I have amazing clients. Out of the plethora I could have chosen for the "cover shot" of the CG Journey blog, my choice was the extraordinary Pam West-Finkle, photographed at the Robinwood Nursing Home during one of her intergenerational music classes.  I had the honor of filming Pam teach soulful, culturally diverse music to three generations of happy students; they played instruments, they danced, they clapped, they sang. 

Pam, like all of my clients, needs support. She is a one woman show, and with uncharted energy, she touches at least one hundred souls per week (a low estimate) with total commitment to the healing power of music. I don't know where she gets her energy; I do know that she is up before the sun, and that every day, she commits to and follows through with her mission to bring (and retain) music to the highlands, and beyond. I'm editing Pam's biopic, and it is a task to say the least, to cut down to two minutes all of the moments I caught, of Pam bringing a 93 year old woman to her feet to clap and boogie down with a passing three year old and her tambourine, of Pam leading community members from Hobart in an awesome Celtic jam, four generations of Catskills dwellers stomping their feet together instead of worrying about where their children might be. The current climate for our children is scary. There are too many drugs and not enough Pams.

Steve Purcell, my agricultural ambassador of true sustainability, (and the inspiration for the working title of my blog) came to dinner last night, and we finalized plans for his Kickstarter campaign, launching late summer, early fall. I chose this image of Steve, my friend and captain of all things earth or animal, because part of my job is to share him with you... share his knowledge, his unbelievable wisdom. If you could only be so lucky as me, the girl who gets to sit and take notes as Steve 
describes getting his first loan as an agricultural graduate (some years ago), and turning that small loan into a farm, a dream, that he has fueled with his mere passion for thirty plus years.  Passion that, of course, first ignites with the lovely and infinitely strong Barbara Purcell, who handles life more elegantly than I can even describe. They are farmers. They are naturalists. Steve beat cancer. They can't afford health insurance, so they eat right, to counteract illness. They are my friends, and I cannot believe that I have the honor of writing grants to help them build their (brilliant) sustainable feeding system, a new barn, create a pipeline that will bring spring water down to the farm - Steve will get post after post, I am certain. His knowledge is critical to solving key issues that face us AS A NATION - Steve has engineered solutions that define "sustainability," and actually work. Barb has difficulty with the word, and I understand why. It is overused, and mostly not even used correctly.
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of well being, which has ecological, economic, political and cultural implications. All that means to someone like Barb Purcell is that she hasn't harvested any honey in two years, and that scares her. So she wakes up with her husband at the crack of dawn to make sure he needs what he needs to get their livestock fed with natural grass and seed, (often by hand) to ensure that their bounty will be the most delicious, the most honest, the most sustainable to anyone that will have the pleasure of nurturing their bodies with the most delicious cut of beef you have ever tasted. This staves off disease - this keeps them, and us, going. 

Pictured above is Nicole Guidice, a devastatingly talented student at SUNY Oneonta, who interned with me for the winter 2013 term. She gave me over 100 hours of her time and talents, seen here on set, Spring 2013, with the Purcells on their farm. My experience with Nicole defines sustainability. She gave me her precious resources; time and talent. I in turn gave her mine: knowledge, experience.  And yet, Nicole and I were not nearly the only two who benefited - henceforth, ecological, economic, cultural, and EVEN political implications were ignited by our exchange. Nicole  worked on several clients initiatives during our work together - she provided strength to a 400 acre natural, sustainable farm, a singer songwriter who will be touring internationally, a gallery owner in Stamford, and the local Oneonta YMCA (which has a 2000 strong membership, hopefully to grow as our work progresses). Two people, together, affected, even in small ways, the well being of thousands. All of that, from one internship.
Imagine, the implications of just how broadly we could affect the long-term maintenance of well-being, if we all joined together? 

That's what Certain Grants is all about.

    Beatrice Georgalidis

    Director and Producer
    Certain Grants


    June 2013