Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gift Circle Meeting @ St. Mary's

What is gift circle?

Gift circle is a regular gathering where people come to express their needs and others can offer to help them. The help is offered as a gift, and not a barter or exchange. Needs can range from a hug to moving books to babysitting to doing a personal process or holding space for another.

Gift circles are an expression of gift community, a concept created by Bill Kauth and Zoe Alowan. Bill and Zoe held a workshop on gift community last October in Fairfield, and this gift circle is a continuation of the idea. Gift community is a new way of creating and culturing community. The question asked of those at the workshop was, “How am I the gift?” “When has my gift been recognized, appreciated and honored?”

When we answer these questions, we can begin to live the gift that we are individually, while within community. We can also begin to ask for what we really need. Gift circle is the practical application of two important questions: “How am I the gift?” and “What do I need?”

Monday, January 9, 2012

St. Mary's grounds master planning - meeting notes

Following up on Dora's post, here are the notes from the brainstorming during last Thursday's meeting; this represents everyone's ideas but not necessarily the final result. (Thanks to Emanuel for typing up the notes!)

Design objectives:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Landscaping the St. Mary's Grounds: Masterplanning!

A group of interested individuals met this past week to begin creating a masterplan for the use of the St. Mary’s grounds. Group brainstorming led to lists of design objectives and specific design components.

Examples of objectives include both social concerns (building community, designing activities into the landscape, providing a safe & beautiful public space, etc.)  and eco/biological concerns (improve soil and water quality, create and maintain bio-diversity, include edible landscaping, etc.). 

 A few specific components that were discussed include: public benches and pathways, a community-oriented annual vegetable garden, a public food forest, a greenhouse, rain gardens and rain catchement from buildings, a gazebo and cob pizza oven, and many more.
A small group was formed to complete the mapping process. When this initial draft is complete, it will be made available online for the broader community to see and comment on. In tandem with this design phase, research has begun on sourcing and funding for landscaping elements (trees, tools, building materials, etc.).