“Abundance is Resilience” – Interview with Alexis Thompson, Young Abundance (PDX) by Willi Paul, Planetshifter.com Media
‘Because your celebration is bound to have high energy children who need a way to run it out- without trampling your other guests- Young Abundance brings you ACTIVE GAMES. In a safe space children of all ages are led through games selected for energy release, focus, gross motor skills, and giggle factor… which can include active games, decorations, visual storytelling, imaginative play, decorations and music.’ - Alexis
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Interview with Alexis by Willi
How does abundance compare to resilience?
I believe that the world is abundant, that there is enough here for everyone. As the human population on Earth expands businesses push for more genetically modified products to increase food production. At the same time, half of the food we currently produce is thrown away. We do not need more food. We have enough. Identifying the abundance around you helps you realize that you have what you need, and makes us more resilient individuals.
Are you incorporating reWilding in your curriculum? If so, how?
I bring reWilding to Home Economics by showing folks old methods that fit well in modern families. First and foremost I help families see that playful activities are more fruitful for family bonding than consumption. Using the bounty of the earth to build what we need rather than buy what we need helps us feel wild. Connecting to urban wildlife reWilds our families.
Permaculture is many things to folks. What is Permaculture to you?
To me, permaculture is a method of applying ancient traditions to the modern world. This means looking at that ever-sought idea of efficiency and achieving it through natural patterns. This means healing our communities to feel safe, playful, and gentle.
“Young Abundance is radically green?” What do you mean?!
Young Abundance is radically green by using absolutely zero garbage, moving only by bicycle, using foraged materials and used materials, teaching folks to make things last, and discouraging consumption.
You say that Young Abundance events produces absolutely zero garbage. How so?
I avoid packaging by buying bulk or used. If ever I need to buy something new the wrapper is treated as a product of its own, saved until it is need. I bought a notebook, made in the US from recycled paper. It came in a plastic sleeve. I use the sleeve to protect documents. When the sleeve breaks, it will be used to stuff decorations. When I host a workshop, we use things but never use-up things. If food is to be taken home, participants will need to bring their own durable container.
Please explain what you mean by a “permaculture lens” and how it works for teaching kids?
The foundations of permaculture, stacking function, working with the earth for our own ease, and caring for the earth and its people can be brought to everything we do. Using this approach while teaching families means accomplishing multiple goals at once while creating health. For example, when doing a papier mache class we make something durable rather than disposable, using only discarded paper, local organic unpackaged wheat paste as a binder, and natural dyes for paint. This way we reduce garbage, support local business, and learn magical properties of plants as we create.
Who is in your Portland Food Education network?
I got my Permaculture Design Certificate from the Planet Repair Institute and met many folks in the Portland food education scene from that. I am excited to me acquainted with Marisha Aurbach, Matt Biebo, and Jeff Johnson. Judy Bluehorse Skelter is my mentor and was my teacher when my passion for food education
How would improve the Portland Farmer’s Market?
The Portland Farmer's Market just needs to keep doing what they are doing. Their initiative to use plates and utensils for their food carts is revolutionary and I hope it catches on. I imagine they are in a good position to promote sustainable transportation, in regards to moving the food around. As a person committed to using unpackaged foods, I find it tough even at Farmer's Markets. I am hoping that as a community we can come up with more solutions and share them with farm vendors.
Can you describe a few old and new food-driven rituals?
Old food rituals are slow and communal. New food rituals are fast and individual. Because families have greater financial responsibilities, more expensive housing, student loans, more expensive health care, single family living units, non-communal child care etc., we have to work more and have less time to prepare traditional wholesome foods. I live in a shared household, connected to other households. Sharing meals with one another means we have time to cook well and eat well. This is the type of new-food tradition I hope will continue.
How would you introduce me to a vegan diet?
I first learned to cook because I was vegan in Louisiana and there was no other way to feed myself. I am thankful for that experience. I am no longer vegan and would not introduce anyone to that diet. For anyone who has made up their mind to do so, I suggest that when you design you meal start with a whole grain and legume combo and go from there. Most of my meals are designed this way.
Can the community be the Hero?
The community is and must continue to be the Hero. Every successful person had a community to rely on. There is no limit to the number of people who can be lifted up and out of poverty, we must continually support each other.
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Alexis' Bio -
Through performances and workshops, Young Abundance improves the city of Portland by teaching home economics in an exciting, playful, multi-generational process. Growing up in a low income community here in Portland gave me a background of resourcefulness and responsibility. I noticed the disappearance of home economics in classrooms and realized as an adult that my generation and those after are severely lacking in those skills. After college I explored the world, living in 3 different countries and 10 different cities, collecting stories and methods for living. Coming home I found disconnected pockets of folks with amazingly beautiful projects.
Seeing a lack of connection between folks with shared values I created Young Abundance LLC. This business adds a few elements to the scene: sustainability, multi-generationalism, real life skills, and play. I am looking to truly improve our culture so that healthy living stops appearing unattainable, and folks of different ages find ways to play together. Young Abundance is radically green, producing absolutely zero garbage, sourcing local and upcycled materials to the greatest extent possible, and using exclusively human powered transportation.
Youngabundancellc at gmail.com