Going slow: Slow Living Summit
Technology has made our lives go so fast and furious that we are often left with a feeling of emptiness at the end of the day when we realize we weren’t fully present for any of it. We were texting or updating our Facebook status or rushing from place to place in an automobile. Many of us don’t fully engage in the tasks we complete – we are always thinking of what we have to do next and who we need to call or email. What kind of a life is that? One we are just trying to hurry through to get to the grave?
In recent years, I have made concerted efforts to slow down – working less (and getting paid less on purpose), going outside more, doing more things I love, etc. It’s easy to get caught back up in the rat race, though. Even when doing things I love, I can get overwhelmed. That is why I was delighted to learn of the second annual Slow Living Summit that was coming to Brattleboro, Vermont.
I attended this event with few preconceived notions about what it would be like. I did have a list of topics and speakers, so I knew the general gist, and as a “summit,” I did expect it to follow a certain format and have a certain outcome as I have attended several successful summits in the past.
While it did not live up to my expectations as a summit, it did make a great conference. To be a summit, the event would’ve needed to be governed by a set of objectives, driven by participant input and result in a list of specific, attainable action items. This it did not do. However, the sessions were very interesting and included some very influential speakers and authors. There were some decent networking opportunities, and the food was really excellent – all local and fresh.
It was also my first time in Brattleboro, Vermont, and what a delight that was! Brattleboro is a quaint little city with all the fixings: a college, coffee shops, a hotel, a theater, shoe shop, restaurants – it was just thoroughly lovely. I had the good fortune to get a room at the Latchis Hotel, which is attached to the Latchis Theater… and to a brew pub! Yes, I *was* in heaven! I think every small city needs a hotel in their downtown – it brings so much economic activity to the other businesses.
A few of the more notable speakers at the event were Woody Tasch (author and founder of Slow Money), Chris Martenson (author of The Crash Course), Kendra Pierre-Louis (author of Greenwashed), and Sarah van Gelder (executive director of Yes! Magazine).
Woody Tasch reminded me of House but without the cane and limp. He was an excellent speaker, and his vision for Slow Money ties in with healthy, sustainable food as well. What his organization does is provide loans to sustainable food enterprises on a local level – allowing people to invest in companies where they live. To see (and taste!) the results of your investment must be pretty rewarding. Investors and companies are partners in these endeavors. How often do you sit across the table from the owner of the company you’re investing in? (Hearing Woody talk inspired me to invest in my friend’s Kickstarter campaign, which has now been financed.) Why wouldn’t we want to invest in our friends’ and neighbors’ success? Their success helps fuel ours.
Slow Money’s goal is for 1,000,000 Americans to be investing 1% of their money in local food systems in the next decade. Imagine what the world would be like! So, think about this as it applies to your life. When your friends, family, neighbors prosper, don’t you prosper, too?