by Catie Faryl, Center Director, November 7, 2011
ISSUE: FOOD SECURITY
We are importing 97% of our food and other necessities to our region. Our fragile and isolated geography means even a bad freeze on the Sexton Summit (I-5 near Roseburg) and the Siskiyou Pass could leave us completely isolated and cut off for a period of weeks. Other scenarios like quarantine, cyber-attack or systems shutdown, mega weather, solar flares or seismic events could make us extremely vulnerable. In addition, our local farms have a shortage of labor, especially during spring planting season and could maximum production if there was coordination of labor needs and eligible workers. The Rogue Valley has the opportunity to explore and implement solutions that could lead other small towns in problem solving.
- Support the creation and functioning of a Community Kitchen where glut from local farms can be served and preserved during summer and harvest seasons. Train food bank clients in food preparation and develop this labor force and system whereby farmers can access good help as needed
- Advocate for changes in Health Department regulations that encumber food saving goals, and work with County to allow reasonably priced and healthy food restaurants to accept Food Stamps for cooked food. Work with Growers Markets to expand on token system and develop, along with Community Kitchen site a place where growers’ produce can be sold every day at locations and times when working people can buy them.
- Advocate for and facilitate the boosting of food growing, food preservation and stockpiling. This is not the same as Food Banking, this is an emergency store for the public in event of any emergency situation
- Re-create the seed banking systems of the past. Make sure we stock the right kinds of seeds that are open pollinated, untainted by GMOs and regionally viable. Keep secure seed saving system for future use.
This is our most urgent problem, as it is throughout the country. Fortunately we have the ability to address it more readily.
- Advocate for a 32 hour work week and removal of overtime during jobs crisis. Work to reduce legislative encumbrances and overzealous taxation that limits hiring of new employees
- Create direct relationship with State legislation to hire unemployed local residents in newly funded State programs, including but not limited to “new health care delivery system, “school retrofit” and any jobs related to logging and forest management
- Choose a few simple jobs ventures and enable capable unemployed persons begin these startups – see “Three Million Jobs in Three Months” which I prepared in 2009 (see Addressing Change chapter)
- Work with State of Oregon to create hybrid biofuel, alternative energies, flex fuels and landfill diversion programs. Incubate them at Oregon Rest Stops, which become fuel stops for travelers and worksite to reprocess waste for a “home free population.” This would protect the intellectual property and “sweat equity” of developers and innovators and give revenue to the State through taxes or direct % participation of fuels. This is also means whereby existing fossil fuel monopolies and garbage company monopolies can be broken in favor of revenue to the State and employment for thousands of Oregonians.
ISSUE: CONNECTING CREATIVE THINKING, INNOVATORS, INVENTORS AND ENTREPRENEURS WITH VENTURE CAPITAL; SEEDING PROMISING PROJECTS WITH LOANS AND ONE TIME GIFTS
- Cultivate lenders, bankers, service organizations and anonymous donors who see the need and benefit of moving into the “New Economy” (see separate back cast vision “Report on January 1, 2045)
- Help inventors, thinkers and tinkers by translating their ideas into business plans, power point presentations, and budget documents that are intelligible to potential investors, political and civic leaders, and venture capitalists. Protect creative property of innovators and serve as liaisons to bring forward designs, systems and products that replace polluting, antiquated and energy-wasting technologies
- Through speaking engagements, films, visual displays and outbound presentations to regional clubs, organizations, non-profits, and other entities and institutions, bring information and build interest and consensus on new ways to answer society’s needs and nature’s demands and accumulate funds to advance the ideas
ISSUE: KEEPING DOLLARS CIRCULATING MULTIPLE TIMES THROUGH LOCAL ECONOMY, EDUCATING ABOUT “ACTUAL COSTS” – Triple Bottom Line Economics
- Encourage trades and re-gifting and through displays, lectures, demonstrations and development of model projects would increase understanding of complimentary currency systems that help people stretch their dollars by using local skills in trade and in use of exchange, time bank and other systems
- Help the Growers Markets, Artisan Markets, local small farms and restaurants to launch a complimentary currency system using food trades as the basis and let tokens,credits, on line point systems, and/or other means of “monetary markers” to spread this system gradually through the region
- Work to promote “Move your Money” in order to reduce the impact of huge banks, their policies, fees and susceptibility to costs associated with fluctuation of national and international markets and unscrupulous dealings at high levels of power. Educate the public about risks of certain investments, create watchdog group to limit fraud, bad lending practices, and scams. Have speakers and workshops about safe local investing, Slow Money, and why everyone should have a small stash of silver or gold in their “rainy day” or preparedness kit.
