Learning To Build and Maintain a Community

The learning that will happen in and through connections with the Centre as well as via network learning – is supposed to contribute to the formation of a new sustainable food culture and enhancing the wellbeing of people. How successful and satisfactory all these processes are will depend, to a large degree, on the relationships that will be forming and growing among all the people involved. The deeper and more meaningful they are and the more satisfaction individual people will have from being involved, the more progress they will make to improve their health, and the stronger impact of their involvement will be on society.

Community building is a process that enhances relationships by helping people be more open to others, more empathic, more real and more willing to drop the guards which are the barriers to building relationships. These, to be meaningful, must be mutually beneficial and thus built on honesty and trust, which the process encourages. The Centre will offer community building sessions facilitated by professionals trained by the Foundation for Community Encouragement. We will also make all clients who participate in any learning opportunities offered by the Centre aware of the community building process and encourage them to take part in such sessions, when offered. Those who previously participated and experienced the community building process and were impacted by it have seen that people usually have a different perspective on doing things together with other people once they participated in such sessions.

We will also strongly encourage the Centre's staff, board members and supporters to take part in such sessions, when organized. We plan and hope that the principles of community will be the foundation of operations of the Centre. Engaging people in the community building process and attempting to make it an essential part of a young organization means moving through unchartered waters and we cannot predict results. Yet, we certainly are most interested to learn how successful we could be in such an endeavour. We hope that any positive impact that it will have on the staff and volunteers associated with the Centre will be detectable by the Centre's clients and most worthy to pursue. We want to assist people who will come to the Centre to learn not only through the programs offered but also through the food served, the special atmosphere of the whole facility and the people involved in operations. All these elements should positively contribute to the overall learning experience and inspire clients to be deeper and further involved.

Community as a state of relationships among people cannot be maintained all the time in its most moving and appealing form. We truly hope and will work towards the goal of spreading the understanding of what community is and what is the process that helps people reach it. The great benefits of going through a successful process are felt by each person individually and are not easily described through words. Community needs to be experienced to appreciate.

The more community spirit is present in relationships among people who individually try to improve their health and collectively work on creating a new sustainable food culture, the better are the chances for success. While sustainable food is the key to improving our health, the process of Community Building may be such a key to improving our relationships. One cannot be a truly healthy individual when only the physical aspects of our health are addressed; we are social beings and our relationships are also extremely important and if suffering, need to be healed.

In the distant past, but also in any still surviving societies which live sustainable lives and stay healthy, not only their food and diets have been dramatically and principally different from what we have been eating in the civilized modern societies. These old societies also represented cultures where the principles of community were evidently present. It is difficult to separate food from culture and community as we need them all for healing ourselves and our societies.