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Re: Greg, we deliver to you My Food Story & Origins

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  • Andrius Kulikauskas
    Greg, Thank you for your wonderfully helpful letter, feedback and vision. I share with a few of our groups that have helped so much. Thank you to all who
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 9, 2007

      Thank you for your wonderfully helpful letter, feedback and vision. I
      share with a few of our groups that have helped so much. Thank you to
      all who helped with My Food Story!

      I look forward to responding to your letter. Also, I hope that our many
      participants might write about next steps. How might "food stories"
      relate to our own interests, projects, values, questions? These next
      few weeks I will be thinking fresh about my own priorities (and I
      encourage us likewise) but certainly we will build on this work that has
      energized our laboratory.

      One idea that I have is inspired by your attention to us as "end users"
      or "consumers" or "shoppers" who actually eat and/or buy all this food
      and might care more about where it comes from. We might develop (it
      would not be too hard) a website where people might enter the foods that
      they buy or eat. People can take this information from their shopping
      receipts and they can add more information, for example, the brands they
      buy, or the foods they grow. We can store this and also generate an XML
      file that they can post on their own website if they have one. We can
      build applications that read the file and respond as desired, for
      example, to explain which of the foods are more healthy and which are
      less, which are local, which may hurt those who are allergic or have
      dietary restrictions, which might one grow themselves, which can be
      bought more cheaply or locally. Many such services might be free, but
      we could also have paid services, for example, to engage the makers of
      the foods to provide more information about them, including having us
      engage their workers and get their stories. There is quite a lot that
      we might do for $5 or $20 or $50 if we set this up intelligently and
      rely on our global team.

      Another idea that Rick Nelson http://www.solaroof.org has inspired is to
      truly focus on "hubs" (places were individuals work alongside each other
      on their own work and projects). I believe that these are the kernels
      that grow to become "global villages". See Chris Messina's work
      http://coworking.pbwiki.com/ http://groups.google.com/group/coworking
      and Mark Kuznicki http://remarkk.com/category/creative-hubs/ Such hubs
      are I think a natural place for us to invest ourselves and understand,
      which ones care about "independent thinking" and what can we learn from
      them? So this is one direction where I might invest some of our
      resources, to connect these hubs with our researchers around the world,
      especially with "food stories". Another group to engage regarding "food
      stories" is progressive restaurant owners (such as those that serve
      organic or vegetarian food) especially in areas that we want to reach
      out more such as the South Side of Chicago. Who else might we like to

      Greg, you have opened up a lot of opportunities for us. I have learned
      quite a lot from pursuing your vision about its significance. We will
      certainly include your challenges and look to your vision in our future

      Thank you for this work! I and so many have grown!


      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minciu Sodas

      o_0_o_0 wrote:
      > Andrius et al.,
      > Much appreciation for the work on the MyFoodStory pilot project and
      > congratulations on achieving the project milestones.
      > Samwel's stories of Argwings Omuga and Elijah Odhiambo Onyango
      > (http://origins.wikia.com/wiki/Fisherman) highlight for me the power
      > of personal food stories. It's one thing to read about the decline in
      > lake level and quite another to review the impact through the the eyes
      > of a fisherman and his family.
      > Can this first modest step in collecting stories become a positive
      > force for change in a world of global food production and consumption? I
      > certainly hope so despite the many challenges that lie ahead.
      > There's clearly many more steps to go before we can really collect and
      > connect the stories of producers and consumers around the world.
      > However, even this initial project has created many new connections.
      > So many people have an interesting food story if we find the time
      > to ask, listen, and learn.
      > It's good to see that the project has helped Minciu Sodas build
      > resources and put together such diverse and dedicated teams.
      > These teams will be crucial for success if this project is to grow and
      > bear the fruits of informing everyone along the food production chain
      > and improving livelihoods and the health people and the planet.
      > I'm interested in hearing your suggestions of how we might:
      > * improve upon the kernel of stories at origins.wikia.com,
      > * put them in a context that connects with the experiences of people
      > who may know food primarily through supermarket shelves, and
      > * invite the participation of other groups that care about the global
      > issues
      > while maintaining the very personal and real qualities of the stories.
      > Should we promote particular conventions for each of the stories,
      > including for example the location of the storyteller and where they
      > buy/sell their food? What types of incentives might be used to reward
      > the editors who make the story accessible to a larger audience?
      > Should we highlight one area each month or each week as a way of
      > focusing attention? Should we pick a "story of the month" (maybe
      > eventually a story of the day) to receive virtual applause and perhaps
      > even a small gratuity?
      > Of course, collecting the stories themselves should remain the core focus.
      > But if there are recommendations that come out of this discussion, perhaps
      > someone here might take it upon themselves to summarize and post those
      > on the origins wikia for others to see and build upon?
      > Once again, thank you all for joining in this small step and I look
      > forward to continuing to walk along together on this timeless journey.
      > -Greg



      Thank you very much for providing our Minciu Sodas laboratory and
      participants with work to create My Food Story
      http://www.myfoodstory.com and the Origins wiki http://origins.wikia.com

      I believe that we have met your targets for the bonuses. I look forward
      to your evaluation of our work.

