Green Acres Village, late January: Upstairs/Downstairs part I, DOWNSTAIRS

Though it may seem from the outside that not much is going on in wintertime, on the inside there’s plenty to chew on.

First of all, our weekly Community Dinners continue unabated. Photos in next post. That’s the Upstairs part, light and fun. The Downstairs part? Well, that’s the “cleaning the basement” task, a multiweek committment, two hours every Sunday morning, from the three of us in this house, and this past Sunday, Rebecca from next door as well. Photos follow.

Most significantly, however, our new forming Board for whatever this whole place is to become on a legal basis met officially for the first time, during the hour before our Community Dinner nearly two weeks ago. More people are joining the Board over the next few months. Meanwhile, so far, we’ve identified these possibilities: Community Land Trust, B Corporation, Series LLC, 501c3, 501d3. We will be looking closely at all of these, and meanwhile, hopefully attract an attorney for the Board!

Here we are, looking somewhat solemn. Mariella, on the right, is heading up the process.

Okay, let’s start with Downstairs. As you can imagine, given that a whole lotta people have flowed through the GAV over the years, there’s lots of stuff down there that none of us recognize! So it’s been one long surprise party. Here’s some pics from that first Sunday morning descent:

For our first task, we concentrated on simply clearing the way to the washing machine from the stairs. And ended up with piles of take away stuff for recycling, Goodwill, and Habitat. So glad Alex has a truck!

The next Sunday, Dan had to work, but Alex and I tackled the corner by the dryer and freezer, freeing up piles of stuff from former forays into the neighborhood, our original methods of “getting out the word.” For example, we used to put five or six signs out, all over the 440 house neighborhood, announcing meetings and events:

That was before Katarina moved in here and suggested that rather than concentrate on the whole neighborhood, an impossible task (especially in a neighborhood dominated by fast-moving student rentals), we start focusing right here, where we actually live. DUH! So glad we did. And that single, sudden, decisive shift began to carve out Green Acres Village within Green Acres Neighborhood. YES!

Of course, those old signs got rained on, and at some point, we started covering them with cellophane.

I must admit, seeing and stripping the signs of cellophane and tape, taking them off their metal stands, and generally spending those two hours on a chair doing so, put me in a nostalgic mood. Since I’m the only one who has actually lived here for the entire evolution of Green Acres Village and Urban Farm, I’m by default the historian, or rather herstorian. And it’s a weighty responsibility. On the other hand, who else really cares? Let go, Ann, let go.

Okay, so this past Sunday, Alex and Dan concentrated on the room that has held an enormous accumulation of bags, camping equipment, etc. We managed to let go of probably half of it.

And our new recruit, Rebecca, concentrated on getting all the animal cages together and situated along one wall.

See the table in the foreground. Rebecca would like me to get rid of it. I’m not yet willing. Tug of war, with me thinking maybe I WILL work on organizing all my stuff from 75 years of living at that table SOME DAY.

I remember when permaculture teacher and author Peter Bane┬ácommented in a meeting, “we have 30 years of stuff on this earth to use up before we need to manufacture anything else.” Exactly. How much accumulation is enough? How much is too much? What do I personally, really need? What can I gift to others? What can I share? Questions that live inside me, always.

Here’s part of the original take away pile from the first Sunday. It’s next to the art table, long abandoned to further piles . . .

And here’s where all the stuff from last Sunday’s yield is now, on the porch, with a tiny bit of room to squeeze in and out the door. Alex and Dan promise to take it to recycling, etc. this very morning.

 

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