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A Summit to remember!

About 300 people gathered in Brattleboro, Vermont on June 5-7, 2014 for the 4th annual Slow Living Summit. They experienced an exciting interplay between speakers, artists and audience, as artistic content — music, dance, drama, visual art — was woven into Summit, not as preludes or warm-ups, but as a seamless, natural part of the Summit’s fabric.

In a Slow lifestyle, the arts are integral to community well-being. Modeling this essential presence, in the Slow Living Summit artistic expression was not simply window-dressing or warm-up exercises — we sought to weave it seamlessly into the fabric of the Summit, amplifying and interpreting the messages of speakers, and involving the audience in participative ways.

If you missed the Summit, or would like to re-experience it, here are complete videos of the five plenary sessions.

We’ll have details for the 2015 Summit later this year. Please check back, or click this button to join our email list, and we’ll send you early-bird registration info as soon as we have it. (Probably in December!)

 

The Opening Plenary, Wednesday, June 4

Orly Munzing, Linda McInerney: “What’s this all about?” — Samantha Eagle, John Sheldon, Lindel Hart: “The well being” —  Samantha advocates a “sustainable healthcare movement” for preventing and reversing chronic conditions. Instead of the fast-food mentality—take this pill for that—she discusses incorporating a new approach that involves the application of evidence-based environmental, social, psychological and behavioral science to balance the Mind/Body/Spirit.


 

Plenary 2 — Thursday morning, June 5, 2014

Charles Eisenstein and Eugene Friesen: “Time is running out, let’s Slow Down” — In a time of grave and urgent crisis, the “Slow” movement might seem a little bit frivolous. Don’t we need to sacrifice everything in order to deal with the enormity of the crisis at hand? Or is it that urgency itself is part of the problem? Join Charles and Eugene for a deep dive into a paradox that unlocks a new defining story of the people.


 

Plenary 3 — Thursday afternoon, June 5, 2014

Amit Sharma, Amy Johnquest: “The Free-co-system: Investing for personal and community wealth” — Through several interesting examples – globally, nationally and locally – this dialogue explores the organic nature of markets and communities. How might institutions and individuals consider their “investment” (in civic engagement, energy, and economics) to strengthen our collective resilience and achieve greater “wealth” for ourselves and our communities?


 

Plenary 4 — Friday morning, June 6, 2014

Martin Ping with Seamus Maynard, Jonathan Talbott and Jonah Thomas (Quiet in the Head): “Soil, Soul, and Society: A love story in three movements” — How can we navigate the paradoxical journey between our sense of urgency and our need to pause and reflect? How can we cultivate the fertile soil of a rich inner life? How can we foster meaningful relationships in family, work, and community? Based in large part on experiences gained at Hawthorne Valley over 30 years, we will explore these themes through words and music.


 

Plenary 5 — Friday afternoon, June 6, 2014

Linda McInerney and John Sheldon: “Arts, humor, love and story: Finding the creative connection” —  Linda McInerney shares her process of creative collaboration and one of her projects, The Red Guitar, by John Sheldon, in which John shares the journey of his life through music. “The intent is to describe and enact a journey of the spirit, and to encourage others to find their own path and walk it.”

Merchants BankThanks to our Presenting Sponsor, Merchants Bank!

And thanks to our friends at Brattleboro Community Television for their video work on these plenary sessions!

The 4th annual Slow Living Summit

Brattleboro, Vermont — June 4-6, 2014

What was it about? Slow Living is about giving back, about living more mindfully, about connecting with one’s community and one’s bioregion. 

The 2014 Slow Living Summit was a unique intergenerational conversation about connections — connections between life, health and happiness; between soil, soul and food; between money, community and bioregions; between arts, humor and love. Behind those connections are stories.

At the 2014 Summit, we shared stories, rather than solutions. For most problems, it’s usually easy to prescribe a cure. But what we really need is not a cure but a story that enables us to understand the problem and find the solution on our own.

At the Summit, speakers and artists connected, presented and performed together, telling stories and exploring narratives. We came together, we listened, we shared, and we learned how to be the artists of our own lives.

An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break.

A Chinese proverb

Tug on anything at all and you’ll find it connected to everything else in the universe.

John Muir

The Summit themes

Health, Healing, Wellness, Happiness

All the strings of Slow Living tie to these themes.

When communities focus on health and happiness, they take on all the other key aspects of Slowness — they become resilient, vibrant, great places to live and work. They thrive by building healthy local economies, by encouraging sustainable entrepreneurship, by integrating the arts into community life, by building strong, supportive educational systems, health systems and opportunities for all.

