MAN Outlook for 2015 – it’s going to be a great year!


It’s been awhile since I’ve written here. Happy 2015! It’s going to be a great one.

Despite a little lull/respite over winter holidays, there’s been a lot of action in MAN development. And now we’re full steam ahead.

We’re gearing up to offer more regular and in-depth communications so here I’ll just start with a guide to what’s coming up for 2015, and we’ll share the details later.

First – my previous blog post laid out some new grants received by Dane County TimeBank, and those and other developments have presented new opportunities to cohere and build the timebank’s work while connecting it with other MAN pilot sites and exploring more MAN possibilities here at home.

We’ll be diving into that in depth at our next Builders Workshop, Wednesday January 28, 4-6pm CDT followed by a reception 6-7. At Madison Central Library, with a web meeting set up so some of you can join from afar. Details here.

Second – there’s a lot to report on the Allied Community Coop, the first local iteration of a Mutual Aid Network. But it warrants its own post so look for that next week. But Tuesday we’ll go to our City Council to testify in favor of a resolution that will get us some money to help alleviate the neighborhood food crisis through cooperation. I’ll probably wait until after that to post, so I can include pictures!

Third – the whole year is shaping up nicely.

In February, Kathy Perlow, Health and Wellness MAN pilot steward in Pennsylvania and creator of the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Care Team model of timebanking, will come to train us to create N2N Care Teams. This will be a central part of our strategy in Dane County TimeBank this year (see Builders Workshop #20 for more).

In March we (Dane County TimeBank) begin our big Restorative Justice project in South and Southwest Madison. This includes a focus on opportunity-building, including resource and project development in and around the Allied Community Coop.

In April I’ll go to Rome for Giftival, a repeat of the wonderful gathering I experienced in Istanbul last year. I’ll have a lot of time there to connect with wonderful MAN collaborators from around the world. I really hope and expect to flesh out the representation of more parts of the world, on our Board, in pilot sites, etc. Very exciting! With a possible detour to Berlin and Vienna beforehand…

And aiming to take a trip eastward through some MAN pilot sites – and hopefully a field trip with Allied Community Coop as part of it. Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania. Could be great to go to Greensboro NC too, to visit a similar coop project there – one that has opened its grocery store!!

The rest of the spring and summer I will be working on developing the various local MAN and timebank projects here, plus working toward…

MAN Up Month!!

August will be MAN Up Month in Madison and it’ll be really cool. I hope you can come.

We’re inviting people to come for work sessions, collaboration opportunities, in-depth trainings, and celebrations. With a big MAN launch party, great entertainment, we’ll aim to get some of our awesome supporters and advisors here to enjoy each other’s company, get work done, make new connections. I’ll make a post with details as they emerge, and I expect a bunch to emerge in the next week so stay tuned…

Most of the events will be concentrated during a one-two week period toward the end of August, but we’ll have a month-long progression of work and learning.
The next couple months we’ll using the tools we create during MAN Up Month here in Madison, and reporting very thoroughly on all of this (if they’ll let me, which seems likely since I’ve presented at the first two) at — — the third International Conference on Complementary Currencies in Brazil, in October.And I think that’s thinking far enough ahead for now. Things are shaping up really nicely and I expect us all to learn a lot, and get some cool new systems functioning here and sharing them with people getting similar cool things going elsewhere.Thanks for reading about it! Thanks for participating!–Stephaniep.s. If you want to be notified of meetings and/or to participate in work groups, sign up for our email list here.

Brighter Futures!


I’m very pleased to report that the news is all good in this neck of the woods. Onward and upward for 2015!

Here at Dane County TimeBank (DCTB) we are a proud recipient of a Brighter Futures grant, which is state money coming through Dane County to several community partners (us, the YWCA, Briarpatch Youth Services) to build up restorative justice and opportunity-building resources in South and Southwest Madison while creating the communications and training resources to help law enforcement more effectively access those resources. And evaluating as we go and creating things with an eye toward replicability. This secures half of my job (it’s been pretty unclear where my job security would come from next year) and dovetails beautifully with work I need to do for MANs overall. I’m really hoping it also helps open some beautiful opportunities to partner with people in St. Louis, Detroit, and other communities ready to take positive action against our racist criminal system.

And things are going swimmingly toward launching MANs. Allied Community Coop (likely our first local version of a MAN – Allied Coop is up and running but I won’t call it a MAN until MAN membership is available and folks can make a formal decision about it) is cranking up, we have several other pilot sites working on the Memorandum of Agreement we’ll be signing with each other, and fantastic people lining up to participate.

You can learn more at a 3-hour web meeting being scheduled now, to be held sometime between now and Dec. 19.

Fill in this doodle poll if you’d like us to try to accommodate your schedule.

Sign up here if you’d like to receive MAN email updates and invitations. If you receive emails already sign up on our official e-list – I’ll soon stop sending to the random lists of people I’ve generated over time.

And last but not least – it’s our end-of-year fundraising push at Dane County TimeBank. Please help DCTB end the year well financially. While you’re at it feel free to support the next phase of MAN development – the launch!!!!


Mutual Aid Networks overview and engagement web meeting

Hello all!

