Stone Soup Listening Tour

La Cocina at Old Town Artisan
201 North Court Tucson, AZ 85701
(near the Tucson Museum of Art downtown)

In the 1990’s, author Paul Ray’s research on changing values and lifestyles concluded that in the U.S. alone, there are over 50 million “Cultural Creatives”—adults participating in the social and consciousness movements, which have emerged since World War II. Cultural Creatives care about the planet, relationships and steward leadership, supporting a more organic, systemic view of how we live together.

More recently, in Blessed Unrest, author Paul Hawken’s writes that there are more than two million organizations making a meaningful difference around green and social justice issues.

So why aren’t we hearing about, collecting and connecting all the green and sustainable stories being told by the 50 million Cultural Creatives, who are undoubtedly involved in some of the two million organizations? Are their stories hanging “out there” somewhere like “dangling participles” disconnected and unable to effectively transform, modify or enhance the momentum of the grassroots movement already taking place?

The Stone Soup Listening Tour: Connecting people, places and projects

What “green stories” are happening everywhere? Who’s telling them?

Linda Sechrist, a writer and editor for Natural Awakenings Magazine ( and co-founder of Upstate Green Central Station, and Sharon Joy Kleitsch, founder of The Connection Partners, want to hear the latest in the emerging green story.

On their Stone Soup Listening Tour in 11 cities across the southern U.S., Sechrist and Kleitsch plan to meet hundreds of innovative folks, listen to stories about their projects and learn what they’re doing to create sustainable communities intended to ensure a future for all. Adding sustenance to make a healthy and savory “stone soup,” the women will collect the bounty of conversations and stories from each community as they travel along and contribute them to the next “pot.” The much anticipated result: a truly savory and soulfully good soup story that sustains all.

The prologue to the Stone Soup Listening Tour began when Sechrist’s brother in California gifted her with a car. A resident of Spartanburg South Carolina, she decided to fly to California and drive back, stopping to visit with 11 of the 82 Natural Awakenings publishers as she traveled east. Upon sharing plans with her friend on July 4, the spark ignited in Kleitsch a knowing that she was supposed to join her.

The tour begins in San Diego on September 7th and moves on to Tucson, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga, ending in Greenville/Spartanburg.

While education is essential, the ways we listen together to discover paths to wise actions are critical. Partnering with the World Café, Open Space and Art of Hosting networks, Kleitsch and Sechrist anticipate co-hosting evening, weekend or afternoon gatherings in each city. While daytime hours include visiting with individuals, organizations, and regional leaders to hear about what is working in their communities, evenings are set aside for stories and conversations that matter. This gives everyone an opportunity to hear about community happenings around slow food, slow money, permaculture, Transition Towns, Awakening the Dreamer, Four Years Go, 10.10. 10, Circle Connections, Social Artistry, Bioneers, transportation, clean energy, green building, sustainable cities, and everything it takes to build and strengthen sustainable communities.

Through their various networks the women are connecting with regional non-profit, business, government and media leaders to support what they and others are already doing in the tour cities. “This adds to an even more satisfying Stone Soup of true sustenance,” says Sechrist. “Many are already hosting conversations to address current issues, offering experiences to recognize the value of listening for what we don’t know. We’re just connecting a few more green dots, stirring the Stone Soup pot and will watch what happens,” adds Kleitsch.

Ray points out, “All the technical and social innovations needed to solve our problems have already been developed and are staring us in the face. Cultural Creatives, who are over 30% of U.S. adults, represent a new emerging consciousness that if made aware and mobilized, could provide critical mass of influence and pressure in the economic, cultural and political domains to shift the balance.”

From Separation to Collaboration

“When Cultural Creatives finally connect and delight in what they share in common, amazing things are going to occur,” say Kleitsch and Sechrist. Among others who are sensing the growing need to connect and move from separate projects to collaboration, Sechrist and Kleitsch are excited about answering the call with their Stone Soup Listening Tour, intended to help others connect, align, synergize and leverage what is showing up faster by paying attention.

Join us for a chance to share what you are noticing, to connect and to be pleasantly surprised. Be part of the Stone Soup Listening Tour. Contact Sharon Joy Kleitsch, The Connection Partners, with ideas, contacts and venue possibilities in any of the 11 cities.

To explore how independent media can support and magnify the new emerging story, video interviews will be posted on Facebook, and Creative Loafing’s Green Communities sites as well as YouTube and

The tour begins in San Diego on September 7th and moves on to Tucson (9/9), Phoenix (9/10), Albuquerque (9/12), Santa Fe (9/13-14), Oklahoma City (9/16-17), Tulsa (9/18), Little Rock (9/20), Memphis (9/21), Nashville (9/22) and Chattanooga (9/23, ending in Greenville/Spartanburg (9/23).

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