Nurturing communities from the ground up

photo: Arctic Cooperatives Limited/ Northern Manitoba, Canada

Using break through technology – face-to-face neighboring – communities can strengthen themselves from the ground up, a potential game changer.

Community Mixers and Housing Mixers have the potential to empower communities to create housing, jobs, good food and strong communities from within. Every community is rich in resources – people who know how to fix things, nurses, early childhood experts, computer geeks, chefs, writers, grandparents and more. Communities that galvanize their resources to tackle their own problems will win.

Cooperative Community Centers for the Non-Rich

Be on the lookout for structurally sound, probably vacant, buildings  that need work. A suitable building, a collaborative landlord and alderman, where communities could meet for free at least once or twice a month for six months could provide the window of opportunity to generate momentum. A community that is motivated to write grants, get publicity, raise money, involve churches and neighborhood groups and make repairs has a good shot at creating durable, workable solutions.

Meeting in a building that is currently vacant but has potential to be reclaimed and rehabbed as a community center would function as a fulcrum to leverage resources into a regenerative powerhouse: a cooperative community center for the non-rich. It would directly address the community’s needs, which could include a  computer lab, community diner, child care and/or elder care, ongoing workshops and classes. Most importantly, it could be a place to just be together without having to spend money, i.e. outside the consumption grid.

Cooperatively, member owned, operated and governed, and adhering to the Seven Cooperative Principles, the club could exist in an  enterprise zone beyond the talons of corporations that bleed communities dry.  Monsanto,  Koch Brothers entities, Wal-Mart and their privileged brethren need not apply.

New Community Vision facilitates Housing Mixers at the Lake Street Church of Evanston on the 4th Sunday of the month from 12 – 2 p.m. Lake Street Church is handicapped accessible and is three blocks from the Purple Line Dempster Street station.

Photo: Stock Exchange, Arctic Cooperatives Limited/ Northern Manitoba, Canada

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