Within a ten minute bike ride are a couple dozen properties to visit that have a variety of features including a lot of grass to garden, edible landscapes, natural building, solar redesign, some rain water systems, a few fences down between neighbors, a couple cob pizza ovens, green houses, a sort of little eco village, several driveways taken out. Lots to see. We plan site tours on the Friday, not only here in the neighborhood but also several other sites elsewhere in Eugene.
We want to show what suburbia can look like. We also want to show how city programs can empower citizen initiative to build civic culture and make homes and neighborhoods more green and resilient. There will also be tours in nearby Cottage Grove and Lost Valley Educational Center.
Planning for the Convergence means creating an organization. There will be presentations, plenary sessions, meals to prepare, entertainment, publicity. We are planning an outdoor expo as a companion to the Convergence. A sort of Earth Day with educational tables, space for green business sponsors and a skill share area that will include basket making, bee keeping, herbs, felting, beginning permaculture classes and lots more. The expo will be free and open to the public.
Another sub part of the Convergence will be the "Green Neighborhood Summit." I was on the board of my neighborhood association for ten years am firmly believe neighborhood associations can be one of the most important entities in a community for going green. Not all cities have a neighborhood program which is a shame. Neighborhood programs and the neighorhood associations they serve empower citizens to take part in community life. A neighborhood association [NA] can make any agenda they care to and one of those agenda items can be greening the neighborhood.
That means encouraging people to take care of more needs closer to home - food, water, energy, cohesion. We have done some of that here in River Road over the years, only scratching the surface of what can be done. Many cities also have various kinds of programs whether the city has a neighborhood program or not, that can also encourage citizen initiative such as volunteering to clean up parks, create gardens, restore habitat areas. In my neighborhood, one program has been very helpful for restoring a 65 tree filbert grove on public property. The city provides tool, some technical expertise and munchies for work parties.
AT the Green Neighborhood Summit, we want eco active neighborhood leaders to attend so they can see what we are doing here in River Road and Eugene, and visitors can tell all attending, what they are doing to make more green and resilient their neighborhoods and communities. This is an awesome opportunity to share what we are learning in these changing times.
Next blog, I will describe some conversations I am having with city staff from different cities in the Northwest. I am calling city staff to tell them about the Summit and at the same time, I am finding out what people are doing in different places to make where they live more green and resilient. Already, I have several short overviews of what I am finding out. the number of stories will increase over time, hopefully becoming an important resource for people into greening their neighborhoods to make use of so they can adapt those great stories to where they live. Here is a link to the first stories. Some will be written by people, some are taken directly off of website some of these projects have. Here are some stories.