Before the Arson

Before the Arson

In 2009 a man named Tod Bol in Hudson Wisconsin came up with an idea to honor his mother, a teacher who loved books.  He built a replica of a school house, mounted it on a pole in front of his house and filled it with books.  Thus, the Little Free Library Project began.  As he watched his neighbors stop by to pick up or drop off a book, he realized that not only did the little libraries have the mission of increasing literacy (a passion of his mother’s) but they also served as very effective community builders.  He talked with his friend Rick Brooks and together they launched an effort to spread the idea.  In the following three years, Little Free Libraries have shown up in just about every state in the USA, plus nearly a dozen other countries – including Pakistan, India, The Republic of Congo and Ghana.  These tiny libraries, found in neighborhoods all over the world, provide books, conversation and connection for people who may have lived within blocks of each other, and never before spoken face to face.  All it takes is a wooden, water-proof box, an initial supply of books and someone to be the steward (usually the creator of the library) to assume responsibility for upkeep. Little Free Libraries can be found in all sorts of neighborhoods; cul-de-sacs, strip malls, schools and community centers. Correctional facilities in Wisconsin and Oregon have launched inmate projects where they build the little libraries and donate them to nearby neighborhoods and schools.  For an interactive world map showing the location of each LFL – click here.

Bol and Brooks have stated that their goal is to out-build Andrew Carnegie – who is responsible for over 2,000 libraries.  And they have had a very good start.  Read about their success and testimonials on their website.

On Bainbridge Island, Little Free Library #892 was installed and filled with books on June 1, 2012.  The Library was located on the Habitat for The Humanities Shepard Path.  Just 5 weeks later, vandals burned it (and the books inside) to ashes.  Creator and Steward Donna Dahlquist was, of course, heartbroken.  As were her neighbors and friends.  She contacted the founders of the project, who immediately sent her a kit to rebuild.  Acts of vandalism against the libraries are just about unheard of.  In the true spirit of putting her values to work in the community, Donna’s first FaceBook posting was:  “To all those saddened by this senseless destruction, I ask you to commit an act of joyful kindness to tip the ‘life is good’ scale back to where it ought to be.”

With the help of the donated kit, roofing supplied by Jennifer Lawrence and books donated by friends and neighbors, the new Little Library was opened on August 13th.  The Shepard Path location is the same, so stop by, borrow a book, leave a book and get to know a neighbor or two.

The New Library

After the Arson


Farm to Table Dinner

A benefit for Friends of the Farms
Friday Aug. 17, 2012 6 – 10 pm (food until 8:30 pm)
Madrone Lane, Bainbridge Island, WA

  • Food from over 10 local restaurants and caterers
  • No-host beer & wine garden
  • Music by Pearl Django

To register click here.

The Farm to Table Dinner is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fabulous food and support Friends of the Farm, an organization dedicated to preserving local farming on Bainbridge Island.  And all the while, you will be entertained by award winning gypsy jazz band Pearl Django. (check out their music here.)

apprentice-with-samFriends of the Farms began its life as an organization in 2001. The primary goal has been to ensure access to land by the farming community.  The organization has a 5 year contract to manage farmland that the city had the foresight to purchase.  The city of Bainbridge Island currently owns five farmland properties totaling 60 acres, some of which was donated.  Three of those properties – Johnson Farm, Morales Farm and Suyematsu-Bentryn farms – are currently being farmed by a collaborative group of farmers.

The farming heritage of Bainbridge has been threatened by a rapidly growing “suburbanization” which has resulted in a dramatic loss of suitable farmland.  As land values increase, access to farm land becomes much more difficult.  Along with managing the public farmland, the organization helps to pair up private land owners with suitable acreage and farmers in search of land.  Friends of the Farms has developed other exciting and innovative programs and resources. They advocate for local farming by working to increase awareness of the benefits of an economy with a strong agrarian component.  They provide opportunities for educational (and fun) events such as the Harvest Fair (held in the fall), Farm Walks and public speaking.  Partnering with the EduCulture Project, headquartered on Bainbridge Island, they have created “lived-learning” experiences for K-12 students.  Through these experiences, food grown by the students will be served in the school district lunch program.  And – for those non-farmers with an itch to get involved, Friends of the Farms holds work parties on the second Saturday of every month to pitch in at the various farms. Every farmer can always use a few more “hands”!

tomato-house-workThe vision of Friends of the Farm is a community that supports local agriculture, honors the farming tradition and is nourished and energized by healthy, locally produced food.  Come to the Farm to Table dinner on the 17th.  Enjoy the music, the food and the fun, while you are supporting and co-creating this vision of a flourishing community.