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Neighbors (or, the way I say it, NEIGHBORS!!)

The Sugar Beet Co-op experiences awesome neighborliness at Oak Park's Earth Fest 2012.

Yeah, I’ve been known to go on a bit about my neighbors. I love to talk about community and cooperation and how I believe in supporting my neighbors’ families, businesses and farms by living my life cooperatively. If you ask me (or, even if you don’t), I will bend your ear for quite a while on how we all must build our local (and global) community with compassion, cooperation and, most importantly, a sense of neighborliness.

This week, I get the chance to go on about my wonderful neighbors, with whom I spent the day at Oak Park’s 2012 Earth Fest.

The Sugar Beet was lucky enough to have a booth at Earth Fest, the amazing event that was created and facilitated by Maria, K.C., and other Oak Park neighbors who work hard to develop our community sustainably.

We got to sell our cool t-shirts and talk with our neighbors about our development of a new kind of food co-op in Oak Park. We spent the day with our families, volunteers and friends, who support our attempt at building access to and education on local, sustainable food for our larger community. These neighbors deserve some shout-outs, for sure.

On the way to Earth Fest, we delivered t-shirts to Ali and Chris and Maureen and Kevin, whose kiddos’ schedules conflicted with the fest, and Emily and Joe, who were under the weather, but who were all at Earth Fest supporting The Sugar Beet in spirit!

Kristen and David rose early to help Cheryl and Anthony load up, transport, and set up all of our cool Sugar Beet stuff and activities. We watched each others’ kids and went on emergency coffee runs together while we prepared for the day ahead.

Kelly and Cliff, from my block, the best block in Oak Park (I know, you, too, think YOURS is the best block in Oak Park!), were the first ones there to grab their Sugar Beet t-shirts and wear them proudly.

Beth, a local family farmer, came by to show her support. She left info on her CSA program so that we could share our support of her farm, Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm, with our visitors.

Jill and Adam, as well as Mike and many supportive grandparents, took our kids over to visit the lady with the chickens, chase the people with the adorable puppies, and watch the chefs putting on cooking displays.

Kristen, Paul (and Lisa), and Julie helped us talk our neighbors who were curious about and ready to support the burgeoning development of a food co-op in Oak Park.

Laura told us about how she lived near and belonged to a co-op in Madison and loved the sense of community it brought to her and her neighbors.

Sheila, a college student, told us about how she had started a sustainable food movement on her own campus and wants to help start one in her own home town.

Adler, who works in renewable energy, told us of his excitement to work with these kinds of sustainable ventures in Oak Park.

Maria, who moved to Oak Park within the past year because of the strong commitment to values that she hold dear, told us that she has been seeking a food co-op in the area.

Camille, who, as a public servant, wants to support new avenues for community-building, sustainable living, and support of local farmers, visited with us for a while and bought a t-shirt.

Lisa, who works to develop education on healthy food choices in the Austin community, told us that she would love to make Oak Park a part of that development.

Bob, who coined the term “Beetnik” for our supporters, dropped by to show his incredible support as a public servant committed to Oak Park.

Claudia, who raises bees on an orchard in Michigan, told us that she would love to establish a regional connection with honey and apple lovers here in Oak Park.

Patrick, who considers himself an amateur farmer, wants the opportunity to work in support of his local food shed.

Sally and Ana dropped by to make some Green Community Connections with us.

Dennis told us that he loved our logo and wants to be a part of something cool and hip in his community.

Bryan and Amy, who’ve joined the Oak Park community through their positions in the culinary school of Robert Morris University and the new local restaurant Eyrie, used their delicious soup to help us sell t-shirts.

Marie, Jason, Wendy, Maria, Kim, Maggie, Stew, Susan, Stephanie, Claire, Kristin, Melissa, Alison, Nancy, Jill, Lisa, Kristee, Bill, Alyson, Ann, Lissa, Natale, Rise, Laura, Richard, Pauline, Brian, Leslie, Jodi, Michelle, Brian, Sophia, Betsy and on and on and on, all dropped by in an act of neighborliness to learn about and show their support for The Sugar Beet.

Then, Brett, Lee (and Mona), and Tom helped us pack up at the end of the day and get the remaining t-shirts and crafts, not to mention our exhausted, exhilarated selves, back home.

Our neighbors are the people who live on our block. Our neighbors are the people who live on the next block. Our neighbors are the people in our village and in the next village over. Our neighbors are the people in Chicago. If you are willing to climb onto this slippery slope of neighborliness I’m creating, your neighbors are all of our fellow citizens of world.

All of our neighbors share a place, a community, and food with us, and now, I am so excited that we also share the work of developing The Sugar Beet Co-op!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jill Salzman April 23, 2012 at 07:34 PM
You're a regular Mr. Rogers, Jenny. And doing an even better job than he did, minus the shoe-throwing. BRAVA, sister.
Maria Onesto Moran April 26, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Ya'll were a huge success on Saturday, congratulations! One day someone will make a chick flick about the Beetniks.
Susanne April 22, 2013 at 09:18 PM
Already making it, Maria! Sugar Beet rocks!

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