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The Peace Warrior by Dena Eakles
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Echo Valley Hope, Inc.

November 2011


The weather is auspiciously warm. The sheep are still grazing the last of the autumn’s grasses. They respond to the shortened days and the diminished food moving a bit quicker, taking in the last of this season with gusto. Our young ram, Tough Guy, somehow managed to avoid being neutered and so now he wears a “skirt.” We learned this trick from our friends on the Navajo Reservation. Basically it prevents penetration and allows our young one to stay with the herd – I will let you know in the early spring if the “skirt” worked.


We began this year eager to add our voice to the One Voice of Peace and Ending War. Our efforts have been wonderfully successful, and so we will continue. I traveled to Washington DC in early October to be part of October 2011. Organized earlier this year, the event was planned to kick off on the 11th anniversary of the Afghanistan War and was to begin an occupation to bring an end to war. Preempted by NYC’s Occupation of Wall Street, which began one month before, DC became a melting pot of people with similar interests who had to find a way to come together as one voice. As with all communication, it will take time, but I was heartened by the multi-generational, nonviolent approach taken by the majority.

Overall, I am heartened by the clarity and the conviction of the worldwide Occupy movement. I urge everyone to step outside of American broadcast media to get the news on how these events are unfolding. As with Madison protests earlier in the year, the information that gets “reported” is too often slanted by the very corporate interests that are now being called into question. For my news, I try to catch Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now on Pacifica, or I wake up in the middle of the night to listen to BBC, which holds a slight edge over its American counterpart when it comes to fair reporting.

I am also heartened by the activities of those that are not solely about protest of what is wrong but actively pursuing the effort to make it right. Bringing back human integrity, kindness, and care for the earth and one another have always been the foundation of our efforts here at Echo Valley, and I am gratified to find many other voices championing our “way out.”

In this regard, kudos to Grace Lee Boggs and the Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership in their ongoing effort to revitalize Detroit from inside rather than waiting for solutions to come to them. Grace and her team are inspiring conversation on education, incarceration, feeding our people and much more. More importantly, they are making a difference through action. Listen to Vandana Shiva in her video-taped message for Detroit Hope’s Reimagining Work Conference, Oct 28-30. I am humbled by the efforts of Sami Rasouli, founder of the Muslim Peacemaker Teams and the Iraqi & American Reconciliation Project - and all of his team - and their relentless effort towards peace and healing for all.

Yes, it takes communication or as Grace Lee Boggs reminds us, conversation. I am happy to list here a few of the bloggers that have caught my attention with their creative solutions and their insistence on nonviolence. I am renewed by these conversations. I hope they will inspire you to converse with friends and family, as we co-create a new way.

The Fearless Heart by Miki Kashtan at
Commonway Praxis by Dr. Sharif Abdullah at
Occupy Cafe at


I want to take a moment and thank the community of the Wisconsin Network for Peace & Justice for accepting me a Board Member and Co-Chair for this year. If you are not familiar with the effort of WNPJ, please take a moment to see what 167 organizations in Wisconsin are doing to make a difference. In such a time of transition, I am honored to be a part of this larger effort towards peace – and I am certain Justice and all that is Good will follow. In each What’s New, I will be highlighting an effort of a member organization which I hope you will support - or at least be made aware of.

The northwest Wisconsin Penokee Hills are being slated for mountaintop removal for mining purposes. If we allow this destruction we will be participating in the eradication of the home of the Bad River People and the contamination of the water. Please review this website to learn more:


As Echo Valley approaches nearly a decade as a cooperative farm, we are recreating an old tradition that is not profiteering yet is sustainable. With our multi-generational approach to education and to maintaining our humanity, our acceptance of diversity and our insistence on stewardship and not destruction of the land, we are a model of all that is possible. We welcome you to participate in life from a different point of view.

We know that each voice counts, and we recognize that we are all beginning to find our way anew. We will continue to champion the human spirit and provide a working model of cooperative and sustainable living that benefits all. We will continue to offer free classes in sustainable living from gardening to animal husbandry, green building, food preservation, baking, cooking and more. In keeping with the call for nonviolence in these transitional times, we offer free classes to help foster the spirit of nonviolence in each of us. We will offer the class November 26 and December 3. Contact us if you would like to attend.

Echo Valley Farm is self sustaining. Echo Valley Hope is the nonprofit arm of our effort. With your tax deductible donations in 2011, Echo Valley Hope was able to support the humanitarian efforts of TPRFWater for Peace, Motherland Rhythm Community, and Veterans for Peace. We were able to continue our cultural and educational exchanges with the Navajo, Oneida and Ojibwe. We also supported the efforts of these like-minded nonprofits: The Cornucopia Institute, Valley Stewardship Network, WNPJ, and the Wilton Food Pantry.

We will continue to reach people with self and community sustaining ideas, practices and learning possibilities, and most importantly we will continue to support all initiatives of peace. Peace First and Ending War will expand in the 2012 to offer opportunities for children of all ages to learn the ways of nonviolence and to welcome peace in our lifetime.

Thank you for becoming a Friend of Echo Valley Hope. We do not accept corporate or government grants. Our efforts are supported solely by the generous donations of individuals like you. Thank you to all who have contributed in the past, and welcome to all who will support our efforts in 2012. Your donation of any amount will ensure our activities can continue. Thank you.

To make a tax-deductible donation, send a check or money order to:
Echo Valley Hope, Inc., E 14604 County Rd. F, Ontario, WI 54651,
donate online securely through PayPal here,
or donate on Facebook here.


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