Builders Workshop #7: Healthy Community Economy Part II was a great wrap-up of our explorations, from the Healthy Community Economy Part I workshop as well as the intervening Economic Democracy Conference, of how multiple currency/cooperative economic models could work in concert to achieve powerful community goals. In the Economic Democracy Conference open space Action Summit session we applied this thinking to the outcome of food security.
In Builders Workshop #7 we applied similar thinking and modeling to the goal of reduced fossil fuel consumption.
We had 14 people in attendance. While smaller in number than other Builders Workshops, this group proved to be a perfect size and makeup for the work that we needed to do. I was particularly excited that David Boetcher, an IBEW electrician who co-presented (with Justice Castaneda of MIT Colabs and Chris Meyer of Sector67 co-working space) the New Approaches to Science and Industry workshop at the Economic Democracy Conference, attended and contributed his knowledge of energy systems, surrounding economies and potential partners.
First we gave a slide presentation that recapped and expanded on pieces from Healthy Community Economy Part I.
It’s shared here.
Then we decided to use a case study of a hypothetical community goal in order to see how we might apply different cooperative economic tools to different pieces of the systems we’d need to affect to achieve our desired outcome. The group chose reduced fossil fuel consumption as the focus area. This is what we came up with, sort of a general map of where each piece would be employed to corral various types of resources, finishing with people taking on pieces to research/explore potential partnerships. In the rough maps in the first and second slides M$ stands for Madison Hours and/or price-based mutual credit; T$ stands for timebank hours. The first map was the brainstorm, the second was an attempt to show some chronological representation of how you would develop the project.
As you’ll see from the third photo, we were blessed with participants who offered to carry some work forward! So some of us will be researching existing renewable energy/efficiency efforts, some will research JAK-style bank community saving and lending possibilities, some will be meeting with local businesses to pursue price-based mutual credit and Madison Hours possibilities, and some will be meeting to explore a potential energy project here in Madison.
Stay tuned for further developments…
And follow it all on Build For the World (and post your own projects there – we need to learn from each other!), http://buildftw.org
Thanks for reading,
Blog post #2: Oct. 3 – Oct. 17:: LA to Chicago
Well, a lot has happened since last I wrote!
The LA show was fun, at a cool venue called Lot 1. With good music all around that night.
The downside was a near-miss of an auto accident, with a semi truck careening directly into the cement barrier between its eastbound lane and our westbound lane, sending my life flashing before my eyes and chunks of concrete flying into the car. Miraculously, noone was hurt. The car was, though, and has so far cost more than $800 to fix with more to come. Oh well, we’re OK and the car is driveable.
From there, on to San Francisco where we met with Mira Luna and Rick Simon from Bay Area Community Exchange, Michele Magar whom we met at the TimeBanks USA conference back in August, Sheryl Walton of Sobrante Park Timebank and TimeBanks USA, and Natalie, a friend of Michele’s with great relevant experience in counseling and in running a program to improve acces to technology for seniors. We learned about the many exciting partnerships and projects being developed by BACE and discussed ways the other participants could help in starting new initiatives and outreach efforts to increase the robustness of resources, exchanges, and the ability of timebanking to improve upon service accessibility and fairness for diverse populations, especially those with physical or mental health challenges.
October 7 I met with Sheryl Walton to discuss how we can best work to develop training capacity among timebankers in each region. Sheryl’s a great trainer and has been taking the lead on TimeBanks USA training for several years, drawing upon her excellent experience with Oakland’s Sobrante Park TimeBank. She’ll be helping to train trainers and hone the curriculum. Exciting work. We met at BrainWash, a laundromat, cafe, bar and music venue in San Francisco – where I had a show that night. The show was a lot of fun even though the sound was a challenge. They give free laundry to performers, which was a major plus in the middle of such a long tour!
Left after the show to get closer to the redwoods so we’d be able to spend most of the day there on the way up to Seattle.
And of course the redwoods are spectacular!
On to Seattle: October 9 we pulled into Seattle to Cindy Jayne’s house, where we talked about ways to enhance the trainings provided by TimeBanks USA, and how we might proceed in training trainers. I had a sparsely attended show that night with GREAT sound in a lovely old fashioned cabaret-type space, with a good opening act Jeremy Serwer. I really enjoyed it even though there were only a handful of people there for the show. They were all really cool, attentive during the show and fun to hang out with after.
The morning of October 10 Cindy Jayne hosted a timebank organizers’ meeting at her house over breakfast. We discussed ways the Eastside Seattle TimeBank might approach expanding into new geographic areas and identifying and implementing more community projects through timebanking. They have a really solid leadership group there and there are lots of possibilities.
Then we drove to Portland OR where we enjoyed a nice meal with a friend before my Electrogals performance.
Electrogals was a great new experience for me. I integrated a timebanking/new economic thinking workshop with a music performance – the title was “Dragging the Economy into the 21st Century: It’s Women’s Work!”. I’ll post the video when I have a chance so you can see more what it was like. But I really enjoyed it. Since the theme of the festival was ‘gals gone wired’ I did a timebanking simulation game with wire. People had the assignment to make a figure that represents their dream for their community, however they want to define it. Later in the workshop we turned those into a lovely little mobilethat the festival will keep. As I talked I played songs that represented the ideas I was presenting. I totally forgot to play Oh No, though, which is totally related to the youth court/community justice parts of my talk.
Some GREAT old friends came to the show and out afterward, too, including a college friend I haven’t seen since 1992. Awesome. One of the very best parts of a tour like this…
Had to leave right after the short hang-out with Portland friends after the show in order to get to Boise by 2pm the next day. Boise’s 7 ½ hours from Portland and we also lose an hour in the time zone change. But the reason we needed to get there was great – Lacey, Courtney and Gina of TimeBank Idaho were hosting a meeting with human service professionals from around the state, including Richard Armstrong, Director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. They are exploring how timebanking and co-production can help improve the effectiveness of public services.
