On 20 May the forecast for major storms and flooding did not keep the dedicated repairers away from our first ever Repair Cafe at the Devonport Community House. Lots of advice, knowledge and wisdom was shared by those who came as mentors with those who brought along an array of busted items.
Many new skills were acquired by the attendees who were keen to learn how to fix things for themselves and to observe others fixing their items as well.
Heather & Julie were flat chat on the sewing machines with various trouser hem repairs, pattern making, pants seams, curtain mending and also sewing machine servicing.
Walter & Kelly worked away on repairing the brakes and gears on bicycles. Things were a bit quiet for them due to the weather and people not wanting to venture out on their bikes however their enthusiasm was contagious and a few people learned how to fix brakes on their own human powered machines.
Samantha demonstrated some old time skills with leather work and repaired horse bridles, handbags and satchels and also went home with some repairs to complete for CENTs traders using her Offerings through the exchange.
John was busy sharpening tools and knives as was Nick and numerous gardening implements found their way into the Repair Cafe returning with their owners as sharp as the day they were purchased.
Damien handed out some excellent advice and had many follow up consultations to carry on with post event regarding free software and general operational maintenance.
Neil offered his expertise in furniture restoration and woodwork and imparted some wisdom to others looking to weigh up the cost effectiveness of recycling/reusing versus buying new.
A fantastic day had by all with the most wonderful feedback and requests for more Repair Cafe events in the future.
Thanks everyone for coming along to support this event and especially to our volunteer mentors.
Imagine a world where people trade their goods, services and skills with one another without money. Well that world exists right here in Tassie! The Community Exchange Network Tasmania (CENTs) is a community exchange allowing traders to buy, sell, share, swap, barter and gift their wares in lots of different ways – such as gardening, home help, baby sitting, office work, providing transport or by teaching someone a new skill. Tania Brookes tells Belinda King how it works.
The RESEED Centre in downtown Penguin in north west Tasmania was host to yet another CENTs trading event featuring Healthy Lifestyle Consultant Dr Michelle Towle who whizzed through a ten minute “How to Make Sauerkraut” workshop with her no salt, no chop, throw me in the blender routine. With plenty of questions from the eager audience and another short demo on fermenting another concoction of vegetables the participants enjoyed a tasty sample to take home and some to share over lunch. Lots of crunchy goodness for your microbiome.
Wow! What an awesome workshop we had today at RESEED for our Road to Plastic Free July event. Most people started off totally overwhelmed and bamboozled by the copious quantities of plastic and the ridiculous statistical data to match.
This Saturday from 11:30am come and join us for our first trial of a Repair Cafe. We will have mentors available for repairs to computers, laptops and other devices, software and hardware advice, free software options and antivirus, leather work repairs including horse bridles, plants, trees, garden advice and horticulture/permaculture repairs and design, bicycles, furniture restoration, wood working, solar ovens, knife and garden tools sharpening, sewing/darning and numerous others from our talented community. Bring along your broken items and work with a mentor to fix your item while learning new skills and giving new life to your item. This is a FREE community event and normal CENTs trading applies so don’t forget to bring your goods to trade without money.
Congratulations to all the nominees, semi-finalists, finalists and winners of the 2016 Tasmanian Community Achievement Awards! The 2016 Gala Presentation Dinner held on 5th November 2016 celebrated a diversity of achievers and community contributors from all around Tasmania. Well done to all! CENTs celebrates not one but two nominations for Sustainability and Community Group of the Year. We are very grateful to our volunteer Administrator and Local Area Coordinators who are instrumental in keeping the community exchange chugging along in communities all around Tasmania – these awards are for you!
One perspective of the New Economy Conference
August 16th and 17th, Sydney from Robin Krabbe
I very much enjoyed this conference in terms of the enthusiasm for all things related to the ‘New Economy’. There was much talk about the “Sharing Economy”, the Social and Solidarity Economy etc, in short for a new economic paradigm that recognises us not as operating best as competitive isolated individuals, but as cooperative and social.
Other themes although somewhat of an undercurrent was a split between the ‘Community Currency’ camp, and the ‘Cryptocurrency’ camp. The latter are sceptical about the power of small groups, instead preferring to rely on technological solutions (and very passionate about them!). Sadly there is a lack of firstly awareness of community currencies (CC’s), or where there is awareness, misconceptions about the potential power of CC’s. Old perceptions of LETs schemes that have failed, or ones confined to small groups trading tarot card readings for aromatherapy still unfortunately persist.
On to the talks – they were divided into themes of on the first day, care, law and our relationship with the natural world. Notable presentations included Katherine Gibson and Amanda Cahill, both pointing to different economic paradigms that highlight the role of communities in well functioning socioeconomic systems.
The themes on the second day was work, exchange and money. These were the themes I addressed in my talk, which was based firstly on how our economic systems became maladapted particularly due to the decline in meaningful work, and the decline on social relationships, being two vital basic needs we have for health and wellbeing. Research shows when we have less opportunity to engage in meaningful work and positive social relationships, we tend to compensate by seeking other ways of achieving motivation, such as consumerism, drugs and alcohol, seeking power over others etc. Sustainable Wellbeing refers to rediscovering the internal motivation to engage in behaviours that sustain one’s own health and wellbeing, that of others and the health of the planet. CENTs has great potential to restore the main vehicle we have for positive social relationships; that of fair or equal exchange.
Then Alison Bird, Annette Loudon and Russ Grayson did a great combined talk. They firstly covered the history of LETs/Community Exchange in Australia. One very interesting aspect that was mentioned was that particularly in the case of Blue Mountain LETs, which at one stage was extremely active with lots of members but it then declined. The theory put forward for the decline was that before the advent of the internet, what made LETs successful was that they had lots of market days. These would have been instrumental in people meeting face to face and building trust. One unfortunate aspect of the internet is that it cannot replace face to face relationships.
Another interesting session on the second day was Work and Play –the fact that some of us are lucky enough where the line is blurred between work and play. While it was not explicitly discussed, there was some reference to a Universal Guaranteed Income, which would allow us all to do the work we enjoy doing without having to worry about where the money comes from to pay the bills. My personal opinion however is that we would still need an initiative like Community Exchange to ensure the work that needs to be done is done, and that everyone contributes to the best of their ability to that. All in all it was a very inspirational conference with lots of great discussion about the direction we need in to address inequality, climate change and other deeply complex problems.
A great day out at the Tasman Community House in Nubeena where we saw an energetic bunch of traders, old and new swapping clothes and trading their wares. The pizza was coming continuously as an all you can eat theme was part of the entry fee to participate on the day. We welcomed some new members and look forward to spreading the exchange far and wide on the Tasman Peninsula.