This is a quick note to let you know that we’ll be hosting a 3-hour web meeting in order to launch some work groups to develop and implement Mutual Aid Networks. This is for people who want to know all about it and likely plug in to do some work. I’ll also make notes and recording available later.

To sign up on the Mutual Aid Network email notification list:

To participate in the web meeting scheduling poll:

When it’s scheduled I’ll post another notice. And will post the link to the notes and recording afterward.

More news later this week,


Trip Report part IV – UK to Chicago

We left Manchester for a very brief visit with Leesa in Oxfordshire. Matthew introduced me to Leesa last time I was in the UK, when she offered her home to me never having met me in person. She’s wonderful! She met Matthew initially through a small business organizing and mutual credit effort she runs called 4-11



photo 1-4   photo 4-19We had to leave the next morning in order to return the car at Milton Keynes. The fabulous Anna Peters picked us up from the rental place and took us to her amazing workplace, the buszy. The photo 3-8buszy is a renovated old bus station that is now home to lots of activities that support young photo 2-8people. There’s a coffeeshop, a thrift store, a dance/exercise studio with a sprung wood floor, a recording studio, an art gallery, some container gardens, a skate park, and a photo 4-10park-and-ride service that helps fund the whole thing. And photo 5-10now, after our little visit, they have a timebank! Matthew was able to set them up with a free and open-source timebank site from Community Forge. I’m looking forward to hearing how it works with the young people who use the center. What a cool place!Anna at her Olney house

I also had the extreme pleasure of going to Jade, Denise and AnnaAnna’s childhood home in Olney and hanging out with her friends from Olney and from work. What a great time! And fun ending to the UK portion of my trip…

I left for Heathrow early morning on November 10 to fly back to Chicago, where I stayed a few days for more MAN work

photo 2-4On the way home, though, I saw a sight I’ve always wanted to see: a round rainbow! it was over Greenland, and though the photos can’t do it justice I’m including one. It was much larger and brighter than this shows, with concentric rings of rainbow stretching out over the clouds. Breathtaking…


Back in Chicago, I caught up with Chris Petit, my co-coordinator on the MAN project. And then we prepared for a lunchtime gathering that happened November 14, with Bayo Akomolafe and Manish Jain of the newly formed International Alliance for Localization. I’d met Bayo and Manish last year in Turkey at Giftival. Bayo lives in Nigeria (en route to India) and Manish in India, and their visit was the reason I stayed in Chicago so long. They are wonderful people and their new initiative is really important. And there’s so much synergy with what we’re working on in Mutual Aid Networks. We are now planning to work together and will Skype more this week to figure out exactly what that will mean.

After the lunch gathering I took a detour to see the David Bowie exhibit at MCA (very exciting to see his handwritten lyrics, with changes and corrections among other things).

photo 3-11photo 4-15Then a lovely dinner gathering at the home of Lina Cramer and Dick Durning, two of the people who helped organize last year’s Giftival, with Bayo and Manish, plus Robin McKenna (Canadian documentary filmmaker working on a film adaptation of Lewis Hyde’s The Gift) whom I’d also met at Giftival, and many others including several people I’ve met through Art of Hosting trainings.

I came home immediately following the dinner in order to be back in time to help facilitate an Allied Coop gathering Nov. 15. Next post I’ll update you on all that.

but for now this concludes my reporting on my MAN-building trip. It was a good one!

UK trip part III – Exeter, Manchester

…after a wonderful stay in Bristol, and on Matthew’s suggestion, we headed down toward Exeter to meet James Priest, a Sociocracy trainer.

We were met at the bus station by Nuria and Yaciel, James’ photo 1-15partner and 3.5-year-old son respectively, plus surprise guest Peter – Matthew’s father. (argh!  I somehow failed to get any photos of Matthew with his father, or of his father at all). James was still on his way back from Sweden where he’d been leading a Sociocracy training.

exeter_pastoral_sunsetThey have a very beautiful place in the countryside a couple miles from Exeter.

We only had one day together but that was enough to establish that  yes, sociocracy can be an excellent tool for facilitating complex group processes and could really apply to Mutual Aid Networks. And James also walked me through some ideas he has on fractal organizations. We’ll be talking more to explore the possibility of working together. We could use a hand in creating optimal organizational structure and decision-making processes for our very complex work.

We left early morning on November 6 to get to the Timebanking UK conference in Manchester. Because trains were costing us an arm and a leg and it was uncertain if we’d be able to get to the conference on time, we ended up renting a car for the next few stops on the trip. It was an adventure to drive on the left side of the road for my first time!

photo 4-8The conference in Manchester was really wonderful. First and foremost, it was great to see lots of old friends there. Philippe, Robert and Richard from Rushey Green, Linda and Terry from hOurworld, Sarah and Martin from Timebanking UK, and on and on. And of course we met more great people.

I gave a short presentation about Dane County TimeBank and Mutual Aid Networks during the afternoon panel on Timebanking Around the World. Then I led a workshop on Mutual Aid Networks.

The participants in the workshop had a lot of diverse interests, which was perfect for the topic. We focused on applied timebanking and how connecting it with other cooperative tools could provide the comprehensive resource base that people and projects need in order to thrive.