Next day we drove to Park City Utah where I appeared on Mountain Views, a show on Park City TV. This was cool. I played 3 songs and also talked about the tour, timebanking, economic self-sufficiency on live television. A good way to reach a new audience.
Afterward we drove to Dinosaur Monument National Park and camped on the soft sandy beach of the Green River, which sounds idyllic until you realize that it was in the ’30s and we woke up with ice on our sleeping bags. But what a beautiful place to wake up! And hike around before driving on to Boulder…
Where I played a show at the Laughing Goat which was a really good time, just as it was on my last tour.
Then on to Iowa City (with a stop in Des Moines to see my friend Becky which was great) for the best show of the tour, largely because I played with fabulous Iowa City bands – especially Utopia Park, my new favorite.
After that, Chicago for a day of seeing great friends and fixing the car for a lot of money. Then playing at Prop Theater with Stroller and Paleo, another good show. More audience members would have been nice but those who were there were wonderful, including more good friends who I don’t see enough.
Today we got up early and drove to Toledo Ohio where Leander and I both presented to a group of very engaged and interested Toledoans, from lots of organizations and communities that can really engage with timebanking. There were City Council members, County officials, Juvenile Justice professionals, United Way staff, a Green Party candidate, urban gardeners and project leaders, faculty and students from University of Toledo, and more. We talked about lots of complementary currency models and how they might be applied there and invited people to attend the upcoming trainings in Detroit. We expect to see at least a few there. And got the question I like best, “how do we start?” The meeting was followed by a lovely reception at a restaurant/bar called Mano’s, which was fun. After all that we drove 2 hours to my parents’ house in Akron, Ohio where I’m writing this now and am about to hit the sack. It’s been a long few days! Nice to be home with my wonderful parents.
I’m writing from Pasadena CA where we just finished the great CA Federation of TimeBanks Conference. The Federation did a wonderful job of organizing and we got to meet lots of CA-area timebankers and hear from Edgar Cahn, outgoing TimeBanks USA CEO Chris Gray Cahn, incoming TimeBanks USA CEO Lisa Conlan, and many more luminaries. I was on yesterday’s panel and did a 2-hour timebanking training with Sheryl Walton. Today I’ll do a Learning Facilitation training to help develop more training and support capacity in the area. Tomorrow Leander and I will do a Build for the World workshop and enlist some partner projects. We’ll be able to show our Build profile site, which Preston is busy finishing up now.
And New Orleans was fantastic! In addition to a great show and seeing lots of what makes New Orleans a truly unique and fascinating place, I had the honor of being part of the birth of the new NOLA Timebank!
About 35 people came to a potluck at the Himalayan Association community room and decided on the spot to get started on a timebank. By the next day they had a facebook page up with 60 friends and they’re moving fast on organizing. New Orleans is such a perfect place for this kind of organizing and I’m really impressed with how well people are doing and how thoughtful they’re being about how they move forward, focusing on being sure to pull in people from lots of different backgrounds and demographics.
A woman who learned of the timebank potluck at my show, Victoria, came and brought lots of organizing background and skills. The woman who spearheaded the organizing of the potluck, Marcela, is an old friend of Autumn Rooney from the Echo Park timebank and CA Federation. Autumn also referred a former Echo Park steering team member who’d recently moved to NOLA. We also had folks referred by Edgar Cahn, and Bev Bell and Lauren Elliot of Other Worlds are Possible. A great group to start with.
After LA we’ll be heading to San Francisco where we’ll meet with current and future timebankers and discuss in-depth how to approach timebanking as a way to improve life for elders and people with disabilities. Then Seattle, Portland, Boise and onward.. I’ll write as we go.
Thanks for reading!
Well the day has come – Stephanie and Marc are finally traveling to Lyon to present our paper at the Complementary Currencies conference, then to Tiocan to meet with other complementary currency folks to see what we can do together.
First, Our intention in going to Lyon is to learn all we can about what’s currently happening with complementary currencies, what’s happened in the past, and how we can use that knowledge to create a better future.
Second, and why we’re making the trip – we see an urgent need to ensure that timebanking and its values-based inclusive properties be included in our economic future. We’re big fans of lots of models of complementary currencies, but also recognize that most continue to focus on the kinds of exchanges that normally happen in the marketplace. That may continue to exclude or inadequately meet the needs of the core economic functions of caregiving, creativity and civic engagement. By joining forces with other complementary currency systems and actors, we can create something that is more effectively complementary – that makes room for all people in our economy and uses appropriate tools for appropriate exchanges.
For example, since caregiving is both abundant and widely needed, we want an abundant medium of exchange to facilitate needs being met. Timebanking is perfect for this. But storefront space in our downtown is scarce – so it stands to reason we would use a more competitive, price-based currency for conducting business activities in our cities to best allocate such a resource.
Third, we’re going to meet lots of people who have similar interests, with huge bases of knowledge that we haven’t yet learned of and lots of connections with others who share our goals.
After the main conference, there is a day for Complementary Currency actors and on this day we really expect to find some people to work with into the future, creating and maintaining an international learning community and identifying ways we can work together to create the systems and tools we need to succeed in creating a human-centered economy that values people and the planet.
Once the conference is over our work in Europe still continues…
Feb. 19 and 20 we’ll meet with more complementary currency actors near Geneva, in an action-oriented conference hosted by Matthew Slater of Community Forge. Once again we’ll have an even more in-depth opportunity to see what we have, what we need, and what we can do together to push our collective work out into the world.