How to build a community

I have thought of how you could build or rebuild a community a lot and much more since this pandemic that kept us at home and made us realize we need to be more self sufficient.

I moved to a neighborhood where if you had not lived there for 50 years you were an outsider. The neighbors right beside us were nice, the rest, I gave up trying.

But then this last summer I decided I was going to try again. We do need a neighborhood and community more than ever right now.

I do have a few ideas but I was wondering what you might do to build a community or better ties amongst neighbors. Your community might have to be just a bit further way too.

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Comments

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant I started here by informing as many as I could about the coming food shortage. I offered to help those that did not know much if anything about gardening. 2 of the family that I talked about it to let me know that their parents garden, in another town one about 30 miles form here...I asked him how he might be able to get to them and that food in the event of no travel poss for what ever reason...

    Don't feel bad. people are people and many have their head so deep in the sand the worms are afraid lol.. Seriously though sometimes the best and or only way to help someone is to lead by example. However, I would only help the ones not willing to help themselves or be involved with the ocmmunity once and only once with just enough food that they would be able to show by doing they would work to be an asset to the community just like the rest of us/your group/whatever group.....they would be hleped according to the amount of work they were willing to do as long as they did it. It's like when the settlers arrived in 1492...at first they were all to work and when most noticed a few that sat around, yet when it was time to reap they were front and center...the captain then told them all if you don't work you don't eat..problem solved...

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2021

    I planned to drop a basket of fresh veggies to my neighbors in the summer. I have also offed free seeds to anyone in the community. I have had a lot of takers on that. If they have nice gardens or need garden tips that will open the door for more communication

  • Jens the Beekeeper
    Jens the Beekeeper Posts: 651 admin

    Be kind, offer help and offer your gardens surplus or other produce surplus.

    Try to talk to your neighbors about whatever they like to talk. Just start with small talk and weave in some more garden or homesteading related topics now and then.

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Jens I esp like your tip "Just start with small talk and weave in"... I do that all the time and it works most of the time no matter what I'm trying to share with people..

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    I think we're a little too "out there" for most folks. The city came to us and we're rather country folk, so it's been really tough meeting anybody - especially since CoVid. I love my TGN community. It's almost like being there.

  • RustBeltCowgirl
    RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant You mentioned neighborhood, is there any issue that the neighbors seem to be concerned about? That would be a conversation point. When things lighten up, a block party or local potluck?

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,517 admin

    @Denise Grant We live in general, in such a closed community here too. Some are so bold as to tell you that they don't want your ideas here. You have to be related and never move away. You need to be able to benefit them in some way and for next to nothing. You also can't be on the "wrong side of the line", which is a very crooked one that conveniently can be altered to exclude folks (whether good or bad). We have heard these statements ourselves and they certainly aren't only directed toward us. Through these attitudes, they will destroy the community they have through a very slow and ugly death.

    But...we are kind to our neighbors and any others. We are willing to help them & they are willing to help us if needed. My husband will chat with them when he meets up with them, talking about what interests them and what we might have in common. We may not mingle much (we aren't drinkers, nor dance-goers, nor meetings-are-great people, our kids are homeschooled), but there are some really great folks here too. We really appreciate those people and the ones that can think outside of the box. They are not always prevalent because they aren't the loud ones.

    Those are the types that can build community. They are forward thinking, curious, and usually happier & more kind. These people need to have each others' backs and stick together, breathing new life and ideas into an area. I think, @Denise Grant, that you are one of those exact people.

    When it is allowed in your area, I would arrange a lovely outdoor potluck type of thing in a lovely/fun setting. I would make invitations and deliver them personally. Put up a poster inviting those new to the community. Determine what you want to accomplish in that time. Chatting is good, but perhaps a time of sharing knowledge around a certain topic would be great. People love "free" things. Food & learning sounds good to me. What do they most need right now & would be open to? Perhaps I would start there. Build a small group & watch it grow.

    If nothing is allowed (because of the current situation), personally deliver a home-sourced gift of baking, homegrown, whatever, and let them know that you are interested in building a supportive community with a focus on learning together (or whatever). Be hospitable as you are able and let them know that they are important to you. That is very needed right now.

    Just some ideas. You are so knowledgable and are so determined. From reading your posts, I believe you are also kind hearted. I could easily see your dynamic personality be able to make it work.

