Getting back to the basics of life

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C.A.N. brings community together; meeting Saturday

By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

Things are tough all over. Property values have declined while gasoline prices have risen. Unemployment is high and morale is low.
And while it may seem like dark days ahead, a group of people in the Morriston community are searching for rays of sunshine by leaning on one another.
In May Cindy Johnson was casually chatting with some friends about the surplus of eggs she had from her chickens. Before long, she discovered that her excess was someone else’s necessity and the idea to create a network of neighbor helping neighbor started envolving.
The result was C.A.N.–Community Alliance Network–and its purpose is simple: to gather together to share information and resources for a shaky economy.
In June, about 19 people met to share their ideas, pool their resources and brainstorm plans for the future of the alliance.
The first speaker, Johnson said, was Art Jackson from Sunnyside Farms.  Future speakers include Ron Brekken, who  will talk about how to make a gasifier–a generator of sorts that burns wood instead of gas–and Kenne Wells, who will discuss hydroponic gardening.
Callie Fields, one of C.A.N.’s members, said in time the alliance will learn about  canning, container gardening, worm farms, bee keeping, first aid and a myriad of other topics.
“We want to teach and learn sustainable life skills,” Fields said.
“And when you work together, it’s fun,” Johnson said.
Both women agreed their  desire is the information that is shared and the knowledge gleaned through C.A.N. will be knowledge that is continually handed down from generation to generation.
By getting back to the basics of life, Fields said, families are better prepared to take care of themselves in dire times, especially when money is short.
Like a cooperative, persons have a vested interested in what happens with C.A.N. and through those who participate can network to find goods, services and products that are beneficial to them.
Not a gardener? Don’t have a farm? Couldn’t cook if your life depended on it?
Don’t worry. Everyone has  time, Fields said, and by donating an hour or two of your time, you become a vested partner in the Alliance and can assist someone else.
Recently a greenhouse has been donated to the group and work has begun to get it functional. What could  happen next is anyone’s guess.
Just recently Fields, who makes her own laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent, said hundreds of pounds of cabbage were donated and with a little help from her friends, that cabbage was soon processed and ready for the freezer. It will be used as needed for those in need, she said. Just like the loaves of banana bread that were baking during the interview–from brown bananas that most likely would have ended up in someone’s Dumpster.
General knowledge from woodworking and auto merchanics to canning and preserving and sewing is needed, Johnson said.
“In times past, communities worked together to support, to grow, to build and provide needs and services,” the brochure says. “That can happen again.”
If you’re interested in becoming more self sufficient, spending less money and sharing what you know with others, C.A.N. welcomes your participation.
The group will meet this Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon at Living Water Life Center, 6491 SE 123 Terrace, Williston.
For more information, call 352-489-0366 or e-mail WeCanCanTogether@gmail.com.