Plenary Speakers

Our plenary topics reflected the Summit’s themes. Each plenary speaker also led a related breakout session — see schedule page for all details.

Samantha Eagle

The Well Being: Health, Healing and Community

Wed., June 4 — 6:15pm
Session Details

Lifestyle Medicine has three pillars —creating a triad: Nutrition, Activity and Stress Management. Together, they share in the support of the individual. Dr. Eagle will discuss achieving one’s highest potential of health and happiness in a sustainable lifestyle, resulting in The Well Being.

When people think about our current medical system, it’s easy to envision a sterile-appearing clinical setting and a prescription pad. However, this model often addresses only symptoms, generating a recurring cycle of patient health issues.
Dr. Eagle advocates a “sustainable healthcare movement” for preventing and reversing chronic conditions. Instead of the fast-food mentality—take this pill for that—she will discuss incorporating a new approach that involves the application of evidence-based environmental, social, psychological and behavioral science to balance the Mind/Body/Spirit.

Dr. Samantha K. Eagle earned her BA from the University of Vermont and later received her Naturopathic Medical Doctorate and Masters in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport. Summers spent organic farming and working with master herbalists, fostered a passion for natural health. Her experience in teaching undergraduate biology inspired her interest in patient and clinician education.

Licensed as a primary care physician, Dr. Eagle is the founder and medical director of Biologic Integrative Healthcare, LLC and the Biologic Wellness Center (BWC) in Brattleboro. Within her multidisciplinary group, Dr. Eagle specializes in Lifestyle and Functional Medicine. During the past two years, Dr. Eagle has spoken at numerous conferences across the country, informing professional audiences about Lifestyle Medicine, which applies well-documented environmental, social and psychological principles to modify patients’ nutrition, activity and stress level. The goal is to reduce the need for conventional medical, surgical and pharmacological intervention.

Charles Eisenstein

Time is running out, let’s Slow Down

 

Thurs., June 5 — 8:30 a.m.
Session Details

In a time of grave and urgent crisis, the “slow” movement might seem a little bit frivolous. Don’t we need to sacrifice everything in order to deal with the enormity of the crisis at hand? Or is it that urgency itself is part of the problem? Join Charles for a deep dive into a paradox that unlocks a new defining story of the people.

Charles is a speaker and writer whose books are The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is PossibleThe Ascent of Humanity, Sacred Economics, and The Yoga of Eating. He blogs for The Guardian and speaks widely.

Amit Sharma

The Free-co-system: Investing for personal and community wealth

Thurs., June 5 — 1:30 p.m.
Session Details

Amit has worked at the intersection of commercial enterprise, public policy and the capital markets – with organizations in the public, private and development sectors – in an effort to explore how we might more holistically deploy personal and collective “capital.” How do people of varying professions and backgrounds define their core “assets”, identify and engage “markets”, mitigate “risks”, efficiently “leverage” resources for growth and resilience, and ultimately build meaningful “wealth?

Economically-centric in modern parlance, these five words have carried loaded or varying definitions, and their traditionally narrow definitions have limited the manner in which our “investments” can enhance our collective welfare. Through several interesting examples – globally, nationally and locally – this dialogue explores the organic nature of markets and communities. Come discuss how institutions and individuals might consider their “investment” (in civic engagement, energy, and economics) to strengthen our collective resilience and achieve greater “wealth” for ourselves and our communities.

Martin Ping

Soil, Soul, and Society: A love story in three movements

Fri., June 6 — 8:30 a.m
Session Details

Martin is the Executive Director of Hawthorne Valley in Ghent, New York, an organization aimed at promoting the integration of society and culture with education and arts.

How can we navigate the paradoxical journey between our sense of urgency and our need to pause and reflect? Can we find balance in the “in-between-ness” of life’s polarities and, perhaps, mine this tension zone for the creative sparks that may reside there? How can we live into and learn from nature and place? How can we cultivate the fertile soil of a rich inner life? How can we foster meaningful relationships in family, work, and community? Based in large part on experiences gained at Hawthorne Valley over 30 years, we will explore these themes through words and music.

Linda McInerney

Arts, humor, love and story

 

Fri., June 6 — 3:25 p.m.
Session Details

The way it is with children:  “May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” — Rilke, The Book of Hours Linda McInerney is curious about our interconnection. She seeks to find ways to live creatively, collaborate wholeheartedly, and to tell the unexcavated stories of our lives. She has worked in the Pioneer Valley for over thirty years as an actor, writer, director, and producer. Her company, Old Deerfield Productions, has a focus on the commissioning of new work that addresses those questions including: The Captivation of Eunice Williams, Truth, an American opera about the life of Sojourner Truth, My Bronx by and about Terry Jenoure, and, presently, a new adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Lindel Hart to be offered in July, 2014. In their plenary, Linda McInerney and Terry Jenoure tell their story of creative collaboration on MY BRONX and share that work with the audience. In their breakout, Linda McInerney and Terry Jenoure offer an invitation to share personal stories and a conversation about processes for excavating and telling them.

