Supporting Local Farms – MAE Farm

November 4, 2009

MAE Farm is the third in a series of local farms I’m profiling for a project I’m working on to promote support of local farms. The project involves photographing, producing video and recording interviews with several farms about why they farm, who their customer base is and, most importantly, how they stay sustainable. I want to encourage folks to buy locally but also to know and have a relationship with farms in one’s area.

Mike and Suzanne Jones started farming because of their desire to raise their children on the land with meaningful work to do. Their primary emphasis is on producing sustainably raised meats, primarily pork. They also raise goats and cattle for meat as well as chickens for eggs. In addition to selling fresh pork, they have also started producing their own barbecue for sale. The pork is all hand-pulled with no soy or other fillers added. You can buy from them directly or at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh.

MaeFarm_collection_web

MAE Farm

More to come…

Charles Gupton

http://www.charlesguptonphoto.com

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Not Without Hope – Greg Ferguson

October 21, 2009

I met Greg through my involvement with Toast Masters, an organization committed to helping people build their confidence in giving presentations and public speaking. Greg has been engaged in public speaking for over twenty years and has recently published a book sharing his knowledge gained on the subject.

Greg always has a positive, focused approach to everything he does. So, as the economy slowed, he turned his attention to reaching another one of his personal goals so that time and energy wouldn’t be lost or misguided. As I’ve gotten to know him, I’ve been encouraged by the manner in which he uses his abilities to help others in the community serving as an advisor in the civic and business arenas.

I trust you’ll be encouraged by his story as well.

Charles Gupton

http://www.charlesguptonphoto.com

On LinkedIn

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Greg Ferguson leading a ToastMasters meeting.

Greg Ferguson leading a ToastMasters meeting.

Every adversity carries with it the seeds of an equal or greater opportunity.

I am in the residential development business, and as I write this, our local construction output has dropped 75% from its peak before the national economic meltdown.  As a result, our projects have generally been on hold for the last six months.

During this time, it has been nearly impossible to do business the way I have done it for the past twelve years.  There are few buyers and there is virtually no money available through the traditional channels.  We have had to resort to coming up with different assumptions and different actions to be able to move forward.  This takes time and it takes skill in convincing others that there will be a fundamental change in the way we do business in the future.

This downtime in activity has allowed me to re-examine my personal goals and to get focused on them again.  My “chief aim” in life, as Napoleon Hill calls it, is to help others help themselves.  One of my goals has been to write books to help others.  I am glad to report that my reduced business activity for the last six months has given me the time to write my first book on public speaking.  It’s called “How to Give Your Best Speech or Presentation Ever.”

My second book has just gone into the proofing stage and should be available shortly, and I’ve already begun the research for my third book.  Once I broke through all the reasons for not beginning to write sooner, it has become easier and easier to keep my momentum going.  Writing is much like public speaking—the more you do it, the easier it gets.

I expect that real estate development will pick up again in the foreseeable future.  This slowdown has been painful, frustrating, and downright scary.  But in the long run, I believe I will look back on this gap in activity (and income) as a blessing that allowed me to fulfill one of my long time personal goals.

If you are finding your circumstances different than they were a year ago, I encourage you to examine your purpose in life. Recognize this time of challenge as a blessing, and recognize that it carries with it the seeds of opportunity. ~ Greg Ferguson


Supporting Local Farms – Edible Earthscapes

October 2, 2009

Edible Earthscapes farm is the second in a series of local farms I’m profiling for a project I’m working on to promote support of local farms. The project involves photographing, producing video and recording interviews with several farms about why they farm, who their customer base is and, most importantly, how they stay sustainable. I want to encourage folks to buy locally but also to know and have a relationship with farms in one’s area.

Jason and Haruka Otis are also featured in the October issue of Our State magazine in a story titled “Autumn Harvest: Breaking New Ground on North Carolina Farms”. You can connect with Edible Earthscapes at their site: http://edibleearthscape.wordpress.com.

Edible Earthscapes Farm

Edible Earthscapes Farm

More to come…

Charles

http://www.charlesguptonphoto.com

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Supporting Local Farms – Double T Farm

September 15, 2009

One of the projects I’ve been able to throw my passion into recently is one promoting the support of local farms, as in, not just buying locally but actually knowing and having a relationships with farms in one’s area. The project involves photographing, producing video and recorded interviews with several farms about why they farm, who their customer base is and, most importantly, how they stay sustainable. It will be several weeks before I have all the material completed to wrap it up. In the meantime, I’ll post some images from each farm with a link so you can check them out further. More to come…

Double T Farm, Garner North Carolina

Double T Farm, Garner North Carolina

BTW, Carolina Farm Stewardship is hosting it’s fourth Eastern NC Farm Tour Sept. 19 & 20. If you’re in the area this weekend, check out the twenty-five farms who’re participating.

Charles

http://www.charlesguptonphoto.com
On Twitter @ http://twitter.com/CharlesGupton


Not Without Hope – Karen Tiede

May 11, 2009

Karen and I met through a couple of different business networking events. As we talked at length, I was impressed by her quest for continued education and to apply her skills to help other people. I was equally moved by her positive spirit in the face of some daunting challenges. So I asked her to share some of her thoughts in this post. You can learn more about her organizing company at www.red-tuxedo.com.

Charles

http://www.charlesguptonphoto.com
On Twitter @ http://twitter.com/CharlesGupton

Karen Tiede

Karen Tiede


Hope is bigger than life.

