How to Thrive in September: A Letter to Staff and Board and Community

boardToday is September 1st and this is our busiest month of the year at Abundance NC. One would say it’s a sprint, not a marathon.

We have exactly 8 days until our Money and Meaning Conference which includes a cocktail panel discussion with Judy Wicks and Frank Stasio at Fearrington Barn. Then Friday, an all day conference at Central Carolina Community College with 33 amazing diverse speakers, then a Pecha Kucha at the Pittsboro Roadhouse with another 6 Presenters. The next day is a Local Economy Bus Tour to Saxapahaw and ends with a Slow Money Market and dinner, live music and the famous Woody Tasch, founder of Slow Money. Now, that is not all that’s going on…we also have exactly 26 days until our Kick Off Pepper Pairing Farm to Fork Dinner and 27 days until the 8th Annual Amazing Pepper Festival held at Briar Chapel. This is the time of year that I typically shoot up in bed in the middle of the night and yell at Lyle that we have to cancel everything…there is no way all this is going to work out.

This year is different. Very different.

Yesterday was our Staff meeting. Our meetings are fun, full of laughter, good ideas and then we get to work implementing stuff. We crank the tunes and get to work. Yesterday you could feel the intensity. Five people working quietly and quickly with very serious faces. Little wrinkles on their foreheads. Charlotte kept telling us there were too many heavy sighs in the room. There was no music. We had to break up the day with a bunch of ice cream. And we got a lot done. Someone asked me recently when I was going to slow down, take on a little less. I’m not sure the answer to that question. I feel like with this Staff, this Board and all of the Volunteers we have involved in Abundance, we can take this organization to the next level. If we all do what we are good at, this should be enjoyable, even euphoric – taking this community, this region of NC, and ourselves to a higher level. Whatever that means. Deeper meaning, more fulfilling lives, and better for us all. We are not depleting, we are expansive and strengthening. That is my hope.

So, how do we make sure we don’t drop balls, forget things, upset people when we will be having interactions with over 2,000 people this month?

Over communicate. Slow down and give enough time for double checking. Get a second set of eyes on everything that goes out. Have a can-do attitude. Enjoy the moment. I want to enjoy this month, not count the days until October 1st!

Trust. Know that this community supports us and the work we do. A Board member texted me “I got your back.” It feels good to know that Staff and Board are all rowing in the same direction. Yes, sometimes the boat goes in circles, but we are straightening it out in time to go forward.

Bob and Carol and Lyle and I have been meeting for months on Money and Meaning. Alisa has been putting in tons of hours on website, posters and creativity. We have disagreed, we have argued, and the conference will be that much stronger because of the thoughtfulness going into the design. Because of Carol Hewitt, we have the strongest Slow Money chapter in the United States. She is a force to be reckoned with. I love learning from her. Bob and Lyle are the “get it done” team. Bob asks the hard questions, like “is it in the budget?” Lyle thinks big and bigger. He tirelessly raises money to pay for it all. Then Camille whips up the Volunteer lists. All details getting attended to.

Pepper Festival is a whole other beast.

Vincent has been working hard to get more vendors. So hard that he more than doubled the list! I panicked thinking we would run out of room at Briar Chapel’s Great Meadow Park, but we have an expert team there that is very good at logistics. Lee Bowman has event experience in his past.   Jami Pearson is great at events and promotion. The entire community of Briar Chapel jumps in to volunteer and sell tickets and make it a success. It brings in Chefs, Brewers, Distillers and Attendees from all over the state. Back in the office, Hannah is busy on so many details, Charlotte is trying her best to keep bills paid, put things in the right categories, and teach us her wisdom. Our Board is selling tickets, being speakers, helping in whatever way they can.

From now til Sep 27th, we’ll be buying thousands of pounds of peppers and distributing to the chefs and drink vendors. We’ll be plastering the Triangle and beyond with posters. We’ll be promoting our brains out. Then like magic, it will all get set up, an amazing day will be had by all and we’ll fall into bed tired and happy.

We are going as fast as we can and we hope this year to delight as many people as possible. It’s going to be the best month ever.

