Fogo helping us out of our fog

I have discovered Fogo Island, Newfoundland.

… through a documentary about the Fogo Island Inn.

The documentary introduced me to Zita Cobb and her visions for cultures and spaces.

Zita’s ideas for the island led me to the Shorefast Foundation. The Foundation’s website has this introduction:

Shorefast operates as a social enterprise, meaning we use business minded ways to achieve social ends. The Shorefast model of social entrepreneurship is based on the following principles:

There is inherent, irreplaceable value in place itself and that the key to sustainability lies in nurturing the specificity of place; in the intellectual heritage and cultural wisdom, talent, knowledge and abundance that exists naturally in each place;

That with an initial investment, viable enterprises and businesses can be developed so that the surpluses from these businesses (social enterprises) contribute to the resilience and economic wellbeing of the community;

That art is a way of knowing, of belonging, of questioning, of innovating. It is a way of participating in a global conversation and a way of making sense of the world. As such, it has the potential to contribute to positive social change.

I was particularly struck by the way the Fogo Inn lived these principles. Their everyday practice embodied “a way of knowing, of belonging, of questioning, of innovating”. I think it offers all of us insights into how we might be in a connected, value-rich culture.

The Inn has an ethological ethic that I find inspirational:

From its inception, Fogo Island Inn has adopted a responsible, systems-based approach to design and implementation in order to conduct itself in a way that demonstrates and upholds a higher fidelity relationship with the natural world. The Inn has a concrete and accredited environmental strategy, ethical suppliers, and tactics in place to protect the environment. We are deeply committed to and invested in all things local and we consistently surpass the requirements of environmental laws.

I see this as applicable to many contexts … acting locally and globally.

The Inn has a Community Host Program to connect guests with the island:

People and place are inextricably tangled up with one another on Fogo Island. It is crucial to hear stories from the people who have lived here before truly being able feel this place and understand how everything fits together.

The hosts “are intimately connected to their home and eager to pass on their extensive knowledge of Fogo Island’s culture and history to our guests”.

I am sorry it has taken me so long to find Fogo, Zita and Shorecast. I do think what is happening on the island is very significant.  The ideas and principles have helped me think deeply about service, leadership and followership. 

Photo Credits

Fogo Island (Douglas Sprott, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Fogo Island Inn (Paul Asman and Jill Lenobie, CC BY 2.0)

Shorefast hotel construction (Timothy Neesam, CC BY-NC_ND 2.0)

Fogo Inn (Fogo Inn website)

Small places (Fogo Inn website)

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