Posts by jan.

Peter Sellers in Being There

In the film, Peter Sellers’ character spoke through gentle gardening metaphors.  I always liked that film because it  expressed both the absurdity of communication as well as the power of the story or metaphor.  It expressed the fact that many of our influences and strongest memories revolve around the “simpler” ( .

One of the most challenging, but also satisfying parts of my life is the conversations with apprentices ( and staff) that occur on a daily basis. They have influenced me profoundly.

Another profound influence- a little thing called hypo kinetic dysarthria. “Everyone with Parkinson’s Disease may have different symptoms, but, most will include stiffness and tremor. Voice and swallowing problems are frequently another symptom of this disease, sometimes occurring early, and sometimes later as the disease progresses. Speech and voice symptoms occurring with Parkinson’s Disease are usually classified as a hypo kinetic dysarthria (hypo-slow, kinetic-referring to muscle movement, and dys-difficult, arthria-having to do with speech). The actual speech and voice of the person, is characterized as: low in volume, rate of speech which is too rushed or fast, low pitched, and monotone.”

Back to being there- the power of expressing thoughts through story and metaphor  has not escaped me. Nor has it escaped me that I have been challenged  communication- wise throughout my life – prior to Parkinsons.  On a practical level, the apprentices and I listen to and discuss Marshall Rosenberg’s podcasts weekly. “Training’. So- it has become a priority to focus on other ways to communicate, the more engaging ways. The more effective ways.  While at the same time increasing my “volume”, re: decibels.

So – story telling. I will tell a story through our website and this blog.

These folks have a fine front page.

Yesterday. 4 very special students ( future society-framebuilders) with their youth-sized ( anyone under 5 feet) recumbent bike.

It’s Not Just About Bikes

Isn’t that the truth!

It’s Not Just About Veggies

In 1985 I initiated a video production called “It’s Not Just About Vegetables“, a piece about the Indian Line Farm project.  The title came from some of my frustrations with the co- founding of the first CSA in the States ( I think I expressed the words forcibly at least once- in my youth I was less subtle – still working on that!)

That title expressed my desire to see the “process” get more emphasis in the creating of the “product”- veggies.   In the organic foods movement at that time  there seemed to be an attitude of  “we need to clean up the environment, get the public organic food”;  almost to the exclusion of all else.  The “process” was for many somewhat incidental considering the severity of the problem.  Which eventually led to WalMart selling organics.

Some folks asked- why the details?  Anything is better than chemical farms, workers getting toxified ( by the way I was toxified growing up in Upper State New York, working on heavily sprayed farms), poisoned food for consumers, etc?  Well, yes. But why stop there?

In my opinion if we stopped there we might lessen the possiblity of achieving deeper goals. We might  find ourselves on a path that would make change in the “process” a near impossibility. For example, changing a highly mechanized, migrant labor- based, long distance trucking dependant organic farm to a CSA.

Coming soon!

This blog will set forth to explain the philosophies and ideals that have influenced the development of the Center for Appropriate Transport (CAT) and in particular Human Powered Machines.  For more information on CAT, please visit our website.