Dave and Joanie are roving baby boomer activists. They joined together about 5 years ago and formed a Non Profit focused on local, sustainable food. They've spent these last years travellening together as drop-in activists. They land in a city, quickly figure out who the movers and shakers are, embed themselves in the community and create a project that serves the people well. They've done things like help folks in Jamaica create a native medicinal garden and help lead workshops on community organizing for community gardens. Their approach is smart and savvy--Dave is brisque, quick and officious; Joanie is warm and chatty. Together they are a dynamo team, highly effective community organizers and hugs asset to any community they parachute into. As one of my housemates commented, they look like their fresh from the golf field, but actually they're gonna kick some @#$.
Lucky us, after 5 years of travelling activism, they decided to settle down in Charlottesville for the forseable future! Applying the same pricincples of community organizing as their shorter stays, they quickly connected with tons of people in town. They soon found their way to Alexis, and thus us. They've been in town under a year, and have already hosted a workshop on community organizing around community gardens, re-started the local Transition Town group, become regular volunteers with Virginia Organizing, the Local Food Hub, the Food Bank. They've gotten connected with Karen Waters from QCC, Holly Edwards on City Council, and Dave Norris our esteemed Mayor. Yesterday we sat down with them for some brainstorming collaboration.
Some highlights from the project incubator:
- Collaborating with JABA (Jefferson Board for the Aging) to take over their 400 sq.ft. heated hoophouse and turn it into a community greenhouse.
- Creating a garden of diversity; a community garden with plots maintained by some of the cultural subgroups we have here in town, brought here by the IRC, a local organization that places refugees. Each plot would host cultural events special to their region.
- Most exciting for me; we talked about marrying our idea of an urban commune with their idea of an urban education and sustainability center. A house in town that would have zero sum energy use, innovative and affordable energy saving measures, and have gardens demonstrating vertical growing, fishponds, permaculture concepts. And, it would be lived and run by a community of folks who would run workshops and demos out of the space.
We've already done rounds of brainstorming on this concept and have a bunch of stuff drafted; mision statement, a vision, elements we want to include. And so had they; they've got a concept paper, business plan, and power point presentation. We plan to share our documents and get together again soon. yee haw!