After another busy week in Dubuque, we now have had some time to take a short breather and recollect.
This week, we’ve had the opportunity to meet with the Mayor of Dubuque and we spoke deeply about leadership and policies vs continuity in sustainable goals. We also had the chance to learn about water testing, talk to the Landfill Department, as well as the Planning Department (among others). From these, the concept of planning integrated with citizen engagement became even more apparent. A common refrain is that by you cannot please everyone, and thus if you allow citizens to shape policies, they may not come to the best decision, or the process would take more time than usual. Our takeaway after speaking to these various groups were that while it did indeed take more time to reach a decision, the policies formed at the end of it were usually more robust, holistic, and (perhaps surprisingly to most) very grounded in responsible and environmentally sustainable values. The added benefit of this was the ownership and buy-in from the community because they had helped to shape the decision. In the long run, there was time saved because the local government would had to spend less time dealing with disgruntled or unconvinced citizens.
We also had the chance to visit a local community based farms and cafes, and speak to people working on education and outreach, who were looking to push for the production of food locally and in the process support the local community. Their values and ideals resonated strongly with mine and it gave me more conviction that the model of operations my farm is currently pursuing makes sense.
Finally, it was also a treat to watch the Galena Halloween parade, and visit the Four Mounds Foundation. We work hard and we play hard too!