Success at UnTamed and Loose!

Last weekend was a great success for Commonomics at UnTamed and Loose Pop-up Art Gallery and Live Music at Whirlyball in Enfield, CT! Huge thanks to Quest Arts for inviting us out. We had a blast talking about Commonomics and dancing the night away with some great people! The music was awesome and there were so many unique, creative artists.

Thank you everyone who stopped by our booth and took a moment to speak with us. We look forward to seeing you again and hopefully working with all of you beautiful people in some form down the road to create a better world!

If you liked any of the Cold and Flu Remedies or any of the Do-it-Yourself Health/Beauty Care products we showcased you can find resources for all of them at our Do It Yourself page.

Or, if you are interested in finding out what resources are in your own community check out our Community Resources page or our CSA Resource Guide. And if you don’t see something listed on there that you think should be, give us a shout!

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Photo Credit: Kristine LoveShine

 

Kochs and Walmart Clan Wage Dirty War to Stop You From Putting Solar Panels on Your Home

A new rooftop solar system isinstalled every three minutes in the U.S., up from one every 80 minutes just eight short years ago. If this pace continues to accelerate or even just holds steady, it will not be long before solar panels become visible, if not ubiquitous, in many neighborhoods nationwide.

That prospect is enough to upset the Koch brothers, the heirs of the Walmart fortune and the utility industry, all which are trying to stamp out the rooftop solar movement or at least make a tidy profit penalizing the people who use it. With the help of powerful lobbyists and PACs like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Americans for Prosperity, they are set to do battle in statehouses across the nation in 2015.

ALEC, which receives much of its funding from the utility industry and fossil-fuel investors like the Kochs, has long been an opponent of renewable energyand the Obama administration’s effort to reduce carbon emissions. It’s working with conservative activists and corporate interests to fight homeowners who are installing solar panels on their roofs. Calling people who install rooftop solar panel “freeriders,” another word for freeloaders, the pro-corporate group is actively promoting legislation in states to charge fees, even exorbitant ones, for rooftop solar installations.

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Our Next Steps: Getting ready to move forward into the new year!

We hope you all had a great Holiday Season filled with love and laughter! I’d first like to thank everyone who came out to the 4th Annual Knox Parks Harvest Market on November 22nd, 2014. It was a spectacular event with great vendors, delicious food and awesome music. We met many wonderful people and shared information on food preservation, indoor gardening and medicinal herbs. Thanks for making it out to see us and making that day a great success! We couldn’t have done it without you!

And now that the holidays are over, we will be regrouping to continue planning for the 2015 year. We have some upcoming opportunities to share skills and empower and build community that we will be exploring. We have been asked by other local grassroots organizations around the state to collaborate on some events this year, and we will be holding our own event in the spring as the gardening season begins.

Save the date! Commonomics’ Spring Event will be on Saturday, April 25th, just in time for planting! We will feature seasonal discussions and educational workshops, as well as local vendors and community organizations focused on sustainability and alternatives in economics.

Currently we are still looking for skill shares, speakers, local vendors, and community organizations to participate in our spring event. If you’d like to get involved or stay updated and find out more information please contact us at commonomicsct@gmail.com, follow us on Facebook, or continue to follow our newsletters that we will be sending out periodically with lots of  information to keep you updated!

Come to a Commonomics Meeting!

We will be holding weekly meetings on Monday nights at 6 pm. Come meet people who are passionate about sustainability and building a more just economy. Though we are a very goal oriented and efficient group, we get on some great tangents about the work we’re doing or the world we’d like to see. We need volunteers to help make our spring event another great success, so join us and let’s empower our state together!

Our next meeting will be held January 19th at the beautiful Burnap Brook Farm located at:

187 Route 6
Andover, Connecticut 06232

The location may change periodically so please keep an eye out for updates! We are currently looking for a permanent location to hold our Monday night meetings for free or using an alternative form of currency (barter, time donation, etc).

