beauty will save the world?

Watering-can-984999-m-150x150Jeffrey Bilbro at Front Porch Republic:

I want to reflect today on the title chosen for this gathering, “Beauty will Save the World.” That’s quite the assertion, and I don’t know if I can convincingly support it, but I’ll give it a shot. My tentative thesis today is that the best way to cultivate healthy local cultures is to celebrate their beauty. It’s not to pass laws, it’s not to develop rational or economic arguments for their benefits, it’s not to start some new program. All these might be needed subsequently, but if we don’t first bear witness to the beauty of a healthy culture, then other approaches are doomed. It’s in this way, by enabling us to see the truth and goodness of healthy way of life, that beauty will save the world. So I want to think with you about the beauty of local culture, why that beauty is important, and how to cultivate it. I’ll begin by describing a beautiful, and I think saving, activity that I’ve had the privilege of participating in this past year.

A group of us at Spring Arbor University got together last winter and started discussing how we might start a small community garden. By springtime, we had secured the requisite institutional backing and organized several workdays where faculty, students, staff, and even one local high school student (he needed community service credit) came to help build the garden. We constructed ten raised beds near one of the student dorms, filled them with topsoil and manure, planted them, and set up a watering rotation. Later this summer, a local non-profit donated a greenhouse to us that they couldn’t use, and we’re looking forward to filling that with vegetables this fall and spring.

more here.