It’s about individuals coming together to localise, in creating business around farmers markets, food growing, timebanks and cooperating at numerous innovative
tiers and levels.
Many more NZer’s today are talking among themselves that there has to be a far better way for us to live, especially for our collective planetary future.
Up and down and across New Zealand, many 'kiwis' are slowly but methodically going about integrating with their local community - wishing to share at a deeper level, values that are expressed from the heart and from a place of honesty and courage.
From little villages, districts, towns, to suburbs in cities, farmers markets seem to be a key ‘nodal point’ where people can congregate and cross pollinate news and views of how community can come together - so as to become self reliant, and resilient as well as creatively taking innovation
to a new art form.
Are you one of these cultural creatives? Who enjoys meeting people to talk deeply about how we can address the urgent needs within the biosphere of today.
I trust that you are as the following interview I feel, will fill you with optimism and dear I say it, joy, which as you inherently know - we need
to experience far more of - especially if we are aware of current world news.
Juliet Adams became a volunteer in Lyttelton (just beyond Christchurch) in the South Island, just after the earthquake that affected so many people’s lives.
This came about because Project Lyttelton had a ‘Time Bank.’
A Time Bank - is a system that helps people to help each other, without money changing hands.
To join a local time bank - there needs to be a basic program on a small computer system so as to record what exchanges are being made. When you join you
list the ‘skills’ you can offer towards the community and any other ways of helping people in the community to do things.
Plus, you will also ‘have some needs' as well where you would like some help.
For example if you spent one hour minding a friends children, they will credit you ‘one hour’ on the time bank records. Then you can use that credited
‘one hour’ on your account to pay someone to do something for you. Like fixing the broken fence or mowing the lawns. etc.
So it’s a matter of people exchanging their abilities and their time to help one another - without money changing hands.
What ‘time banks’ do is bring people and connection much more closer together. Where as money can be over convenient as in the human equation it may not
play a ‘closer quality’ in reaching out to people and their inner needs. i.e good relationships that are far more healthy … where you spend
time talking and making sure that everyone is warmly satisfied with the ’transaction’.
In Lyttelton there is over 750 members in their time bank - so if these 750 people congregated all togther in a hall - there is huge potential and possibility
with the collective skills that are there. Thus a time bank like this has 'vast social capital' that can be unleashed and put to good purpose.
Community Treasure Chest
The ‘community treasure chest’ - is where people who belong to a time bank, donate and credit their ‘one hour’ to the community treasure chest - which
allows other people who are going through a tough spell and need a hand up, can avail themselves of accumulated gifted ‘one hour' credits from the
So that people who are not even time bank members can receive community assistance.
This is the difference between a system that is built around people - rather than money.
Project Lyttelton is based on many projects
Having many community gardens - you give some work time and you can walk away with some of the fresh produce.
Garage Sales - about 4 or 5 a week - are all organised through Project Lyttelton - having a well organised, publicised outreach.
Saturday Farmers Market - which is a huge success - and this is where town and country meet and much sharing and networking takes place.
Helen Dew of Carterton and and Living Economies, North of Wellington and Margaret Jeffries of Lyttelton went to ITHACA in New York in the US many years
ago and learnt about ‘time banks’ and brought the concept back to NZ. http://livingeconomies.nz
Today more and more Councils and Central Government are actively supporting communities to assist them to become more cohesive and healthy to improve the
lives of their citizens. Healthy, happy people, as a result are not dependent on health services and do not draw down on the community or economy.
Locally there are Time Banks in Christchurch, Sumner and New Brighton areas.
Minimisation of Waste
Saturday markets - you can borrow a cup - take it away full of a hot drink or soup and carry it with you, refill it and later on in the day drop it back
at the market and one of the staff will happily wash it at the end of the day.
Same for plates, knives and forks - you can enjoy food and have no concern about disposing anything in the rubbish - food scraps go for compost etc. A
very clean thought out action plan to minimise waste. The idea of washing up is easily achieved and you have no concerns either.
Many festivals are run in the town that bring people together.
Bertie the truck, can be hired off Project Lyttelton PL for localised use.
Fruit and veggie crates of fresh food are available every week.
They have a Library where many leading edge books on community building, finance and success stories of what is happening around our planet are available.
This is where Juliet volunteers her time. As volunteering is a large part of PL.
Volunteering is the glue to keeping the community cohesive and flowing.
They also have shares in a health food shop that is owned as a coop called ‘Harbour Coop', selling
healthy and organic food.
Project Lyttelton is a wonderful fulfilling experiment of people working and playing together.
It is also emotionally healthy as well as providing physical health for ones body.
It in many ways is the microcosm of the NZ macrocosm - where ideals and warm hearted values coalesce into unfolding a better tomorrow.