Decision-Making by Consent

At April’s Commonomics reunion, we discussed next steps using a form of Sociocratic decision-making called Picture Forming. Here’s how it works:

Rather than start with proposals, first flesh out the issue. We asked each person, “What should we keep in mind when deciding what to do next?”

Our answers led us to ask a second question: “Why are we having trouble sustaining the momentum from the two November events?” Most people said, “gaps in communication: nobody knows what others are doing.”

With this clarity, we quickly decided to write this newsletter and launch the website. The results are in your hands!

What let us to Sociocracy? In a better world near us, decisions will still have to made and process matters. In Kees Boeke’s words: “We are so accustomed to majority rule as a necessary part of democracy that it is difficult to imagine any democratic system working without it. It is true that that it is better to count heads than to break them.”

Sociocracy is a form of self-organization that allows organizations and businesses to function within the current system to get us from “here” to “there” non-violently. Here is more; for non-profits see this.

Manchester Action Group Off and Running!

Founded at the first Commonomics Summit in November of 2013, MASC (Manchester Area Sustainability Cooperative) is a group of individuals who have come together to empower and educate the Manchester community in economical and ecological sustainability practices. Projects include community gardens, compost collection, movie nights, and a partnership with the Windham Hour Exchange.

In early May, MASC debuted at Imagine Main Street, a small arts fair on the first Thursday of the month in the business district of Manchester, CT on Main Street. There was a sign-up sheet for a monthly newsletter, brochures about MASC, a map of Manchester with our gardens marked, and Bettylou’s gardening tips on a half sheet of double-sided paper. Demostrations included compost bins with different stages of compost from unprocessed to completed dirt, and cut-in-half cardboard egg cartons where participants planted soaked-beans in dirt that they could take home.

As the most successful of the Commonomics Action Groups, MASC has identified the following tips for other groups: being from the same town/community, finding common interests among the members while still allowing diversity from their varied backgrounds and strengths, meeting consistently but not getting discouraged by drop-outs or others not making all meetings, finding and collaborating with already existing projects in the community, taking minutes at each meeting to reflect and refer back to, and having brochures to hand out in the community. 

Willimantic Vicinity Update, Struggles for Willimantic Advocates Make it Happen (WAMH)

The Willimantic Commonomics group met a few times after the first Hartford Commonomics event in the Fall, with a fairly large gathering made up of people from the area who had worked on and/or attended the event in Hartford joined with like-minded members of area Transition groups to come up with several possible actions. With many local projects already in service in the community, it was decided to move in the direction of informing people about them. Several ideas were synthesized: to invite all of those involved in local community projects to join together in another forum specifically for our area, to sponsor a tour to view projects already happening, and to develop a central website hub to connect all of the groups together and increase communication and information.

In response to this expressed need at the the follow-up meeting in April to the original Hartord Summit in 2013, action has been taken to create a website to act as a central hub for all groups and projects throughout the state, which should also allow the Willimantic Commonomics Group to begin to move forward.

Willimantic Advocates Make It Happen (WAMH), a small nonprofit in Willimantic, was initiated as one of ten recipients who won a $10,000 Poverty Reduction grant offered by the Windham Area Access Agency in 2009-2010. We are run by volunteers and all of the money we have received has gone directly to serving people, so far helping over one hundred and fifty people in need who are homeless, in recovery from substance abuse, and/or attempting to reintegrate into the community after serving a prison sentence. After running out of the initial funding, we have fundraised an additional $10,000 through various events including several bingo nights, a dance, flea market, Equal Exchange product sale, and concert. We have had a difficult time attracting the general public to help with fundraising, and have not been successful at raising money through grants. We are hoping to develop a small business that will eventually fund our support services to purchase needed supplies and equipment, and at the same time allow us to hire the people we serve. We welcome assistance and expertise from those interested and knowledgeable in the Commonomics community.