We decided at last year’s Planning meeting that we missed having potlucks, so we started 2018 with a series of monthly BYOE potlucks. BYOE means Bring Your Own Everything—in an effort to reduce waste, we asked people to bring their own plates, forks,
April’s focus was a Resilient Economy and talked about issues such as right livelihood, resource stewardship, community wealth and self-determination. May’s From Colonization to Community explored the mindset of colonialism and how it made it acceptable for us to treat other human beings as well as other species and the land itself as resources to be used as we liked. In June we had Seriously Fun, a potluck with no agenda, just being together, sharing food and conversation. And in July we had a session in Batch Cooking, organized by TTM’s Rhonda Fabian with guest chef, Jason McHugh of Desert Rose who led us through cooking a meal of Middle Eastern dishes which we then served up at that evening’s potluck. In August, we took a break and joined the Media Unity Day Celebration for a volunteer appreciation day.
In the midst of all those potlucks, we managed to squeeze in an evening in April with Max Dashu, a historian who spoke about the way women were viewed in the Middle Ages, from her book Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion; a Climate Change talk on May 1st by Peter Sinclair, noted climate scientist, co-sponsored with PennEnvironment; a June Earth Grief ritual led by Shante Zenith, an extraordinary young woman Aleisa & I met through Transition
The rest of the year was filled with our usual Fall events: the September Free Market which takes place at the end of the Great Media Garage Sale weekend to give garage-sellers a place to take their unsold goods instead of leaving them out for the trash. Our Green Sunday holiday fair was held in mid-November this year and featured local artists and their hand-made or upcycled goods as an alternative to Black Friday & Cyber Monday holiday gift buying. And our beautiful Winter Solstice Celebration in December was a calm and meaningful alternative to the frantic holiday stress. All were very successful with record numbers at the Free Market and the Solstice events. We also worked on a new event, Media Open Streets, in collaboration with Media’s Environmental Advisory Council. This event closed some Media streets to cars so everyone could enjoy walking, biking, and other fun activities out on the streets on a beautiful Saturday in late September. It was a very successful event that drew about 1000 people—we’ll be doing again this year.
Initiatives and general health of the organization:
We ended up closing the TimeBank at the end of the year. Being unable to find a dedicated manager for the project and seeing dwindling interest in it, made it seem like the appropriate step although still a difficult one. The TimeBank was TTM’s first big project and was our first income-producing venture through membership fees.
Our next and biggest income-producing venture, the FreeStore, is still going strong after
We began a new project called the Circle of Aunts & Uncles to build and manage a fund to give business loans to under-resourced applicants for environmentally sustainable and socially just business opportunities. You’ll hear more about this and other projects later on.
Even though the Solarize project was complete at the end of 2017, we continue to get requests from other groups to help them with their Solarize project, including Solarize Philly which is solarizing hundreds of homes in Philadelphia, and most recently, the Havertown EAC. We’re also really proud that our project helped spur PECO to becoming much friendlier to adding solar homes to the grid. They continue to improve and streamline their newly-formed solar energy department.
We collaborated with Media Borough on some other high-impact projects. A West Chester University Masters degree student worked with them as a TTM intern on an educational piece about their projected storm-water management system. We continued to work with the Borough EAC on a pilot project to have weekly curbside kitchen waste pickups to be composted at Linvilla Orchards by Kitchen Harvest. They’ll be expanding their first-year pilot project from 100 to 220 households in 2019, which is 10% of all Media households. Other communities are also asking for information on starting their own composting projects.
We were very honored to receive national recognition last year from Transition
We also organized a get-together of the Mid-Atlantic Transition group in early October at Smedley Park. I met with an amazing group in Phoenixville on a couple of occasions to talk with then about becoming a Transition Town. I’m happy to report that they are going strong and will definitely become official one day soon. We ran a very successful fund-raiser for TUS’ Ready Together campaign to raise funds for an emergency preparedness program to be rolled out sometime this year.
Our visibility increased substantially this year with two short videos on the Live Love Media website, one on TTM by Ellen Morfei and one on the FreeStore by Dawn Wesley. Our social media profile also received a major boost since new member, Michal Curry, took on posting for us. We’re looking to have more of a media presence with Michal’s help by creating some short videos on what TTM is doing and posting them on our own Youtube channel.
Our finances are still in great shape—ending the year in the black again despite some significant new expenses. We’ll be working on securing more grants this year as well.
And finally, after six years as TTM President: