"we're trying to create a dynamic place to not only speak about environmentally conscious ideas, but also practice them..."

From our participant Ben Huff: Andrew Hewins, Chris Nichols and I are embarking on a journey together as part of the Groundswell Grassroots Economic Alternatives community. We've decided to start documenting our voyage, which involves the occasional video entry and cat pics (and dog pics). We are extremely excited. Follow our blog and engage us in discussion. This is a part of the larger story of creating and living the new economy. Let's do it together.

It’s beginning to look a lot like… REAL LIFE!

by Groundswell participant Andrea wordpressDL copy

It’s beginning to look a lot like… REAL LIFE!

We are heading into the second semester, and the experience is not unlike stepping out of a movie theatre...as you walk back out into the rain outside and your brain reminds you only a few hours have gone by.

You know this is true, yet in those two hours you lived another life. You witnessed struggles, aspirations and, perhaps, resolution. You walked in someone else´s shoes and, if the story was compelling enough, you might not even walk out unchanged.

Let me assure you… our first semester was compelling enough.

For months now we have been mapping ourselves. Tracing our strengths and weaknesses, our ideas and projects, our fears and passion. They assured us that each experience had left a mark, like stars in the sky and that - if we were brave enough to draw the lines- our own north star would appear.

And so we stood this week hoping all those charts had led us to the right place. We kicked off the week sharing to the group each of our Project ideas. Ranging from detailed plans, draft dreams and key words each idea became a proposition, a very real life scenario.

Then Reilly gave us a quick brain shake by encouraging us to keep our eyes open. To identify who feels the need? And who has the resources? As it's in that intersection where the magic happens. Of course she reminded us that team dynamics can be as crucial as the business idea and encouraged us to look for a team that can create, communicate and manage successfully.


“None of my mentors ever told me how much I was getting in over my head..."

by Groundswell participant Andrea This week, we were joined by Tracey Axelsson the founder of MODO - Vancouver's car co-op, and currently the Executive Director of the Vancouver Community Network. A striking woman, her energy filled the space as she shared her experiences, what she has learned and who she is now. I admire her strength and her determination. At some point she said “none of my mentors ever told me how much I was getting in over my head. When I asked them why they said: because you kept growing” as an aspiring social entrepreneur I can only hope I might get to hear the same words! Reilly’s class then ended with a conversation on the digital divide in Vancouver, options for community-controlled Internet service and regulation that makes that difficult.

solidarity-fishFrom there we transitioned into Matt´s class where we had a deep talk about the Bologna cooperative, and trying to figure out how each of the cooperatives we have been researching fit into the bigger capitalist labyrinth.

Tuesday kept the “real world feeling” by focusing on successful loan interviews… go Gerry! As usual this class was full of useful insights, witty remarks and a handful of us trying to absorb –and remember- as much as possible.

Gilad´s class opened space for the Tin Can Studio run by Caroline Balhorn and Jenny Lee Craig (a Groundswell participant). A quick Google search will define this as a 1969 streamline trailer converted into a mobile art space and studio. Yet the Tin Can was a remarkable example of ingenuity, resilience, and adaptability as they succeeded in creating space in Vancouver, engaging community and offering a unique creative experience in the most unexpected places!

Tuesday came to a close as we were lead by Uffe into the elements that make a compelling presentation and were thus given our last chance to work on our consultation research and insights. Next week we will have only a brief rehearsal of the final presentation followed by the real deal on Wednesday night.

Wednesday afternoon was led by Amanda and devoted to seeking the connections between our projects, and although the group I was in was out of luck, it was amazing to see how each idea had continued to evolve… even since Monday!

This week came to a close with the surprising guests Brigette DePape and Cam Dales who talked about the unusual combination of empathy, humor and politics in their trajectory in ShitHarperDid the shd.ca site.

The weekly community time flew by as Chanel Ly shared with us the details of the fight against the demolition threat to 439 Powell Street. The building is operated by the Ming Sun Benevolent Society, and was working and occupied until late July 2013. It houses 8 maintained and low-income, affordable Single Room Occupancy units, studio spaces for the Instant Coffee Collective, and is home to the Ming Sun Reading Room. The closure of the building resulted in the displacement of 10 low-income seniors.

Also Kevin Elliot shared his proposal to create a Groundswell Media production project which was enthusiastically received and hopefully will continue to evolve.

Empathy, Shame & Singing

by Groundswell participant Claire S.



