CMYK loves to support local efforts, and there is nothing more local than the Food Hub. The Yellowstone Valley Citizen’s Council initiated the project to link consumers with fresh, local foods grown in south-central and eastern Montana.
Summertime fundraising has helped bring the Hub closer to reality. Local food producers are taking up the reins to run the Hub as a collective of family farmers and ranchers. The Hub is initially planning to supply local restaurants and offer seasonal CSA boxes. The first seasonal boxes are available for pickup in December. If you're interested, get more details here.
The Yellowstone Valley Food Hub is an exciting development for our area and is the first of its kind in eastern Montana. Food Hub producers are frequently concerned about methods, promoting minimal use of pesticides and emphasizing ethical and humane care of animals. We’ll have better access to healthier food that’s traveled fewer miles. A reliable supply of local food will bolster restaurants catering to the foodies among us. We will be able to meet our producers, understand how the food was raised, and support our community with our food purchases. The Food Hub is a win all around, and we’re looking forward to all that it will bring to our community.
If you’d like to join CMYK in supporting the Yellowstone Valley Food Hub, you can donate here.
Our 'stories' series this past summer was one of our most popular, and we have a regular rhythm of sharing stories around our practice of 'Be Present', 'Be Honest', 'Be Open', 'Be Love(d).' CMYK Magazine aims to share our stories with a wider audience, with hopes of creating points of connection and encouraging others to share their stories. So welcome to a new segment where we get to know different people in our CMYK Community through a series of questions.
Why Billings? Short answer: Work.
Long answer: Oddly enough, this question will bring up a lot... I grew up in St. Louis. I went to the University of Missouri and got an Environmental Design degree (not architecturally accredited). I fortunately landed a job with an architecture firm and worked there for a year before taking the grad school plunge at the University of Michigan. After graduating, I moved to Portland, Oregon, to start the next adventure!
Life up to this point seemed to build up, a nice steady ladder climb … and then the 2008 recession hit, hitting the architecture industry hard. Over 100 job applications later, amounting to not much more than a couple nibbles, I ended up co-founding a design group (merge studio lab) and working in construction and at IKEA. I went full time at IKEA for 5 years when I acquired an interior design position. But I was definitely feeling constrained by the Big Blue Box, as I used to call it, and kept trying to find jobs in the industry.
Then suddenly, in the fall of 2014 I had two job offers in a week and got to choose! We chose Billings. There are some interesting spiritual parallels through this time of my life as well — maybe we can chat about it someday.
Who shares your home? I share my home with my family of four: My wonderful wife Ashley Ann and 2 children, Aara (Air-ah) and Saoirse (Sair-sha). We’ve had both our moms live with us a for a few weeks each as they also moved here within the last year (yay!). We live on a half acre of land on the South Side (The Brighter Side™). No pets or animals for now, at least. We love our spot – the backyard looks out over a horse pasture and our immediate neighbors are great.
What do you do? Professionally I’m an aspiring architect. My aforementioned brother is a contractor here in Billings, and he helped me get the job I have today. I work for Collaborative Design Architects. It’s pretty great, a relatively small firm (10 people), but we do all kinds of architecture from $75K tiny homes to $49 million high schools. It allows for me to work on all aspects of a project from writing contracts to authorizing final payment on a project.
What do you love about the CMYK Community? I love the aesthetic. I love the core tenets:
I love the emphasis on here and now.
What keeps you awake at night? I’m easygoing to a fault probably, not much ‘keeps me up’ ... just my two young children crying!
What are you passionate about? I hate this question. My dad used to always ask me this, and I still don’t know how to answer it! I love my family. I love my job. I love my free time. Oh, and I'm passionate about hating fixer-up type housework. I have felt more and been more politically/civically active in Billings, which is neat.
What are you loving? Raising a family, my current career, and living in Montana!
What are you interested in (or expert in) that most people haven’t heard of? Used to be Ultimate frisbee, not playing that too much these days however.
What do you wish you knew more about? There’s always more to learn….
What do you consider to be your best find? I was lucky to have 4 amazing friends from high school that I consider my best friends:
My wife Ashley! (Editor's note: Ashley's business, 'Love and Worn', is featured below.)
My best buds Chris and Pez.
My sister-in-law Rachel.
Political Activism Starts Early | Kendra Shaw
A few weeks ago baby Violet and I journeyed to the capitol in Helena to comment at a medical marijuana hearing. For the past few years I’ve been helping support my family as a home-based medical marijuana provider, but new regulation passed by the state last year has driven me out of business. I loved my job, so when I heard there was an interim committee hearing to overhaul this legislation I decided to speak up.
Public comments come at the end of a meeting, and I started by apologizing for Violet being such a distraction. One of the older legislators immediately raised her hand and said, kindly, “Babies are never a problem.” And I thought, “She’s right!” People like me getting involved in activism in their 30s, so often we come with little kids — that keeps many of us from getting involved until we’re retired. But the truth is that we’re out here paying taxes, building businesses (or trying to), and sending our kids to school every day, and our perspectives are crucial to understanding how things are going right now for the average family, or the average medical marijuana provider.
Far from a problem, Violet’s presence made things personal; it was natural for me to then say, “This matters because obviously I have a baby to support, and there are hundreds of small providers like me across the state.” Most of the other people commenting represented large providers, and I realized if I hadn’t shown up the committee wouldn’t have heard anything from a business my size. I don’t know what will happen with the legislation going forward, or if I’ll be able to re-open my business in the future, but it was empowering to speak up. I’ll be tracking the legislation going forward and would love to chat with anyone interested in politics/activism!
Love And Worn | Ashley Houlihan
I love leather, I love local, and I love handmade.
I’ve been drawn to jewelry and crafts since kindergarten, even selling beaded necklaces to kids in my elementary school. Art was always the highlight of my day, but I went to college to get a business degree because I should “get a job, right?” It wasn’t until my senior year in college that I took Fiber Arts and fell in love. I was teaching other kids in that class and giving suggestions to everyone on where they could go with projects. But by that time it was a bit too late to redo college.
Seven years later, while working at Anthropologie, I started making jewelry and accessories, adding something special and focal to my outfits. Tons of customers wanted to buy them off my body. Making jewelry and selling it is the first job (besides being a wife and mom) that I have loved! It makes me happy to tears that others love it too.
I care deeply about the environment, and I love leather, so I upcycle unwanted leather into jewelry and continue its story. My company, Love and Worn, is a rustic, nature-inspired jewelry and accessories company based in Billings. I draw, ink, burn, cut, stitch, and shape leather in a variety of ways, designing each jewelry item or accessory to be easy to style, memorable, soft and comfortable.
My most featured design is a feather-leaf, crafted into headbands, earrings, bracelets, and hair clips. Other accessories and gifts include a variety of cuff bracelets, state leather decal hats and necklaces, leather braided/pendleton fabric headbands, and more.
Loved once upon a time, then forgotten;
Re-purposed Leather Goods,
given Love and Worn again
With two little ones younger than three, finding time is difficult. But I know this is just a season, and I have cut back to be more present with my kids. But I always think that God has given me this talent, and if I don’t create, no one will get to enjoy it, and that would make my heart sad. Seeing a girl look and feel cute for a wedding or date or just around the house, and knowing God has been leading me to do this, it fills my heart daily with gratefulness. In the future I could change what I make or teach others. Honestly, I have no idea what lies ahead, but I do know my love of Art will always be at the center.
I forage for inspiration from my surrounding home and camping travels. I display a few Love and Worn items at the Ebon Coffee Collective. Check out my website or follow me on Facebook to see my full product display at an upcoming show. I love Billings, and I love creating beauty and art in this town.