      I overview the work that we have done:
      * 1800+ Directory Entries
      * 60+ FeaturedStories
      * 6+ Communities
      * 6+ Stories at Wikia

      1800+ Directory Entries

      At My Food Story, http://www.myfoodstory.com, we have collected 1923
      entries for our directory of storytellers. Each entry includes an
      excerpt related to the storyteller as well as the copyright status,
      related tags, related urls, the people who have brought their story to
      us, and what we know of their interest to participate. More than 400
      of these entries are from people our teams interviewed on-the-ground and
      up to 1500 are from excerpts discovered online. Most of the entries are
      in English, but perhaps 200 are in Arabic, Lithuanian or other languages.

      Sasha Mrkailo, a beekeeper in Serbia, collected 1150 stories and
      uncovered many sources for stories. About 35 major sources and hundreds
      of minor sources can be found at:
      And we collected 40 major sources (some included above) in our list at:

      We are expecting quite a few more stories which have yet to be entered
      from Cameroon, Kenya and Nigeria and also Sasha Mrkailo will collect 100
      more entries.

      We have tagged the stories using a total of 2993 tags:
      We are using TouchGraph to visualize the relationships between the most
      commonly used tags:

      60+ Featured Stories

      We are using the ProWiki engine to present articles and are using
      metadata to indicate featured stories. We have:
      * 61 Featured Persons
      Which are available from the list on the main page. And the list can be
      changed to show:
      * 25 Featured Crops
      * 9 Featured Locations
      * 10 Featured Values
      * 5 Featured Technologies

      We have also a list of about 100 photos in the Public Domain:

      6+ Communities

      We have set up a Social Agriculture working group led by Steve
      Bosserman, an agricultural knowledge broker in Columbus, Ohio. His
      group has received 532 letters since the start of work in October and is
      averaging about 3 letters per day. The group has 78 members (not all
      added yet) of which 23 have written at least one letter.
      Our Minciu Sodas laboratory and our participants have made a long term
      investment in My Food Story. This is evident in the uses of My Food
      Story that various individuals and groups are making or intend to make.
      The food stories help us document our networks, understand our reality
      on-the-ground, investigate our empathy, learn to work together and lay
      the groundwork for on-the-ground experiments.

      * Awne Abo Zant leads a team in Nablus, a city in Israeli-occupied
      Palestine, that collected more than 350 first-hand accounts from farmers
      in the area, including dozens of photos. These accounts document the
      daily life of the farmers and others in the food supply network, but
      also the hardships that they are facing because of the occupation. Our
      network has proved supportive and inspirational for Kanaan Al-Jamal, a
      villager who has discovered ways of "fighting peacefully" from
      organizing olive farmers to organizing bicyclists. We have helped link
      Kanaan with Israeli bicyclists. We are seeking ways that they might
      trade olives, olive oil and olive oil soap for new or used bicycles. We
      are active at our lab's working group FightingPeacefully
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fightingpeacefully/ and our Arabic group

      * Samwel Kongere leads a team in Rusinga Island, Lake Victoria, Kenya
      which includes dozens of researchers. With their help he has written
      insightful reports on six local crops. They have agreed to invest their
      earnings in developing a local wireless network and are experimenting
      with their first two wi-fi routers. The goal is to link with the
      Internet which is several miles away. Samwel is recognized as a leader
      and mentor for Minciu Sodas participants in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and
      around the world, and the improved connectivity will allow for increased
      investment in Rusinga Island as a base for experimental activity both
      online and on-the-ground. Samwel has also started a working group
      "Mendenyo" http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mendenyo/ which means "Men
      without food" and expresses his deepest value of "motivation through
      sacrifice", which is to say, rather than eat everything today, we can
      save and invest for a better life tomorrow. Samwel is also active in
      the opening of a new school for orphans in his AIDS ravaged land.

