Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Local Economy - Thrift shops & consignment sales

The local division of labor is essential to maintaining a good living standard in our community. We have a thrift shop that is an informal interface between our local church and surrounding neighborhoods. It draws shoppers and donations from far beyond the congregation.

The Bryn Athyn Thrift Shop is a terrific source of furniture, clothing, electronics, household & kitchen items, toys, light hardware, books, sports equipment. Community members (including my family) make BATS a regular stop during their week. You never know when that perfect item will turn up.

The Cozy Tots Consignment Sale is coming this weekend to our community. It has become a twice-a-year tradition, bringing hundreds of local consignors and shoppers together. A small team of local moms (with husbands to help setup) have created a mutually beneficial market that improves the living standards of those who sell their extra stuff and those who can find just what they need at a good price.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New 'Victory Gardens'

We have several resilient activities already happening in our Bryn Athyn area (outside Philadelphia). A beekeeping network, a community garden, and a firewood club are active as a result of people doing what they enjoy. John Robb's Global Guerrillas site suggests some ways to raise the intensity/productivity of local food production:

RC JOURNAL: Money Garden?

Burpee Burpee is selling a new frugal package called the Money Garden. Sales pitch: $10 in selected seeds can "potentially" yield $650 in produce.

"Victory gardens" are smart way to hedge against short term system failure and as a cost cutting measure. However, a longer term solution for decentralized agriculture needs to be much, much more productive than traditional gardening. Subscription plots/farming, low cost sensor networks (water, light, PH, etc.), high intensity plot plans, accelerated local composting systems, lawn garden entrepreneurs, tinkering networks, etc. will be needed to flesh out an innovative ecosystem that will drive the productivity curve. Given these innovations, its possible to see a situation were 80-90% of food consumption is locally derived and sold at a small fraction of current costs and at a much higher level of quality/freshness. Resilience needs to be productive/affordable to become dominant.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Purpose: Peace of mind & connectedness

Resilience means keeping the local division of labor intact. - It is definitely not self-sufficient isolation. Consciously developing resilience at multiple levels and inviting voluntary participation from a variety of people creates a model which attracts people to a community - whether to work, learn, connect, live or worship.

We develop community resilience by looking at daily activities to ask what we depend on for our quality of life, whether we can do it for ourselves, and which individuals have the skills and heart for making a difference in these areas? The result is greater peace of mind and connectedness. It makes sense to start developing resilience before it is needed.

As an organizing principle, the resilient community accommodates various levels of interest and commitment. The members honor the independence and responsibility of each person in the group. A truly resilient community will exhibit the kind of self-sustaining social infrastructure that can't come top-down. The result is a freely chosen unity around a series of worthwhile goals. Done well, an open-source effort at community resilience inspires and informs people in other communities to create their own version.