Ice Cream Icon is the Scoop
Sun Herald, February 5, 2009
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the Sun Herald.
Gulfport, Mississippi Jerry Greenfield dished out compliments and three flavors of Ben & Jerrys Ice Cream Thursday night to members of the new Gulf Coast Sustainable Communities Network.
The founder of Ben & Jerrys Ice Cream spent Wednesday touring Moss Point and making an appearance at the Ben & Jerrys at the Hard Rock Casino. Thursday he sat in on the first meetings of the Communities Network that brought together leaders from Mississippi and Louisiana whose communities are recovering from Katrina and other hurricanes.
Im really excited, he said. Its inspiring to be meeting with community leaders who are incredibly dedicated, committed and have a vision of creating sustainable communities, working with extremely limited resources and battling against all odds and succeeding.
A board member of the Institute for Sustainable Communities, Greenfield said he has visited other countries where the ISC is working, including Ukraine, Macedonia, Serbia and now Ive been to the Gulf Coast.
ISC Director of Community Initiatives Betty Weiss said the participants of the two-day seminar are particularly excited about todays tours of North Gulfport and Turkey Creek to see the work thats been done since Katrina and draw on the successes.
Thats what were doing, she said. Forming a community brain trust.
Breaking though the firewall thats existed between Mississippi and Louisiana is one of the goals of the network and Weiss said the group will meet quarterly and rotate the location of meetings.
Brenda Dardar-Robichaux, chief of United Houma Nation in Louisiana, said her community was hit by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. New Orleans got the bulk of attention and funding after Katrina. When Ike hit, Sharon Gauthe with the Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing, said the volunteers and resources moved to Texas. Both said they are grateful for the support of the new group.
ISC has worked in Moss Point since Katrina. Mayor Xavier Bishop said the greatest help was, They listened more than they spoke. They also helped the city leaders resolve their differences, identify common goals and overcome enormous challenges to take advantage of unprecedented opportunities, said Bishop.
Diane Huhn came from upstate New York as a volunteer and returned to work for a year with the Bayou Grace Community Services in the Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes of Louisiana. This has been great, she said of the meeting. We see that we come from different places and working on different issues. At the core its really the same issue, she said. How do we create sustainable communities? In a small community that may feel overwhelming and that nobody understands, she said.
And then you come here and everyone does.