Community

    A four-part, independently produced docuseries looking under the hood and into the operations of mutual aid efforts across North America.

    Struggling to build in a collapsing system, hear the perspectives of over a dozen groups who explore the origins, structures, healing ways, and logistics of collective organizing.

    The Elements of Mutual Aid

    So, yet another school shooting followed by outrage and the familiar call for change. The ugly truth is that we are all the problem, even those of us who don't own guns and who want #guncontrol. We're the problem we because we're too passive. We demand far too little of ourselves as citizens of a supposed democratic republic - by the people, for the people, we've been content to watch passively as "our" government, proves ineffectual at solving problems. Voting and typing isn't enough. #directaction

    A vegetable garden planted in the center courtyard of an apartment complex
    Community garden in courtyard of apartment complex, Memphis, 1993.

    If we want change, be it gun control, addressing climate collapse, protecting abortion rights, confronting white supremacy, we're going to have to get out of our houses and off our couches. The movements are all there, but we all need to help build community power via local activism: co-ops, elections, clinic escorting, protests, ultimately, we probably need to organize a #generalstrike and shut down the whole thing. Real direct action not complaining via keyboards.

    We need real, face-to-face community building and development of relationships. It's messy, difficult, and hard. Sometimes it amounts to very little. Sometimes it changes lives. Little changes, big changes. But if we don't start making the efforts we can be sure that we will fail. But if we get out there and try, experiment, fail, learn, fail again, but keep building. I don't see any other way. Waiting for broken government is just letting others do what they want with our lives.

    People working in garden rows together
    Community Garden, Kirksville, MO, 1991

    Some examples that I've seen or been a part of: Bike co-op (fixing donated bikes, teaching repair skills to kids, #recycling, transport), #Housingcoop (shared housing fostering community, shared resources, #mutualaid, economical), community gardens (learning how to grow food, mutual aid, time spent together, food production), #community tool library (sharing resources), community free schools/libraries. Almost any local business can be built as a co-op. #communitybuilding via potluck meals

    Madison County Cycling Proposal

    A few days ago I started to wonder what a cycling program in Fredericktown might look like. What would be helpful in this setting and for the citizens in this county? I made a few mental notes and then sent an email to the director of a local county health agency who I know. Here’s what I sent with some edits to make it a better blog post: I hope you are doing well in the new year!

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    We are the power

    I've not said much here about recent goings on in the U.S. But like anyone not living in a cave, I've been paying attention. I am aware. I am frustrated. And angry. And sometimes frightened. Several weeks ago many folks were posting on Twitter in support of Elizabeth Warren. And then I saw two tweets: @danielpunkass: The Senate may be surprised how many previously apolitical people are awakening to the reality of our shameful representatives.

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    Help Send iPads to Barefoot College in India

    Fraser Speirs, who helped set up the world’s first whole-school 1:1 iPad program at the Cedars School of Excellence, has launched a campaign to buy and ship iPads to the Barefoot College in India. The Barefoot College is an organization in India that works with women, offering educational and advocacy programs designed to improve village life in a variety ways. The base is the development of capacity to grow their economies and standards of living through training not only in the use of appropriate technology but with a goal of trainees becoming trainers.

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    Of legends and fuck-ups

    The other day I had to write a difficult email. And then another. It was a part of a conversation that was, in large part, me processing the end of my recent relationship with Kaleesha. In the course of writing it occurred to me that there was much I had never shared with her. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to share it so much as I thought I’d have time.

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    Skeptics on the Creek

    Skeptics on the Creek at Make-it-Do Farm! Good food, drink and conversation. Missing in these photos are the kids who were upstairs all night playing D&D.

    Exploring the Universe Together

    NGC 4594, the Sombrero GalaxyRecently Kaleesha put up a pretty fantastic couple of posts. The first, Creation, the Big Bang or Both? is one in which she shares her current attempts to better understand the Big Bang. It has been very interesting to read about her intellectual journey since her rejection of Christianity several months ago and inspiring to see her push on in her search for truth. In her second post, Astronomical Scattershooting (what a great phrase, eh?

