So been a slow burn startup here in Stroud, but eventually I have managed to hook up with Save The Oaks project here in the UK https://savetheoaks.org/ – initially I was going to plant 100 oak saplings, as my small part of the 50,000 national rollout this season, I have volunteered as a distribution point and have about 500 trees turning up Monday next week. My trees are to be planted in wildlife corridors between copses of trees which have so far avoided the tractor and plough, on the farm where I am setting up my Permaculture Community Gardens.
It has been a very tricky year to get the gardens up and running and accessible to the community, but have been making plans for end of lockdown and finally it feels with the trees arriving that things are starting to move. I have been donated 50 – 100 soft fruit cuttings to inter plant in the wildlife corridor along with hollies, hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel and willow, I have been able to forage and re-site where I have thinned out wild clusters, to increase diversity and balance overall growth speed of the corridors.
The impact will be hugely positive for the Gardens, the Organic Short Horn Dairy Herd (managed to get my garden’s Host to agree to a widening of fence lines to 3m for this specific project, one of which skirts my Gardens), and of course the wildlife above, upon and below the ground around. So Happy things are afoot!! Will post a proper blog with Photos and explanations soon.
Thank you for having us here and look forward to sharing the progress – much love 💕 🌳 from Stroud Bloom
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
In January of 2021, we kicked off our Bloom in Columbia, Missouri with a virtual call over Google Meet. I’m supposed to make this blog post about my Bloom kickoff, because it was a big deal ten years and also because I’ve been working all these years towards Bloom being a reality. I know how important it is to do these writeups about the events but the truth is, being someone who can make these kinds of events a reality means it’s hard to find the time.
Ten years ago, we tried to have an Evolver spore in my town – a meetup group where we screened films, discussed topics and in general tried to evolve consciousness in our town. I hadn’t taken into consideration where I was at in my life when I tried to pull it off. I was the president of my neighborhood association, a full-time case manager at the Division of Workforce Development in the MO State Career Center, and a new mom growing a brick in my chest from stress, smoking and coffee. In other words, I was nuts.
We pulled off events for about a year before I realized I couldn’t do it, I could not be an events organizer. We put the project on hold and I worked as a volunteer for Bloom International on and off over the decade, trying to build something that would make the world a better place. Fast-forward to this moment in time and I’m not a new mom anymore, I’m not the president of anything anymore, I’m not a smoker anymore, and with COVID raging we have a captive audience. Time to try again.
We were careful about who we invited to the kickoff, only folks we believed could embody non-violent communication. 8 people showed up besides myself, and it felt like a transcendent moment. There was a theme of people who had created events in the city over the years to fill a void they had in their own lives, a sort of “Do unto others” creed we shared. It was nice to find each other in the same place. I feel like it’s a team that can stay together – but the important part is that we came, we heard, we saw each other. We know who’s in it to win it for the clean green machine our city will be.
Events have started materializing without much effort, so I am pleased. Coming up is a Hike of Bards where we all dress the fool and walk down to the river to sing at sunset, each of us carrying an instrument or a candle. We will sing to the river in hopes that our winds reach some corner of the Universe and conjure favor from the powers that be. We’re also going to have a virtual poetry slam, with a focus on Earth-based work and a professing of love for our beautiful planet. There’s a spring event with art and music at a local winery with a late fire at a venue that one of our organizers has access to. We all agreed we all needed COVID-safe, family-friendly activities that didn’t revolve around getting hammered, and loved the idea of remaking the social scene in our town towards more socially-conscious ends.
By the end of the year, I plan to move away from this city where I spent a quarter century. I can’t say what I think it’s given to me. Aren’t we all supposed to plant a tree in whose shade we’ll never stand? I’m not sure why it matters or that it does. Certainly there is something beautiful about this place, something special about the people here.
I’m praying to the river at the Hike of Bards that after I’m gone, the team we put together will keep the city blooming, always.
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.
An example of the kinds of things we can be doing to transform narratives around climate change, is helping design “how-to” guides for our local communities, on putting into practise hands-on regenerative practises that will help the bio-region. In this way, the public become more informed in a way that allows them to take practical action in their own backyard.
There are often local funding sources you can tap into to help alleviate the costs in making these kinds of things.
Here is an example of an application I submitted earlier in the year, a proposal around Urban Soil Regeneration.
“Sharing soil wisdom to regenerate the health of urban soils, creating quality soils for growing, and contributing to flood mitigation and carbon sequestration in urban areas.”
Bloom Network is about sharing this kind of ideas, information and applications with each other, so that we can learn faster about the possibilities of installing regenerative projects into our bio-regions.