Out of an abundance of caution and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 The Huss Project announced Wednesday Huss Future Fest 2020, originally scheduled for July 25, has been cancelled.
*culture is not optional (*cino) Executive Director Rob Vander Giessen-Reitsma told Watershed Voice Wednesday the annual event, normally held at The Huss Project each July at 1008 8th St. in Three Rivers, was cancelled as an “expression of care for our neighbors.”
“While we’re very saddened to do so, the *cino community made the decision to cancel this year’s Future Festival as an expression of care for our neighbors during this time. We’ll certainly miss the extraordinary creativity displayed by our city during the Festival this year, but we hope for a day when we can celebrate with all our neighbors at a later date—knowing we all helped each other get there together. We still fully intend to foster meaningful, creative connections through other programs at the Huss Project this summer.”
While Huss Future Fest will not take place this year, *culture is not optional, the parent organization of The Huss Project, will host a weekly Saturday Market beginning June 6. Kirstin Vander Giessen-Reitsma detailed the reasons why the Three Rivers nonprofit ultimately decided to cancel this year’s festival, and provided additional details about the forthcoming Saturday Market in the official announcement on HussProject.com. Here is that announcement in its entirety:
“Last July, over a thousand of our neighbors joined us for our annual celebration of community called Huss Future Festival. As we danced, played, created, shopped, sweated, and ate side by side, we could not have imagined how dramatically the shape of loving our neighbors would change in 2020.
“But it has, and we’re rolling with it. After all, what is the purpose of our mission to ‘build our capacity for imagination,’ if not for a time like this, when we need creativity to maintain social connection and care for one another’s needs as the rules change on a daily basis? We didn’t know we were practicing for this moment, but we were.
“So: Huss Future Fest 2020, originally scheduled for July 25, is cancelled. After ten years of pouring our hearts into this event, we are definitely feeling the grief of loss and we know many of our neighbors will, too. For those concerned about the Fest’s school supply distribution, we continue to work with Three Rivers Area Faith Community to make sure our local students receive these much-needed supplies—more news to come on that front.
“We are also embracing the calling of this moment to redirect our energy into fresh food production and distribution. Last year, between the Huss Project Farm and a local network of small farms, we distributed over 2,300 pounds of fresh produce during the growing season through the Three Rivers Farmers Market and partner agencies. This year, we’ll continue that work, with a very exciting addition.
“Beginning June 6, the Huss Project will host a weekly Saturday Market from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Following the safety protocols of the Michigan Farmers Market Association and adding our own creative flair, we’ll be building up one more point of fresh food access in our community. We’ll be starting slowly, but please watch your e-mail and our Facebook page for more details. We’re prepared to accept cash, credit, and SNAP, and look forward to serving our community in this new way!
“Every day, we’re wondering and worrying about what will never be the same. At the same time, we’re dreaming and working based on the values and needs that never change, no matter the crisis: love, mutual care, beauty, tending Earth, growing and eating food. May the Huss Project continue to be a place where we both suffer and celebrate together, no matter what comes!“
Alek Haak-Frost is the executive editor of Watershed Voice.