Vulnerability and Viability in the Hills of Vermont

by Mari Omland

Brené Brown suggests courage is borne out of vulnerability, not strength. She goes on to say the original definition of courage is “to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.” Her findings on shame and “wholeheartedness” inspire.

This winter Scrag Mountain Music will once again grace our barn with a series of concerts. We at Green Mountain Girls Farm still need to pinch ourselves as we enjoy their international caliber music. Mary Bonhang and Evan Premo, Scrag’s Artistic Directors, and their friends the Spectral Quartet (from Chicago), bring chamber music to non-traditional venues in hopes of enabling more people access. They stress that while classical music provides intellectual stimulation, what they seek and cherish about playing in places such as our barn is increased emotional connection with individuals and the audience. Our farm seeks the same.

Like Scrag Mountain Music, our Floating Bridge Food and Farms Cooperative intentionally invites engagement. We, the participating individuals and businesses of the Cooperative, engage each other as we struggle and innovate to improve the viability of our small farms and food-based enterprises. We engage visitors who crave the opportunity for authentic rural and farm-based experiences and wholesome products. In turn, visitors are central to the viability of our businesses and communities. All this brings us back to vulnerability. In the best moments our Cooperative meets in warmth, with snacks, great ideas and executes successful events. But collaboration requires that we all stretch to relate to others. Positioning our businesses to embrace visitors, inviting them into the intimacy of our family farms and home-based businesses and community is by definition about vulnerability! But what we the members of the Cooperative keep being wowed by is that the result of all of this wholeheartedness is rewarding beyond expectation. We learn as individuals and our group advances. Brookfield isn’t yet the epicenter of agritourism like Tuscany but we present intimate invitations to the world and the energy of participants attending our events is contagious. This energy, together with financial participation, re-energizes and make our farms and community-based art and businesses viable.

 

Recent years have seen the emergence of “flash mobs” singing carols in public spaces. Caroling has been a tradition in Vermont villages and towns since colonial days, sometimes in religious celebration, sometimes more like folks songs, reminding the community of what it once did or thought important. Caroling manifests wholeheartedness.

We hope you are able to join us at upcoming Floating Bridge Food and Farms Cooperative events to play along intensively experimenting with vulnerability and courage, and enjoy the intangibles available when one drives over the hills and through the woods to the Floating Bridge!

If you can’t join Scrag Mountain Music or Floating Bridge Cooperative’s events this holiday season, embrace vulnerability where you are. It appears that this, even more than fresh air and rural experiences is the birthplace of joy, belonging and fulfillment. Wholehearted holidays to all!