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Barter Faire in Mendocino and Time Banks
First off, it's certainly been a while! Hi, thanks for reading, and I apologize for the barter blogging hiatus. I had a great time at the Okanogan Family Faire this year (though it was definitely colder than any I can remember), and also went to Earthdance for the second time and had my first Burning Man experience. So it was a great year for festivals and barter faires, even though I kinda crammed them all into a 2-month period!
I got an e-mail the other day from a fellow resident of Mendocino County, CA, about starting up a local barter faire. I am beyond excited at this possibility, so much so that I decided to write about it (on a blog I haven't updated in more than a year!). He also introduced me to a very cool concept called Time Banks, specifically, the Mendocino Time Bank
. In essence, it is an "online barter faire" in which goods and services can be exchanged using "time dollars." Time Dollars are earned by simply spending an hour doing something or providing a service for someone in your community. Here is how TimeBanks.org
For every hour you spend doing something for someone in your community, you earn one Time Dollar. Then you have a Time Dollar to spend on having someone do something for you. It's that simple. Yet it also has profound effects. Time Banks change neighborhoods and whole communities. Time Banking is a social change movement in 22 countries and six continents.
Time Banks are taking bartering to the next level! Transactions are recorded in online time banks and communities are transformed in the process. The Mendocino Time Bank is interested in getting involved with organizing a barter faire here, and I'm hoping that we can spread the barter faires along with time banks all over the country and the world!
Folks are always asking me, or posting on the forum
, about barter faires in other areas. As far as I know, they're a bit of a Pacific Northwest phenomenon, most being in Washington, Oregon, and Northern Idaho. Of course, similar events under various names occur all over the place, as well as Rainbow Gatherings and festivals, which have their own unique vibes and followings. I am hoping that barter faires go global as we learn to expand as well as simplify and localize our economy, all while building community and sharing our skills, handmade goods, stories, and songs.
Labels: community, faires, time banks
Earthdance was awesome! I highly encourage the curious to attend an Earthdance
event (they're held around the world in September). The one I went to
was in beautiful Mendocino county, California, at Black Oak Ranch near Laytonville. It was one of the most conscious and positive festivals I've ever been to. The music and live entertainment scattered across several stages and "domes" was amazing, there was a good variety of things to do, and the food and other vendors were the types of businesses I love to support. We had an easy time finding vegetarian and organic eats, there was an activist alley with non-profit booths, a healing village with massage, sound therapy, health products, etc. It was a bit hot, of course, but the weather was gorgeous all weekend.
The central point of the event was a prayer for peace, timed so that every event around the world is praying for peace simultaneously. It's a powerful experience. I boogied and hula hooped my butt off, saw Michael Franti & Spearhead, Buckethead, Anthony B, and many more live, did a little shopping, learned a lot, and had a blast. My only complaint is that I must've had too much fun because I came home with a cold.
Good vibes, good music, good fun. I'm definitely going again next year.
Rainbow Gathering 2008: Beauty, Bliss, and LEO Bullies
I had a wonderful time at the Rainbow Family Gathering this year near the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming. The site was the most beautiful I've seen so far and a great place for the family to gather. I met some wonderful family, was fed delicious food, and helped whenever I could during the week we were there. Memorable moments include seeing Grandpa Woodstock at main circle being his silly self, making some great trades at the trade circle, creative and delicious meals at several kitchens, meeting the Crucial Kitchen crew, chocolate chip cookies from Welcome Home on our way out, and seeing some of my favorite local musicians (from The Human Revolution
) play for hours by the fire at Lovin' Ovens while eating delicious pizza.
The Wind River Mountains peeking over the forest above Main Meadow was a wonderful sight and we got to camp in a gorgeous aspen grove filled with wild flowers. The peace prayer was once again a powerful experience (I couldn't believe how big that circle of family got!) and the party afterwards was so much fun (and complete with watermelon for everyone!). But of course, along with the good comes the bad.