The expansive music theater piece features original music and poetry by Ms. Jenoure who brims with creativity. MY BRONX is vibrant, full of color and texture. The stories are woven together like a tapestry; it moves from past to present bringing the audience on a ride through memory and story. It is an amazing amalgam of forms all emanating from Terry who celebrates her Jamaican and Puerto Rican roots, her Jazz mastery, and her poetry, all while dancing with her hand-sewn dolls on the imagined streets of her transplanted home: the Bronx. You have never experienced anything like this show.

Linda McInerney, Slow Living Summit Conference Designer, is the founder and artistic director of Old Deerfield Productions, a theater arts company with the mission of creating, producing and promoting high quality theater that engages, challenges, and entertains audiences.

What is Slow Living?

The concept of Slow Living is built on the metaphor of “Slow,” as used by other visionary organizations like Slow Food and Slow Money.

“Slow” encompasses several layers of meaning that go beyond simply “sustainable.” Slow is the opposite of “fast” — fast food, fast money, fast living — and all of the negative consequences “fast” has had for the environment and for the health of people and societies. “Slow” embodies cooperation, respect, sustainability, gratitude and resilience.

When we Live Slow, we give back, we are mindful, and we connect to our communities and our bioregions.

The Slow Living Vision

The Slow Living Vision is of an Earth where humankind, honoring and celebrating the profound connectedness of all people, places and living beings, gives back by co-creating mutually supportive communities, bioregions and economic systems — and where we combine the wisdom of the past with a vision for the future to ensure a balanced, fulfilling way of life for all generations to come.

 

The Slow Living Vision is being realized all over the world by an amazing array of people who are working on new pathways. These include not only health, healing and wellness, sustainable agriculture, community building, renewable energy, reforestation, social justice, new economic models and resource conservation, but also deeper explorations into the wisdom of indigenous people, feminine and masculine wisdom, and the roles of the arts, ethics, philosophy, science, spirituality and religion in healing the Earth.

We come from all walks of life. We live in rural areas, small towns, and large cities. We are young and old, wealthy and struggling. We are all seeking a better way, a saner way, and a happier way to live and organize their lives.

We will come together in Brattleboro, Vermont, June 4-6, 2014

Come and discover Brattleboro!

The 2014 Summit took place in the non-traditional conference surroundings of Main Street, Brattleboro — a small community in southern Vermont, long renowned for its commitment to healthy, local, sustainable living and technology, for its vibrant communities of visual and performance artists, craftspeople, poets and writers, and for the diversity of its shops, restaurants and galleries. In turn Brattleboro is a gateway to the Green Mountains and Vermont —

Strolling of the Heifers, the organizer of the Summit, is a non-profit organization based in Brattleboro, with the mission of supporting

and sustaining family farms and local food systems by connecting people with healthy local food. We do this through a variety of year-round programs. Best known is our annual Strolling of the Heifers Parade and Slow Living Expo, which takes place during “Stroll Weekend” immediately after the Summit. We also organize a Vermont Farm/Food Business Planning Competition, and we publish the annual Locavore Index ranking the 50 states in terms of their commitment to local food, and other projects and events.

cow

About Strolling of the Heifers

Strolling of the Heifers, the organizer of the Summit, is a non-profit organization based in Brattleboro, with the mission of supporting and sustaining family farms and local food systems by connecting people with healthy local food. We do this through a variety of year-round programs. Best known is our annual Strolling of the Heifers Parade and Slow Living Expo, which takes place during “Stroll Weekend” immediately after the Summit. We also organize a Vermont Farm/Food Business Planning Competition, and we publish the annual Locavore Index ranking the 50 states in terms of their commitment to local food, and other projects and events.

In a major new initiative to further our mission, in November 2014 we acquired a prominently-located downtown Brattleboro building, the Robert H. Gibson River Garden (where Summit lunches and receptions take place), which has 4500 square foot of open space used since 2001 for public events, performances, lectures and exhibits. Under our stewardship of this community resource, we plan to maintain the public uses of the building, but also to create exhibits and programming that are related to our own focus areas of local food, food systems, and healthy sustainable living — a Farm/Food Education Center.

Come for the Summit, stay for Stroll Weekend, June 6-7-8!

More information at www.strollingoftheheifers.com

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