It feels so good to give back!

Back in August, I wrote a post about being involved in a program called Resilient Communities. From April- October, we would meet up once per month & discuss different strategies pertaining to a set topic for the month. The 6 topics were, Fire, Water, Economy, Energy, Food & Health. We used strategic questioning as our way of communicating with the group. So this involves a 4 part strategy, focus (main concerns), vision (what would you like to see happen), change (how can this happen) & action (what can you see yourself doing)

So our last meeting in November was a clean slate, what projects would we as a community group like to see happen in the future. We voted & the 3 topics that came to the fore were, fire, water & food. The other topics are on the back burner at the moment & may come into play in the future but we can’t do everything, so lets concentrate on what sparks us up. The projects that different people are working on (we have a buddy system, so no one is on their own) are food resilience-a community garden (I’m involved in this one) a “welcome pack” for new residents & old, which will be a printed & digital document outlining critical information on who to get in touch with when there is a natural disaster, planning for a natural disaster, which volunteer community groups are available for interested people. A list of trades & business’ at a local level, food outlets, farm gate sales etc. Water monitoring, a citizen science type of approach. Fire preparedness, emergency grab bags, indigenous burning workshops. In mid January we held a meeting with local council & Red Cross reps, to let them know of our desires & what help they can offer & funding opportunities. We have another meeting in February to inform each other on what we have progressed to & where were at.

I’m on the organising committee for our local Nana Glen Food Collective. This is the group really keen to get a community garden happening. At this stage we have no site & hopefully that will become clearer in the future. In the mean time to keep the momentum happening we have come up with a range of ideas to keep us connected. Since October we’ve held a twice monthly Swap, Share & Shuffle, so we meet at our local community hall & for an hour we swap food, home grown produce, cakes, jams, eggs, flowers, plants, jars, egg cartons etc. No money changes hands. Our motto is “give what you can, take what you need” & I have to say it’s working really well. We even held a summer solstice event to help raise some funds for our organisation, where people bought tickets, brought along a plate of food to share, we had face painting, wreath making, food swap, open mic & all in all it was a success. We’ve had to form a committee & have public liability insurance & we are just about incorporated. So that ticks all the boxes for us to move forward as an organisation that can comfortably apply for grants etc. This Saturday we are attending a values workshop, so we can write our “mission statement “ for our group.

I have to say that after the last almost 12 months, I feel more connected to my community than ever. I’ve fostered really nice relationships with like minded people & feel good, giving back to my community. I’m even facilitating a “Basic Home Remedies Workshop” in May. Quite a few people have suggested that I “spread the word” about natural remedies, once I got talking to them. You never know, I might even get some of them onto TGN.


  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I love this idea and it would definitely help create community and new friendships.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    This is an amazing project to be involved in. I went to a meeting once about a similar type of project but it didn't get off the ground floor. Never heard about it again. Mind you that was in a slightly larger community so it may not have had all the connection that a smaller community might have.

    I think what you are doing with regards to a list of local trades people, farms & ranches, small businesses, etc. is awesome. We all need to be supporting each other on a community basis cause that's who we will be able to rely on in an emergency, disaster, pandemic, etc. Without these local sources of food, skills and health care we could all be in dire straights.

    I hope you get your community garden up and running. It will become a gathering place.

    Good for you, teaching a class in home remedies. Its a great way to empower people. If you need any suggestions on class layout or topics, etc., please feel free to contact me. I have some class layouts and notes that might be useful for you.

    As to grants, we have found that to be the best source of income. Fundraising within the community is necessary to make people feel part of things but most fundraising events are a lot of work for a few people and the income isn't always great. But grant applications are much easier (usually), require less volunteers and bring in large amounts of funding. In the past 6 years our VFD has managed to obtain grant funding totalling nearly $400,000 from various sources. Fundraising over the same time period hasn't amounted to a 10th of that.

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,500 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Impressive! Thanks for sharing.