Famous People at The Plant

Over the years we have had lots of people visit and tour our eco-industrial park at the Plant.  Some of them are famous.  Mostly writers and politicians. We would like to think the Plant is an important stopping point for sustainability thought leaders, but it could be we are merely sycophants.   Here’s a partial list of our famous visitors:

Brian Welch used to be the CEO of Ogden Publications--the parent company of the legendary Mother Earth News. Brian is the author of Beautiful and Abundant, which is a remarkable book about how we can transform the world from what it is now into something more like what we would like to inhabit.

His long, and storied career in publishing did not end when he left Ogden.  He's now the driving force behind B Magazine which is telling the stories of the Certified B Corporation community.

From DIY resilience to mission driven enterprise, we are proud to have Brian as a friend of the Plant.

NC Senator Kay Hagan visited the Plant a couple of times.

One time she brought along ND Senator Dorgan.  At the time, he was the chair of the senate energy committee.  The air at the Plant rarefied that day, as we explained the role of biodiesel in the sustainable energy too chest.

Once when Kay Hagan came to give a speech, the police escort which accompanied her left their car idling.  Bob asked them to kill their engine.  We are a "clean air" play after all.

Judy Wicks passed through town on her way to visit T.S. Designs in Burlington.  She's one of the founders of BALLE--Business Alliance for Local Living Economies.  She is also the creator of the White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia and the author of Good Morning, Beautiful Business.

Judy came back to Pittsboro to contribute to Abundance NC's Money and Meaning conference.

Ellie Kinnaird was important.  She was a progressive voice in the NC legislature for years.

We weren't even in her district, but she came down and gave a speech at the Plant anyway.

When it came to environmental issues, Ellie simply came down on the right side of every issue.

We were honored to host her, and she lit up the crowd with a speech about doing the "right" thing.

Carol Peppe Hewitt was famous around Pittsboro before she founded Slow Money NC.  She and her husband Mark created the Hewitt Pottery, which is legendary in pottery circles.

Carol wrote a remarkable book, Financing Our Foodshed which told the stories of local loans made to local food enterprises.  Carol and her book left Pittsboro and attracted national attention.

She remains a powerful force in alternative finance, and we are pleased to see her routinely at the Plant.  When her first shipment of books arrived in town, we helped receive them at our loading dock.

You can check out Lyle's homemade video of that event here.

Tony Geraci is better known as "Cafeteria Man."  He's a chef that has had a powerful influence over local food production and delivery in this country.

He's probably most famous for the documentary that gave him his name.

Tony visited the Plant when he came to help out with Abundance NC's "Chef Challenge," in which they were pairing local celebrity chefs with Chatham County Schools cafeteria workers in order to incorporate local produce into our school lunches.

On one occasion, Abundance filled the yard with "lunch ladies" at an appreciation dinner.  Wish we had a picture of that.  Maybe they should be the famous ones...


As far as we know, this fellow has never visited the Plant.  It's not that we are skeptical.  Or bad.  It's not that we sometimes think he does not exist, it's just that he has yet to show up.

It could be that no one actually lives at the Plant.  There are no children awaking there on Christmas morning (generally).

It makes perfect sense that he limits his work to residential domains, and we are an industrial park.

Let's put it this way.  We have pleaded to him for a visit.  Thus far we have never made his list.

When Joe Hackney was the Speaker of the NC House, we had a powerful political ally.  Joe listened.  We were in his district.  He came to the Plant all the time--for openings and ribbon cuttings, and concerts.

Joe gave us advice, he listened to our concerns, and he was a genuine friend of the Plant.

Albert Bates has toured the Plant.  Back when Al Gore was the "Junior Senator from Tennesee," Albert Bates published Climate in Crisis.  Albert is an activist, a lawyer, the author of many books and articles, and he is held in high esteem for his involvement in permaculture, the eco-community movement, and co-housing.

David Price has represented our district in congress for many years--sometimes they change his district around and we get left out--but he never seems to lose elections.

He has been to the Plant many times, for speeches and ribbon cuttings and events, and we have visited him in D.C. back when we were active on the policy side of the renewable fuels movement.

Bobby Etheridge also visited the Plant many times when he served in Congress.  He's the tall one in the middle, standing next to Speaker Joe Hackney.  To his left is Bob Atwater, who served us well as a County Commissioner, and who went on to serve us from the North Carolina legislature.
Joel Salatin toured the Plant.  He is the "lunatic farmer" from Virginia who has pioneered grass and carbon management/mob grazing and animal rotations.  A drama student by training, he is a fabulous speaker and entertainer, and the author of numerous books and articles on sustainable food production.

Woody Tasch has been to the Plant on a couple of occasions.  He is the creator of the "Slow Money" movement and the author of the original book on the subject.  Woody was a venture capitalist turned financial activist.

Kristin Cooper,
First Lady of North Carolina
Meets with Abundance NC
October 3, 2013