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    A vintage desk, cooperatively built

    How appropriate that my recently purchased used desk was made by a furniture co-op?! It is a beautiful desk that seems to been made in the 1970s. Now that I know this about the company I appreciate the desk even more. This fall when the weather cools I'll be giving it a light sanding and will give it a new clearcoat to protect it. From their website: Community Playthings has always manufactured products right here in the United States.

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    First Friday in the new Gallery!

    It's been just over a month since we got the keys to the space at 120 West Main and in that time a great team of 12 or so volunteers have put in well over 160 hours transforming it into the new Gallery. We've painted, cleaned, removed carpet and more. We're taking care of some last minute details tonight and then will be hanging art in the next day or so.

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    Solar Air Heater!

    The new solar air heater leaning up against the well/shower house where it will likely be installed as it is a near perfect south facing wall. Thermometer reading after just a minute behind the air outlet? 100 degrees and that's with outside air of 48. NICE! My guess is that this would easily heat our little shower house to a comfortable 70+ degrees on sunny days during the winter. A big thanks to Rick for building it!

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    Simple Life, Community Life

    Around 5 pm yesterday my uncle Ron (and neighbor) showed up at my door with a very large fish, a 16 inch Crappie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Crappie of that size. As he walked up I thought he was carrying a good sized bass. He offered him up and I happily accepted. I’d planned on having a bit of pesto pasta for dinner and now that would be complimented with fried fish.

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    Geek in the Garden

    Please excuse this momentary lapse into a bit of geekitude. A few years back I started using geekinthegarden for email and various account user names because I was, after all a geek who spend a good bit of his time in the garden. These past two years living at the homestead I’ve been much less a geek and more a gardener. In fact, a big part of my push to move to the homestead was to get my hands back into the soil and to finally learn more about permaculture and put it into practice.

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    In Transition 1.0

    In Transition 1.0 is Now Available!! » Transition Culture: "‘In Transition’ is the first detailed film about the Transition movement filmed by those that know it best, those who are making it happen on the ground. The Transition movement is about communities around the world responding to peak oil and climate change with creativity, imagination and humour, and setting about rebuilding their local economies and communities. It is positive, solutions focused, viral and fun.

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    Welcoming natives and critters into our garden

    This is the sixth article in an ongoing series that I’ve written in our town’s alternative paper, the Madison County Crier. The series is intended to be an introduction to permaculture, often illustrated by examples taken from our homestead. When possible I’ve also made it a point to link in to the potential for a permacultural approach to town and community life as well as the prospects for easing our town’s transition into this new future we have before us.

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    Not an orchard, a food forest!

    This is the seventh article in an ongoing series that I’ve written in our town’s alternative paper, the Madison County Crier. The series is intended to be an introduction to permaculture, often illustrated by examples taken from our homestead. When possible I’ve also made it a point to link in to the potential for a permacultural approach to town and community life as well as the prospects for easing our town’s transition into this new future we have before us.

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    Rooted in a place

    Several weeks ago I finally made the short journey down to see Roger’s place. I’d met Roger this past fall through Ruth Ann and the Cowboy Coffee. It’s funny actually, the first or second time I’d gone into the coffee shop Roger was at the far end with Ruth and Juli and they were dancing and goofing off and it was at that moment that I knew that the coffee shop was going to be my favorite reason to drive into town.

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    Communities and Guilds

    This is the fourth article in an ongoing series that I’ve written in our town’s alternative paper, the Madison County Crier. The series is intended to be an introduction to permaculture, often illustrated by examples taken from our homestead. When possible I’ve also made it a point to link in to the potential for a permacultural approach to town and community life as well as the prospects for easing our town’s transition into this new future we have before us.

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    Connecting and Cooperating

    This is the third article in an ongoing series that I’ve written in our town’s alternative paper, the Madison County Crier. The series is intended to be an introduction to permaculture, often illustrated by examples taken from our homestead. When possible I’ve also made it a point to link in to the potential for a permacultural approach to town and community life as well as the prospects for easing our town’s transition into this new future we have before us.

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    Return to the Local

    This is the second article in an ongoing series that I’ve written in our town’s alternative paper, the Madison County Crier. The series is intended to be an introduction to permaculture, often illustrated by examples taken from our homestead. When possible I’ve also made it a point to link in to the potential for a permacultural approach to town and community life as well as the prospects for easing our town’s transition into this new future we have before us.

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