Giving and sharing are such basic foundations of good community and great relationships. So easily however we slip into the consumer economy for even some basic things - especially around Christmas season. If we were to simply share our own abundance, and asked for support and assistance, it is so surprisingly easy to catalyse a gift economy.
I am running a series of free permaculture workshops at the local neighbourhood centre. Tomorrow morning is the final of the series - focussing on how to use all the wonderful produce we grow. I will be exlploring ferments, herb oils, herb vinegars, solar cooking, herb drying, the use of unusual perennial edibles.
Last night while I was planning this session, I realised that I am very short on small jars to run this session, so I put out a midnight email to my community. Before breakfast I already had an offer of about 100 jars. Through the day more people responded too.
In the middle of the day I headed off to collect the jars. First stop was at the home of one the the elders of the community - someone I love to see, but had not caught up with for ages. His knees are giving him some trouble so we don't meet on our morning walks. We had a great chat and caught up on each other’s news. He was so happy that I came to collect these jars. It doesn't feel right to him to throw them away and he was delighted to get my email and have a chance to unclutter his shed a little.
Next stop was another lovely neighbour up the same road. I wandered through her food forest to their owner-built strawbale house of another neighbour. She had the jars ready, washed and packed at her door. Again we chatted and caught up and as a bonus we organised some spanish conversational lessons for my daughter - she is teacher and translator.
Finally we headed to the other side of the ecovillage. Not only did this couple share with me a box of pristine bottles, but a couple of plant seedlings - a tamarind and a chilli bush. I had been wanting to catch up with them for a while to learn more about their method of making effective microorganisms (EM) from citrus and molasses - an alternative to Bokashi. I was given the full run through of the process and the promise of a bottle of EM when it is drained off next week. He is Thai and has spent a long time researching EM methods from Thailand and is going to translate it and share it. I'll start some myself soon.
I finally came home with way more jars than I had ever expected, and a huge smile from all the connections and sharings made today. Tomorrow I will pass on the gift at the neighbourhood centre with an abundance of produce and jars of herb oils for the participants to gift at Christmas.
|Chilli and Tamarind seedlings - in Thailand the new growing tips of tamarind trees are eaten as a fresh green|
|Preparing herb oils, salad dressings and salves at the Maleny Neighbourhood Centre.|
Labels: christmas, community, gift economy, permaculture