Dreamworld West US Tour Report #3: Santa Cruz, Berkeley and Seattle TimeBanking/Sharing Economy Gatherings


It’s been a very eventful few weeks, which is why I have to write these updates so much after they happened. Much more to come, no time to lose…

Bonnie's fruit- and bee-filled garden

Bonnie’s fruit- and bee-filled garden

Starting with Santa Cruz timebanking gathering: I stayed with Bonnie my first night in Santa Cruz, where I got to tour her lovely neighborhood and reap the benefit of her beautiful garden and many fruit trees.

On August 2 I arrived at Catherine’s house at 3pm, right along with the Thai Yoga Massage practitioner they so graciously arranged to massage me. Heaven!

We began our gathering around 4:30 with delicious food and good conversation, with about 25 people in attendance. By 6 we convened in a circle around Catherine’s outside deck. We started with the timebank yarn game (we need a new name! The Timebank Web?) which helped demonstrate many of the dynamics of timebanking, and also helped us learn a lot more about each other. A lot of people need trees pruned and there were plenty of potential helpers. Also moving help, massage, light carpentry.

I gave the overview of how we apply timebanking to corral the resources needed to carry out community projects. We talked about the various activities that members are motivated to participate in, and focused in a lot on leadership roles and leadership development as this is a timebank, like many others, where more IMG_20130802_181706_372people are needed to carry the load. We identified a number of ways to diversify the types of events offered in order to diversify membership and appeal to people’s own motivations (arts and crafts night, bingo night, music events, pet parade, taste of timebank, etc). A few participants made it known that they enjoy organizing events, one person agreed to take on more treasurer roles, and the group shared a lot of new insights about who they could involve and how.  After all the discussion was done I played a house concert in the now-chilly evening and enjoyed watching people dance around the deck and the fire pit. Lovely!

the fog I was about to head into

the fog I was about to head into

Then back to the bay area…


In BerkeleyIMG_20130804_130117_519 we gathered at the Long Haul, hosted by East Bay Co-Housing. About 10 people participated in a discussion about a sharing economy. I presented our theories about trophic (food chain) levels of currencies, with timebanking, sharing and gift economies as the photosynthesis, price-based mutual credit as bunnies, more competitive and scarce models (like money-backed local currencies and national and supranational currencies) as wolves. I used the Allied Community Coop’s PowerTime project as an example of this theory in action. As an added bonus one of the participants drew a caricature of each of us as we talked!


Raines and Betsy, our hosts

The first group of gatherers left after 2 hours and then we were joined by Rick Simon of Bay Area Community Exchange (BACE), then a little later by Victoria Bellotti of PARC, who is working on a timebanking mobile app in collaboration with Jack Carroll of Penn State. We were happy to have the chance to talk in-depth and in-person about ways we can work together to maximize the potential of the app they’re creating. Victoria is very interested in human technology interfaces and ways that the constant monitoring of our activities by our mobile phones can be used for good.. Yes, there will be plenty of people who choose to opt out of that and we’ll work to be sure they also get the advantages that can come from the fact that many people choose to be that plugged in.


Then we went across the street to the Starry Plough where I played a show with some awesome performers, Antonette and Hot Fruit.

I had a lot of opportunity to talk with Rick of BACE and his activist housemates about the MAN, and they were quite enthusiastic about the possibilities. Perhaps they’ll be a pilot site…. ?

Next night (Aug. 5) I played a show in Modesto CA and then had a mad rush to get to Seattle (12.5 hours away) in time for our gathering which began at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 7. A beautiful drive, through the mountains, past Mt. Shasta! I’d been worried about the length but it really was a pleasure to make the drive alone.

In Seattle we were hosted by TimeBanks of Puget Sound, a great collaborative umbrella for the timebanks in the area.IMG_20130807_114048_386

The morning session was small and in-depth, with seven organizers around a table talking about nuts and bolts issues, like stakeholder engagement, leadership development, member events.

Afternoon was more formal. We began with a Skype with Edgar Cahn, who suggested a beautiful idea: IMG_20130807_124612_419Dream Circles. Like lending circles or giving circles, but where each person gets a chance to state their dream and have the others participate in making it reality. Sounds like a great thing to try!

After that we focused a lot on how we can use timebanking to create projects. We did the visioning game where we made a quick mission statement, identified who would need to be involved, who we’d forgotten (we always forget important people! like the ones we’re trying to be sure to include…), and how they could participate, how the timebank hours might flow. Then we practiced targeted elevator pitches and went through the stakeholder engagement worksheet.

The last, most important question of the day was: how do we support each other better? Many of the answers were things that TOPS is already working on, which is quite exciting. My commitment to the participants was to distribute our training and peer support form so those who’d like to assist with this can be supported and cataloged by TOPS. Notes are here.

And here are the flip charts we made:

IMG_20130807_163601_726 IMG_20130807_163542_558 IMG_20130807_162626_288 IMG_20130807_162621_625 IMG_20130807_162611_137they’ll get bigger if you click on them individually.

Gotta run to meet Mira Luna, timebank organizer extraordinaire. And I still owe you updates on Columbia Gorge and my nice chat with the great people at Bend Co-housing which I’m just about to leave.

As always, thanks for reading