Our FRED Conference was one of four projects to win grants from Community Matters and the Orton Family Foundation. Here is a little blurb I wrote for them about the Upstream Makers Collective and FRED Talks.
The Upstream [Makers] Collective is a newly established group of artists, writers, and makers who have started coming together to (a) foster our creative gifts and (b) give those gifts back to our community — a community that includes both the people and the land of Oregon mid-Willamette Valley. The name “Upstream” was inspired by Wendell Berry, who said “Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.” It’s also inspired by the notion that we have a responsibility to leave to future generations a culture that is at least as vibrant as the one we inherited. We’ve started describing our mission as “rural culture for the common good.”As we stated in our application, the FRED Conference, which is named after Mister Rogers, will feature TED-style talks on the art of neighboring. The best TED talks take help us see the familiar — education, technology, leadership, happiness, etc. — in surprising new ways. That is the goal for our FRED talks. On the surface, does anything seem as run-of-the-mill as your neighbors? But we think there is community-transforming potential in developing relationships literally right outside your front door. In that way, we hope the speakers, curated conversations, and collaborative elements of the FRED Conference will spark the imagination and help us see our own neighborhoods with fresh eyes.