While I am a Storyteller, I have been a Community Development Worker for as long or longer. Nothing gives me more excitement or satisfaction than weaving stories of disparate groups together into the stronger fabric of Community. That’s Community with a capital C.
Aboriginal community use Community as a way of describing the interconnectedness and interdependence of people. Non-Aboriginal community use the word to generally describe groups other than their own, often not recognising their own participation in Community. It is an interesting distinction. For me, Community has a capital C. Within Community, that winding of spirit, heart and mind, can be numerous smaller communities. All of them link and require connectedness to survive.
In my region, we have real concerns with food security. It is astonishing to me that in a world that over produces, access to fresh produce is minimised for monopoly of profit. I live in a bush town, surrounded by farming community. Most of the farmers are tied into contracts that do not allow them to offer their produce outside those contracts. That way madness lies.
So, we are starting our own Community Food Project and coming together to look after ourselves. It’s quite clear that that governments simply couldn’t care less, nor do big producers or organisations that seek profit above Community. We will do it for ourselves as must so many others. We are starting our own Community Dining program. This is shared meal once a month where everyone contributes, either their time, money or fresh produce. It is a great opportunity to meet a broad range of people from your local community.
This will be coupled with a food co-op. I am very keen that each buyer contributes an extra dollar to our one and only emergency relief centre (for the whole region!) to increase their capacity to feed the 900 families per week they cater for in this flourishing, farming region. Crazy, isn’t it? The co-op buying group will allow us to access local producers through a food hub.
We are also linking with the local community gardening group and I am particularly looking forward to a bit of Gorilla Gardening (opportunistic gardening in public and private spaces), in fact I might get started on that this weekend. This will be enhanced by the courses offered by the Neighbourhood House, the gardening group and links to local businesses.
Ah, that feels better already and we are only just getting started.
(c) CLHHarper 5 June 2014