Category: Non-profits

Check out this week’s issue of The Free Weekly for a concept design of one acre for Making Ripples!

Ryan & I have been thinking hard since August 2011 about how to make the most ripples on a small piece of land.  There are so many wonders to be created on just one acre for Ripples, if it’s healthy, protected and sustainable: native pollinators, trees, and wildlife; rainwater harvesting systems; technology that makes a difference globally; alternative power sources like solar panels; fresh organic vegetables and herbs; healing pathways through the forest, and much more!  These are just ideas, but some of them are already alive and well: technology help for non-profits, our blog and column, a rain barrel, bicycles, and more.  But we can’t make a more tangible difference in Northwest Arkansas without the land.  Have you seen this acre?  If so, let us know by emailing

Thanks! :)

We’re getting ready to build our earthbag house…and you’re invited!

I’m not sure how to write this post.  This will be a refreshing change from writing how-to guides, recipes, or links to factual and inspirational sites on the internet.  This post is what is literally going on at Ripples this week!  It isn’t about the future or dreaming, it’s about right now.  For some reason I think “right now” details will sound boring to you.  But they’re very exciting to me! View full article »

Celebrating the Harvest in Community

Yesterday, I participated in my fellowship’s tradition of Bread Communion, when everyone brings a loaf of bread to pass around in baskets during the service.  Each person takes a piece of bread, and together the congregation reflects on gratitude for each other and nature’s gifts. View full article »

The light bulb came on above my head while watching this film.

Solar Mamas was presented to a small Fayetteville Public Library audience at 2:00 this afternoon. It showed how the Barefoot College in India is training women to become solar engineers.  I watched it like I have viewed many documentaries, but in this unusual case I realized just how much Ripples has changed the way I engage with new information. I didn’t want to donate money to the impoverished people on the screen; rather, I wanted to pay them to teach me their skills. View full article »

Missing the potlucks that shaped the woman I am today.

For those who have never been to one, a potluck is a fantastic way to share food among many people.  Everyone brings one dish of food and receives a full meal made up of many dishes.  And I felt lucky to eat from so many pots!  For me, potlucks used to be a chance to share a dish that you liked, sample a variety of foods that others brought, spend positive time with friends or new faces, and enjoy interesting conversation (including recipes!).  Nowadays, potlucks just make me feel hungry, embarrassed, and guilty. View full article »

As part of our conservation work, Ripples is sending postcards!

What? Postcards? How could that possibly help save wildlife??

Because being a tiger ranger in the field is a thankless job.  Sometimes all it takes is acknowledgement and appreciation to renew the spirit of someone risking their life for wildlife.  For the cost of one postcard stamp, or the totally FREE action of sending an online e-card, you can say thank-you to the people who help save my favorite animal, the tiger.  Ripples will be sending one postcard to each country to say thanks, and we invite you to join us by sending a card yourself. Meanwhile, Ripples is working here in Arkansas trying to protect our own native species.  Once we buy the land and build the homestead (including free community workshops on building with earth bags) we will also have free wildlife habitat tours and workshops where the community can learn more about creating vital habitat for native species.

In the meantime, it’s all about learning as much as we can! With the dry, excessive heat, I recycled an old skillet and put it at ground level, filled it with water, and placed several branches around the outside to encourage songbirds and other animals to perch and take a drink.  This was a makeshift birdbath idea suggested by our friend Louise, who noticed that wildlife seemed to want a ground-level bath and using an upturned trash can lid and branches was effective. Good tip!

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Here are some Ripples blog statistics:

  • 120 Facebook Likes
  • 10,203 Views on Posts
  • 89 Countries with Readers (since February 2012)

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Honoring the homesteading spirit of Spencer West.

This morning as I sip my peppermint tea and eat a gluten-casein-soy-egg-free blueberry muffin from New Day Bakery, it doesn’t matter that the doctors told me what I’m doing is impossible.  After watching this video, I’m giving myself new options that the doctors said I didn’t have.  Who cares that I’ve spent the last 3 days curled up around a toilet or on someone’s couch, when today I (once again) regained the ability to walk without pain? These little gains are important, because that’s what is going to help build our earth bag homestead and enable me to continue giving my best efforts to Ripples and our incredible international network of change makers. Never give up. View full article »

Tomorrow is the first day of the Farmer’s Market!

Admittedly, I’m writing this post a month in advance because I’m that excited about the Farmer’s Market.  It’s my favorite place in all of Fayetteville, and my favorite activity besides going to the zoo.  You never know what you’ll see there this year: monkeys, magicians, cute puppies, belly dancers, beautiful crafts and flower bouquets, and of course the main event: delicious produce, eggs, jams and more from hard-working farmers who literally feed the community and keep it alive.

To celebrate the day, here’s a special treat to honor a hard-working organization called Grand Aspirations.  Their program, Summer of Solutions, has focused on many different topics including local food.  The Fayetteville SoS 2010 team of youth in high school made my favorite stop motion video of all time!  Move over Burl Ives and Rudolph!  It’s about food, using food to tell the story of eating healthy and locally by purchasing from a farmer, cooking, and sharing.

Check out Grand Aspirations & enjoy this video from Summer of Solutions!


Celebrating a successful capacity building course!

A Wiki I made for helping students access resources on capacity building

Many of you already know that Ryan & I have been active assisting non-profit organizations to build their capacity in one way or another, whether its acquiring a youth program or a website, or teaching a class on effective organizations.  Ripples is not just about helping ourselves live a sustainable lifestyle; we’re also dedicated to inviting others to join us on the journey in their own ways, which is often the work of non-profit organizations assisting with food justice, energy efficiency, and other causes.   View full article »