COOKING UP COMMUNITY

August 16th

My time at Taliesin in Spring Green, WI will be an everlasting imprint of the importance and beauty of community. Frank Lloyd Wright’s philosophies became tangible through the food at the Riverview Terrace Café where I worked in the summer of 2018 while participating in the Food Artisan Immersion Program. I left inspired me to continue this life-giving work— strengthening communities through food and local resources.

The relationships between the farms, restaurants, and patrons were as natural and comfortable as Wright’s buildings. Every person helped each other through the hard times and celebrated together during the good ones. I saw first-hand how working with others can bring life and purpose to an individual. Sitting around a crackling fire while roasting a 200-pound hog to hear how a pig spit was made back in the ‘70s created an incredible feeling of connection to the town. And if one of the farmers was running low on product, they would not hesitate to recommend another nearby vendor. They knew that working together, even if technically competitors, does not prevent their individual ventures to grow and prosper. This attitude motivated me to bring the same to my community—now family—in Durango, Colorado.

I did so by creating a support group with a close friend, John Rowe, for restaurant and hospitality staff called In the Weeds. Its mission is to gather people within the service industry and create a safe, comfortable space for open discussion about any topic. We believe it is important to ensure our industry peers know none of us are alone—and that we are here to listen. I found that in order to help others, one must start with the self. In the Weeds helps to foster a sense of self-awareness, confidence, compassion, and healing. By first taking care of ourselves, we’ll be better equipped to work well with others. Thereby fostering a positive interdependence which extends into the city—and beyond.

It is too often that people feel isolated, perhaps suffering in silence, when in reality the capacity for connection between us all is greater than we ever imagined. Taliesin and the community of Spring Green opened my eyes to the strong bonds between nature, food, and our fellow neighbor. —Truett ‘Blaine’ Bailey, In The Weeds co-founder