Many bloggers write about building community. Green Bean has great tips and pointers on how to reach out to schools, townships and cities. One Element in Time has an entire series on ways you can help build your community to sustain yourself and the planet. I have always been a bit envious of their courage, their strength.
These bloggers have wonderful ideas, however I hadn't really ventured out of my own shell to try these ideas on for size until Friday night. See, I do attempt to build community, though I tend to stay in my own comfort zone. We started a recycling program for our little league which was a challenge, yet directly related to my boys, so I tackled it. I wrote our school district leaders and had a conference call with the food service department to address the reauthorization of The Child Nutrition Act that affects the school lunch program. Again, I reached out into my community, but again, it directly affected my family and their schools. I write letters to congress, address ecological issues to our Lake Association and even host the blog for our local Michigan for Obama campaign office.
Selfishly, many of these efforts are directly related to things I personally feel passionate about or want changed in our community. This Friday I broke out of my comfort zone and attended a "Power of Community" meeting planned by the brilliant woman who organizes our food club.
She brought together farmers, bee keepers, students, energy conservation specialists, teachers, bloggers and activists. The first half of the evening was a screening of the movie "The Power of Community - How Cuba Survived Peak Oil" For those who haven't seen this movie, it's an hour well spent. I'm sure your local library might have it or it cold be found online. Yes, you could watch this movie by yourself, but as the woman who sponsored our event said, "Isn't the point of community, getting together as a community to watch the movie?" I plan to review the movie in a later post, for those interested.
The second half of the evening featured introductions of all the "Community Leaders" she invited that were present in the audience followed by a meet and greet in the lobby where products and information were available. And, wouldn't you know it, she asked two bloggers in the audience to stand up - I was surprised to find out my name was being called. How could I be a community leader? I simply sit behind my desk, with the anonymously of my computer screen to protect me and I blog. I write letters. I pass along valuable information. I get frustrated, I rant, I write funnies about my kids and sometimes I just vent. I rarely think that this little contribution builds community.
As the leader of our food club pointed out, alone she wouldn't have the time to research the information I write about on the food club blog. Alone, she wouldn't be able to reach across the country, from east coast to west, gathering information about food, politics, policy and greener living. She doesn't have the time. She is busy sourcing local foods, meeting with farmers, organizing her product for the Farmer's Market and most importantly, raising her twin boys. That's her part in building community. And mine? The information I provide to her and the members of our club is my little part in building community. See? Even a novice can do it! So, each time you sit at your computer to blog and you don't think it really matters or that no one is reading. They are. You are building community with every keystroke!
2 days ago