why CULTURAL ENGINES?

lightning

Ultimately, why was this Engine sparked to life?  & why is its form significant?

Hopefully, we are effectively painting a picture of a living system that grows holistic community — & as well, a living system that strengthens larger ecosystems of many communities that feel linked & stronger together.  Meanwhile, the Engine operates in the same essential realms that seem to govern the mess of the world — where many of us experience cultural, economic, political, social, & physical problems.  Essentially, the Engine is put forth as a model that can meet unmet needs in all of these realms, as it weaves them into a cohesive whole, & which runs on the very stuff of life, love, & family that seem to be the source of happiness & joy for most of the globe.

And so the hope & vision go:  that a healthy system, that runs on its own energy — & that meets all the needs of Life — could peacefully supplant our dying Modern World.

The verb ‘supplant’ is taken from ecosystem observation, & used to indicate a natural transition between physical states — one brought about by a change in growing conditions that undermine a system’s ability to thrive, or survive.  The peaceful nature of this kind of transition may be seen frequently in Northeast forests, as the standing skeletons of fast-growing, sun-loving, cedar & birch trees are seen to have been shaded out of their turn at dominance — by the slower, but taller & stronger, oaks & maples.

And so we the Engines grow — at our own speed — & create living systems that find potentially limitless nourishment on the land on which we live — a distinct advantage over a fading system that steals & transports, with great effort, all it needs to survive — (in short, a system not rooted in the ground on which it sits — nor in the communities that breathe it to life).  ❤  .

functions of CULTURAL ENGINES

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Gaia — artist: Alex Grey

Cultural Engines weave community.  They weave a powerful story of interconnection & love — one of a service to Life, & to one another, fueled by Love.  We, the Engineers, engage together in conscious co-creation, as we make manifest the better world our hearts tell us is possible.   And like the living patterns on Earth, after which every Cultural Engine is modeled, they make more (& more kinds) of themselves possible, as they adapt in form & proliferate — essentially, by growing regenerative culture.

Cultural Engines train communities of collaborators to engage together in the work of regeneration — (the means by which life makes more of itself possible).  All the while, Engines feed & nourish bodies & souls, by bringing people together over healing foods, healing arts, & healing practices — & weave as well people to place, by re-connecting communities to local foodsheds, art projects, & to one another.  As a result, Engines grow a community’s capacity to nourish, feed, & help itself — all while performing necessary work, or by offering some plainly valuable good or service to communities in active support.

For example, the West Philly Cultural Engine produced this season a Community Supported Kitchen ( a CSK ) that offered 15 subscribers 21 weeks of prepared menus — filling a vital niche in the lives & diets of many.  Meanwhile, the success of the CSK, is not measured simply in terms of numbers, but also the grown kitchen- & collaborative-capacities of all who learned to source, cook, serve & teach around regenerative food systems.  Therefore, Cultural Engines are more than vocational training programs.  They are nourishing seeds of regenerative enterprise, & pathways to right livelihood for all involved — planted in the soil of a gift economy.

Meanwhile, so much like the patterns of Life after which Engines are modeled, the closer one observes, the more it all can look like magic.  At some fundamental level, our process is to simply re-arrange the existing to become nourishing — (exactly how Life turned this planet from the rock it was into a living garden of diversity) — & we, as Life, are possessed of that same capacity.  Highly adaptable, Engines weave themselves into the cultures of any place.  In West Philadelphia, the Engine has woven itself deeply into Radical Faerie culture — & now, increasingly, into other communities of strength, that also exist in close proximity.  ❤  .

Mid-Winter Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop

Lending a hand at the LCA house, The Percolator, the Cultural Engine led a workshop in pruning — specifically fruit tree pruning — a 30 ft pear tree that had never been pruned.

True to the vision of the Engine, this workshop, which shared both the skills & the work of food system stewardship, spread awareness & wherewithal around local food security to neighbors & other gardens.

Easy Kitchen Cure for Winter Wear-n-Tear

Frances Rose has taken to keeping a small bowl of olive oil on her desk.  She fingers some over her lips & around her mouth regularly which has been unbelievably effective at healing cracked wintry lips & a sore under-nose.  She also wants you to know it’s amazing for hair too.

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What’s been Cooking in the Engine Kitchen?

Bones.  & Organs.  These are often overlooked.  

First, Bones.  We get bones weekly (esp. in winter) from the local farmers market.  We roast them in the oven, draw off the melted fat, then put them in a big pot of water (with a little vinegar to draw out their boniness into the broth), throw in some whole seed spices, & some root vegetables to enrich the broth — which we let simmer for about 6 hours (less than ideal, but have a hard time justifying the extra gas).  The veggies get composted (as all their flavor is then in the stock).  The bones are then picked for their meat, & then discarded.

 
Check it out:  a bag of bones costs around $4 – 6 depending on the size, number, purveyor, & local demand.
 
This YIELDS:
– beautiful, rich fat (poured out of the pan after roasting) to cook other food in.  
– the meat, picked of the bones after simmering
– & a gallon or two of rocket fuel — intensely nourishing broth.  replace water with broth as you cook grains, or braise vegetables, or make soup.
– a hearty aroma that pervades a home space & makes it smell like home & like someone who lives there loves you.
 
= awesome value
 
Second, Organs.  Shop your local farmers markets.  Find the niches.  People want flesh-meat — & look straight past the organs, which come from every animal.  Help the farmers know that the whole animal is being valued & used.  Meanwhile, you get to eat the most nutrient dense parts of the animal.  Flesh is filler.  Organs support the fundamentals of life.  & organs from local grass-feeding farms are beautiful & delicious.  Do NOT get organs from industrially farmed animals.  Do NOT support industrial farming (period) — as best as you are able.  Frances loves Liver best of the organs.  A quick sear on both sides in oil in an onion-y pan — after a fast dredge in a touch of flour, salt & spice is awesome.  Organs too, are mostly cheaper than meat.
 
= awesome value
 
awesome value, nutritionally dense, & (when from local farmers practicing beautiful stewardship) part of a local & regenerative food system.
 
❤  wildRose