Chip Hand Face. Chip Hand Face. CHF CHF CHF. I am trying to compile my thoughts on the main events of last week by simplifying and re-bundling a scattering of unfitting events. It is not always cohesive here. Facilitators are either coming and going or only around for their class. Likewise, students juggle many different things and are in attendance such as life permits. I just want to connect it all. Then there can be a sameness and this whole thing can be ingestible. CHF CHF CHF


The week started with a planned change in plan, Michael from Mas Movement was coming in to start a conversation regarding privilege. After his arrival we were informed that a particularly charismatic and inspiring student would no longer be a part of the program. Hung up on this loss, we began a short confusing introduction to privilege and anti-oppressive spaces. CHF CHF CHF. Seeing and listening are the starting points we started with. Beginning to speak about privilege commonly evokes an intense response of shame leading to paralysis. In Gilad’s class he soothed our inadequacies with chocolate cake and showed us a popular video on vulnerability through a vulnerable internet connection. Heidi narrated the gaps with information on neurological connections and effects of shame on these connections: connection breakdown. Cognition breakdown. Without connection there is little empathy.

After a broken connection, learning, vulnerably moving towards more connections. We are supposed to be looking for potential partners, business partners, but our connections are jolty. We sat in groups indulging in delicious cake sharing our project ideas or where we were at with this pivotal part of the alternative business school. Sharing our vulnerable and secretive ideas, or lack of, was paired with the photo (1)empathy of the group. This connection helped validate our sense of worthiness. CHF CHF CHF. I am still in this nest of wanting to listen and ingest listen and ingest listen and ingest. Stepping out and creating: transferring from see-er to see-e (also known as witness to spectacle) is slightly challenging for some--I’ll speak for myself here, challenging for me. Group brainstorms on project ideas begins next week. Inevitably this continuation of sharing will lead to greater connection and genuine care in each other’s endeavors. My chips are gone.

The connection is connection

With our consulting project it is becoming clear a major motivator is a desire to connect to other people. –In Matt’s class we are look at examples of people connecting and succeeding over a shared need: alternatives to top-down Capitalism. It is in the connection that success has developed. –Reilly’s whole class is based around finding current ways of connecting. photo (2)Wednesday’s class ended beautifully with entertainment and wisdom. Shiki initiated a connection by a humorous and insightful presentation on language barriers called ‘Shiki’s Gap.’ Explaining that much of what she desires to say is left unsaid and thus falls into the ‘black hole,’ illuminated that a quiet person is not necessarily one that has nothing to say nor wants to say nothing. Shiki played the violin to translate Shiki’s gap with two short songs, one song delicate and vulnerable, and the other flourishing in expertise and confidence.

Chanel wrapped up the class by facilitating something unfathomable. She got the class to sing. Together. The whole room. Everyone. Me. I sang. We sang together. We heard each other’s voices. We matched each other’s voices. We simultaneously sang different things and mingled through the small space Chanel had laid out for us. It was challenging but completely doable. We messed up, but we sounded good. If you are seeking connection, may I suggest singing with people.

Ideas, Brainstorming and Toby Barazzuol

by Groundswell participant Andrew

The floodgates opened and the ideas started to flow, we began last week brainstorming and throwing around our thoughts on the different project ideas we've been contemplating working through and what projects some people have already been working on.  It was refreshing being able to hear what other Groundswellers were thinking and it really sparked a sense of excitement in the air.

brainstormingUffe introduced us to a brainstorming exercise which required us to break off into groups to try and brainstorm on the "unused capacities" of the city.  It was a lot of fun, we came up with some great and wacky solutions on how to use different unused or underused spaces within the city.  The purpose of the exercise was to light the brainstorming fire and keep it going through to the end of this semester, into the next and beyond.

Over the past two months we have been working towards developing our projects through several different facets of knowledge.  As the end of the first semester quickly approaches, the cohesive glue of all the classes has begun to solidify and the tools in which we can use and apply to our projects are now stacking up - the personal, the community and the business parts.

In Reilly's class (Network technologies and your project) we were given a re-cap on the different topics that were covered throughout the semester, it was nice to return to certain topics and talk about where we would like to focus a little more on and what worked and what didn't.

We continued working on our consulting projects in Uffe's class (Community research tools), each group has now framed the challenge they're attempting to solve with the organization they're consulting for and have begun the expert interview process, this is an important phase within the ‘human centered design process’ we've been learning about.  There’s a lot of research to be done and each group is working hard towards the presentation deadline of December 18.

In Matt's class (Understanding contemporary capitalism) we gathered in our groups and spoke about Mondragon, the Bologna co-ops, the Recovered Factory (autonomista) movement in Argentina and the Solidarity Economy movement in Brazil.  For the next two weeks we will be researching and presenting our findings on these movements, diving into their histories, their strengths and weakness and what we could take from them and apply to the Groundswell community.

We continued on with our financial positions for our ‘Alternia’ businesses in Gerry's class (how money works), taking a sneak peak at a few actually existing companies financial positions and talking about the trends, patterns and reason why certain things were happening. It’s interesting being able to see and pinpoint the elements of a business where they were struggling and where changes in their process occurred, all within a spreadsheet of numbers.

