Guest blogger Ralph Perkins and the inception of Tuberville

Greetings from Tuberville:

My name is Ralph Perkins. I was asked to join you all as a guest blogger this week with some details about how Tuberville got its “roots.”

In 2004, there were a number of influences that helped start the plan in motion. My daughter had turned 4 yrs old and we were starting to talk about how things grow and where food comes from. My father was looking for a small plot to grow vegetables for the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, and I was interested in the popular debate at the time of how the internet was influencing our ideas of community.

At work and with friends I shared these thoughts. Two people in particular, Marc Robbins from Phoenix, AZ and Tim Carroll from Chicago, IL engaged me in discussion and before I knew it, we were talking about creating an online community tied directly to a physical community, working together to produce a real, tangible product that could have a definable impact on those around us. That is a very wordy way to say we decided we should grow something.

So I went to my pop and asked him what he thought we could grow. He took inventory of all our assets: “you don’t have any fence, you don’t have any water, you aren’t going to be out there harvesting every day… we might want to look into potatoes.”

So with the lofty ideals of internet community buzzing around on one side and the pragmatic logic of a 5th generation Vermonter moving us forward on the other side, we tilled enough soil to plant 6 rows of potatoes in the spring of 2005. That fall, Peter Perkins delivered 1,460 pounds of potatoes to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf.

Through word of mouth, other people in Colchester and Milton offered to help with the planting and harvest. A St. Michael’s graduate, Kelley Ouellette, offered to build a web site for us and all of a sudden we had our first presence in the digital world.

Over the past five years, we have learned and grown as a group. Our Tuberville community has expanded as people nearby and far away have joined Tuberville and shared their talents and passions and in doing so have made Tuberville stronger and able to supply more food to neighbors in need. It is amazing to see six thousand pounds of potatoes and know they are going for a good cause, but it is also amazing to see people sharing what they are good at.

The original premise of people online being able to be an integral part of the project has evolved into the Sharecropper 3.0 and CSA.2 programs and more and more we are looking at Tuberville as a genuine community. That is to say, we welcome anyone who wishes to participate. We want to design opportunities for anyone to excel at what they enjoy doing, and we believe there is a way to achieve this and help others at the same time.

Hope all is well,

-Ralph P.

Production Manager / Tuberville



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