      * David Ellison-Bey leads the Moorish Cultural Workshop of the Moorish
      Science Temple of America (he is a former Grand Sheik). His house is a
      breath of inspiration in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago which has
      suffered the decimation of the racial caste system. David is a
      renaissance man and has worked as a cook and grows a garden which is a
      rarity in his neighborhood. We now have an official office for Minciu
      Sodas at his home with a video bridge capability including a room with a
      projector. Guests are welcome: 6726 S Parnell Ave, Chicago, IL,
      telephone: (773) 874-3332. Steve and Linda Bosserman of Columbus, Ohio
      have visited his home and are keen to build on our contacts here to make
      advances in urban agriculture. Together we went to Goodness Greenness
      which is the largest organic supplier in the Midwest and has its
      headquarters and warehouse a mile or so away. David and I also visited
      Time Dollars Tutoring http://www.timedollarstutoring.org and the
      Building Our Posterity Technology Consortium incubator where we spoke
      with Dr. Malakee Gray of the Life Movement, a self-reliance movement.
      Malakee is supportive of the idea of shipping computers to our
      participants in Africa, and also of finding African-American
      entrepreneurs who might lead a local distribution of vegetables. We are
      pursuing these ideas including computer assembly through the Mendenyo
      group where we are also encouraging connections between Africa and
      Chicago. I also signed up dozens of participants at the
      FamilyFarmed.org Expo in Chicago for Steve's working group Social
      Agriculture http://groups.yahoo.com/group/socialagriculture/ My Food
      Story is a natural resource for recognizing African-Americans and others
      who might work together to "irrigate" the "food desert" of the South
      Side of Chicago.

      * Jeff Buderer of One Village Foundation
      http://www.onevillagefoundation.org leads our team on Integrated Farm
      and Waste Management. This approach, advanced especially by George Chan
      of Mauritius, is an essential ingredient in One Village's strategy of
      creating "unity centers" to catalyze hope in African villages. Jeff has
      written about a dozen articles for our wiki. Maria Agnese Giraudo works
      near Rome, Italy as a research librarian in nutrition and she has also
      contributed articles on aquaponics. She approached a variety of
      Italians including in the Slow Food movement, without great success so
      far. She is inviting Samwel Kongere to Europe in March 2008 and this
      will strengthen our global efforts. Jeff Buderer and Steve Bosserman
      visited Barry Adler's RainFresh Harvests greenhouse and recycling pond
      near Columbus, Ohio. Ken Owino has written a series of remarkable
      articles from the Kibera slums of Nairobi. He leads youth (acrobats!)
      and is exploring how urban agriculture might help urban youth connect
      with the countryside. Ken's articles on the sewage in Kibera have led
      to our discussion of what kind of on-the-ground application of
      Integrated Farm and Waste Management we might work on together.

      * Markus Petz leads our tisane team on tea drinks of all kinds. He
      started a new working group on his deepest value "Meaningful inclusion"
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/meaningfulinclusion/ He gathered about
      fifty entries from online sources and has engaged some of them in
      correspondence. He is investigating the economic arrangements and how
      they enhance individual liberty or not. Janet Feldman of our "Holistic
      Helping" group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/holistichelping/ alerted
      us to our friends in Cameroon of the women's organization ACTWID
      KONGADZEM who grow artemisia, a tea drink. We sent them money to buy a
      computer and they have provided personal stories from their region about
      artemisia and other crops. We also received a fine story about
      artemisia from Fred Kayiwa in Uganda along with many others. We learned
      about community-to-community exchange (such as tea for silk, but I think
      especially the exchange of business opportunities) from Stan Thekaekara
      of http://www.justchangeindia.org and I imagine this is an angle that we
      will surely pursue further, as we engage more independent thinkers in
      India and Sri Lanka (such as the Sardovaya village movement) but also
      local tea drinks as Markus reminds us.

      * Our laboratory is based in Lithuania, but I was not able to settle on
      a leader, in part because of my time spent abroad. However, a group
      from Minciu Sodas did visit and photograph Valdas Kavaliauskas, a
      poultry expert and now maker of cheeses. Zita Milkamanovic of the
      historic Lithuanian minority of Tartars contributed basic contact
      information for several dozen local farmers in the village of Forty
      Tartars as well as some photos. We made contact with Vytas Sliupas of
      the Auksuciai Foundation which provides support from California for
      Lithuanian farmers. Our Lithuanian group
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/minciu_sodas_LT/ also received letters
      from newcomers who are organizing against Genetically Modified foods.
      Our lab has deep roots in the villages of Lithuania and so I expect My
      Food Story to grow in importance.

      There are quite a few other areas where My Food Story is or will be
      relevant for us, especially as a "public asset" that our farflung
      participants can work on as we get to know each other.

