Great Lakes & Upper Midwest: Weeks 2 & 3

Continuing through the upper Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan I have been astounded at the hundreds of miles of corn and soy that have flanked my route on most days. I have also had the privilege of meeting and talking with some really neat folks and eating real, live Chicago deep-dish pizza after battling traffic and the urge to shop for a Prada pannier along the city's Magnificent Mile.

Catherine O'Neil and Jack Spencer are working to establish the Big River Theater in Alma, WI. Jack is sanguine about what he calls the mindfulness of the younger generation.

Alice Sprain has lived in West Salem, WI for a little while now--as in 93 years. She and her friend Sue Strauss lament what they view as a shrinking sense of community in the area, with Sue offering one eco-friendly solution to the problem.

Finishing up the 400 State Trail in Reedsburg, WI on a hot summer day, you might come across a cooler full of ice-cold water next to a nice shaded bench. You can thank Janet Fisher, who in this clip touches on why she does it.

James Baerwolf and his brother run the Sassy Cow dairy farm and creamery near Columbus, WI. Here, James explains why small or medium-sized farms are so good for a local economy.

Mark Gill is a founding member of the Bay View Eco Village in Milwaukee, WI. He talked to me about the meaning and structure of his "intentional community", with this clip giving just a brief introduction to how it works and the values behind it.

Chris Pritchett has lived around Zion, IL for his entire life. He says that he has recently been exploring pursuing a life within the system, despite the unfair treatment it has sometimes doled out to him.