A group of hungry kids enter a town after a long travel. They were orphans and begin asking for food. The people of the town felt food was scarce and wasn’t to be shared. The “community” there was not interested because they weren’t used to helping one another out. They hadn’t had the “need.” The travelers pulled out their empty boil pot and went to fill it in the river. They filled the pot and set it to boil. When they were up to heat, in went stones. One townsman asked what they were doing. They replied saying they were making “Stone Soup.” Playing along with their game; the townsman felt he could part with some small onion for “garnish.” He’d have to make it seem like scraps so his family wouldn’t notice. On his way back home after delivering the scrap onion, another person stopped him and asked; “What did you just give them?”
A Stone Soup is a potluck.. but... not like any other. You see;
"One man with a potato eats a potato. One man with a carrot eats a carrot. But if we come together we can make a soup and eat pretty good" - (original Stone Soup co-creator)
Most potlucks you make something at your home in the seclusion of your dwelling. A Stone Soup is designed under the most fundamental and systemic methods of family relations. We believe this is how to build community. It is a crucial activity. It’s in our design specifically to create a hub where people just get together.
The largest problem with modern campaigning is that relationship building is an ideology; not a methodology. It's a "good idea" and not so much a way of campaigning itself. Just ask yourself; who came to town for any campaign you had hope for?
He replied quickly; “Ah.. some onion scraps,” and hurried along. The other townsperson was a woman who had a big bin of potatoes at home. She knew she could spare a raw potato. She hurried back and offered it to the children. Before they knew it, a few townspeople had offered a bounty; a potato, an onion, some carrots, broccoli, and more.. Everyone could spare so little; but, they could spare... and, at least the children had a pot to cook it in. By the time they were done they had a wonderful soup and realized it was way too much for just four little kids. They invited everyone who donated to come for a bowl. Then, even more town’s people joined in and before ya know it; it’s a real celebration. The moral of the story is: one person with a potato, eats a potato. But, if we all come together and add together what doesn't look like much; it can become something big and delicious for all of us.
Where are they now? Are they still in the community? Of the relationships you found through that campaign; how many people are you still friends with? Do you hang out often?
These are structural questions. They get to the heart of what it means to identify connection and relationship. The most important part of any relationship is being together so how many times a day/week/year are we together with someone who claims to build relationships in our community?
Stone Soup Sunday is the largest marker of our methodology in political campaigning because it solves this in a new way. One thing we say at SMRF is that building a community on the backs of campaign members creates a relationship fallout. This is why we train organizers to first identify leading community members who can organize a stone soup. "Leading" community members are people who have deep ties to a campaign's community and message. They are most likely already active.
At the heart of what family is around the world there is sharing a meal. In many cultures the Sunday dinner is important. It is our assertion through studies at SMRF that all Organizers develop a consistent meal plan of one meal held one day a week with every community. This ensures that the most important part of any relationship is accomplished; that's being together. Because you see: family is not a pluralistic argument. How you actualize it, maybe., but all families spend time and meals together to strengthen bonds.
Remember: community building is the whole thing.
Political change will never occur until the Will of the people is restored. Strengthening progressive communities to become self sufficient is the only way to advance a national movement political agenda that can restore our government and corporate systems. This means our organization must provide something of value to the community that also brings some type of resource in.
Strengthening communities is focusing on the very foundation that upholds any country. Without people being together and willing to stick together through rough times any country is doomed to fail. But, security isn't about having things, it's about handling things.
The times when communities fall apart is when people can not handle their issues with one another. Harnessing Conflict is such a cornerstone of our teachings for this specific fact: people need to stick together. In order to stay together we must harness our conflicts with one another instead of turning our backs and abandoning any relation. This comes from being able to handle the problem.
Our school is dedicated to teaching the social skills and developing the resources in any community to create the environment conducive for sticking together - the environment conducive for choosing Love.
The idea of focusing on family, only, and not all of the general organizational needs activists are usually concerned with may seen counter-intuitive at first. You'll find that when you focus on the people in a group instead of what the group needs to do everything else falls into place. There are many ideas out there, many people, and many lists of things we could all do. Why doesn't anything get done?
This is because people never focus on the people of the group. The community of volunteers. They are the people and they are the only thing matters. Stone Soup Sunday is about the community of the group.
Get in contact with Imran Cooper (Program Coordinator) To learn more
s a s s a f r a s a n d m a p l e @ g m a i l . c o m
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by Colorado state law, employment with Sassafras and Maple Research Foundation, LLC precedes enrollment and course study