Cheesy name, worthy efforts

As if the String Cheese Incident and the 60 employees of their management firm and business affiliate, Madison House, didn’t do enough multitasking, both band and Madison House also remain consistently active for political and social change. Both are members of the Head Count voter-registration organization, and Madison House teamed with Mother Jones magazine in September to stage State of the Union, a benefit for independent media in New York City held the weekend following the Republican National Convention.

The group’s main ongoing effort is something they call Gouda Causes (an obvious play on the band’s name). Founded “a few years ago” after SCI noticed fans were cleaning up after shows — unprompted by the band, promoters or authorities — String Cheese decided to try to leave a positive impact on communities they played. This year’s Beautify Asheville event marks the band’s second effort recruiting local volunteers on their Web site for Asheville’s Quality Forward, which works to improve quality of life and build community.

In April 2003, volunteers gathered for a cleanup along the emerging greenway beside the Swannanoa River. This year, the focus is on a “neglected and weed-choked” corner lot at the main entrance to West Asheville. In a true show of progressive thinking, landscape designers will be on hand to help Quality Forward volunteers clean up and plant the area and execute their new design.

Interested volunteers should meet at B&B Pharmacy (462 Haywood Road) at noon on Thursday, Oct. 21. For more info: Leslie Huntley at Quality Forward, 254-1776; Gouda Causes,

— Saby Reyes-Kulkarni

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