I never quite understood what people meant when they said, “there’s no hope…” to mean, “there’s nothing medical science can do to bring a person back to a full and healthy life.”  If there is any truth to the Christian message, and if there is a brighter future in store, then hope clearly HAS to be bigger than this life we stumble through. It’s helpful to ground myself in the largest sense of the word in order to bring perspective to the smaller events that offer a decision point about hope or despair.

I spent 20 years with a company that was reasonably satisfied with my contributions to their bottom line and, similarly, I was happy with their contribution to mine.  Now that job’s gone on a flight to China.  I could not create any amount of assurance that any similar job available locally would not be similarly off-shored before the first anniversary.

I have an aging body, but an agile mind.  With limited financial resources in a “bad” economy (whatever that really is), the opportunity to indulge the demons of despair and unfairness lurked, especially when some co-workers were called back.

And yet, I’m an American, and the flow of immigration indicates more people see this as a land of opportunity, and hope, than not.  My grandparents came here to figure out a better life (and a new language), and managed.  Am I less able than they?  Every business around me was started by someone, and I can’t be less capable than every single one of those people.  In the service of full disclosure, I have already learned that there are a lot of business opportunities that will not work for me.  I am not going to make a reliable living if the business demands sustained physical fitness.  I am not able to make art that will sell at a living wage in the amount of time between now and when my money runs out.

Thomas Edison knew a lot about how not to make a light bulb but didn’t let that body of knowledge affect his hope. I have more ideas; they are in the test stage now; I expect something will bear fruit.  Businesses fail for a lot of reasons, but mostly because people give up on them.

Having a penchant for thoughtful organization, I’ve started a new company helping people bring order to their lives in such a manner that will allow them to sustain that order. As with any new endeavor, the initial momentum seems slow but it is building. I believe if I don’t give up, it’s going to work.

Hope is a decision.  ~ Karen Tiede


Not Without Hope – Kristen & Andy Osterlund

May 7, 2009
The Osterlunds

The Osterlunds

We have been living and working in Raleigh since we were married 11 years ago.  Two years ago, our son was born and we adopted him and brought him home when he was 9 days old.  In the summer of 2007, I returned to work on a part-time basis.  In October 2008, Andy lost his job when 18 people were laid off from the firm where he was working.  He immediately started his own business.  We decided to invest in this business for 6 months and reevaluate in April.  Since October, Andy has had steady work and continues to pursue more projects.   We are thankful for the clients he has and the work he has been able to do.  It is not yet enough for him to be able to pay himself a full salary.  The last few months have been good in that Andy has been realizing his goal of starting his own business and we have had really good time together as a family.  Month to month, finding money to pay bills has been a struggle, but we have seen God provide for our needs.  We have been able to keep our son enrolled in his preschool, which he really enjoys.  I have been able to remain in my part-time work schedule and enjoy lots of time at home with our son. ~Kristen Osterlund

If you have a story of inspiration you’d like to share, please let me know.

http://www.charlesguptonphoto.com
On Twitter @ http://twitter.com/CharlesGupton




Not Without Hope – Bob McCarthy

April 21, 2009

I met Bob a few years ago at the YMCA and started getting to know him better during brief exchanges while we were working out. I was always impressed by his positive outlook during each encounter. Since I am usually interested in the disciplines that writers apply to their work, I always enjoyed asking Bob about how his novel was unfolding. I was most impressed by the daily commitment that he made to move the process forward. It’s that commitment to continue with our objectives in the face of apathy that we all can benefit from making. Whether it’s writing a novel or looking for a new job, the daily steps we take are most important.

What do you think? How are you moving ahead with the apathy you encounter?

Charles

http://www.charlesguptonphoto.com
On Twitter @ http://twitter.com/CharlesGupton

Bob McCarthy

Bob McCarthy


As a novelist, my hope is tied to a belief that through a pursuit of excellence, I can achieve successful publication of my work. So far, all I’ve received are rejection slips or worse, no response at all!  At times, I’m uncertain as to where to turn or what the next step is. But every day I continue to write, believing that consistent attention to my craft and constantly producing new material will, in time, lead to publication.

When I retired as a clinical psychologist, I dedicated myself to a second career as a writer.  I’d already been writing for 35 years; I didn’t wait until the day after to begin.  With this new direction, however, I went from a settled life into a wilderness of sorts, often feeling lost. I’m attempting to develop new skills – mastering the computer, learning to distinguish trustworthy criticism, developing a professional and social network – while continuing to write.  To pursue this goal in my mid-60’s added a dimension of doubt relative to limited time – not just time left but time left with a mind intact enough to write well.

Hope is more than a wish, more than a feeling disconnected from effort.  I view hope as moored in part to a belief in self, in part to a faith in the world.  The view grants me a sense of honesty in the way I hope as opposed to a gambling desperation.

Hope is not passive.  It’s not something I wait for like the arrival of sleep.  It is entwined with an active pursuit of my goal when there is no guarantee of achieving it.

My challenge is to treat hope well, to be ready to let it in when it offers itself like light through blinds, not wasting my time begging it to come to me.  I have to fight vigorously at times to keep hope at my side.  At other times, I have to understand that I am on my own, pursuing my goal in somber tints, trusting that hope will return.  I have to set my “dials” daily on remaining hopeful so that I’m open to hope when it honors me with another visit.  Present or not, hope is an option, on occasion a choice overlooked. The choosing to be hopeful keeps me prepared to do whatever I can to sustain the journey.

My hope moves in wave-like motions, my confidence, at times, a function of the waves. Nonetheless, the commitment is for the duration.  Success or not, I will continue to write. That is my hope. ~ Bob McCarthy