Saturday, May 30, 2009

How to build a neighbourhood (or how to disappear) - a story...

We had a visit last weekend from two interns with the CRAFT program (Collaborative Regional Alliance Farmer Training), who are currently doing their placement for the spring-fall growing season at a CSA near Durham. CRAFT is an excellent example of a mentorship model that offers young would-be farmers the chance to live with and learn from experienced farmers - everything from draft-horse farming, to CSA's, to biodynamic dairy farms, environmental learning centres, and more. The interns help out with the entire season in the various aspects of farm life and many start farm-based ventures of their own after this intensive internship. The interns also meet as a group once a month for workshops and workbees, and set up tours like this visit to Little City Farm to learn about our urban homesteading approach. Last year we had visits from two other farm groups, coming to our permaculture workshop and to learn more about approaches to sustainable city living and small-scale niche farming practices.

We really appreciated talking with Allison and Adrian, and were impressed with their knowledge and vision. Adrian followed up the visit by sending us this link to a great little zine, that tells the story of how easily, step by step, a real neighbourhood community can form. The drawings are whimsical, the words flow freely and beautifully, and the story brings inspiration. It's written by a fellow who is involved with the Riverbank Neighbours, a community group that acts as stewards of their neighbourhood river in Chicago. It's worth taking the time to read! (click on link below, and to read the zine simply click on each page to move to the next page). This is how the story begins:

Live somewhere. A house or apartment. And say hello to your neighbors. and borrow things. Here's how the saying goes: Always a borrower and a lender be. Lending and borrowin' makes good neighbors. Go to your neighbor when you need sugar. The next time they need bread they will come to you. Borrow onions. Lend popcorn. Borrow a leaf rake. Lend a baby buggy. Borrow some shoes. Everybody needs to owe. Everybody needs to be owed to.

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