Some of my biggest takeaways from the conference – the folks in Hull are interested in becoming a MAN pilot site! And there’s a lot of enthusiasm, energy and expertise available to take timebanking much farther in the UK. And a group who are doing the same kind of medical transportation for outpatient surgery that we’re about to start, and they have offered to help us with advice from their experience.

Leesa and GandalfAfter the conference was over we picked up aGandalf and Matthew life-sized cardboard Gandalf to take to Leesa Daymond in Oxfordshire. What luck! and this can also approximate what it would have been like had I gotten a photo of Matthew with his dad…

Stay tuned for the fourth and final installment of this trip report – Milton Keynes to Chicago.


Allied Coop News…

Or… We interrupt our trip reportage to bring you timely news from the Allied Community Coop

I’ll get back to reporting on the rest of my UK (then Chicago!) trip very soon, but in the meantime…

Right when I returned home I went to help facilitate another Allied Community Coop discussion about how we can respond to the food crisis in the neighborhood by applying mutual aid principles and practices.

We made a great plan! First, we’ll pursue finding money to help pay for people’s cab rides and other transportation to grocery stores, and Aaron Perry of Neighborhood Intervention Program (NIP) will provide 2 bus rides per month to people who want to shop that way.

Meanwhile, we’ll work with Willy Street Coop to start a buying club. Ideally the City of Madison would provide space for a neighborhood center which could serve as a staging and delivery area for the buying club. And this will help us build capacity to create our own neighborhood-created -owned and -operated cooperative grocery store and pharmacy, our long-term goal.

Today we’ll testify at the City Council meeting, in support of Ald. Maurice Cheeks’ resolution directing city staff to work on the issue of a grocery store and economic development plan in Allied Drive. We’re ready to try our ideas for human-scaled community economic development!

Thursday we get together with Anne Reynolds of the UW Center for Cooperatives to start drafting our business plan.

Wish us luck! Better yet, give us your support!

Part II of UK tour – Bristol

IMG_20130609_140823_634After my very enjoyable stay in London I headed to Bristol, one of my favorite cities.

I stayed with my friend Naomi who used to work at Mother Fool’s, the coffeehouse I co-own with Jon Hain in Madison.

photo 5-27I was really pleased to find that she lives with some of the wonderful people I met on my last trip to Bristol. And we quickly connected with Richard andphoto 2-20 Chris for dinner the first night I was there. After my last Bristol visit, which included a timebanking discussion at their Zen Center Aro Ling, Chris set up a timebank (through Time/Bank by e-flux) as part of a BMW/Tate Live Thought Workshop.

Since then Chris and Richard traveled to Berlin and learned about the Social Muscle Club (SMC). This photo 1-21Berlin-based project contains some of the main elements of timebanking but is more immediate, focusing on a give and receive game designed to make fairly instantaneous connections, plus performance as a means of deeper engagement and communication. They decided to take Social Muscle Club to Bristol, and will co-host an SMC event at the end of the Ausform Micro-fest on November 29, just before the Micro-fest’s closing party. It’ll be really cool! Which I know because Chris and Richard did me the great favor of scheduling the practice event for while I was in town.

Ten people, most of whom will be helping to facilitate the event, gathered at Chris photo 3-29and Richard’s house to try out the SMC format. What a wonderful thing! We played a give and receive game, similar to ones we do in timebanking but much more immediate (you’re supposed to write down offers and requests that can realistically be fulfilled within the next few days), interspersed with a couple performance gifts. The first performance was by Elena and it was really incredible. She’ll do a version of it at the event on the 29th, so I won’t spoil any of it here. It took my breath away. One of many reasons for you to go to this if you can! And I also offered a performance gift, a version of my song Everyone Singing which we sang as a round, with 3 people playing wine glasses. It was a lovely way for me to experience the song.

photo 3-28Highlights among the exchanges included someone receiving a photo 5-29clarinet and promise of lessons, someone who might find some temporary housing, and a whole slew of other synchronicities. Followed by a group photo in some goofy hats… :)



photo 1-17I spent the next day at the UK Conference of Independent Currencies,photo 5-22 hosted by  the Bristol Pound and celebrating the launch of the Guild of Independent CurrenciesLeander Bindewald and Jem Bendell both presented, and Matthew Slater and I also each got up to say a few words. We all focused on various aspects of connecting different types of currencies in coherent ecosystems and the overall need to accurately identify our goals and the appropriate tools with which to meet them. Then to gain and/or create the support (technical, evaluative, educational, social) necessary to operate photo 3-21effectively in this realm. (or something… I’m probably not doing a great job of representing other people’s talks – but I gave a quick and dirty overview of the MAN)

Met some great people and got good ideas and perspective about what’s happening in the complementary currency world, and hopefully shared something helpful with them.

That night we said farewell to Jem and Leander, and Matthew and I stayed on – he went to day 2 of the conference and I stayed at Naomi’s and caught up on writing, played piano and hung out with Aga.

then off the Exeter to meet and stay with James Priest, a Sociocracy trainer…

More on that later.


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