A neighborhood that can provide what it needs

1 January 2012 By Some Accounts–The Beginning of a Very Dicey Year

I always feel vulnerable in the winter–nothing is growing out there and what if the furnace should quit–what then!!

The truth is, though, I’m vulnerable all year long and so are my neighbors. Cheap energy has encouraged us to buy at a bargain everything we need. 98% of the American population depends on the 2% to grow the food we all need. The hand-made world has gone away.

The problem is that cheap energy is now going away too. The cheap energy has made our climate more intense and now that cheap energy is going away, our economic and social systems will become more intense.

I would like to see if its possible to bring back the Home Made World.

Is it possible to mobilize our neighborhood to re-skill–to teach each other and learn what our great grandparents knew: How to grow, gather, preserve, cook, repair, reuse, recycle, mend, create and construct?

Since it’s 2012 and the Mayan Calendar quits this year, I thought it would be a good year to see if we the neighbors of Woodland Rd. and Hilltop Lane could create as my neighbor Diane puts it–a village that can provide for its own needs.

Martin Luther King Day of Service would be a good day to do a survey of the skills on our street.

16 January Martin Luther King, Jr Day of Service

My Transition Philly friend, Meenal, loaned me her copies of: The Transition Companion (the latest Transition Towns manual) and the November/December WellBeing issue of Resurgence magazine. Out of these publications I arrived at 11 skill sets of the Hand-Made World and drew up a survey to find out who knows what.

After emailing 15 neighbors, about this experiment, I showed my wife, Bonnie, the survey that I had sent out and she said it was a mistake–“you’re coming off like a “Know It All”.

Ai Yi Yi–I hate Know It Alls!

I quickly called the 15 neighbors and no one had even looked at the email. So I framed up the idea over the phone with my neighbors or their message machines and drew up another survey–this one more folksy and hopefully a lot less preachy.  The 2nd Survey can be found by clicking this link.

17 January The Benefit of Going Hyper-Local

Everyone is within walking distance. There are 21 homes on my street, Woodland, 6 households on the adjoining street, Hilltop Lane and 9 more homes that back onto Woodland or have a buddy that I wanted to include–36 in all. I hand delivered the flyer to all 36 in 40 minutes. I’m discovering that to get people’s attention in the 21st century it’s necessary to email, call, and with most visit face to face. It’s winter and I need to get everyone’s phone and email, fortunately I already know where they live.

29 January Filling in the All-Purpose Neighbor Contact List

On Sunday afternoon, I went out to fill in the phone numbers I didn’t have. As I talked to the neighbors I caught at home, an idea came out that we would have a series of Re-Skilling House Parties–maybe one a month. Perhaps the first in February will be The Famous Party for Planning Your Garden…to include all ages.

So far there are 7 families who are interested. I still have phone follow-up with 20 households to see what they think of the Re-Skilling idea and to ask for their email addresses if they are willing.

Community in Garden Action

from Bill Mettler’s Transition Streets Journal

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