Dreamworld West US Tour Report #4: Seattle potluck, Columbia Gorge, Bend OR, Boise ID

IMG_20130808_190216_423Catching up on reports from the last few stops on the tour…

August 8 I joined the Eastside Seattle TimeBankers for a lovely potluck. They had me share a little about my own experience and we played the TimeBank Web game (or yarn game, or whatever you want to call it…) It was a nearly-completely different group of about 35 people. Very nice.

Next I heaIMG_20130810_135009_515ded to Columbia Gorge where I’d been invited to speak with people from the River Hours local currency system. They hosted me at the beautiful farm of Scot and Rebecca. What a respite!  IMG_20130810_122238_572

The group who gathered for the potluck discussion was a small and great one. It ended up being ideal that it was small, because it was the very active organizers who are grappling with big issues, including working to get support to start timebanking and figure out how to link it with the River Hours local currency system. They were quite receptive to ideas about the MAN and I expect that we’ll be in touch a lot in the future. I’m also hoping to help them avoid our mistakes and build on the work we’ve already done.  And of course have been encouraging everyone to post their experiments at build.

Earlier in the tour I’d noticed that my route would go right through Bend Oregon. By happy coincidence I learned that Mira Luna, a great timebank organizer and one of the founders of Bay Area Community Exchange, is living there presently. I got in touch to see if she’d be around – unfortunately she was going to be out of town but fortunately she connected me with the Bend Co-Housing people. They invited me to stay in their guest room and pulled together a small sharing economy chat for after their Wednesday evening potluck. (I’ve enjoyed realizing that I’ve been trading music and ideas for room and board on this trip)


the koi pond

This co-housing is very impressive. On over 7 acres of land, with 39 families. They started individual community garden plots awhile ago but then switched to farming the land communally. They share their excess with local food pantries. I was really happy to have the sharing economy conversation with them because they were very enthusiastic about the IMG_20130815_073631_467

the lovely community garden

the lovely community garden

possibility of using timebanking to distribute the co-housing workload more equitably and enjoyably. I offered to put them in touch with Madison’s Troy Co-Housing, who were using the timebank to diversify ways people could meet their work requirements (I have no idea how successful it’s been for them but I’m all about helping people learn from ‘failures’ as much as ‘successes’). The most satisfying part of the discussion for me was that an initial skeptic left the meeting ‘on fire’ about the idea. And whether or not they pursue this, the contacts we made were very rewarding. One of the participants has also put me in touch with Bend 2030 Vision organizers. Again, who knows if it will bear fruit but I’m happy to introduce everyone to new ways of organizing our economic life.

From there I drove to Boise Idaho where I had lunch with Charlotte and Failla of TimeBank Idaho. I showed up just in time to help Failla with ideas of how to get people more self-motivated to make the timebank flow. She, like me when I started, had been thinking that all the members who sign up thinking it’s the greatest idea ever would take it and run with it. And the same thing has happened that happens with most timebanks – people are busy, they need to develop new habits, it’s hard for them to ask for help. So I gave her a couple games to try, some event suggestions, and some overall moral support. We’ll be talking much more in the future, we’re kindred spirits. Another great person who might contribute to and benefit from Mutual Aid Networks.

Oh, and Idaho’s on fire. So far I haven’t been too close but it is quite smoky. It’s normal for them to have fires in the summer but these have been extreme. Twice I’ve looked at the weather report on my phone and it’s reported smoky weather. Here’s a song to commemorate it (I wrote this years ago, too bad it’s so accurate).

Now I’m caught up on reports from sharing economy stuff on this tour so far. Next one is in Minneapolis on Sunday August 25, my last stop on this leg of the tour. In between I have shows in Pocatello, Bismarck North Dakota, Aberdeen South Dakota, Duluth and Minneapolis Minnesota. If you know people in these places please tell them to come out! Here’s the full schedule. The east coast – Istanbul – southeast US leg is being fleshed out now. Stay tuned…

And details for Aug. 25: Black Bear Crossing Cafe, directly at Lake Como on Como Park, in St. Paul. 2:30 pm to 5 pm.
“Local Economy Summit” hosted by Liane Gale, facilitated by me. Invited: people from the local time bank (Hour Dollars), the TakeAction MN campaign “Organizing a New Economy”, a local group “Neighborhoods Organizing for Change”, and co-ops, members of the Green Party, local arts groups, and organic gardeners or permaculture people. Feel free to tell your friends.