We decided to include everyone on the mountain who wanted to be involved, plus a couple just off of the mountain in the valley who are part of our village. This was a bit daunting as it meant venturing into something of an unknown in terms of some of the people on the other road- and also the second-homes that have filled up these past few months. While we know a few of these people well, mostly we don't really know them or they us. So, we prepared an info sheet on what we were proposing-and suggested a pot-luck meeting in the park. In case someone couldn't make it, we provided contact info(phone # and e-mail) to join.
A couple of us then set out on our bikes and distributed them- about 10 miles or so of road.
We had a good turn-out and great weather(and always good food of course!). The way we decided to proceed was that since nearly everyone had internet access here, we would compile a list of skills that people had that they were willing to share with others in some way. We decided to be flexible as to how those skills were shared- to be decided upon by the parties involved. So someone who knows how to prune trees for instance could just agree to teach someone else how to prune, or swap for something else(eggs or produce for instance), or swap skills. How it works will be different depending on who is involved.
A tricky part though is how to deal with skills that are used by someone to earn a living- car mechanic, plumbing, farming, etc- how should these be handled? Are they swappable skills? We're not sure yet- will have to see how that goes.
Anyway, people will e-mail me the list of skills they have that they are willing to share and we will distribute this list to everyone else. Then the arrangements proceed from there. I think we are going to have an amazing set of skills available to share though. Just some of them are:
canning, gardening, livestock raising,pruning, carpentry, pottery, electrical work, bread baking, outdoor bread oven construction, raising trout, spinning, weaving, knitting, foraging and wildcrafting, making tinctures and salves, herbalism, sharpening tools, using a scythe, beekeeping, mechanical repairs, etc. We are a talented bunch I'd say!
The good thing about this of course(well there are several good things), is that this will allow us as a community to be more self-sufficient and help each other while not requiring an outlay of cash we may not have. It also honors people for the skills they possess, even if they're not earning a big paycheck(or even one at all these days).
We talked for a bit about whether we wanted to create a "stuff" bank as well- a list of items we owned and were willing to share with others. We have discussed this in the past and it hasn't happened yet. Issues with it are several- not everyone necessarily wants everyone to know just what they own-especially not the larger group whom many of us don't know well. While many of us are willing to loan stuff to people we are close to and trust- and know they'll care for it and return it promptly- we don't know that about everyone. Also- some things just wouldn't last if loaned to the whole community- my log splitter and cider press for instance would fall apart under that sort of use. So we agreed to keep that part as it is now- if you're in need of something you discuss it with someone you know has the desired item or just put it out there in an e-mail or at a gathering that you need the use of something and see what comes of it..... Has worked pretty well thus far.....
So that's the latest here. We're keeping busy!