: There is a lot of stuff available about farming in this area in different time periods.

SR: Maybe we can even have some type of open-community event where the kids can show off what they did and learned. Maybe that can help get out the awareness to the community, or would that be too much?

CF: I don’t think it’s too much. Potentially we could do something with vendors at school events, even. It is important to convey to the public, why this hot dog costs more. The whole goal with the AO model is taking the profit and putting it back into these other efforts.

AC: I don’t want to forget about the OU students. Maybe they can help with some of this planning, creating a budget, presenting it through an educational light to the board if there are budget concerns. Maybe they can help describe this whole web of possibilities, which might help the whole thing actually happen and not get stuck in red tape somewhere.

SR: Our school has done pretty well, we serve Shagbark chips now, we have better lettuce, etc. I think students help making a presentation would be great. Our students are always texting, email, etc. they need practice speaking.

CF: Rationalizations like that would help us rationalize our investment as well. Why should we be directing community resources to this task?

BC: Somebody point a direction, I’m ready to go!

BE: It sounds like you two and Keith need to discuss some ideas and make some plans. We are looking at some culminating things, a sampler, a meal, etc. to celebrate everything they’ve done.

CF: It would seem like the hurdles for a sampler would be less than actually making a meal happen that is actually going to get served. Cooks, supportive staffing, etc.

BE: Let’s give some time for you three to talk, to brainstorm. I need to think about my students as well.

BC: School starts next week, so we need about three weeks to get everything settled.

BE: I’d love to sit in to the common planning meetings to see how CARE can get involved. Maybe even bring some students in to get involved. I’d like to be a part of it from the early stages.