Monday, February 22, 2016

What's going on

These random spurts of nice weather have had all of us in good spirits and our productivity has been great.  In the last several weeks we have built a new farmstand on Robinwood that will sell fresh produce with a "pay what you can, take what you need" spirit.   With the help of a great group of couchsurfers we began construction on a new chicken pen so that we can expand our chicken operation.  Our bike mechanics have been attending classes so they can increase their skill set and experience with fixing bikes.  We have also been meeting frequently to discuss the implementation and expansion of these projects as we move toward spring.

Events coming up: 

  • Wednesday, February 24 7pm 
  • Meet and greet potluck at the U.I.O building
  People within the community will have the opportunity to present their projects and plans for the year and get to know their neighbors better

  • Saturday, February 27 12pm
  • Clean up at DA Park
Clean up DA Park at Charleston and Robinwood.  This will include trash pick up and landscaping, as well as planning for the future of DA Park.

Many events, work days, and meetings are in the works.  We will post updates as we can, and are looking forward to what will be a great year in the Fireweed community!  

Donation Proposal Results

Recently we voted to use the $1000 donation to purchase the lots that currently house DA Park at the corner of Robinwood and Charleston.   We have set up meetings and are filling out various applications that will potentially allow us to accomplish this goal.  We will post more updates as we can.  Thanks to all who were interested and involved in the voting process. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Grant details

Hey everyone! More good news!

We have already generated several great ideas in their early stages for what to do with the $1000 donation. Even better, all of the ideas so far have been focused on benefits to our community! That being said, if you wish to submit an idea, please know that you must show not only the "what" but also the "how" for your idea... for example:

Perhaps my idea is to use the money to buy a house for the community to use as a gathering space. I may have a lot of good ideas for how to use the house, how to fix it up, and when it will be done by; however, unless I can show that the owner of the house (be it the city or a private owner) will actually sell the house to the non-profit, then my idea is useless because it is incomplete.

From our last post...
"Keep in mind, a good idea will have the following characteristics:

1) The idea will benefit everyone at Fireweed. We have been specifically asked to use the money in this way 
2) It will be a fully formed idea. The amount of time and elbow grease it takes to complete should be included in the proposal along with an explanation of where the elbow grease will come from
3) It will be reasonable based on the budget of $1000."

Please do not submit an idea that is only 90% complete the day before the deadline (Jan 31st). But also, don't be afraid to ask for help! We want ALL  of the ideas, because even if they don't work for THIS grant, they may work in the future. We want to know what you want to see happen, even if it is a little lofty. One great way to generate ideas and fill in the missing pieces is to submit an idea to the public ( via Facebook etc.) and ask other people to run with your idea. Someone might have information you were missing. That's the beauty of community.

I must once again emphasize that ideas that don't explain how the $1000 covers the costs of said idea are INCOMPLETE and can't be considered for this grant. That doesn't mean that the $1000 has to cover 100% of all costs, but if that is the case, then the idea should detail where the rest of the money is going to come from.

Keep throwing ideas out there, and start writing a detailed plan. They are due January 31st so that we can all decide which idea to pick in a timely manner.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Requesting ideas

Good news! A very kind friend of the community has donated some money and asked that it be put to good use. We thought it would be a good idea to let the community at large to decide how to use it.

We need a plan on how to best spend $1000. We have been asked to make sure that the money be used in a way that benefits everyone involved in Fireweed, so make sure to spread the word for those in our community who don't get on the internet.

Keep in mind, a good idea will have the following characteristics:

1) The idea will benefit everyone at Fireweed. We have been specifically asked to use the money in this way
2) It will be a fully formed idea. The amount of time and elbow grease it takes to complete should be included in the proposal along with an explanation of where the elbow grease will come from
3) It will be reasonable based on the budget of $1000.

Submissions do not have to be long, but need to be complete. Something longer than a status update but shorter than a Charles Dickens novel would be appropriate. If you have an idea please submit it in writing to fireweeduniversecity If you would rather submit a hard copy or handwritten idea, please give it to someone who lives at the Slide House or the Blue House.

We need ideas on or before January 31st. After that, we will read them and choose three or so that, aren't too similar, and meet the above guidelines. Then we will put it to a vote! Which idea deserves $1000 for the good of our community?

Not everyone who is part of Fireweed uses the internet, so please spread the word by mouth, phone, smoke signal, etc. We need lots of good ideas (and even bad ideas too, because they can be useful sometimes, as well).

Monday, January 4, 2016

More to come

Heading into 2016 we have a lot on our plate. There are many things we want for our neighborhood. In 2015, we created a nonprofit organization to help legitimize a few of our projects. We will continue these projects in 2016.
We plan to grow food on ten city-owned, vacant lots this year with the help of our volunteers. In the past, our all volunteer workforce has tilled up garden beds by shovel and created no till gardens using alternative methods. They have boarded up homes with their own tools and created public space where there before had been blight.
This year we need to do it right. We will not only enlist volunteers to help in the gardens, but we will maintain a tiller and other tools to make our jobs easier. We will not only create public spaces, but will make sure they are zoned by the city and maintained by our neighbors.
Another continuing project is our bike shop. Over the last three years, volunteers from our neighborhood have fixed and donated hundreds of bicycles to children in the area. This project has gained a lot of interest. Most of an old, donated bike can be recycled and rebuilt, but we need help. This has been a mostly successful project thus far, but to really make it work we will need to find a way to purchase certain parts that just aren't as good second hand such as tires and tubes. Specialty tools such as cone wrenches are expensive and need replaced occasionally, but they allow us reuse more of the donated bike frames we get.
We hope to secure as many spaces for gardens and public parks in our area as we can take care of. The more volunteer interest we generate, the more we can do. We hope to accomplish this with a satellite garden program. We will be enlisting renters and homeowners alike in our area to grow their own gardens. We will be able to multiply our efforts by linking together our gardens and sending help upon each garden's inception and on a regular basis to help maintain them.
If everything goes well, we will have a good number of people in our neighborhood growing food. To offset some of the costs, we will sell potted plants in the spring as well as food from our gardens in the summer and fall at a couple different farm stands (details to come). Our finances are very modest, and we are able to do much work with few resources.
In 2016 we will have more volunteers, more connectivity with our neighbors, and more money to support our projects. Imagine what we can accomplish this year.

Our neighbourhood

If you had stood on the corner of Charleston st. and W. Robinwood on New Year's Day of 2015, you would have a different view than if you stood there today. Before, there were piles of rubble and illegally dumped garbage. Now there is a public park, garden, and picnicking  area. On several occasions in 2015, dozens of volunteers and neighbors came together to clean up the block, remove trash, and create gardens.  This all happened with help from so many people. Some of these people live nearby, others are friends of neighbors all of us are volunteers.
That's not all that has changed. Our neighborhood has seen businesses, homes, and people come and go. There seems to be progress made through demolition and reconstruction simultaneously. Block clubs that had once been inactive have restarted. More community gatherings are happening right here in our neighborhood and in the surrounding areas.
Looking forward to next year we will attempt to purchase a city lot for the purpose of gathering and sharing (and growing) food. We hope to secure the park in perpetuity, as well as a community garden space nearby. We will need help. There is more work to be done.
These are but a few of our goals. Don't worry, there's more to come!