Annual Pie and Ponderings (formally Pie and Politics): Creating Thriving Communities
Pie and Ponderings is the Alliance for Sustainability's largest annual (and free) event hosted at the Big Top Chautauqua in Bayfield, WI attracting over 450 people annually. It began in 1997 and is still going strong today. The overall goal of Pie and Ponderings is to foster community building in our region by bringing people together in dialog, by providing education on key local issues, and by creating a moment for the community to celebrate and share in the abundance of our region's natural and human resources. The format and venue of Pie and Ponderings is in the great American soapbox tradition of the old Chautauquas, featuring nationally and internationally-known speakers who offer us new ideas to ponder. After the presentation participants gather in conversation about the evening’s topic while enjoying a slice of locally made homemade pie. Often a "Thriving Communities" summit is hosted the the following day to further deepen conversations and take action on the information shared by the Pie and Ponderings speaker, who also attends the event.
Our speakers have included mayors, authors, international leaders, farmers, and community activists in the field of sustainability. Over its twentyfour year history, the Pie and Ponderings event has been responsible for initiating the establishment of this region as the nation’s first eco-municipalities, the launch of several sustainability study circles, the investment in a regional sustainable agriculture network, and the numerous efforts to reduce overall energy consumption and increase the use of renewable energy sources.
Pie and Politics/Ponderings Timeline:
- 1st, 1997 “How to Grow” with Bob Hastings, Village of Egg Habor President, Door County, Wisconsin
- 2nd, 1998 “Purchasing Development Rights” by Gordon Hayward, Township Planner, Traverse City
- 3rd, 1999 “Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities” with Edward McMahon, Senior Resident Fellow, Urban Land Institute
- 4th 2000 “Land Use Planning” with Keith Charter, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin
- 5th 2001 Community Recognition of Local Groups Evening
- 6th 2002 “Roads and Transportation” with Phil Scherer, Transportation Planner, Northwest Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission
- 7th 2003 “Future for Agriculture in the North” featuring Linda Halley, Harmony Valley Farm
- 8th 2004 “How is Smart Growth Doing?” by Kevin Pomery, AICP Planning Director, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin
- 9th, 2005 – “Building Eco-Municipalities: Best Practices from Rural Sweden” with Torbjorn Lathi, Lars Thunbers, Tommy Persson and Lena Bengton of the Ecomunicipality Movement in Sweden
- 10th, 2006 – “How Local Governments Can Combat Climate Change” with Rocky Anderson, Salt Lake City Mayor
- 11th, 2007 - “Sustainable Capitalism – A matter of Common Sense” by John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri
- 12th, 2008 - “Peak Oil and the U.S. Economy” featuring Richard Heinberg, Post-Carbon Institute Fellow
- 13th, 2009 – “Sustainability is a Business Opportunity” with Phil Berry of Sustainable Products Works and guest Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton
- 14th, 2010 – “Bringing It Home: Building a Resilient Local Economy” by David Morris, U.S. Evergy Advisor
- 15th, 2011 - “Discovering Abundance within Scarcity” featuring Midwest Regional Collaborative for Sustainability Education’s members, including
- “Beyond Sustainability to a New and Better World” with John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri, Columbia.and author of Sustainable Capitalism, Small Farms are Real Farms, Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability in American Agriculture ;
- “Building Creative Communities” with Jan Sanders presents founder of PEOPLEnergy and Social Artistry educator;
- “Imagine: Each Other” with David Oates poet and the author of City Limits: Walking Portland's Boundary (Oregon State 2006), and Paradise Wild: Reimagining American Nature (Oregon State 2003).; and
- “Global Market and Earth’s Limits: Headed Toward Collision” with Margaret Swedish, founder of Spirituality and Ecological Hope and author of Living Beyond the ‘End of the World': A Spirituality of Hope
- 16th, 2012 - “There’s Dirt in Our Future: Digging into the Local Economy” with Ben Hewitt, Vermont farmer and author of Making Supper Safe: One Man’s Quest to Learn the Truth About Food Safety (Rodale) and The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food,
- 17th, 2013 - “Building Thriving Local Economies” featuring Judy Wicks, co-founder of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE).
- 18th, 2014 - “We ARE Better Together” eaturing our own local sustainability champions whose stories of energy, entrepreneurship, food, waste, water and public art hold the spark that will set this community on fire, including:
- A Focus on Energy” with Mark Abeles-Allison, Bayfield County Administrator,
- Sustainability Pays” with Steve Sandstrom, Pinehurst Inn Owner, “
- Eat Our Peace (and carrots)” with Joy Shelble, UWEX Iron County,
- One Small Spark” with Toby Yost, Washburn Entrepreneur
- “ARTesian WELLness” with Annie Noel, Rose Spieler-Sandberg & Haley Weyer, Ashland Artesian Well Mosaic Project Team
- 19th, 2015 – “A Commitment to Community” with Michele Merkel, co-director of Food & Water Justice, Lynn Henning, farmer and Sarah Lloyd, Wisconsin Farmers Union.
- 20th, 2016 “Planting the Seeds for Our Future”, featuring Bill McDorman of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance and local area youth Abby Davidson, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Herriot and Corinne Kostka.
- 21st, 2017 "Creating Community and Preserving the Common Wealth," featuring Stan Gruszynski, former USDA Rural Development State Director for Wisconsin and Over 30 Local Non-Profits
- 22nd, 2018 “Traversing Transformative Change” featuring Christine Kelly of Anagennao and Jeremy Solin of ThinkWater. This event also included a Celebration of the Life of Jim Ramsdell
Images from Pie and Politics Over the Years...
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