- Educate elected officials, business leaders, decision makers and people of influence on new ways to look at “the bottom line”. This means making them comfortable with evaluating what things “actually” cost – transporting cheaper products from far away because they are “cheap” might not be true – local products may be superior and have less effective cost – and the biggest concept to convey here is WHAT IS ACTUAL COST TO ENVIRONMENT AND JOBS”
- Working with women regarding “Smart, Healthy and Environmentally Friendly” purchasing choices (women buy 80% of what is sold)
ISSUE: HEAT, FUEL and FIRE PREVENTION
- Renew understanding of careful husbandry of our forests. We live in a forest region where more use could be made of forest undergrowth as a source of heat, fuel, biomass, and non-food based ethanol. Create awareness of new forest management practices that use manual labor and consideration of tree types for best survivability (see Dr. Peter Kolb’s presentation on German and Montana Forest Management models). Wood as heat source has less polluting effect than natural gas; wood particulates fall back to Earth with rain since they do not travel into the outer atmosphere
- Foundation speaks for regional forestry jobs and supports and finds funds to increase the work, and new jobs, of groups like Rogue Valley Fuel Committee, Lomakatsi Reforestration, horse logging and manual work in forests, Headwaters, tribal work at Jackson Wellsprings, Red Earth Descendants, and other groups and programs
- Link with Builders Associations, contractors and inventors to make use of small timber, sawdust and viable building materials to create enclosures and fences to protect domestic farm animals from predators on rural/ag interface, to create deer fences to safeguard food supplies and to convert commercial properties for use as food storage units, new food processing plants, and for use in repairing railroad tracks all over the State of Oregon and beyond
ISSUE: COMMUNICATIONS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
- Centralize emergency response by incorporating WebSpirit’s Community Online Response with City’s Disaster Preparedness Team. House community system and staff in Center
- Provide education on personal preparedness; create and sell or disperse minimal preparedness supplies (potential revenue stream). Advocate for the retention of as many manual and mechanical systems as possible, thereby maintaining a back-up plan in case computer technology fails. Even a brief lapse could prove disasterous, since almost all machinery and systems are now depended on computer technology. Trade people in skills necessary to conducting essential services without dependence on communications and information through internet and similar technology. Support radio waves, postal service and neighborhood support systems.
- Partner with KSKQ, Ashland Resource Center, Ashland Free Press and other community and on line calendars to maximize dissemination of information and to build strong communication systems that have a least one communication option available regardless of any worst case scenario. Work as advocates to streamline not lose the U.S. Postal Service, which is perhaps only vestige of communication where all people can be reached and accounted for.
- Communications Center – overflow for KSKQ Radio and a collaboration with our Community Radio’s have started a weekly community newspaper with partners like Jobs with Justice, Phronesis, Peace House, Ashland Free Press, etc. Also possibly move the antique letter press I saved (in storage now) to set up our own letter press where we can do print our own hand bills, print the weekly newspaper, run hand printed posters, political poetry and social justice pieces, invitations, posters, etc. and do demonstrations of the early printing technology, while training and preparing to create manual printed communications should it ever become necessary. (potential membership & revenue stream)
ISSUE: CONSERVATION, CREATIVE REUSE AND LANDFILL DIVERSION, SMARTER & BIODEGRADABLE PACKAGING
- All Interstate rest stops develop Landfill Diversion Centers adjacent to their sites. These become the backbone of a national program whereby useable objects are repurposed by a transient labor force. This would resemble the Worldwide Agricultural Work system known as WOOFRs where people can travel from farm to farm, working and being housed and fed for brief stays while paying their way by laboring. Rest Stops also become filling stations for vehicles using alternative fuel sources and the incubation of these fuel sources by the State is rewarded by a tax or % of profits system.
- Having Landfill Diversion Centers near cities would mean less reclaimable items would end up a City dumps. This system would create jobs and also salvage of valuable metals, plastics, and serviceable items; our country would be reclaiming these “already mined” resources instead of shipping them off to developing countries who take those resources for free, re-process them, then sell them back to America as imports, and sometimes toxic ones at that.
- Creative Re-Use Depots can be in abandoned or under-utilized commercial spaces. People drop off things that are reusable and the public can purchase them in order to support new jobs at these sites. Also this is a valuable resource center for non profits, cash-strapped schools and other public entities to acquire free supplies. This can also become a “re-gifting” center or Abundance Fair project that links year round to welfare agencies, churches and other agencies and groups addressing economic equity.
- Sponsor contests and competitions where inventors and innovators come up with new packaging that reduces waste and plastics in the environment. Offer substantial cash prizes for winning concepts and products. Give awards to companies producing environmentally friendly products and under-right coupon programs to get customers to try/switch to better choices.
- Plan and prepare a “Harvesting the Sea” recycling program to deal with islands of refuse floating on the oceans, and new threat of refuse coming from Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. Build platforms and train workers on barges to collect and organize refuse for processing items. This is a “treasure hunt” on the seas, with tons of valuable metals, chemicals, electronics, cars, appliances, wood, in a floating waste dump twice the State of Texas, coming to America’s West Coast. This is the biggest job generator we have coming straight to our vulnerable coastline. Let’s get ready and use this as a way to jumpstart jobs and the economy. Check out new Japanese inventor’s system for making fuel out of garbage!
