The Crestone Eagle • December, 2020

Crestone Baca Resiliency after 4 years

by Kate Steichen, Co-founder & Chair, CBR

www.crestonebacaresiliency.net and cbrsolarize.net

Crestone Baca Resiliency (CBR) is a grassroots, volunteer organization committed to implementing our community’s dynamic vision of resiliency, with specific goals in the areas of Energy, Food, Water, Governance, Paradigm Shift, and Community Development.

In the summer of 2016, a small group began meeting weekly, concerned that we were not doing more to prepare for climate dislocations.  Being located as we are at the end of the road, we wondered how resilient our tiny community would be if the power grid went down, and/or we faced a fire emergency,  shortage of gasoline, food, water, etc.  We knew that the way not to feel like a victim is to do what we can do.  But what was it that our community wanted to do?

In order to create a community vision of resiliency, we convened a professionally-facilitated Search Conference in late March 2017.  One hundred community members worked together over 3 days at Colorado College’s Conference Center.  Representatives from business, arts, health, spirituality, gardening, building, education, elders, youth, longtime residents, and newcomers created a vision, then voted with their feet to create action groups committed to each aspect of the community vision.

The action groups met independently, with representatives from each coming together monthly to share updates, accomplishments, and challenges at our CBR Council. 

Energy Action Group 

Mission:  Support energy self-reliance for Crestone/Baca

Accomplishments:

  40 locals registered with CBR Solarize to explore installing PV solar at their homes 

  Solar Energy International provided 5 scholarships to local trainees for their PV installer course

Designed and hosted a solar survey of local residents

Hosted a Solar 101 class

Coordinated with CO Energy Office’s RENU program & Aventa to offer PV financing 

Introduced visiting Colorado College students to PV

Food Action Group

Mission:  Create food security for Crestone/Baca.

Accomplishments:

Created the Community Garden (Ascension Garden) which supports the local Food Bank

  Designed and built the Town Hall Greenhouse to grow food for Shut-in Seniors

  Hosted annual Crestone Garden Festival

Formed a wholesale buyers club to share and store bulk food orders

Worked with 125 local gardeners to share food with community

Water Action Group

Mission:  To protect, love, preserve and consider as sacred the water resources we currently enjoy.

Accomplishments:

Organized group tour of Baca Grande Water & Sanitation (BGW&S) District plants

Encouraged Water Group member John Loll to join BGW&S Board of Directors

Opposed RWR’s attempt to export SLV water to Douglas County with “Not One Drop” campaign

Attended San Luis Valley Water Symposiums

Hosted successful Art Auction Fundraiser for Teyuna Elders to address global water crisis

Governance Action Group

Mission:  To research and facilitate responsive self-governance for the Baca and Crestone resident community

Accomplishments:

Researched and assessed the viability of alternative governance models, considering future growth, resiliency, and our community values

Engaged with POA on issues including strategic longterm planning and the POA’s quorum requirement

Interviewed representatives of CO Dept of Local Affairs, Saguache County Board of Commissioners, and POA

Designed and presented a neighborhood pod program, C.A.R.E: Community Action and Readiness for Emergency

Founded the “Happiness Patrol” to provide compassionate community protection

Paradigm Shift

Mission: To kindle and strengthen lively eco-awareness that connects to sacred nature, Source and Heart; all in support of Crestone/Baca’s community action for resilience.

Members of the Paradigm Shift group worked individually and collectively to strengthen the fabric of the community and the interconnections between people and all of life.

Accomplishments:

Created and hosted Emergency Preparedness event

Created and hosted “Giving Rights to Nature” event

Hosted Teyuna visit with broad community involvement

Hosted CBR Colorado College classes

Hosted CBR social/team-building gatherings

Contributed to music, dance, poetry, and visual arts events

Community Development:

Mission:  To co-create a sustainable flourishing community by acquiring funding for action group resiliency projects.

Accomplishments:

Awarded Saguache County grants for Community Garden, Community Greenhouse, and CBR Solarize

Received generous private donations of support from individual community members

In gratitude

After almost 4 years, the majority of CBR Action Groups feel complete with their many contributions to our community.  CBR’s original vision inspired us all, and progress toward that vision has made Crestone Baca more resilient and sustainable.  For this we sincerely thank all who have participated.