Partnerships of Possibilities: Kitchen Harvest & Untours Foundation

https://vimeo.com/175121932

Kitchen Harvest, Inc from Frances Schwabenland on Vimeo.

If you are lucky enough to spend time with Chris, you will be in the midst of poetry in motion! An artist of nature!

It was just after sunrise when I was introduced to the Kitchen Harvest garden. I am not a morning person but the thought of missing that golden light awakening those tender baby strawberries and shining on the newly formed dew drops that dotted the lettuce and broccoli caused me to shake off my stupor, run to set up my camera a not miss this moment of glory. Nature was putting on a show and I was lucky enough to capture it! Our conversation was casual but as Chris started harvesting the fresh vegetables he was going to deliver to his residential customers later that day, his words were poetic and profound. I now had to run to get my tape recorder to not miss a word of wisdom generated when one works closely with the earth! I was with a man whose spirit and livelihood is so intimately connected to the movements of nature. He spoke about the excitement of unearthing things growing below the ground. He used the words, “Magic” ,”Surprise”, “Nurture”. He spoke about patience and allowing everything its own time and pace.

Photographing the dynamic light and vibrancy of the garden, I couldn’t help but realize the contrast all around us. We were in the middle of a cemetery. Chris saw an empty, overgrown area and thought growth! Listening to him explain how the garden came to be, I understood and admired his deep appreciation and respect for the interplay of life and death. It has been a guiding vision for him.

On Wednesday, July 13, 2016, the Guardian reported, “Americans throw away almost as much food as they eat because of a cult of perfection, deepening hunger and poverty, and inflicting a heavy toll on the environment.” About 1/3 of all food scraps, about 60 tons, worth 160 billion, is wasted by retailers and consumers every year. According to the EPA, “Discarded food is the biggest single component of landfills and incinerators today.” When I first met Chris and asked him how Kitchen Harvest started, he replied that it has been a bit of a love story and after standing on the side lines photographing all that he does, I couldn’t have said it better. He and his wife, Timi, want/wanted to live differently, not being one of the statistics above. They wanted to give their new child, the freshest food possible while honoring the earth…respecting and not pillaging, renewing and not leaving barren. Thus, their son wasn’t their only birthing…Kitchen Harvest, Inc was started in 2010, the same year Cassidy was born!

The food waste from many residential customers, schools and institutions like Villanova University, restaurants such as The Sterling Pig Brewery and now the DNC all are working with Chris and Kitchen Harvest. The left over food, grains and lawn cuttings are all collected and taken to Linvilla Orchards where in 6 to 9 months, it is transformed into a beautiful, dark, healthy compost, not sitting somewhere in a landfill. The compost is then shared back with the community. The gardens and vegetables grown in this compost can be summed up in one word, “Abundant”! Not only does Chris transform waste products, he transformed me! He and his wife invited me to their home for a meal. I know this sounds corny, but I never saw lettuce so full and healthy. I never tasted anything like it. Who needed salad dressing? The anemic greens, so long a staple of my diet are a thing of the past! Together Chris and Timi created such a delicious alchemy of colors, textures and tastes. Cassidy, their son, told me that when he helps his dad weed, he takes them and pots them up because you never know what it could become! He was raised knowing that waste can be turned into magic!
I wish we all could realize that.

The Untours Foundation , under the leadership of Elizabeth Killough, works to alleviate poverty by providing low-interest loans or equity to individuals and organizations who create employment, housing and valuable goods and services in economically challenged communities. Untours fuels projects that are environmentally and economically pioneering, setting new models for which all businesses can strive. Their low-interest loan to Kitchen Harvest has helped Chris run his successful business. Working with Elizabeth, I am so honored to know such caring individuals who go above and beyond to make such a positive and lasting difference.

Brigadoon In Lancaster County, Pa

Gene Kelly and Van Johnson played two weary hunters who came upon the mystical village of Brigadoon. As the story goes, the preacher in the town invoked God to protect the townspeople against the changes and the influences of the outside world. His prayers were answered and for one day every 100 years, Brigadoon magically appeared amidst the rolling hills of Scotland.

Waiting for Renewal
Waiting for Renewal

The rolling hills of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania holds its own Brigadoon. On 14.5 acres of land, 190 small white cabins sit empty, alone and boarded up but for one summer week each year. The Central Manor Camp Bible Conference first opened on Thursday evening, September 7, 1892 with 19 tents under the direction of a pastor, Dr. MacDannald. He wanted a place where for one week, “Fundamental truths of the word of God are faithfully proclaimed.” This is an area with the strong influence of Evangelical Christians and Mennonites, so the rules were very strict. No noise after 10:30, women wore dresses, no tobacco and no alcohol.

Mennonite Sisters
Mennonite Sisters
United in Prayer
United in Prayer
Singing is very much a part of each service.
Singing is very much a part of each service.
Deep in Prayer
Deep in Prayer
Reading faith based newspapers.
Reading faith based newspapers.

