Submitted by Kathy Sipple
Via Stephanie Rearick of the Mutual Aid Network in Madison, Wisconsin re their recent Solidarity Sprint Tour of which we were a part. We hosted a welcome potluck on Monday, 9/23 for Stephanie along with the rest of her team: Anneleise Hall (New Zealand), Kate Macdonald (UK) and Tyler Norman, also of Madison. The next morning we held an Eco SkillShare in Valparaiso (see map graphic denoting this) and later that day helped member Aja Yasir build a retaining wall for her urban homestead garden to lend assistance after she faced legal pressure from the City of Gary to remove or revise her regenerative agriculture garden.
Last Monday, November 25th I was able to go to court with Aja to witness her learning that the case has been dismissed! She will continue to fight for the right to be able to host people at her home to tour the garden, as now the city has said that her yard has become an "attraction" and is bringing too many people there! What a 180-degree turnaround -- from considering the wood chips a nuisance...Hello all!
Hosting so much activity within a 24-hour period challenged me, nearly to the end of my capabilities. It was definitely a stretch on my/our team's resources. Once again, many thanks go to those of you who stepped into strong leadership roles to make the event happen. Special thanks to the Shelhart family for hosting the welcome potluck. Also very special thanks to Pat Jackson for managing the Eco SkillShare, Bonnie Swarner for providing the hosting venue, everyone who presented an educational session at the skillshare (Laura Henderson, Christine Maloney, Sharon Angelina, Jennifer Shelhart), Chris and Dan Waters for the amazing paella and for use of their AirBnb to host our guests, everyone who brought a dish to the potluck and/or the skillshare, to Kathryn Hanson for leading the QiGong meditation, to Stephen Dynako for assistance with keeping me/us grounded, Elias Crim for his early support attending advance meetings online and in person... Also thanks to Pat Jackson, Bonnie Swarner, Destiny Vargas, Dan Waters, Pat Sella and anyone else who helped get Swarner Nature Preserve prepared and/or helped with cleanup.
Thanks to Chuck Ventura for driving with me to Gary to help build Aja's wall after a long day at the Eco SkillShare.
Here's the deal-- I feel like I am missing some people and their contributions... You know what's good for that? Entering our hours here in the timebank software! The good news is that it doesn't matter if a few months have passed -- your hours don't expire, but let's get them in! Enter the transaction not charging to me, but rather to the "Community Fund". You can choose whatever subcategory you think fits best: Special Project, Helping Our Timebank. You can make a note of exactly what you did to help us better understand all the work that went into it. If it's too challenging for you to enter the hours yourself, then you can email me with a description and I will enter for you. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a description including date, number of hours, etc. If you made a dish for the potluck, then estimate how much time it took you to prepare it, etc.
It was hard to explain "what" this event was because it was up to us to co-create it with the travelers. It wasn't my event. It wasn't their event. It was "our" event, along with everyone from all the other stops where they traveled. I am proud of us that we literally put ourselves on the map. I am proud of the larger story that is emerging from this nascent effort, though the whole process was certainly not without its birthing pains.
If you don't have time to listen to the whole recording, you can skip ahead to around the 1 hour 20 minute mark to hear the mention of how some of our efforts are tying into some of the larger issues around acquiring and working on land for conservation, cohousing, public projects, etc. Though we don't have immediate solutions at hand, we are part of the emerging team that cares about this issue and who are actively networking and creating structures to support current and future endeavors.
If anyone has the time or inclination to become more directly involved with Stephanie's group contact info is below. Feel free.