The Law Enforcement at this year's gathering was especially unfriendly, hostile, and even violent. Luckily I didn't have any bad encounters with them personally (other than being really confused by them when they told us to evacuate), many family members were hurt and traumatized by a hostile encounter with the LEOs on July 3 in Kid Village. I heard from people that were there that the cops had come in after an undercover saw someone smoking a certain substance. This led them to come into Kid Village, armed and pointing weapons at everyone. Several rounds of paintballs containing pepper powder were fired at the crowd, burning several people's eyes. The cops eventually left, escorted by an unarmed crowd yelling things like "Shame on You" and "No Violence." You can see videos taken by witnesses here
, and read more about the Forest Service's mishandling of Rainbow Gatherings here
. If you witnessed this event on July 3, please see this thread on tribe.net
and see if your testimony could help.
On July 7th, a forest fire somehow started in the middle of the afternoon and the LEOs used this as an excuse to issue a "mandatory evacuation." They drove through the gathering in trucks and first told everyone with a car at Front Gate to go move it, then they wouldn't let us go to Front Gate and turned us around. I met a few brothers with shovels who said they had tried to go help fight the fire, but once they started fighting it the LEOs threatened to taze them if they didn't leave. The fire only burned one acre and was quickly put under control. It was outside of the Gathering area but they tried to evacuate us even after it was out and safe. We ended up leaving the next day, a bit earlier than expected, because so many people had left during the evacuation and it was pretty cleared out. Many were saying that the LEOs probably started the fire as a tactic to get everyone to leave, but I know that clean-up crews were not deterred and are still there. We love you, clean up!
I love my Rainbow Family, and I love going home, but it really worries me that the government treats a bunch of peaceful citizens gathering on public land like less than human criminals. It is a sad world indeed when the peaceful and non-violent people that we should be looking up to are targeted like terrorists by the officials that are supposed to "protect and serve." The Forest Service should be very ashamed at how they treat their fellow human beings at the Rainbow Gathering, especially this year in Wyoming. I am proud of the family for remaining non-violent and for keeping the rainbow spirit alive despite it all.
I'm looking forward to the 2009 Gathering, which I hear will be in New Mexico
. Loving you, family!
The Spring Season is Upon Us (Ok, Well, Almost)
It's January, time for the classic cabin fever syndrome as we await the sun, the spring, and most importantly, the spring barter faire season. I've been too busy moving to a new state to make many crafts, but I'll definitely be keeping busy now that I'm settled in so there's lots of stuff to trade this spring!
If anyone else is itching for a barter faire, I've got some great news for you. In the spirit of spring renewal, there's a new festival called the One Family Gathering, scheduled for May 2 - 4 in Central Oregon. This is a private party for the entire family. According to the One Family Gathering site
The One Family Gathering will be a three day unity gathering near Christmas Valley, Oregon. The festival intends to unify a variety of cultures from many other peaceful gatherings. It will manifest as a weekend long event encompassing barter fairs, music festivals, parties, and reggae shows, surrounded by a free camping area.
This event has a focus slightly different from other festivals. We will provide a large, secure vendor section inside the event in addition to hosting two stages: a "party" tent with nonstop djs, hosted by DJ4NORML and the main "Quetzalcoatl" stage. Both stages will have a dynamic array of musicians performing twenty-four hours a day throughout the event. Featured musicians will include Katy Turner, Bijhan, Jack Burton, Laurianne, Matt Zeltzer, Naugahyde Nights, Norman Baker, SpiritMoon, Deep Sleep Narcotics Company, Renegade Minstrels, Cntrl Alt Delete, Dj Eff, DJ4NORML, Hippinshlog, Jahson Ites, Essential I, Dj Sticky, Huckleberry, Jensen, Min.d,Tommy Dean, Wehrwolve, HannaH*s Field, and First Name Michael, with more groups signing up daily.