Over a hundred years later, there is a “tabernacle” seating 1,000 people set in the center of the grounds with these white washed and very sparse cabins surrounding it. These habitats have basic electricity but no running water. There is no wifi and not one lap top or television to be seen. The cost of each cottage can be up to $10,000 and they are either passed down through generations or auctioned off at the end of each year’s revival. Basically, most have just beds, lighting and a fan in them. Curtains are used to partition off areas.There are three bath houses for men and three for women. Each family brings their own unique style to their home away from home…Ruthie raised a foster child who returned to her birth mother at age 13 only to end up dying on the streets of Philadelphia. The exterior of Ruthie’s “home” is a memorial to Heather while her daughter is fighting brain cancer and sits quietly quilting outside the cabin. A mother with 5 children found a pink light to soften the look inside and she created a shabby chic haven. One cabin was “pranked” with colorful postettes adorning the plain white. Flowers, streamers, crosses, bibles and books by Glen Beck can be found outside. There are “porch visits” that go on throughout the day for the purpose of “Christian Fellowship”. Some met here for the first time and are now sitting on their porch as a married couple. Others remember coming when there were only tents and now have their own cabin. RV’s are permitted on the grounds for $40. per night and do have water and electric hook ups.

Ruthie Remembers and Honors her Foster Child.
Ruthie Remembers and Honors her Foster Child.
Creating
Creating
Color Splash
Color Splash
Love Grows During the Week
Love Grows During the Week
Sharing from the Heart
Sharing from the Heart
Pink Lights and Shabby Chic
Pink Lights and Shabby Chic

This year’s small booklet listing the speakers and program related the Statement of Faith as the following:
“We believe that the Bible is the Word of God.”
“God is a Triune God.”
“Jesus Christ is the only savior of men.”
“Man in his natural state is totally depraved. Man is sinfully enslaved in transgression, and without the provision of God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ, is eternally lost.” These tenets have remained the same since the founding by Paster MacDannald. What has changed is the operating budget which is now approximately $74,000.

The day begins at 6:30 with the ringing of the bell. 7:30 is family worship and no recreation may take place during times of worship.
There are speakers each day at 10:00, 2:30 and 7:00 pm. Snacks can be purchased or meals can be taken in the dinning hall with two seatings of 400. The menu basically stays the same from year to year. Saturday is always chili for “dinner” at 11:45 and chicken barbecue for supper at 5:00. There is supervised recreation. Saturday is “Parade Day” and the “Peanut Hunt” in the afternoon. The purpose of the recreation program is to “develop attitudes and behaviors that exemplify the Lord Jesus Christ.” Activities include quoits, street hockey, volleyball and basketball. Crafts are held Monday through Friday at 2:30 – 3:30 each year and crafts for women are at 1:30 pm on the days announced. At 10:30, there is the ringing of the bell, signaling the end of the day and all to be in their cottage. No smoking or alcohol is permitted and no soda is served.

A Parade of Balloons and Smiles
A Parade of Balloons and Smiles

Bathing In Sinks
Bathing In Sinks

Feeding the Multitude
Feeding the Multitude
A Pop of Color
A Pop of Color

For one week each year, there is a continuity of faith and family. Just as in Brigadoon, there is a type of shielding from the influences of the outside world that is embraced by generation after generation. On August 16, 2015, the Central Manor Camp was brought to a close…it saw its moment in the sun and now has returned to its stark waiting stillness.

Sources: “123rd Annual Program of Central Manor Camp and Bible Conference”
“Central Manor Campmeeting Celebrating a Memorable Century 1892 -1992

Haunted Houses, Hare Krishna and a 100 Year Old Princess

Time for a Tiara
Time for a Tiara
From One Princess To Another
From One Princess To Another
Past Meets Present
Past Meets Present
Love is Ageless
Love is Ageless
Tender Moments Between a Mother and Her Daughter
Tender Moments Between a Mother and Her Daughter
Mother and Son
Mother and Son
The Haunting Party
The Haunting Party
The Teacher and The Student
The Teacher and The Student
Hare Krishna
Hare Krishna
The Devotee
The Devotee
The Candle and The Veil
The Candle and The Veil

One would think there would be no common denominator to speak of with regards to a haunted house, a Hare Krishna Temple and a 100 year old princess but that is what makes sharing people’s stories so fascinating. Here is just the overview.

On Halloween in the year 1914, Ethel Marberger was born and her years have not been dull! Her life on 2nd and South was an advantaged one with her family controlling a large portion of real estate. She grew to be an accomplished artist creating beautiful Chinese watercolor paintings. Ethel met and married a man who was a leading Zionist and had just escaped capture by the Nazis in Europe before coming to the US. They raised four very accomplished children…Aladar was a major art dealer in New York City but unfortunately died of AIDS at a time when it carried a heavy stigma. Their daughter Elaine, now known as Davishakti, has lived over 40 years in India and is held in high esteem in Vrindavan at the Hare Krishna Temple. John became a doctor and Donna is a fashion designer living in California with her own line of yoga and travel wear called “b”.
So here we are, Halloween 2015, and all have come to celebrate 100 years of life with this feisty and loving artist, wife and mother. The nursing home transformed into a haunted house while Ethel was transformed with tiara and feathers into a princess. Her hand was tenderly held by her “boyfriend” Winnie as so many well wishes greeted her. A century of life definitely calls for more than one celebration so the next one was at the local Hare Krishna Temple where Davishakti was asked to teach the devotees. I have had the good fortune to photograph Ethel for the past several years for a piece regarding aging with grace and dignity. I have come to know her immediate family well and am now looking forward to the next celebration this weekend for many other family members and friends. One can never have too many parties for a woman reaching 100 and one can reach 100 by being surrounded by family, friends and love.

