Not that big 'O', the other one. Olympia. The city we call home. Is it what we want? Does it have the right mix of businesses. I, for one, would like a comfortable coffee house. Less grand than B&B. More light than SIZZISZZIS, or whatever it's called. More tables than Dancing Goats. And not a Starbucks. Traditions comes closest to what I want, but I would like some options. SF Bakery is great but they need a new speaker system. I'm hoping for variety... and lots of it.
Has the time come for community conversations in Olympia? The means whereby we communicate with one another include the Olympian, OP&L, this blog and others, and what else? City council meetings, which are for city business not community, are not discussions. At best a person gets 3 minutes to speak to a panel of stone-faced elected or appointed people who have a specific job to do. There is no discussion. Rarely is there even any response at all. When I speak or present information at city council meetings I keep in mind that I am also speaking to the community watching on TCTV, but still, there is no dialogue. No give & take. No conversation.
How do we decide on even some simple notion such as whether we support one another in pointing out littering to those responsible and how do we hold them accountable? Do we agree that clean streets are a community standard, or are there those who prefer dirt and filth? And if we can't come to some agreed upon standard, do we just leave it up to the police to decide what's important and who to punish?
Rachel Corrie Foundation presents 2012 Peace Works
Shuruq: Olympia's First Arab Festival, October 6, 2012
Have you ever watched that fruit tree on your street ripen, and noticed that most of the perfectly tasty apples ended up falling and rotting on the ground? If you hate to see good food go to waste, you’ll be relieved to hear that your local food rescue programs are actively working towards a solution. This issue of food waste occurs at a time when we also have thousands of families in our community who are hungry; so what is your community doing about it?
To address the twin problems of hunger and waste, the the Thurston County Food Bank Gleaners host volunteers to go out and glean, which means to harvest food that would otherwise go to waste, and bring it to your local food bank. The Thurston County Food Bank began their gleaning project in 2009, after groups such as the Gleaners Coalition and the Evergleaners became less active. This program is supported as part of a statewide gleaning effort by the organization Rotary First Harvest called “Harvest Against Hunger,” which places AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers in eleven sites around Washington to help bridge the gap between local growers and food banks. VISTA member and recent Evergreen graduate Shannon Pritchard will be coordinating these efforts in Thurston County throughout the 2012 season.
The Thurston County Food Bank Gleaners focus on harvesting the bounty from the local organic farm community as well as the three Kiwanis Food Bank Gardens in Olympia. Last year over 32,000 lbs of nutritious produce were gleaned from farms, and Kiwanis gardens yielded an amazing 33,000 lbs for the Thurston County Food Bank! Kiwanis members and food bank garden volunteers participate in weekly work days to cultivate this abundance all season long, so anyone can stop by the Capitol Campus Garden on a Tuesday after work, or the Westside garden for some Saturday morning weeding.
Olympia Community School is a busy place this spring. Last weekend we participated in the Procession of the Species, in the Water section, as animals from the Galapagos Islands. It was a lot fun and the kids had a great time making their costumes at the procession studio and participating in this exciting annual event. We also had our students' art displayed in the window at Traditions, as part of Artswalk. They are studying India and created India inspired elephants.
This weekend the school volunteered at Left Foot Organic farm. We learned about their farm and helped out by weeding some of the garden beds. If you haven't been there, it is a great experience. From their website: "Left Foot Organics promotes self-sufficiency, inclusion and independence for people with disabilities and rural youth through meaningful, paid employment and training in the business of growing and selling quality organic food and farm products."
We have more community service events scheduled, our next is a field trip to the Thurston County Food Bank, where our students put together food boxes for kids in our area to have healthy food for the weekends. Check out our teacher blogs to learn more about the field trips and classroom news.
Save the date!
The WINTER GATHERING will take place on January 28 (all welcome). 9 AM to 5 PM, Tumwater Friends Meeting House, 219 B Street SW, Tumwater. Registration $20 for the day (sliding scale).
The theme of the daytime Gathering will be "The Economic Crisis – Thriving Through Building Community." Dick Burkhardt (Seattle) will present "The Limits To Growth" and other speakers will present new ideas for sustainable living, such as the Community Rights Ordinance that promises to let communities legislate what they need. Ideas will be presented in the morning, and further explored in the afternoon (interactive panel with audience participation). Potluck lunch, with soup. 3:15 to 4:15, campaign strategies for small parties; 4:15 to 5:00, Green Party of Washington State business meeting.
In the evening of that same day, Nicole Foss will speak on ROADMAP TO THE COMING YEARS OF CRISIS, 7 - 9 PM (including time for Q and A). Olympia Friends Meeting House, 3201 Boston Harbor Rd NE, Olympia; Tickets $10-$25 sliding scale
Nicole Foss is traveling the world to warn people of what lies ahead (especially in the next few years) and let them know how to prepare. She says that peak oil will be the driver for economic change in the coming years, but financial collapse (the drying up of credit, and therefore of money) will create the effect we notice first. She describes how to prepare: self-reliant communities are the best insurance, and will give us inner strength as well.
Go to gp-wa.us for more details.
How do we come to some social understandings about behaviors in public places. From panhandling to busking. From hanging with friends to being drunk and/or loaded. From passing through to passing out. How do we, as a community of all of us, come up with some social rules (if you will) like the rule about driving on the right side of the street. Notice how that one rule helps keep everyone safe, except from the drunken drivers who don't know their limits.
If we can't come up with some social understandings that we can all abide by, we are likely to get more intimidation by cop. City council members don't seem to think they have any other tools other than enforcement by cop. And as citizens we don't seem to be offering much in an alternative way, either.
If humans are able to put a man on the moon, we ought to be able to come up with some solution to this situation. I say we need to put more brain power to work here. How about a community forum? How about a box at city hall where suggestions can be collected? How about those being hassled come up with some ideas? How about we get creative?
What will it take? Somewhere else for street people to hang out? Something for them to do with all their free time? How about some changes in thinking on the part of the people who lump everyone together as though every poor person is a threat to their saftey? How about free movie passes to the Capital Theater so the street people have something to do once in a while? It won't cost anything and there are always empty seats.
My name is Daniel Wilson. Yes that guy. My house was attacked with gallons of paint and I don't really have very much money to help clean it up, my landlord isn't helping and I'm paying everything out of pocket. I'm not a rich kid with a parents' bank account and I want anyone who cares to donate whatever they can to my Paypal:
I know that a lot of you might hate me or whatever, this plea is not for you. I'm talking to those that want to help out a struggling father who just had a whole bunch of mess happen to him because he was stupid enough to talk to the corporate media. Please just give me, like, twenty dollars right now. I'm not above asking people I don't know on the internet for money, so how about it Olympia?
If you're a rich pervert who gets off on unloading money into bank accounts in ten to twenty minute sessions (yes these are just some of the people capitalism creates) just do it with my paypal. I'll take all your money, I have no shame.