At tonight's TTJ gathering, Eric Bachman from Montpelier gave an inspiring talk on time banks and specifically, the Onion River Exchange in Montpelier. The ORE is one of three time banks in Vermont (the other two are in Brattleboro and Bennington).
Eric has been involved in ORE since its inception in 2008, and also works for Time Banks USA. Word has it he's been seen at farmers markets waving large dollar bill replicas and a clock to demonstrate that time equals money; the man lives and breathes this stuff!
A time bank is an online network whereby members’ offers and requests are listed; each time you do an hour of service you receive an hour of time credit. And all hours are considered equal. Giving an hour of massage, fixing your neighbor's plumbing, or assisting an elder; all are deemed equal in this system.
Eric talked about how time banks promote the ‘core’ economy, the harder to measure transactions that are undervalued in our market economy. Making up 40-50% of the total economy, this alternative economy is legitimized and promoted via time banks.
Five core values underscore all time banks and a new member going through orientation is schooled in everything from valuing 'human assets' to redefining the concept of work.
The ORE system appears user friendly and even provides ‘guardian angels’, people who can help those lacking computer skills (and get credit for doing so). With 440 members, ORE has recently created a tool library and is planning to host Repair Cafes in the near future.
We watched a short video of the Long Beach Time Exchange; many very enthuastic people! I loved how one person described time banks as “a way to fulfill basic needs AND access your highest potential.”
Eric suggested that if local folks want to develop a time bank, Jericho and its environs could become a ‘hub’ to ORE; piggybacking instead of starting from scratch. Lots to consider, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one dreaming about future possibilities.
On another note, I'm very excited to be going to the first ever transition town conference in the US, this coming weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota! Will definitely post a blog when I return...
Last night TTJ hosted its June meeting, inviting Tom Baribault and Ann Gnagey as presenters. The local homesteaders talked about collecting rainwater as a way to preserve groundwater, a vital resource. Groundwater is roughly only 29% of all freshwater, and freshwater is only about 3% of the world's total water (most of it's in oceans). So saving groundwater is key!
Tom talked about the three components of collecting, storing and distributing saved water. Showed us pics of his own tandem barrel system, using old maple containers, saying one inch of rainfall leads to 700 barrels of water. On their land they have pipes installed to collect surface water, holding it in makeshift reservoirs. They also have pond catchment systems. For storage they use plastic totes, discards from wine storage.
Tom and Ann began their water awareness/saving journey in 1996, when their wells were deemed radioactive (not from radon which can be evaporated out, but uranium) Back then they dug a spring for drinking water. These days they said, that same spring takes longer and longer to refill after the winter, not boding well for the state of our groundwater.
Ann also talked about the carbon cycle, specifically how soil is such an important pool for carbon, preventing more of it going into the atmosphere, and how composting is so vital for building the soil. She touched upon 'humanure' and how they've implemented that in their homestead.
Did you know the precursor to the modern toilet was called a 'dry earth closet' developed in the 1850s by a minister, Henry Moule. He thought the other option, water closets (beloved by the Queen of England!) an abomination, saying they pollute our waters and don't put nutrients from human waste back into the soil. Thus, today's toilette...really makes you wonder about the so-called advanced society we live in.
Well, thanks Tom and Ann, you two are truly an inspiration to the rest of us local dwellers!
On this brisk spring morning, I'm making a start of reporting on what is happening within the budding Transition Town Jericho (TTJ) movement here in Jericho. Hopefully I will be sharing role of beat reporter with others in our group.
Even though we're not official yet (registration with US Transition network is in progress though!) there's been a very positive response from the community over these first few months of existence.
Since Ruah from Charlotte TT spoke at our initial meeting In December, we've formed a steering group, and have hosted general meetings nearly every month. At meetings we're presenting topics relevant to Transition AND meeting our neighbors; during intros we encourage folks to share their 'human' assets and resources; really what that means is talking about yourself, always fun!
At last night's general meeting, Tucker and Leif both skilled permaculturists on TTJ's steering group, presented a talk/slideshow, 'Regenerating Abundance with Permaculture'. People showed up from Jericho and neighboring towns. The interactive presentation was both practical and fascinating. Presented in a user-friendly anecdotal style, they touched upon everything from soil care to innovative concepts like hugelkultur and keyline design. Cool stuff!
Kudos to Tucker and Leif! Really glad they're helping us steer TTJ forward! After all, the whole transition town movement started with inspiration from a permaculture class taught a decade ago in Ireland. Now there are over a thousand transition towns worldwide; you never know what one thing may lead to...