Movement Momentum in Asheville

I’m deep in thought about a perplexing and scary decision that will have a huge impact on my life. My aunt asks me if I want to go to the Michael Franti concert. I’m not really even sure who Michael Franti is, other than vaguely remembering he did a song with SOJA. What else have I got to do? I love concerts. So I say yes.

Several hours later, when we finally get into the show, there are a few moments where I recall a dream I had once that somehow mimics what is happening now. Sort of like de javu. I have these feelings sometimes and take it as a good sign. I’m where I’m meant to be. The evening commences into a swirl of celebration; of summer, important decisions, choices, life, and love.

It was odd being at a show without my other half. We frequented many shows at the NorVa and Portsmouth Pavilion in the Hampton Roads area and both enjoy each other’s energy at concerts. There’s something wonderful and special about letting go of life and it’s problems at a concert with him. I’m happy that he’s enjoying his own adventures. Distance really does make the heart grow fonder.

As I wandered around the concert by myself I notice a few info tables set up around the back edge of the venue. Roots Hummus, a delicious Asheville local hummus creator is sponsoring the concert in celebration of the launch of their new non-profit, Roots Foundation. Other organizations spreading awareness at the event include B Corporation, FEAST, Leaf Community Arts and Roots Foundation.

I see a few people wander by with plates on which delicious looking hummus wraps rest. I notice an interesting receptacle for waste, except it’s mostly, and amazingly, focused on NOT waste. Compostables, recyclables, stuff that goes to the landfill, and separately, your plastic cup must be sorted into its own area. Of course, this isn’t an uncommon concept, except the innovative way they collected cups in PVC pipes to easily stack. The interesting part, and a perfect Small Act example, was that they had a “sorting-marshall.” A couple of guys with curly hair monitored the sorting and were there to “help spread awareness” about how discarded items should be sorted.

“You should be called gandalf. THOU SHALT NOT PASS!” I said to them before I walked away. They smiled and laughed.

All walks of life congregate and some dance to the sounds of The Movement, a band I had seen before at the NorVa. The songs take me back to that night. Spent with two people I truly cherish, it will always be a fond memory. It’s interesting how the brain slows down and speeds up time depending upon the circumstance. Time begins to fly.

Michael Franti takes the stage. Jeannine and I zoom in to get a little closer. His team is showering the crowd with beach balls that capture the attention of the small child in each of us. We look up and wait for the chance to strike the ball and shoot in someone else’s direction. There is fanfare. Then he’s zigzagging through the crowd, standing on other small stage areas, sharing his love with people.  He brings up a group of kids and one starts singing, the crowd starts singing along. He makes an announcement to show recognition for the organizations.

The Roots Foundation focuses on outdoor, permaculture-based education in regional schools. FEAST promotes healthy eating choices and works with school gardens to educate children about gardening and nutrition. B Corporation started a movement for using business as a force for good to address social and environmental problems. Leaf Community Arts brings together communities and and cultures through art, education, and festivals.

The music and fanfare continue for a while until it’s over. The crowd begins to disperse and choose their afterparty. The New Mountain Asheville venue is pretty cool, I have to say. There’s one afterparty show going on top level and another one on the lower level. I had learned via a poster on the porti-potty door outside earlier that a band, Threesound I’d just seen and enjoyed in Charlottesville not long before I moved was playing.

The entire night and synchronicity of it all shows me that Asheville and its citizens exemplify the movement that is happening across our country and the world. A movement toward self sufficiency, better not more, business for good, and building a relationship with your food and how it’s grown. In one evening I learned about several amazing organizations and got to truly celebrate and exchange positive energy with others; strangers, family, and friends.

I am especially impressed with Roots, not only because of their amazing non-GMO hummus but also because they truly care about their customers, community, and the planet.  

Photo via @Rootsfoodavl

Photo via @Rootsfoodavl

“In 2014, Roots funded $40,000 worth of school garden grants, salad bars, and food education programs through the Whole Kids Foundation, a Whole Foods nonprofit organization whose mission is to help schools and children make educated nutritional choices.”  

Our world needs more organizations like these, for sure, but the even greater need is for people to practice the Small Act of caring and showing support for these organizations. That is how real change happens. When the current broken systems are disrupted by new businesses that actually care, and people use their dollar power to support those businesses instead of the old ones, momentum will snowball. There are already over 1000 B Corporations worldwide.

Before people can support them they need to know they exist. My aim is to write about the exemplary ones when I find out about them and share their message and Small Acts with others. Maybe you know some. Maybe you’re not ready to share their message, but when you are, I’m ready for you. Consider signing up to be a Small Acts Ambassador today, but know that even if you never speak a word to another person about it, your Small Acts Count.