      * Pamela McLean leads our working group on Learning From Each Other.
      She is just returning from her journey to Nigeria where she planned to
      speak with farmers who might contribute food stories. We have earmarked
      1000 USD for their work. We're especially interested in ICT for
      distance learning and how we might include and support those with the
      worst Internet access. * Pamela also introduced us to Surya Prakash
      Vinjamuri of the Life-Health Reinforcement Group in India who wrote us
      some letters.
      * Tom Ochuka is working with the deaf in Kenya and is contributing stories.
      * Helen Mahoo and Josephat Ndibalema have contributed stories from
      Tanzania and are part of a larger group that has met there and is
      encouraged by Maria Agnese Giraudo and Samwel Kongere.
      * Sasha Mrkailo in Serbia will continue to work for us as an online
      organizer and trainer but also supporting our efforts in the Balkans. He
      is a beekeeper.
      * Lucas Gonzales Santa Cruz of the Canary Islands is dedicated to
      preparing for a pandemic flu that might strike as a result of the bird
      flu. He provided Samwel Kongere with 100 USD of work to interview
      Kenyans how they might constructively respond to such a pandemic. We
      have a long term interest in these issues and Pamela McLean is helping
      us explore how they might link to distance learning in Nigeria.
      * Rick Nelson is the inventor of Solaroof greenhouses that make use of
      soap bubbles to keep heat in. He leads our new working group on his
      deepest value of "Opening ourselves to direct knowledge" which will be
      our center for hands-on innovative projects in science and technology.
      * John Rogers leads our working group on his deepest value
      "participatory society" including community currency
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cyfranogi/ He is a founder of the Wales
      Institute for Community Currencies which earlier funded work at our lab
      on an online learning environment with a collection of stories about the
      "money mind". He appreciates the reality provided by food stories and
      looks forward to our collecting such stories as they relate to community
      * Steve Bosserman lives in Columbus, Ohio and is interested that we set
      up My Food Story in his region. He is also engaging potential clients
      for our work around the world.
      * Our Spanish language group
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/minciu_sodas_ES/ has some new energy
      thanks to Synnove Mathe and Roy Lent and my own efforts to organize
      independent thinkers in Oaxaca, Mexico. Roy lives in Costa Rica where
      he is growing Jatropha curcas for the production of vegetable oil as
      fuel for diesels. In our group, he exchanged some letters with Ray
      Pacheco Jarquin and Moran Legales regarding sharing various kinds of seeds.
      * Maria Agnese Giraudo is organizing our laboratory's meeting on
      e-learning in Italy in March 2008 on the occassion of Samwel Kongere's
      visit. We are working to engage a variety of contacts including those
      who might be interested in My Food Story, such as Andrea Mills of the
      Italy Innovation Lab in the agricultural region of Piacenza.
      * Franz Nahrada is linking us with the new Bioversity in Austria.

      The variety of contributions points to the vitality of My Food Story and
      our own flexibility. We can point to the different kinds of value and
      consider where to put our further efforts, both work for free and work
      for pay.

      I have learned that the food stories are so universal and so concrete
      that they provide a benchmark for what is reality, what is "ground
      truth". We are as if wired to appreciate the complex questions that
      pervade our food, where it comes from and why we might care.

      We have made connections for MyFoodStory as attendees at various
      meetings and conferences:
      * Andrius Kulikauskas at the MIR learning partnership in Cyprus
      * Markus Petz at the launch of the Living Labs Network in Finland
      * Samwel Kongere at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya
      * Fred Kayiwa at the Omidyar Network Conference in Uganda
      * Andrius Kulikauskas at the Oaxaca Chamber of Commerce meeting on peace
      in Oaxaca, Mexico
      * Andrius Kulikauskas at FoodCamp in San Francisco, California
      * Andrius Kulikauskas and Jeff Buderer at the Tech Policy executive
      summit in Silicon Valley
      * Andrius Kulikauskas at the Green Drinks evening on organic food in
      Chicago, Illinois
      * Andrius Kulikauskas at the FamilyFarmed.org Expo in Chicago, Illinois
      * Andrius Kulikauskas at the Living Labs meeting and the iCity Expo in
      Hasselt, Belgium
      * Pamela McLean in her travels in Nigeria

      We are leveraging the work of:
      * Helmut Leitner, inventor of ProWiki http://www.prowiki.com who has
      created especially at our request the metadata capabilities which we
      make extensive use of for MyFoodStory
      * we are using the open source TouchGraph http://www.touchgraph.com
      invented by Alex Shapiro who was earlier active at Minciu Sodas

