At Jericho Community Center’s quarterly Board meeting on August 13, Eric Bachman was invited to speak about Repair Cafes. Transition towners here know Eric from his talk in July ‘17 on timebanks; specifically, the Onion River Exchange in Montpelier.
Eric compared a Repair Cafe to matchmaking, in that repair people are paired with people who need repairs. He simplified the process of organizing a Repair Cafe, saying you first look for people who like to repair, find a location, then plan for some Saturday afternoon to run it.
Of course many organizational details followed, and Eric offered himself as an ongoing resource.
No money is exchanged at a Repair Cafe, and the only rule is to bring items you can actually carry in. Torn jeans, clocks, computers, and gadgetry of all kinds may line the tables. The cafe element makes for an enjoyable, social experience and provides food for the volunteers. Donations before and during the event help pay for tools, supplies and food.
The first Repair Cafe was held in the Netherlands in 2009. Other tidbits of its colorful history can be found on repaircafe.org/en. There are now over 1,500 Repair Cafes in at least 33 countries, bringing people together in fun and learning, while making some dents in our throwaway society.
Vermont’s first Repair Cafe was held in Charlotte in 2017, and Charlotte organizers have since thrown three more, including the most recent at Champlain Valley Union High school, with students doing the repairs and being mentored by older fixers.
Central Vermont Solid Waste has helped organize additional Repair Cafes in central Vermont. Taking place in Montpelier, Barre and Hardwick so far, these events support SWMD’s mission of eliminating landfill trash.
C’mon Jericho, we can do it too!