Mother's Community Network

Over 250 local groups have gotten our community network off the ground!

| November/December 1981

Over a year ago, we announced plans to set up a national-wide community network of local chapters for MOTHER EARTH NEWS subscribers. As we saw it, the system of locally based groups would help people of similar tastes and interests share their dreams and ideas, exchange information, barter goods and services, and—in short—help one another live more self-reliant lifestyles.

We're now pleased to announce that—thanks to the fine efforts of our volunteer organizers—more than 250 "getting to know you" get-togethers have been held across the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii, and Canada. Most of these initial meetings had between 25 and 30 people in attendance. Several drew over 50. And one session—the current record holder—counted 200-plus participants!

Many of our fledgling groups have discovered that the best first step in founding a chapter is to help members become acquainted. A successful introductory meeting, then, will break the ice by drawing out information about the occupations, skills, and talents that each individual brings to the group, and by stimulating discussion of the goals that members hope they—and the chapter—will accomplish. A good kickoff affair should be fun as well: Indeed, in many areas covered dish suppers and folk or country music shindigs have turned out to be especially good ways to start the ball rolling.

We're also beginning to get feedback on some chapters' ongoing activities.

One, for instance, has already held a workshop to teach its members how to build solar collectors. Another showed its "spirit" by holding a session on how to brew homemade beer! Other initial projects have included building solar food dryers, greenhouses, water heaters, and collectors, working out barter exchanges, and gathering firewood.

A number of groups have set up "living libraries" to cross-reference the skills and talents of their members. That way, a "chapterite" who needs specific information or assistance can easily identify the fellow member with the most knowledge or experience in that particular field.

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