Saturday night was the annual Chicory Common potluck which was also a silent auction and fundraiser for The Edge Hill Country School.
Chicory is a Natural Foods Co-op that's in Durham and Edge Hill is a Waldorf focused school that is just outside of Durham. The population of the school expanded this year and a local couple, David and Jennifer Sugarman, built a new home. So they donated their old home to the school and the building was relocated to the school yard. 19 hours of transport and $30, 000 later the school had a third building. So now they are fundraising to recoup the cost. The cool thing was that at this event there were about 120 people (children included) and in a "pay what you can" sort of way, they raised over $1500 in the one night. Seems a lot to me for a potluck event.
The evening also had a mini-cabaret of sorts. The stage was set-up as the main counter at Chicory and Myke Dyer (co-owner) had a conversation with Kieran (the other owner's teenage son) who pretended to be new to the area and bored. The conversation was to convince Kieran that Durham was a happening community. And it was interspersed with various community people and groups coming up to showcase themselves, and provide updates. It was really cool. I wished so much that many of the people I've been singing Durham's praises to would have been there to see it.
Some of the highlights were:
- Noel Palmer was hilarious in her one-person monologue regarding the local knitting circle. They meet every couple Sundays.
- Diane H. (can never remember her last name) and the local Friday night singers got up and regaled us with a beautiful little song. By the end the whole room was joining in the chorus. They meet every Friday night at the local art Gallery.
- The children from the Edge Hill School sang a couple rounds and played a song or two on their recorders. Then Philly Markowitcz (from the CBC radio, but also a local) talked about the process of moving David & Jennifer's former home. It slid off the road at least once and also had to be hoisted up and moved over a bridge because it was about 4 feet too wide to go on it.
- Dawna Proudman and a friend (who's name I didn't catch) performed a cool spoken word piece to advertise the First Annual "Words Aloud" Spoken Word Festival to be held at the Durham Art Gallery June 25-27th.
- A fellow explained about a local "Voluntary Gas Tax." Here's the full explanation. It's incredible in my opinion and worth reading, but long so I'll cut it.
Voluntary Gas Tax
Description:The Voluntary Gas Tax is a campaign that was initiated in November of 2000 by a group of concerned citizens in Harrisonburg, Virginia. With wars over oil a reality in our everyday lives a group of local citizens from Grey-Bruce have implemented the same Voluntary Gas Tax. This campaign grows out of the awareness that the society in which we live relies heavily on petorleum products to the detriment of our environment, health and the well being of communities. This campaign also reflects a concern that the price of gasoline and other oil products does not reflect the actual cost that we as a society incur as a result of our dependence on oil. These costs would include costs to the environment such as global warming, costs of maintaining a stable supply of oil through poilitcal and military intervention in oil producing regions of the world, costs to the health of ourselves and our communities - polution, lack of exercise, lack of opportunities to interact with neighbours. This campaign attempts to start preparting for the future by reversing the negative impacts of our oil addiction and identifying an supporting sustainable alternatives.
Anyone and everyone who is interested in participating is encouraged to join this effort. The proceeds from this campagin will be donated to organizations that - 1. Advocate for a cleaner environment; 2. Promote alternative modes of transportation; 3. Attempt to lesson the negative impact on people who are suffering and dying due to the world's reliance on oil; 4. Somehow work to reduca our societies reliance on petroleum.
- To increase awareness of the amount of gas we consume.
- To promote alternative modes of transportaion which depend on renewable sources of energy and energy sources that do not place a heavy burden on the environment.
- To decrease the likelihood of political and military intervention based on the need to insure a stable supply of oil products.
- To encourage support of local farmers, businesses, and organizations which do not rely heavily on intersate and international distribution of their products and therefore consume less oil.
- To advocate for a shift in emphasis of regional planning departments from developing roads and infrastructure which support only motor vehicles to developing infrastructure which supports both motor and non-motor modes of transportation.
- To financially support organizations and initiatives which promote alternative modes of transportation and organizations which work to lessen the negative impact on people who are suffering and dying due to the world's reliance on oil.
- To encourage manufacturers of motor vehicles to produce vehicles that are more fuel effiecient.
- To decrease the likelihood that political leaders will be inclined to do exploration and mining for oil in wilderness and protected natural areas.
- To encourage active lifestyles and excercise which contribute to the overall health of our communities.
- To encourage people to live close to where they work, shop, worship, and play, thereby building stronger community ties.
Calculating the Gas Tax:
1. Every time you put gasoline in your motor vehicle, keep the receipt.
2. At the end of each season (on solstice and equinox) add up the total litres consumed.
3. Multiply the number of litres by 1 - 15 cents.
1. Record the odometre reading on your car at the beginning of each season.
2. At the end of each season, record your odometre reading.
3. Multiply the total kilometers driven by 1 to 2 cents per km according to the average km/litre. The range from 8km/litre to the best fuel efficiency being 17km/litre.
4. Deposit the total in to account #1286400 at the Saugeen Community Credit Union.
5. At the end of each season interested participants will vote on 2 organizations to give the Gas Tax to.
At the end of each season participants in the Voluntary Gas Tax will be asked to cast tehir vote for two organizations (on local and one region, national or international) who will receive the proceeds of that season's gas tax. All contributors receive one vote. How we choose to proceed will continue to be decided on by those participating. The first season's earnings will be tallied up with the end of Winter 2003 on March 21, 2004. JOIN ANYTIME!
To register or for more information call May, Lynn or Christine at (519) 369-3064.
- To increase awareness of the amount of gas we consume.
- Christine also talked about a car co-op where members would share one vehicle.
- I forget the group's name, but the people who meet every single Sunday at noon for one hour to demonstrate for PEACE at the only intersection in town all stood up with signs and banners. It was remarkable to see the age range and the number of people who once a week demonstrate their commitment to peace.
- Grant talked about SEED. Again, lost the meaning of the acronym, but its basically money that is in a fund for local people to take an interest free loan. I think its up to $1000 for one year right now. It sounds really awesome.
- I don't think anyone specifically talked about Sau-bucks, but the Saugeen Trading Community was also very present. Even the silent auction could be bid in Sau-bucks. Basically its a local currency. They meet once each season to have a trading day. Before spending in Durham I never had anyone ask me if I wanted to pay in Federal or not. :)
- One of the highlights for me was hearing Michael Schmit describe in detail his fight from 1994 to present to make raw milk products and sell them locally and in the city. He said there is going to be pictures and an article in the May Saturday Magazine. The penultimate moment was when he looked around the crowded room and asked "Who beside's me was living here in 1983?" and not one other person raised their hand. It's incredible to see that this AMAZING community of pro-active like minded families and individuals has formed so VERY recently. I am so excited to be moving there this summer.
- Michael also promoted an upcoming Symphony in the Barn event.
- Jeffery Shay is a member of the Chicory community and was this year elected as a town councillor so that rocks too. He drew the winners for the writing contest draw.
- Elisa got up and talked a bit about Circle Sun Farm. One funny bit was when she said: "For the low sum of $5000 you two can assume the risk and responsibility of working on and owning a farm," to describe the co-op that's presently forming. She also got to get in a plug or two for the new line of organic meat products we're starting to market.
- And David Sugarman read a neat poem about the community and later Grant & Kieran did a rap about Myke Dyer.
All in all it was an incredible showcase of the community which over the past two years I have come to know and love. I wish you all could have been there!