Summer Days and Farmer’s Markets

Maple Acres Farm Market

Maple Acres Farm

Think fresh. Think vibrant colors. Think delicious and homemade. Think your local farmer’s market. I love to make weekly visits and come home with food that explodes with flavors. One of my favorites is Maple Acres Farm Market. It all began in 1912 with Millie McKeown and her husband on 12 acres of land and a little farm stand. Over the years, it has grown to 30 acres and is still family run, just the nicest people to stop and talk with. Right now they have fields and fields of multi-colored zinnias. The fields and the family just call out to let people wander through and cut their own fresh flowers (without having to do any of the gardening work!). Today I left there with fresh blueberries, a sweet, sweet golden watermelon and 45 fresh cut flowers all for just about $15.00!

My other favorite spot to visit after kayaking in Bucks County, Pa is Tabora Farm and Orchard. I would highly recommend their fresh baked goods but this is the only spot that I have ever found which sells the best homemade lavender ice cream.

Tabora Farm and Orchard

Tabora Farm and Orchard

Tabora Farm and Orchard

On these lazy, hazy days of summer, I so appreciate all those who work so hard to cultivate the land and bring forth the delicious and vibrant gifts of summer!

Holi at the Bharatiya Temple

Holi Festival

Holi Festival

 

 

Holi Video Link  <iframe src=”//player.vimeo.com/video/89756373″ width=”640″ height=”360″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

Rather than being in the midst of falling white snow, I was thrilled to be in the midst of multi-colored powders falling over a thoroughly joyous crowd! Holi is the Hindu Festival marking the coming of Spring, light and hope and after this winter, it was so appreciated!  This exuberant festival also commemorates the immortal love of Krishna and Radha and is spread over 16 days in Vrindavan, India, at the temple of Lord Krishna. It is one long colorful love fest! Who would not want to photograph this?! When I was there a few years ago and happened to mention that I definitely wanted to come back for Holi, they all just laughed at me and told me I must not like my camera very much!  This year, I so wanted to travel with a friend, Tewfic El-Sawy, The Travel Photographer,  as he lead a photographic expedition and workshop to this sacred site (click on the link to see amazing photographs!) It was not to be but as fate would have it,  I received an special invitation through a student (Thank you so much Anika!) to come and celebrate with the local Hindu community in Chalfont, Pa. From the moment Conrad Louis- Charles and I walked in, we were taken right into the midst of the celebration.  We were offered delicious food from Bombay Spice – II (just looking at their website could make you hungry!) We were then escorted into a tent and instantaneously felt the spirit of community and just sheer fun!  Winter was finally over… and now it is time to CELEBRATE and that we all did!  As the day went into night, a bonfire was lit to chase away evil.  This was now a time for the Hindu people to reflect and offer gifts of thanks to the gods. Roses, oils, rice and coconuts which are considered the perfect food having the drink, meat and bowl together were the gifts given from their hearts.  While the people were offering their appreciation, I was offering my sincere gratitude for the welcome and the care people took when painting my face and not my camera! I am not sure my friends were as lucky! Finally, I was able to celebrate and photograph Holi!  Life is so good!

Amish Mud Sales

Since the 1960’s, the last Saturday in February marks the beginning of the Amish Mud Sales. This past Saturday, the local community in Strasburg, Pa auctioned off beautiful quilts, farm equipment, buggies and antiques. Homemade chicken corn soup and whoopie pies sell very quickly. The food connoisseur and bargain hunter alike will love this sale. They will continue throughout the spring (hence the name “Mud Sale”) and proceeds support the local fire companies. For Further information and dates, click on the following link: Amish Mud Sales.

Copyright 2012 Frances Schwabenland. Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without express written permission of Frances Schwabenland.

The Amish are devoted to God, family and land. They do not permit the use of electricity, telephones and radios in their homes; nor do they drive cars holding to the belief that they can be closer to God by not being caught up with the things of the world. The Amish are usually very private but in order to support their community, their devotion is evident by the numbers who prticipate in this very public forum.

Amish Mud Sale, Lancaster County, PA

Each spring in Lancaster County, PA, the Amish hold auctions/sales to support the local fire companies. Delicious food, buggies, farm equipment, antiques, and hand made quilts are all for sale. Since this occurs on weekends during the spring, the grounds are usually very muddy…hence the name.

Video can be viewed on Vimeo . Just click on the link to see it in full screen. Thank you.