Education, Cultural Preservation & Sustainable Communities

In 2007, Shakori Hills launched a music-in-the-schools program in conjunction with the GrassRoots Festivals.  Our Roots in the Schools program (formerly Hopes and Dreams) is coordinated cooperatively with interns from UNC-Chapel Hill’s APPLES program.  Schools in Chatham, Orange and Durham Counties have all benefited from the program in which  artists/musicians/dancers go into the school to perform, demonstrate, and involve students in their craft. At a time when music and art departments are being cut from schools, this program continues to fill an important need for our young community.

The Northwood Jazz Band from Northwood High School, as well as a group of young string musicians, The Walker Street Fiddlers from Greensboro, North Carolina perform annually at the GrassRoots Festival. Young musicians are also given the opportunity to perform during the festival at the area for teenagers, The Outpost, and in the festival’s band and instrument contests. Providing opportunities for young people to learn and to participate in new and healthy experiences is very important to SHCAC and our partner, the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival Organization.

In September 2007 another annual event came to life produced by Shakori Hills CAC, the Hoppin’ John Old-Time & Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Convention. Originally a two-day event grown to three in 2011, musicians, dancers and music lovers come together to celebrate the traditions of bluegrass and old-time music.  They enjoy dance, instrument and band contests, square dances and many unscheduled special musical moments.  The convention helps keep traditional music alive and also provides an invaluable opportunity for young people to play on stage, regardless of their age or skill level.  North Carolina is renowned for its fiddlers’ conventions and attendees herald Hoppin’ John as a new favorite in the state.

The GrassRoots Festival sponsors an on-site Sustainability Fair during the festival in which local earth-conscious organizations, green businesses and individuals participate and share their experience and knowledge of sustainable living.  In an interactive area, experts give talks and demonstrations and festival-goers dialogue with one another on  specific issues. Examples of participating organizations are: Central Carolina Community College’s Green Building Program, Chatham Marketplace, Solar Tech South, LLC, Chandler Design-Build, Piedmont Biofuels, Chatham Transit and Sol Food Mobile Farm.

Each year Shakori Hills events use approximately 10,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity. In an effort to increase sustainable practices, Shakori Hills partnered with the Abundance Foundation and began the Solarize Shakori project in the fall of 2008. To offset our usage we are building a permanent grid inter-tied solar electric system located on-site. We invite our community to be part of the project by donating solar cells at $10 per cell.  Festival-goers and community members have already donated more than $7000 towards this goal and the first solar array is in place.

With the help of instructors from Central Carolina Community College, a Community Garden was planted at Shakroi Hills in 2010. The garden now occupies approximately 8800 square feet, with three crop rotation areas, utilizing organic farming methods of cover crops and hog raising. Everyone who wishes to be part of the crop decisions, planting, maintenance and harvest is welcome to contribute, and share in the garden harvest. Excess produce is donated to CORA, and we are proud to announce that over 400 pounds of carrots, beets, greens, cucumbers, beans, tomatoes and other produce have been donated.

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