Where in the Appalachian Bioregion are we going?

Where in the Appalachian Bioregion are we going? The consensus was for the White Mountain National Forest (in the Northeast), or the Appalachian states of Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia. Spring Council selected a site in North Eastern Tennessee.

If you're not familiar with the gauntlet on the road into the gathering, and want to avoid a mandatory court appearance ticket click here.

For the Howdy Folks and directions to the gathering, click here. For the United States Forest Service Incident Command website with groovy maps and updates, click here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Feeding the Family

Many people wonder how we can feed 10,000 people in the woods for free.  Well just because it's free doesn't mean it doesn't cost money or sweat. Some years, food is plentiful at the gathering especially in the early part of the gathering, other years not so much.  Seems to me that everyone is happier when they're not hungry.  So in the interest of making sure all the amazing kitchens have plenty of food to cook up for all the bellies in camp, here's some suggestions on how to insure we have plenty of food.  Some people seem to like to bring their own food and cook for themselves, but to me that seems to miss the point of gathering and learning how to share what we have with each other. Of course, bringing snacks for yourself like energy bars is a great idea especially if you tend to need to eat when you need to eat as meals (other than dinner circle) can be hit or miss.

Many of the folks who focalize kitchens work hard during the year to buy supplies to feed this family. For the kitchens, this is a labor of love and the kitchen crews (of which you can be one if you volunteer) want you to have nutritious, good tasting and filling food.

If you're not to far away and you're growing crops, bring what you have to the gathering.  Food grown with love is always the best.  If you're coming in by car, stop for supplies on your way. If possible, shop at the stores close to the gathering and be sure to let the store know you are buying supplies for the gathering and invite everyone to come up.

If you're buying supplies, fresh fruits and veggies are the best as we never seem to have enough. If you bring fruits or veggies, pick varieties that can stand be hauled around in the bottom of a back pack and that do not need refrigeration.  Apples and oranges, cabbages, mushrooms, onions, carrots, zucchini, etc. Also important supplies to bring are olive oil, garlic, spices, herbal teas, whole wheat flour, coffee, brown rice, dried beans, quinoa, yams/sweet potatoes, oatmeal and maple syrup. Try to bring things the vegans can eat cause then everyone can eat it.  When you arrive with supplies, feel free to take them direct to your favorite kitchen or if you have a large load, ask for "main supply" and drop off there for distribution.

The only other way food arrives at the gathering is via cash donations to the Magic Hat. We don't accept food stamps, EBT cards, Visa, checks etc. If you do not have cash, please go to town and buy supplies and bring them back to the gathering.  If you have cash and you don't want to go shopping, donations to the Magic Hat can be made nightly at dinner circle or at INFO anytime it's open. 

How long does it take food to get in your belly?

If you bring supplies with you, it may take 24 to 36 hours before the food your brought is in your bowl ready to be eaten.  Supply runs during seed camp make take 4 to 6 days between the time a donation is made and the time you're eating the food.  Here's what happens.  You put $20 in the Magic Hat on Monday.  On Wednesday folks start putting together a supply run. The run maybe leaves on Thursday morning early and makes it back around dark or even later on Thursday.  Then on Friday after Kitchen Council (usually at 11 am), the food is hauled from the drop location to the kitchens. If the distances are small, maybe you eat the food Friday night, if not it can take half the day to get the food from the cars to the kitchens, so then the $20 of food that was bought with your donation is served up as dinner on Saturday. 

Generally, seed camp can suffer from a lack of food. The best way to keep people feed is to bring food in by the case load.  The more food folks have at seed camp, the harder they can work and get things ready.

However, if you're hitchhiking in and can only carry so much, or doing a big shopping is to hard, you can always donate cash once you are at the gathering.

If you decide to donate cash, give all the funds you have to share as soon as possible so you can be eating the fruits of your labor.  Some kitchens have their own donation cans and you can donate to them as well but the lag is just as long.  Going on supply runs is time consuming and costs a lot of gas money so people don't go "shopping" every day.

Keep in mind that all food is free at the gathering. Food flows freely to all regardless of donations.  Children, pregnant and nursing women, and their families eat first because proper nutrition is key to growing strong bodies. No one is keeping track of who donated what.

 If anyone asks you for money in order to enter the gathering, camp anywhere or eat any food, just say no cause that's not how we roll and who ever is doing the asking is also doing the scamming.

6/7/12 - check out the great comment from folks focalizing Main Supply this year (under the comments)
6/11/12 - to plug into the folks focalizing Main Supply, email them.


  1. I bring lots 'o food to Gathering. Lots.
    As much as I will likely eat - at least - and usually way more. I try not to be a burden on the phamily in fact I try to be very helpful.
    I urge everyone to arrive self-sufficient. What kind of idiot goes into the woods with out enough to even feed themselves?
    When I first discovered the Gathering I was a penniless hitch-hiker, but by god I had brought enough food to at least feed myself.
    and bring lots to give away at Gathering. Thats the way it works - young and poor: needy. older, more established: giving.. goes full circle
    do you know who picks up hitch-hikers? people who themselves had hitch-hiked when they were younger
    sharing economy happens after major disasters, after money economies break down, and every summer in some National Forest
    pack it in. pack it out. leave no trace.
    peace, out

  2. Thanks Karin for the great article. Main Supply is coming along really great this year. I think that it is important to note that, if coordinated well, money put in magic hat goes much farther than at the local grocery store or Wal-Mart. In... particular, main supply can get fresh produce at 1/4-1/5 of grocery store prices. Most other things at least half off the best public prices. In other words $10 in the hat is like $20 to $50 at the grocery store. If you think you've got a really great deal available on any supplies, check with main supply to see if a local low price source has been found yet. We have some really great food sources at our disposal this year. Food runs, especially early in seed camp, will be done at least every other day. Individual kitchens are highly encouraged to contact main supply to help source Anything.

  3. I've been in communication with some of the folks focalizing main supply and they're working on arrangements with local produce suppliers to buy bulk produce at discounted prices. As they've pointed out, your product dollars may go further if you put money in the hat instead of purchasing on your own. In other words, when buying 50 boxes of carrots we can get a lower price per pound than if you buy 5 pounds of carrots.

  4. Blessing to you all..Thank you for all your hard work and time..your words are full of Love for your Family..we bring what we can to Main Supply..beans,brown rice,herbs,dried veggies,honey,bleach,soap & something on CALM wish list plus give to Magic Hat..we do this because we love our brothers & sisters and have been Blessed to be able to share..but we also bring food to cook at our camp..I always cook enough to share with sisters & brothers close & any that may walk by that are hungry..I do not feel by doing this I/we "miss the point of gathering and learning how to share what we have with each other" as you said..I do this because I am getting older and my knees/legs dont work as good as they once did..sometimes I cant make it to dinner circle or a kitchen..this yr they are really bad and I am Praying to Spirit that I can just make the walk Home..I so need to here/say the words *Welcome Home Sister/Brother We Love You* Hope all have a safe & happy journey Home..one that is full of many Blessings...
    *May your day be full of Light & Your life`s be full of Love*
    Sending Love & Light from the foothills of SC..your sister in Light..SunShine BearWoman

    1. dont forget your marijuana cookies,ganja goo balls, mushroom smoothies and heavily laced shermans. and most important heavily dosed water bottles..have fun and remember..what goes up must come down..DEA has their eyes on you!