Today I gave a talk as part of MetaFest, a conference/hackathon/festival by MetaGame who are building tools for better human collaboration via Web 3 (crypto, blockchain etc). I tend to be more like the systems engineer for Bloom so I’m not always the best person to talk to about the amazing stuff happening in the local Blooms. Here’s a follow up with a few highlights about what’s going on in the local communities connecting together as Bloom Network:
Muda (seedling in Portuguese) is doing amazing local economy work connecting local organic farm baskets with supporting Black-owned businesses, with encouraging kids in the favelas to meditate, all kinds of things. https://bloomnetwork.org/rio-de-janeiro
In Baltimore they host a yearly festival teaching people all about mushrooms, and sharing art and music about them. They’re also doing a soil remediation citizen science project on a plot of land in Baltimore that has high lead content, using sunflowers to draw the lead out of the soil to be safely disposed of. https://bloomnetwork.org/bloom-baltimore – so they’re kind of an art/science/activism community. One of the neighbors just donated $5K for a mural to be painted there. There’s a deeper relationship building / relationship repair aspect to that project, collaborating across race division in Baltimore.
In Columbia Missouri the crew there is building a more meaningful, impact / do-stuff-together social scene so people can do positive action together and have deeper conversations than tend to happen in bars. They’re also helping kids plant plants and design art to go in an inner city school courtyard, to help them learn that they have autonomy to change their environment together.
The Diamante Bridge Collective in Costa Rica has a few folks here in MetaGame, and several people who work on Giveth – they’re also a local Bloom chapter, so they’re doing the dream hybrid IRL regional regeneration of natural ecosystems and healthy people, in tandem with digital economies.
In Portsmouth Virginia the crew there is a coalition of 12? groups doing things like making bike lanes, giving people free food boxes of living plants, painted by local artists for hybrid art/healthy food access. They’re also doing civic collaboration with the city, surveying people about what changes they want to see in the town.
In Vallejo, California the crew there started a teahouse that is a community center that hosts workshops, has a healing room people can book, and music nights, with exhibiting art covering pretty much every surface.
Near Kampala Uganda, the Bloom there is making financially viable large scale permaculture/agroforestry gardens that are women-led cooperatives, and they implemented permaculture training in the Ugandan school system, so kids are implementing the food practices in their homes and making more healthy organic food access and economic sovereignty to get away from aid dependence. They do education across Africa, their team is ridiculous and we talk for like hours when we get on the phone lol. We’re releasing a report about their approach in collaboration with a university from the Netherlands in the coming months.
There are so many stories…. the people who started the Decriminalize Nature movement met at a Bloom Bay Area event I produced. It’s hard to encapsulate the deep relationships that form simply through doing recurring events and decentralized coalition building in an area.
If you want to read blogs by the local chapters themselves, click on the photos on the Find-a-Bloom page: https://bloomnetwork.org/find-a-bloom/ – And if you’re interested in starting a local Bloom, email a short hello email@example.com to get a slideshow about what’s involved and see how to get started. You can join Bloom as a member here – caveat that we’re still in the process of formalizing our digital layer and how folks who aren’t yet part of a local Bloom collaborate and learn together.
COVID-19 has reminded us, perhaps as never before, that we need an overhaul, not only of our health care system, but our food system as well.  As a steady stream of studies and articles point out, a priority of future food system policy should be to support the emergence of local and regional, diversified, healthy food and farming systems, derived from fertile, carbon-rich soils.
Read this article on 350 Vermont, by Josie Watson, joint JD and Masters of Environmental Management student at Vermont Law School and Yale School of the Environment
My first Cambiatus post will share experiences participating at Muda Outras Economias, a Brazilian network with the purpose of experimenting other economies based on happiness and abundance. The Muda network uses the Cambiatus platform to create and maintain its own social currency: MUDA.
The word MUDA in Portuguese means “to change” when used as a verb “mudar”, but it also means “seedling”. MUDA was codesigned by artists, professors, hackers, surfers, cultural producers, and above all, dreamers. It’s a collective that promotes cultural activities and conscious actions. The seeds of change!
The movement started more than 20 years ago, and was initiated by activists, that participate on different initiatives such as: CASA — Cooperativa de Artistas Autônomos, Grupo Pedras de Teatro, Teatro de Anônimo, Anjos do Picadeiro — Encontro Internacional de Palhaços, UFRJ — Coordenação do Curso de Pós Graduação Artes da Cena, Centro de Tradições Egi Omin — Cultura Afro Brasileira, Cordão do Boitatá, Jataí, Saúva and Manifesta Capital.