Set in the high desert, One Family Gathering promises to entertain with over 70 music performances, a trade market, a drum circle, exceptional food vendors, and much more.
Vendors, volunteers, and musicians are still needed, but positions are filling up fast. So mosey on over to OneFamilyGathering.org
, sign up for membership, and get the skinny on the event. I'm excited to see the faires spreading down the west coast, especially now that I'm living in NorCal. Hope the trend continues... See you all at the One Family Gathering!
End of the Season Reflections
I'm having a hard time believing that it's November already, and sadly it brings the end of the fall barter faire season. I had a wonderful time at the Okanogan Family Faire, other than not being able to have my entire family there since dogs were banned. The vibe was mellow and positive, the weather cooperated for the most part, and there were a great variety of goods for trade. Most of the changes in faire policy seemed to go over well, although I heard a few complaints about the large price increase. It was a cold weekend so there was plenty of huddling and drumming around the hospitality fires, and we saw a lot of old friends and met some new ones.
One very noticeable absence from the faire this year was the sacred circle of flags near the front gate. When I asked why they weren't there, I was told the lady who normally brings them was sick. Also absent were the barter faire pooches, although there were quite a few service dogs. Good trades were made, delicious food was shared, and the nightlife was exciting. Fire dancers, live music, drum circles, late night elephant ears, and my personal favorite, "glow man
" provided entertainment into the wee hours each night.
The Tonasket faire usually marks the end of the season, which is bitersweet for someone like me who didn't go to nearly enough barter faires this year! But, there is always next year, and until then, it's time to stay warm and get crafty to stock up on tradeables for next spring's barter faires.
I hope everyone had a wonderful time at the faires this fall, I look forward to the spring season. Until then, keep in touch with your barter family here on the barter faire online community
The Annual Trek to Tonasket
This will be my sixth annual trip to the Okanogan Family Faire
, and although I'm a newbie to the scene by some standards, this faire has become a big part of my life. I enjoy any barter faire, but the Tonasket faire has always been one that I look forward to and the largest one that I attend each year.
This year, of course, there are many changes taking place as the faire is growing and adjusting. Policies, prices, and rules are all undergoing a shift. I can't say I'm happy about some of them (i.e. the dog ban) but I can understand why changes are happening. I just hope that the spirit of the faire I have come to know and love is not diminished and that the new rules don't keep out the people that make the faire so special.
I've made a batch of soap, have been busy making jewelry, and the bus is packed and almost ready to roll. Okanogan Family Faire usually marks the end of the barter faire season, and regretfully I didn't make it to many faires this season. So I gotta get my barter faire kicks for the season all in one dose. Here's to the Okanogan Family Faire retaining its original barter faire spirit, for a successful and fun faire for everyone. See you there!
Labels: faires, fall, Okanogan Family Faire
Changes for Okanogan Family Faire
Change is in the air this fall, evidenced in that some policy changes that have been in the works for a while are taking place at the 2007 Okanogan Family Faire. Nothing too major, for the most part. But of course, as an animal lover and doggie parent, I'm upset to hear that dogs are banned this year.
Please see my thoughts on dogs at the faire
, and chime in on the discussion going on in various virtual barter faire realms
, and if you're so inclined, comments can be made to the Okanogan Family Faire Board of Directors by:
write to us at: P.O. Box 761, Tonasket, WA 98855
or call the OFF office message line at: 509-486-2173.
While I'm deciding what to do with my best buddy and fur-child Juneau, I am hoping to come to the Okanogan Family Faire and volunteer to make it happen. The only way to really ensure change is to speak up and to act, right? The more people that get involved, the more the faire becomes a democracy.
Well, I'm heading back on the road
tomorrow, so I won't be online much. I hope to see you all at some faires now that the fall season is upon us!
~peace, love & light!~
Labels: dogs, fall, Okanogan Family Faire, volunteering
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