Sunday, April 25, 2010

your neighborhood whysical inventor!

Zero Waste Report #1

I've started to empty the contents of the trash can onto the kitchen counter every week to identify ways to reduce our impact; because we compost all our food scraps, what ends up in the trash can is mostly non-recyclable or flimsy plastic in its different manifestations. Recently Erica went shopping and didn't come home with a single plastic bag!! That practice will drastically reduce our contributions the landfill. A Zero Waste Co-op is possible, but will require us to become more conscious of what we buy and to plan ahead (bringing jars, re-using bags, etc.). Thanks for working with me, Sunwise, to make this house as close to zero waste as possible.

New Food Culture board

A new Sunwise tradition: add the leftover label to the board and over time we will see the diversity that makes up the Sunwise Food Culture!

a place of learning

some of the most beautiful things in the world require a microsope to see...silverberry scale hairs, kombucha mothers, and different pollens are being examined by the unofficial Sunwise Microbiology team, including Betta, Erica, and Derek

Some of the beauty of Villages Homes and the Sunwise Garden!

I just overheard someone bike by our house and say, "the people that live here must love it!" Here are some pics of the spring life in Village Homes as well as Erica in the bountiful Sunwise Garden. We are in the middle of spring planting and what you can see includes a lot of the winter plants that have gone to flower. The cabbage is still going strong, the potatoes recently surfaced, the lettuce is plentiful, the starts are waiting to go in the ground, and flowers and bees are mixed in wherever you look.

some updates from March and April...

Some random pics from March/April:

Shaun polishing the tub (FYI, it's clean but slippery!), the new bench we made for the new "chill spot" out front (also includes a hammock!), Carl and one manifestation of his new haircut, our youngest new neighbor (Catherine's new cat), and 15 or so people showed up for Barb's painting workshop on a rainy Sunday morning.

Love your Mother

Kombucha mothers take care of you as long as you take care of them! Show them some love.

more pics of the DCCN network meeting:

Community Service: weeding for the neighbors!

First Fancy Pants our chicken was asked to do some weeding with the mobile chicken tractor...

then Barb took care of the rest by using the weed wacker! Thanks Barb for putting in a day for the gardens!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Davis Cooperative Community Network!

"What started as some words over coffee, a discussion over a shared slice of pizza, we want to replicate here..."
Luis Sierra, a member of Dos Pinos began to share how the Cooperative Network idea started.  Luis invites us to discuss at our tables what challenges we had in our own organizations and what opportunities the Davis Cooperative Community Network might provide to addess them. 

 34 of us sat around half a dozen tables in a mix of friends and new faces.  We'd gone around and introduced ourselves, our backgrounds and co-op experiences. We hailed from:
  • Dos Pinos
  • former Pacifico residents
  • SCHA (Sunwise, J Street, former-Homestead)
  • N Street
  • former Muir Commons
  • former Domes
  • Tri Co-ops
  • Butterpat
  • Bicycle Collective
Different members spoke the story of their co-ops, some inspiring and some tragic, and some both at once.  The designed-to-fail Homestead with it's amazingly ambitious vision; the rebirth of the bike collective with support of the cooperative community; the successful organizing to protect the Davis Student Co-op from campus expansion plans for another year and the need for further support from alumni and the cooperative family.  The impending forclosure of DATCHA.  Perhaps more than any other, the sudden adoption of the struggling Pacifico by the City, with the opportunity and financial support to really turn it around or lose it forever. 

For the next thirty minutes the room was abuzz with different discussions around each table.  Sharing stories and ideas, asking questions; everyone feeling the energy of so many people and groups, no one with any idea what to expect. 

As we came back together to share our brainstorm, we quickly filled up the flip-chart pages with challenges: Food issues, lack of experiences, member training, balancing rules and traditions, transitioning from housemates to homeowners through different cooperative models, the power and danger of shared assets, financial commitment, architectural challenges, bad apples.

The opportunities that followed weren't only lose ideas, but plans for future meetings.  Network workparties -- dinners followed by banging out a certain task -- letters to editors and active lobbying on behalf of co-ops, a centralized website to share practices, applicants; a web of consulting, a brain trust. 

Where will this go?  None of us are certain.  There's a plan for a second meeting next month, and several groups already volunteering to host.  There's an grant application already filed with DFC for a cooperative network workshop.  There's a mailing list, some energetic people, and a host of issues to tackle.  Who knows what we can't do?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

WestCo Co-op Conference

This past weekend Davis hosted WestCo, the regional co-op conference. Detailed event listings are on the Conference Schedule. On Saturday afternoon a few dozen people mounted the various wild and crazy whymcycles generously provided by Peter Wagner to ride out to Sunwise for Derek's highly anticipated Bee Workshop!

Though clad head to toe in his protective bee suit, Derek opens the hive and handles the frame with bare hands. He explains:

"I have better dexterity this way, so I'm less likely to crush any bees and make other bees mad at me."

He handles the bee-covered frames with ease and without incident, even catching one of the stinger-less drones gently between his fingers to pass around to the audience. In his final act, Derek demonstrates how to remove a bee stinger from his own arm -- once he finally manages to persuade an old bee to sting him!