    Let us know what you do and how it goes. Together, we can help each other change our little corners of the world for the better.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is just a community where if your not a 4 generation property owner you have problems fitting in. (we are 4 generation now, lol.) I also live on the busy highway section so its hard for people to stop and visit. The road seems to create a distance issue. New people that move in don;t meet people fast - except me. I always go down and introduce myself

    But our closest neighbors, about 1/2 mile away have been friendly

    Theere is a way to create community, you just need to find the right approach

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2021

    What a lovely and encouraging post.

    I would like a community garden here for people that do not want to gardens or feel they don't have the time. I have also thought about a creekside picnic and bonfire. We have 1/3 mile creek frontage. I love to talk gardening so when life returns to normal, and it will, I would like to either offer classes or just give garden walks.

    You had great ideas. Thank you!

  • RustBeltCowgirl
    RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant

    "But our closest neighbors, about 1/2 mile away have been friendly" Is that the neighbor that heard your snake scream and called to see if you were okay? So, what did she think of the gourd?

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RustBeltCowgirl That neighbor only lived 1/4 mile away. (they moved and the house was torn down) It was probably good she moved away as we pushed ther limits all the time, just silly stuff, lol. She was also new in the neighborhood.

    And yes, that was the neighbor. Shoe also shared the garden space with me that year learning how to garden. They moved here from a city and she had never had a garden. She loved the gourds.

    Our other close neighbors, also 1/4 mile away, moved due to age. It was too much to live there alone any more but we helped them plow their driveway and any other thing they needed.

    That reminds me of one of those "boring" stories. I'll post it later

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin

    Interesting topic @Denise Grant I always knew it was going to be difficult to get involved in our new community. It doesn’t seem to matter where in the world you are, the same applies! If you’re new, you almost have to prove yourself. I’ve been a volunteer rural firefighter for almost 20 yrs, transferred to my new local brigade and the crusty old men who ran it weren’t welcoming. I gave it almost a year and ended up resigning. Next I offered my services to a local committee who organised events/community things in the valley, nope, they were a happy little unit who did not need to explain to a newby, ‘how they did things’

    So then I found TGN and things have fallen into place. I haven’t written off the locals, maybe some day but for now I’m happy doing what I’m doing.

    i have always wanted to build a little ‘ pay it forward stall ‘ in our driveway. Excess produce, seeds, garden tips, books etc. No money involved, just if you’d like it you can have it and you may like to put something in return. Food for thought!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jodienancarrow I have thought about a free or trade box or cabinet too. Fill it with good book, seeds etc...

    I think kindness and thoughtfulness in our rather chaotic life will go a long way.

    And thank you for your volunteer service. My cousin was a firefighter for over 30 years. I know the work and hazard behind it

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,132 ✭✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant The community, in fact the whole valley where I live consists of the old families and the new comers. We have been here for over 30 years. Although this isn't a snobbish or exclusive. And the whole area is growing by leaps and bounds. We always had (before pandemic) a monthly potluck and community meeting. I am so looking forward to having that again.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @marjstratton How wonderful. The back road behind the toad I live on does this too.

    Our small town (two miles away) died when they put in the highway. I would like to see if we could get that town doing a little together.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,132 ✭✭✭✭

    Our community get togethers originated as the PTA for the school which used to actually be in Bayview. And when the school was torn down, the gym was left and that is where our meetings are held. Our town is very small and unincorporated. Good luck on getting something going in your community.

  • COWLOVINGIRL
    COWLOVINGIRL Posts: 954 ✭✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant Just keep showing love. They'll come around!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Hillbilly My mina garden that is mine is behing a gate to protct it from my animals if they getloose and our deer population.

    We are currently working on fencing for al of our property, mainly to make sure our animals do not get inther road and cause a major car pile up.

    Between animals, gardens, wild foraging, homegrown fruits and canning/freezing our food supply is pretty good. I also grow fresh greens all year on the property.

  • Voodoo Flóra
    Voodoo Flóra Posts: 258 ✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant a monthly / seasonal plant / herb / potion swap / sale kind of like a mini carnival. Can include music, food. The kids of course should be included, entire families. Like an old-fashioned faire. I've been looking for some such thing in the central western Oregon region.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2021

    @aprilbbrinkman Love this idea. I could do garden walks too

  • Sharie
    Sharie Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

    One of my friends started a street party and 30 years later, she's long gone and the party is an annual event!

  • flowerpower *
    flowerpower * Posts: 257 ✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant I have often lived in small communities with varying reputations for being closed in. The funny thing is although they will act like you don't belong and tell you to your face that you "have to prove yourself", they will discuss the tiniest details of your life and watch you (gossip, in other words). I have even been given the "you don't belong here" treatment by my family of origin, cousins and aunts, uncles and neighbors, so it is pretty strange behavior. I had a couple tell me it took them 15 years to fit into a community group so that they were "allowed" to do tasks. 😆 I have put up posters for events, and talked to others that also organized events, and the events were ignored because they were not sponsored by known community businesses and groups. These people are conservative, insular, gossipy, fearful (sometimes with good reason), and authority worshipping. However, if you say "hi" and are friendly, even tempered, and "normal", and pick and choose who you want to be friends with you can gradually collect a group of friends and also find your way in the community. Cultivating self reliance is also key. There are bad people in small communities that people are trying to avoid trouble with and they need to know that you are not one of them! The worst thing in small towns is not to be ignored, but to be hated, shunned and persecuted.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There has been a running joke for years in Vermont that if you are not an 8th-generation Vermonter you're a "flatlander" and a newbie. :-)

    However, despite the joke, I have always felt welcome here despite having moved in only about 8 years ago and not having family ties to the area. Once the old-time residents see that we fit in and don't try to change them or criticize them, things get friendly very easily. The fact that I'm rural-born (in a different state) probably helps, but I don't think it's critical.

    The best way to get to know people and form friendships is joining organizations of like-minded people. Churches are excellent, but clubs of people who hike, play sports, garden (of course), and so forth can also work well.

    Physical proximity is not a good indicator of affinity. Don't be surprised if your are not very close to your immediate neighbors, but strike up good friendships with people a few miles away. My close friends here are mostly members of my church congregation, though I do have three good neighbors close by who have been quite friendly.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 1,019 ✭✭✭✭

    In my immediate neighborhood there aren't any "like minded people" so looking for groups in the surrounding area has really helped.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @annbeck62 Many of us on TGN live in fairly low-density areas where there aren't many people in our immediate neighborhoods. It's not surprise that we have to look out into the surrounding area to find kindred spirits.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,635 admin

    Farmer's Markets are a good place to meet like-minded people. If there's not one in your area maybe you could start one. Our community is very small as is our market, but there are larger ones in neighbouring towns. It doesn't have to be all "farm" produce. We have quite a few crafters and offer space to other community groups that might have a fundraiser or other promotion happening. Sometimes there are only a few vendors but we get lots of traffic through.

    Sometimes there are organizations or "service" clubs that you could join to be part of a like-minded community. We have a Field Naturalist group in the area that does plant walks and bird watching. There is also an Elder College that offers classes and workshops in a wide variety of topics (gardening, computer skills, archaeology, local flora and fauna, local history, alternative medicines, cooking) at very inexpensive rates. You might offer your skills as an instructor.

    I hear you about the "crustiness" in fire departments @jodienancarrow. It has been part of our department in the past as well as many others in BC. I'm sorry you had to resign over the issue. With 20 years experience you are a valuable asset. How foolish of them to ignore that. You would most certainly be welcome in our department. If you were on one of the brigades, you might get sent to Canada or the US during the next bad wildfire season. I met several people from Australia and New Zealand during 2017. One guy had brought his own supply of Marmite. :)

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin

    @torey yep I was disappointed too. I figured that the attitude shown towards my wife and I at the social, training level, then what might happen when a full on emergency occurs. I wasn’t prepared to take the chance. Maybe I was wrong, maybe if we proved ourselves to them, then different result but I for one am sick of dealing with crusty old white mans crap! In our old brigade we like the glue, people came to us and relied on us, plus my wife was also the first aid/medical person, being a retired emergency nurse. Their loss, we’ll find something else. And yes, I would have jumped at the chance to help out overseas now that I’m retired and I would have to bring my own supply of Vegemite!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,635 admin

    @jodienancarrow That was it. Vegemite, not marmite. :)

  • Voodoo Flóra
    Voodoo Flóra Posts: 258 ✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant great idea about the walk and you can have a booth: "the Herbalist is IN / 5 cents please" not to mention an old-fashioned dunking booth for the Monsanto rep...

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @aprilbbrinkman I have several friends that do herbal walks. It would be a fun event on the property and by the creek.