- In “Exburbs” like our area (towns financially suffering in rural and resource-rich regions) support the development of non-food ethanol projects, which would additionally stabilize the farming sector who could grow already sold crops of sorghum and other climate-appropriate crops for non-food based ethanol.
ISSUE: WATER, WATER CATCHMENT, TALENT AND MEDFORD IRRIGATION DISTRICTS, RIPARIAN WATER AND POTABLE WATER – BEST USES and Regional Water Project
- Help every city in Jackson County create a Water Commission as part of their City Government.
- Support City of Phoenix in developing, during Urban Renewal process, a water study that considers future water needs of agriculture, industry, recreation and population uses
- Build water cisterns, water catchment systems, and extend access to irrigation district water for use in outdoor common areas, for use in yards of homes on TID and MID and those with prior water rights. Make use of outdoor water for firefighting purposes as well as industrial, agricultural and landscape uses.
- Educate the public on relaxed legislation regarding “gray water” and advocate for and help facilitate the implementation of gray water systems in all structures in the region. As legislation allows, implement gray water systems and water catchment.
ISSUE: LAND USE, REAL ESTATE REUSE
- Advocacy and lobbying at County and State level for legislative changes that support better resource use and development in our region
- Influence and work support for National Grange to be revitalized
- Strategize and working with National and Local Board of Realtors to invent and broker future property uses
- Change banking legislation so that agriculture uses are considered “highest and best use” over residential and commercial development in our region
- Actively support all “homesteading” programs and work with Board of Realtors to reclaim abandoned and blighted properties to be re-commissioned for low income, teen and homeless housing.
ISSUE: Preparing to ACCOMMODATE A HOME-FREE, MOBILE SOCIETY
- All Interstate Rest Stops add Landfill Diversion Centers where Home Free can work and stay for brief periods before travelling on to next site. These sites would include showers and services for transients
- Small towns and cities form informal labor pools by having a “clearinghouse” for unemployed and travelers who want work. This would entail a process where an agency would get to know these Individuals and make an assessment of their appropriateness for day work. There would be a known system or place where workers would gather and be employed for the day by those needing help There would be go betweens (agencies like the Center, Peace House, the Homeless Task Force) who act as representatives of benefactors who want to make micro loans to help the unemployed.
They say “politics make strange bedfellows” and this is definitely true in Southern Oregon! The Tea, Pot and Toast Party is where the far right and the far left meet the middle! It’s about time!
What do these groups all have in common? First off, they all need to eat! But while one group is hoisting tea and hope overboard, and another is clipping bud and awaiting society’s collapse, the middle class is sitting and pondering a plate of burnt toast.
Burnt Toast of a 76 year old Vet who sees on TV that Congress is about to remove every scrap of his income. Burnt Toast of the 27 year old artist who says he doesn’t pay much attention to anything. Burnt Toast of the 18 year old college freshman who reports “we’re all socialists anyway, we don’t care” and shows me his text book about Communism. Burnt Toast of the 35 year old single mother of two who just found out funding was pulled and she can’t complete her nursing degree. Burnt Toast of the former Realtor and multiple clients immobilized by foreclosure, depression and powerlessness. Burnt Toast of the sick woman can’t afford medical services. The hard, scorched crust of the restaurant owner who can’t sell enough pizza to pay his rent. Burnt Toast of the businessman who can’t find a loan to continue or expand. Burnt Toast of all who invested and saved and saw their hard earned money disappear in a financial meltdown orchestrated by Wall Street. There’s so much Burnt Toast around that we must consider it our “Daily Bread,” even with tea or pot to ease its going down!
The polarizing issues being advanced by the greedy few are just excuses and the means to get the right, left and middle to “eat toast and die”! Don’t fool yourself into thinking it matters if we “don’t ask, don’t tell”, whether we believe marijuana should be legal or not, whether you’re Code Pink, Green Man, Rainbow Coalition, a Knight of Zion or of some other stripe. These are our costumes, our banners, “gang colors” that the power elite have grasped onto and are now manipulating. Just as they divided and conquered people in the ghetto prior to Civil Rights, and even since, these are the ways they get average citizens from the right, the left and/or the middle to fight against each other, while they steal from all of us! Even those staid or well-heeled individuals sitting on fancy or shaky fences, don’t you know these elitist dogs will dig a hole and bury you like bones along with everything and everyone else they’ve taken off the table?
We must look beyond the polarizing issues to the true sources of solutions. Bringing to justice those who stole and went unpunished must be addressed for the “Re-set” this society and the world needs. We must restore morality, integrity and consequence in order to move ahead. Also we must recognize how our common ground of jobs, food, water and healthy use and distribution of resources should be our common cause, and not let side issues blind us from 95% of the agenda we share. This is supposed to be the Post racial, Post sexist, Post elitist, Post greed AGE. We are the Tea, Pot and Toast Party and we shall reclaim a sense of fair play and restore the American Dream, where those who work hard can gain a degree of safety from want. If we don’t undo this political polarity and protect our daily bread in common, we’ll all be Toast!