      We have engaged for future possibilities:
      * Guillermo Payet of Local Harvest in Santa Cruz, California who Andrius
      Kulikauskas and Jeff Buderer visited http://www.localharvest.org
      * Anthony Judge of the Union of International Associations in Brussels,
      Belgium http://www.uia.org
      * Kevin Jones, Gary Bolles (both in Silicon Valley) and Mark Beam
      (Oaxaca, Mexico) of Xigi http://www.xigi.net
      * Robert Scaman, Warren King and others of Goodness Greenness in
      Chicago, Illinois http://www.goodnessgreenness.org
      * Malakee Gray of the Life Movement and BOP Technology Consortium in
      Chicago, Illinois
      * Vytas Sliupas of the Auksuciai Foundation in Burlingame, California
      for Lithuania's farmers http://www.aukfoundation.org
      * Adrian Bowles of the OMG Regulatory Compliance Alliance
      * Steve Cayzer of Hewlett-Packard labs in Bristol, UK

      I am speaking with three potential clients for further work in the
      spirit of My Food Story on an equal or larger scale and have signed up
      ten such prospects for our working groups. Clients are especially
      interested in our ability to organize work in increments of 100 USD and
      on a large scale. We also have prospects and participants interested in
      funding work on a smaller scale.

      6+ Wikia Articles

      Sasha Mrkailo and I have organized and started the Origins wiki
      http://origins.wikia.com as you wished. He has added from My Food Story
      ten articles about people and ten articles about crops.

      I look forward to your response there. We certainly have more material
      that we might add.

      In summary, Greg, thank you for this work and for your vision! We have
      all benefited in so many ways, but especially in appreciating how these
      concrete and universal stories help us understand each other and support
      each other in much more real ways.

      We look forward to your continued vision and care in the coming years as
      My Food Story evolves. We have achieved a lot with your basic direction
      and minimal supervision, but certainly your inspiration will deepen our

      Thank you for this work!
      and thank you to all who have helped us!


      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minciu Sodas
    • masimba biriwasha
      Dear All, The long-suffering people of Zimbabwe urgently need your prayers. And be rest assured that your prayers will not fall on deaf ears, because is indeed
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 9, 2007
        Dear All,

        The long-suffering people of Zimbabwe urgently need
        your prayers.

        And be rest assured that your prayers will not fall on
        deaf ears, because is indeed listening.


        Pray for Zimbabwe

        Thank You,

        Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha

        I have a strong feeling that every person owes it to him/herself, and to the cause which he is serving to keep their body strong and healthy, for better or worse, for disappointments and for trying positions.

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      • samuel kongere
        Hi Andrius and All, Great and glad to appreciate every one of us for good work we did for my food story. I am happy and thank my team for the excellent work.
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 10, 2007
          Hi Andrius and All,
          Great and glad to appreciate every one of us for good work we did for my food story. I am happy and thank my team for the excellent work. There is still a lot in our hands to expand the couragous attitude of Sharing. I am hoping to see greater things as the year Advances.
          I also see, Greg is happy with our two stories from the fishermen. Yes! our concern around the Lake Victoria is unpredictable rainfall, minimal fish catch, limited agricultural activities due to lack of rainfall. This is because of the depletion of the environment and excessive use of natural resources. We need to do a lot on the lake and it's environs to tap water catchment areas. Sometimes lack of information is making the communities poor. Now the planting is on and the sown crops are drying due to lack of rainfall, soon the crops will dry and re-planting. The people does not know when to recieve rainfall and when to palnt, believe in old methods of planting and old days of climatic trends.
          Integrated farming management approach is better if adopted. We need to diversify ways of making the people do Fish farming, to help the management of the natural resources and preserve many fish species. If the land cannot give good harvest and the lake cannot give fish, then what can people do with the drying lake Water? We need integrated approach for Farm management and Fish farming, we have to bring technology at work to improve community understanding. I love Jeff's ideas of Integrated Farming Management. It is an Idea which can help the comunity we work with here improve farming and food Production.
          I thank all for the good work at My food Story.

          masimba biriwasha <simplexbiri@...> wrote:
          Dear All,

          The long-suffering people of Zimbabwe urgently need
          your prayers.

          And be rest assured that your prayers will not fall on
          deaf ears, because is indeed listening.

          http://groundreport .com/articles. php?id=2833520

          Pray for Zimbabwe

          Thank You,

          Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha

          I have a strong feeling that every person owes it to him/herself, and to the cause which he is serving to keep their body strong and healthy, for better or worse, for disappointments and for trying positions.

          ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _
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          Samwel Okech kongere
          Nyamuga primary school
          P.O BOX 191,
          MBITA  040305-KENYA.
          Cell: +254 725 600 439
          FOSS ADMIRER
          Community Development
          UDOGO youth development group-coordinator

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