Pepper Festival awards 2014

News + Stories:

Pepper Festival awards 2014

How to Thrive in September: A Letter to Staff and Board and Community

Today is September 1st and this is our busiest month of the year at Abundance NC. One would say it’s a sprint, not a marathon. We have exactly 8 days until our Money and Meaning Conference which includes a cocktail panel discussion with Judy Wicks and Frank Stasio at Fearrington Barn. Then Friday, an all day… 

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The Musical Making of a More Beautiful World

As a child, one of my favorite books was “Miss Rumphius.” I read my copy ragged, and when I became a mother, it was one of the books I could not wait to read to my own kids. To my delight, both have loved it as much as I did. If you don’t know this book,… 

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DSC_0284 - Copy

Heart to Hand, Nose to Tail, Leaf to Root

The Familiar Supper Club is collaboration between two Chefs who believe in Heart to Hand Cooking in the modern era. Although our training is in fine cuisine with strong French influence, we both pine for the southern classics. Our aim with the Familiar is to adapt those classics with refined technique while holding true to… 

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Grassroots Sustenance

I’ve always been on the edge of Abundance NC. I helped get it started, and I have watched my wife Tami take it toward the moon over the years. I’ve served on its volunteer Board of Directors, and I have had an active “advisory” role from the get go. Something I have noticed over the… 

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Upcoming workshops + events


Sustainability Tour of our Eco-Industrial Park


Come visit and see a working sustainable biodiesel plant, a sustainable agriculture farm, vermiculture, a biodiversity garden, a green building model, an organic local food distributor, a huge solar array with shade-tolerant plants growing underneath it, a micro-distillery, and an organic pesticide/herbicide manufacturer, and much more!

M&M poster - 8x11-3

Money & Meaning Summit


Since money it is such an easy thing to measure, it tends to be the first and only yardstick we use when it comes to assessing our place in the world. Because meaningless and abstract financial capital is what we focus on, it’s easy to lose sight of the natural, social, human and spiritual capitals which sustain us. At this conference we are going to take a crack at fusing money and meaning together…

pecha-kucha-night FALL2

Fall Pecha Kucha Night 2015

A Quarterly Storytelling Event
SEP 11, 5 – 7:30 PM:

Pecha Kucha brings people together to present and discuss new ideas around sustainability topics. Presenters each have 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide to discuss. Slides are automatically timed to be exactly 20 seconds with the total time for each presenter is 6 minutes and 40 seconds. This keeps the pace fun & exciting…


Local Economy Bus Tour

A Money and Meaning Tour
to Saxapahaw & Alamance •
Sept 12, 10 AM – 3 PM:

A Luxury Bus will travel to local economy hotspots as part of our upcoming Money and Meaning Gathering! Tour textile mill TS Designs, Cotton of the Carolinas, famous destination village of Saxapahaw, Haw River Farm House Ales, Left Bank Butchery, and more…

CFAC grand shell game

Concert for a Cause – Grand Shell Game & Ancient Cities

Concerts for a Cause
Ancient Cities & The Grand Shell Game•
Sunday, September 13, 5:00 – 8:30 PM:

Bring your blanket and join us on the lawn at the Plant in Pittsboro for an outdoor family-friendly event!…



A DIY Sustainability Workshop
with Farmer Doug Jones •
Saturday, September 19, 9 AM – 3 PM:

Join Farmer Doug Jones at The Plant for a primer on seed saving and advanced plant breeding. Come for just the basics or stay for the optional advanced portion. Either way, you’ll go home with a renewed spirit for seed saving and maybe even a few seeds to plant in your own garden!….


Pepperfest Kickoff! Farm-to Fork Dinner

Pepperfest Kickoff
with Chef Geoff, Piedmont Biofarm & Fair Game Distillery•
Sept 26, 6 – 9 PM:

Join us in kicking off Pepperfest with an unforgettable, magical Farm to Fork dinner at The Plant in Pittsboro. We will pair a delicious, Biofarm-sourced, five-course pepper-themed dinner with locally-made spirits and wines…..

Pepper Festival 2015email

The 8th Annual Amazing Pepper Festival

An ABUNDANCE EVENT • SEP 27, 2015, 3 -7 PM:

PepperFest comes at the perfect time to celebrate the year’s harvest, enjoy the cooler weather after summer’s intense heat, and savor the deliciousness of Carolina peppers! It’s a chance to hang out with your friends, listen to fantastic live music, and sample all you can eat of pepper-themed dishes and beverages, made by dozens of star chefs, brewers, distillers and more, from central N.C.

More Upcoming Events »