In the last week I have been very busy and preoccupied with unexpected health issues, and I appreciate your patience during the break – I try to put something on the blog once a day and a substantial article once a week, but sometimes need a week or so off.
We had our annual election for FADA last night. I’m still vice-chair, and the admirable Triona Muldoon is our new chair. We each talked about the projects that engage us, and we need to do that more often: it reminds us how much we are doing, and how much this dozen volunteers have accomplished in three years. In the last six months, for example:
• Thanks to one of our members, local people who recently lost their jobs are now earning educational credits by working on some local land, turning a bankrupt blueberry farm into crops. More on that as it develops.
• The community garden, Bia Linn, has been going strong for five months now, and we are continuing to have courses there and elsewhere in Newbridge.
• Our group created a new web site at www.fada.ie.
• We are hosting a course in herbalism over the next few weeks, showing people how they can use local herbs for everything from medicine to cosmetics.
• One of the heads of the local beekeeping organisation gave a presentation at Bia Linn on how to keep a hive of one’s own.
• We are hosting a course in organic gardening over the next few weekends, demonstrating how people can grow their own food.
• Our group is hosting a DIY seminar next month on making your own hot-water solar panels out of recycled materials.
• We have begun a food club to order food in bulk, so people here can pool their resources and buy high-quality, local and organic food without spending much money.
• Some of our members have enlisted local students to create an energy audit of the area, to see where we are wasting the most energy and how we can cut back.
• We are trying to compile information from area elders about how people here used to live, back when people lived on less.
• Our members have done several radio interviews with local and national stations, have continued to run a weekly newspaper column on living in the Long Emergency, and we have published articles in local magazines and church bulletins.
• We have continued to give talks to local organisations, schools and churches.
• The Feile na Samhna (Halloween Festival), which drew hundreds of people from the community. My end of it – the talks on local currency, local agriculture and peak oil – did not draw the numbers of people I had hoped, but other aspects of the festival went well and drew substantial crowds.
• Luka Bloom performed a benefit concert for us, which drew several hundred people.
• We have forged relationships with local Fair Trade organisations, local community groups and churches.
Most of this was not me personally, but all the same, I’m quite proud of what this small group has done in a short time.
I know many people around the world transforming their lives, restoring the old traditional communities and building a new, underground economy in their local chrysalis. It probably seems as tedious for you as it does for us, the accomplishments miniscule compared to the magnitude of what needs to be done. But then we stop, every so often, and look back, and see the road stretch to the horizon behind us.