Monday, October 27, 2008

nathina roy

As you may have read in our last entry, we did draw a name out of our hat for the recipient of the CSA Lottery- and for the last week, i have been gathering information about this recipient and trying to write something in my head that could be coherent enough o publish..
For the last two years, Alanna and I have completely given ourselves to KISMET and all that that means to us- and in it we have continued to talk to each other about what our vision of this place is and how what we do here means in the grander picture..
three weeks ago we decided to begin a csa lottery as a way to invoke change and excitement and conversation in our community- we put it out there to our customers, and witnessed an overwhelming response- in just two weeks, we raised 200 dollars and were able to match that with another 200 dollars of profit that we raised from sales to put towards a csa for a deserving individual or family in our community.. we thought that we would be supporting our farmers while educating people about csa's and also providing a deserving person with the gift of local organic food for a season..
then i met nathina..
Nathina Roy is 28 years old, she is a single mother who grew up in williamstown and is currently a working student employeed at Dog River Farm and CCV. When I met Nathina, I was overwhelmed by the fact that I've NEVER SEEN HER BEFORE and that, though we both have boys attending the same school, and have both lived in the same town for the last few years, and are the same age, she was completely unfamiliar to me... this shook me- i instantly wanted to know her and was simultaneously overwhelmed by the situation--- here i was offering her this gift and sitting in the "giving" position, and all the while looking at her knowing that there really was not that much different between us-.. I could see the awkwardness- as if i was interviewing her- asking about her relationship with her child's father-- asking about her history, asking what she studies in school- talking about her financial situation--etc.. what a trip!
Because there really was little separating us..
Nathina Roy is our CSA Lottery benefactor--
and i am so glad that she is-
she was nominated anonymously, and has no idea who could have nominated her, except for maybe her boss at Dog River Farm-
And when we talked about how the CSA could be most helpful for her, she confided that because she works at a farm in the summer, a summer csa would be generous, but not the sort of help she needs most (especially with the winter on it's way). So we spoke about alternative ways that we could help, and reminded her that we basically have $400 to put towards local organic food for her and her son. If she had ideas of how we could use it, she should let me know.. we looked at Pete's Greens winter csa ($800), and talked about how we could make that happen-
the more we spoke, the more i just wanted to give her boxes of food myself- surely i could buy $400 worth of food and spread it out over 3 months to get her through the winter- or maybe even give her $400 worth of restaurant credit-- who knew- there has to be a way to make $400 go far enough to really help a single mother through a vermont winter!? And, at the same time, i felt like i had such a great experience in this process so far, i couldnt imagine not figuring something out- in many ways i feel like i have been the "nathina" - i am very resourceful, so gifts often have to be modified to my specific needs-and often others have been frustrated with me about that- but i am hoping, instead, that nathina will help us understand how we can help most and put our humble effort in the right direction--
stay tuned for more-
nathina will call tomorrow and tell us how we can feed her most with $400-

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

it takes a village (or at least a restaurant in a village)

so, as you may have read earlier on--
we have been working on a new project- (read october 2008 post below)
thanks to many contributors, and a radical response from our customers- our first CSA LOTTERY was a huge success--
not only were our sales up this month, but we also collected $201.00 in donations that will go directly to a local person in the form of a 2009 CSA.
Customers and visitors to kismet donated a minimum of $5.00 (some donated as much as $40.00) in order to nominate a local person or family for our CSA drawing.
we drew today, contacted the beneficiary, and will tell you all about it this week!- check out the next blog entry!

in the meantime-
thank you:
eva spera
rebecca kraemer
joel chaves
alexis hurley
flo miller
lindsay armstrong
ellia cohan
jaime, noah and eden
jim higgins
alexis smith
jd & colleen
srah adelman & rob kidd
joyce cosimano
shaun, sarah & noah keeley

Thursday, October 02, 2008

slow food

today marks the 2 year anniversary of when we began kismet at 207 barre street in montpelier vermont.. we purchased the existing business and went from the signing to the bank to the space, where we and our wee children lifted tiles, took down partial walls and began deep cleaning and organizing.. it has been a slow process, but hearty and fluid and fast moving..
today marks the first vice-presidential debates involving a woman.. unfortunately, the woman representing the "woman" is not my favorite.. i feel concerned and intrigued and nervous... where is this world headed? a question bigger than me, i guess, bigger than any of us alone, i guess.. but together, together we steer---but where?

ok.. that was deep, but, you know life is deep and dark sometimes, and like raw unsweetened chocolate, or hot peppers off the vine, not un-enjoyable...just have to know what to do with it, i suppose. so with the awareness that our current food and fuel crisis are at a critical point, owning a restaurant has become a heavy and serious matter.. kismet is doing fine, which continues to bring me comfort, but i still feel like our success is completely dependant on others.. how do we give back, when we can only just give to ourselves? we give what we can--but what if that is only a little bit? how do we make this work, show that little things matter, feel the success of our success when our success is so vague?..
we step up, like ballerinas on toe, yogi's on one foot, or eager lucid farmers in february with lights and seed in hand in a dark basement, we do what we feel called to do, we stretch a bit further and try something brave..
in honor of all that everyone who supports kismet has done for us in the last year, in honor of all who have waited patiently for us to evolve, in honor of all those who are suffering financially, we have decided to stretch and experiment a little further..please read below- i think you may find this interesting,
we have decided to do something different....
i have so much more to say on this subject (and i haven't even touched on the snail picture in the top right hand corner)- but i will say that slow food, small communities, big risks, and trust are involved-- and everyday, we all know it applies to us..
read on:

In our work at kismet, we have been very fortunate in our experience.
We are surrounded by beautiful foods, an energetic and joyful community, and the constant reflection of ourselves through good work.
We have been blessed to have this opportunity to fulfill our vision,
and are constantly reminded that the success of this business
relies most crucially on the success of our relationships.
The relationships we have with our employees, neighbors, customers, farmers and food producers have given us immeasurable support and inspiration,
and we have learned so much through the simple work of co-habitation.
At the moment, most everyone we know
is being affected and is concerned about current fuel and food costs.
We too, are concerned,
and hope to do our part in offering support to our local farmers and friends
who may struggle the most this year.
Single Mothers ourselves,
we understand how critical every bit of help can be,
and understand that there are many Vermonters each year who have to sacrifice purchasing quality food in order to pay for heat or transportation.
This is why
this winter,
we will match donations and purchase one CSA each month for a local family.
You are invited to participate,
and we hope that you will join us in making sure that our friends and neighbors are fed well, while constantly making an effort to make more friends and broaden our neighborhood.
With love, Crystal & Alanna

Make a contribution to our CSA lottery, and each month we will match the contributions and purchase a CSA for a local family.
How it works:
For each contribution of $5.00 or more
You will make a nomination of someone you would like to see receive a free CSA
(it’s o.k. to nominate yourself)
Give us your contact information
Each month we will match $200.00 and purchase a CSA from a local farm.
Read our blog to find out who will receive the CSA each month.

Do you have ideas of other ways we can help?
We’d like to hear your ideas.
Send us an email at