Springfield, Missouri - The Well-Fed Neighbor Alliance (WFNA) introduced the Missouri Restoration Tour (and party) at the Gilloiz Theater on Saturday, January 30, 2010. The introduction is important because it is the party banner WFNA hopes to see many candidates consider as those candidates contemplate running for local, state and even federal offices in the future.
In fact, WFNA co-founder Ruell Chappell, who originally announced his intentions to run for Missouri's 138th District against Sara Lampe at a WFNA meeting on October 14, 2009, is now "standing" under the Missouri Restoration Party banner. Originally, Chappell had indicated he would run as an independent.
"My plan is to stand for election in the 138th. I'm not running from or for anything." Chappell wrote in an email. "It is because I know politics to be nothing more than distraction, producing no real plan or leadership to solve our food security and economic issues, that I'm inclined to campaign."
Chappell informed the crowd at the Gilloiz he would not be just another politician. After spending time with many politicians promoting the WFNA and WFN Farmers' Cooperative, he said most realize the sad fact that Missourians are no longer in a position to feed themselves.
"Behind the scenes, the people in power know that we are sadly lacking in food security," Chappell said.
"I will represent the Missouri Restoration Party, dedicated to local food security, a vibrant sustainable local economy, and a reduction in our local carbon footprint."
Both Chappell and WFNA co-founder Galen Chadwick want to see Missouri become food and energy sovereign.
"We are all about food and jobs and the right of everyone to be who they are," Chappell said.
After spending some time telling the audience about the Well-Fed Neighbor Alliance, and showing a short WFNA film about the agricultural history of Missouri, one of the bands Chappell plays with entertained the crowd for about an hour.
Nick and Ruell and Ned The Band, Chappell said, have been working on some new songs about food. The band hadn't had time to rehearse Nick's new food song much but, "lack of rehearsal builds character," said band member Ned Wilkinson. The song, along with every other song performed that night, gets rave reviews from JackeHammer's attending reporter and that reporter's sometimes consultant, Fred Ellison.
Fred and his wife Janice, who are active with the Grant Beach Neighborhood Association (GBNA), and also members of the WFNA, were in attendance to provide information about how GBNA is partnering with WFNA on some upcoming projects and events. The Ellisons hope to provide a sort of template to other neighborhood associations on how they can partner with the WFNA too but, back to the music (or lyrics)....
Nick's "food song" went something like this:
Love is like cornbread, it's better when it's hot.
Love is like cornbread, it crumbles when it's not....
Makin' it is half the fun...12 - 15 minutes and it's done....
The cornbread song is sure to be a favorite (of course, it loses something when not accompanied by music) as the Missouri Restoration Tour continues on its way. The plan is for the tour to hit the 27 counties which make up the Well-Fed Neighbor Farmers' Cooperative.
"We have to go back to making things right one city, one county, one state at a time. The only way we can make the United States strong again is by growing food locally everywhere. We want Springfield to be a template for the country," Chappell said. "Food and Jobs are, and always will be, my vision, my plan, and my end-game. I will owe allegiance to no party, religion or belief system, other than the Missouri Restoration Party, regardless of how the requirements are met to get on the ballot."
The other big news of the night included the announcement that past Lieutenant Governor Joe Maxwell, who has been instrumental in forming food coops in other areas of the state and country wants to serve as the WFNA's Chief Counsel.
Maxwell could not be at the Gilloiz on January 30, due to weather conditions but, Ruell Chappell was proud to quote him from a phone conversation he had had with Maxwell earlier in the day.
"I am excited that Ruell and Galen have asked me to be part of their team as we work together to launch the first step in securing our food system--organizing (a) new farm to table food cooperative which will be responsible for connecting the consumer to their farm family, verifying and tracing their products from farm to table," Maxwell had said.
Hey, didn't I try to tell you to be there? I'm so sorry if you missed it because, having missed it, you also missed picking up some Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Baker Creek was giving the heirloom seeds away after the show. You also missed mingling with some other great people involved with the WFNA, including the City of Springfield's Director of Planning & Development, Ralph Rognstad.
Rognstad didn't exactly agree with some of Chappell's comments about the Urban Garden Task Force process the City was a part of in 2009. I thought Chappell exaggerated the role WFNA's Galen Chadwick played in some of the situations he cited, Rognstad simply thought Chappell was wrong but, he appeared to be somewhat good natured about it.
"It's his story," Rognstad said. "It sounds good, it's just wrong." Rognstad did not say where he believed Chappell had erred.
At a recent Springfield City Council meeting, Council bill 2010-006 was read. The amendment intends, "to clarify the requirements for Community Gardens for operation of mechanical equipment and parking and to exempt park land and community gardens from the requirements for bufferyards." A motion was made to remove a section of the amendment which changed the machine operating hours to operating hours, period. Councilmen Nick Ibarra and Dan Chiles voted in favor of a revision to the amendment but, it failed when the other seven Council members voted against the revision. The bill is scheduled to be voted upon at the next Council meeting, on February 8.
Cross posted at "Well-Fed Neighbor"