Huge thanks to Saúva, a philanthropic organization that enables the network to operate, funding the team that works to maintain and engage the community and many of the cultural projects mentioned above.
MUDA reinforces the values of trust, freedom, justice, and care. By using MUDAs, our community recognizes the value generated by collective actions, establishes trades, and collaborates towards common objectives.
The social currency was launched in December 2019, and it was based on few agreements, including that 1 MUDA is equal to 1 Real. This was a decision to facilitate exchanges between members. Since MUDA is not exchangeable by FIAT money (Reais, Brazilian national currency), members know in advance that they will have to use their tokens inside the network. Today we have more than 750 members, from towns all across Brazil, but most of the community is based in Rio de Janeiro, where the movement began.
To earn MUDAs, members can either perform one of the conscious actions listed in the muda.cambiatus.io website or participate in a crowdfunding campaign, led by one of MUDA’s partners.
Among others, examples of conscious actions that can be claimed in the platform are:
meditating 20 minutes | 20 MUDA
a day without eating meat | 10 MUDA
planting a three | 100 MUDA
reading a book | 20 MUDA
a day of volunteer work | 100 MUDA
collaborating with donations to selected projects | 1 MUDA for every 1 Real donated.
These actions are approved by a group of network initiators. The approval policy is: we trust that our community members actually did the actions they claim. If they claim and action that they didn’t perform, it’s up to them and their karma. If there is any suspicious activity, like a person claiming the same action many times, someone from the MUDA team reaches out to the member and tries to understand the case 🙂
Also, this group of network initiators decides any changes regarding what actions are rewarded and by how many MUDA. In the future, the decision-making process will evolve to a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), to elect custodians, and improve its governance model. For now, members trust the network initiators and their decisions — based on their track record and great intentions.
Community engagement is growing organically. Today, more than 1,600 actions were performed and 60,000 MUDAs are in circulation. By now, around 300 purchases were done through the community marketplace.
In the MUDA shop, one can find many different products and services offered: building a website, books, dance and English lessons, reiki therapy, online tarot reading, financial consultancy, startup mentorship, and organic food baskets that you can get delivered to your home in selected cities (Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte).
So far our journey has been great, despite the challenges that COVID-19 imposed on the MUDA community during this year. In times of crisis, people look for alternatives, and MUDA is flourishing in this context.
In my next post, I’ll talk about MUDA’s initiatives and partnerships, that use crowdfunding campaigns, online festivals, and other tools to engage our community into experimenting other economies based on happiness and abundance.
Diamante Bloom in Costa Rica hosted a training on December 4, 2020, to teach their community how to use digital wallets, exchange crypto, and about basic tokenomics. The workshop happened at Diamante Luz.
The desired outcome was to have everyone send regular money for the workshop (cash, PayPal, Venmo) and the facilitators send participants crypto to donate on GitCoin Grants that support Diamante Bridge Collective’s goals in creating a nano nation with regional food and economic flourishing. For example, Giveth, Gaia Giveth, Bloom Network, and Commons Stack.
This was successful! 12 newbies got onboarded to Ethereum and contributed to these organizations. Diamante Bridge Collective at work! 😆 And, Bloom Network decided to replicate this event format and host a similar training on Sunday, December 13.
When: Sunday, December 13 2020, 5-6pm Eastern US Time
Where: Bloom Network’s Discord, in the Video Chat channel: https://discord.gg/AmgxJuQkas (Discord is a chat program built by/for gaming communities.)
What: Learn how to use Ethereum and cryptocurrency, by donating any amount large or small to Bloom Network’s grant on Gitcoin. Bloom’s community team will help you get set up with a digital wallet and exchanging crypto. And help answer basic questions you have.
Wait, what are all those things? Cryptocurrency is digital or virtual currency secured by cryptography. Ethereum is a global decentralized platform for digital money and distributed applications. Gitcoin is a website for developers to learn, earn money through doing tasks for various projects, and to network with projects and communities. Gitcoin grants is a platform for people to fundraise for open source projects for public benefit, with donations multipled through matching grants sponsored by donors in the Ethereum ecosystem.
With a basic ability to interact with the Ethereum blockchain, you can participate in digital organizations and begin to gain a deeper sense of what these technological breakthroughs mean for autonomy and collaboration. We know our community has a hard time knowing how to filter signal from noise in this area, so this workshop is intended to help you gain a practical foothold to start with.
This workshop is inspired by Gitcoin’s grants program, and the local workshop that Bloom Diamante in Costa Rica did. Check out Bloom’s grant and many more beautiful impact-oriented open source projects here: https://gitcoin.co/grants/?keyword=bloom%20network