Creating care communities, for and by neighbors

Founding Mother, Chard & Stripes

I’m the kind of chick who writes things out to understand what I’m thinking. So while I’d guess most folks plan their work before making a website, I make a website first.

In other words, I start with the story I want to tell. Or more like the story my soul wants to tell, which it communicates to me through persistent feelings that I put into words, which at once reveal my plans.



Jomo Kenyatta—first president of Kenya—used “HARAMBEE!” as his rallying cry,
to mean “let’s ALL band together” to build the nation!

If you’ve followed my work for any time, you’ve probably read me refer to myself as my parents’ caregiver. While correct, it fails to say something very important: our relationship was interdependent.

My parents got good-ass care, and I got what I so desperately wanted: a clearer and more complete picture of my soul work, of which Chard & Stripes is just one part. Toward the end of last year, my soul started nudging me to let more of my soul work out, which I did by…making a website. And today, …

I’m pleased to introduce Vertical Village Alliance, a venture I see growing into a nonprofit to help every generation thrive—with a focus on elders—by fostering mixed-age communities of care, for and by neighbors.

Do I have a roadmap for this? No.

Am I sure to succeed? No.

Will any of that stop me? No.

Am I willing to learn (and goof up) in public? Yes.

Is that a form of generosity? Yes.

How so?

Because letting folks in on my process might make starting a new venture seem less scary, and prompt those with projects stirring in their souls to liberate them.

And that’s good for the world.

Anyway, check out my new site and wish me luck.

Better yet, sign up to join me on a village quest and / or help me spread the word.


Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Harmon is a scientist turned storyteller and Founding Mother of Chard & Stripes, a “school” of prosperity making and word-of-mouth marketing platform for kind people, products and businesses in food, fashion & more. Subscribe to her newsletter here.