During Gilad's class (Social innovation around the world) we looked at ‘ideas’ and what is a good idea. Gilad presented the class with several different innovative ideas, some of which sparked an interesting conversation over their relevance, though, through this process we saw that good ideas come in so many different forms.

The week was capped off with a very candid and interesting talk on Wednesday night by Toby Barazzuol the founder and owner of the Eclipse Awards and the chair of the Strathcona BIA (Business improvement association).  He spoke a little about his past and how he got to where he is, but his main topic was about his ethos around building a robust community through sustainable and healthy business practices.  His dedication and passion towards this topic was felt through his understanding and first hand application of successful sustainable projects throughout the DTES and Strathcona area.  It was a very insightful and inspiring talk.

Wednesday night ended with community time and the agenda was filled.  It started with a birthday surprise, Matt had organized a little celebration for Gilad's birthday, however, he realized that his actual birthday was on the following Monday, still, we celebrated 5 days early with Shiki and Brienne playing happy birthday on the violin.  Amanda followed up with feedback on next semesters schedule and Uffe finished the night by leading another brainstorming session.

The weeks are flying by.


Week Who-Even-Knows-Anymore

By Claire

This week was short, due to the holiday, but still jam-packed with all kinds of good stuff. We learned more about Financial Statements, progressed on our consulting projects, heard from some great guest speakers, and finally had a Wednesday night Community Time that didn’t make me exhale a convoluted breath of frustration and exhaustion when it was over. It was actually a really nice night. And, I must mention one of my highlights of this week: I think it’s an understatement to say we found a gem of a sandwich shop, really close to the Groundswell premises.

In Gerry’s class (called How Money works) we presented our Financial Statements for the businesses of Alternia, one of the only surviving countries of the MAD War for Economic Supremacy. Using the businesses of our alternate reality as templates, we grounded ourselves in the real(er) world of accounting and attempted to balance our Financial Positions.

The day progressed, but my presence waned. My group and I had a scheduled meeting with the organization we are working with, for a consulting project that we’re working on for Uffe and Amada’s classes. This is what happened while I was out, as I understand it:

Vietnamese SubJim Barker (on the Board of Directors) came in and spoke about some of his experiences as an entrepreneur. The part that I heard was very interesting, genuine and informative. Gilad probably spoke after this. I’m sure he was very animated and entertaining, as usual.

We were back in time for the start of Uffe’s class, where we split off into our consulting groups and shared our progress on framing the challenge that each group is tackling for their respective organizations. …Then my group and I deeked out again (the meeting had caused us to skip lunch) and we found something we could never have dreamed of. Just three blocks from Groundswell lies the salsa-techno music playing Vietnamese Sandwich shop. It was a wonderful experience, eating $3 subs made by an incredibly high-spirited dancing sandwich magician. This what Tuesday was comprised of, more or less.

Wednesday evening was filled with delight. We began in Amanda’s class, learning how to approach the research part of our Human Centered Design for our consultation challenges. Class Shift Cargo Deliverytime quickly turned into potluck time and we ate marvelous food in good company.

We were joined by Graham from Shift Urban Cargo Delivery, who spoke of the process of co-creating a start-up based on a good idea and of the many positives and complexities of running a worker-cooperative business. Finally, we had Community Time and the sailings were smooth (this is worth exclaiming about!!!) I sensed a feeling of excitement in the room as we listened to Amanda brief us on what Semester two will look like, but alas, I’ll leave you in suspense: tune in next semester to Groundswell Updates to find out what will unfold.

Eliot presented the visual design he and Matt had been working on, which illustrates Groundswell’s inner workings and how they interact with the greater Groundswell community. I think there’s more to it than that, but I can’t really remember much else, except that the image looked a lot like a chocolate chip cookie. In addition, Eliot briefly told us about the Enbridge pipeline plans and the Defend Our Climate rally this weekend to try and stop it. I don’t know about everybody else, but I for one, will be there, hopefully wearing a handmade salmon hat.

Shiki Plays the ViolinShiki topped off the night with a beautiful violin performance. She walked us through a brief history of her interest in different genres, from classical to Celtic. It was probably the cutest violin mash-up I’ve ever seen.

Where do we go from here?

By Groundswell1011087_397422427043049_166946639_n participant Kevin Elliott In Groundswell this week we discussed places: How do places, or, our conceptions of them, interact with us and shape our roles as aspiring, young social entrepreneurs, and how do we in turn mould places for ours and the community’s needs? What do places do to us and how do we find our places?

Matt Hern discussed the complicated paradox between multi-national corporations operating globally while also rooting themselves in particular countries as a way to encourage us to rethink the relationship between geography and contemporary capitalism. How is it that in a globalized world, life seems increasingly “worldless?” Is it fair to suppose that the only form protest can take is then “meaningless” outbursts? Or is there a way out of such an aporia? What can case studies like the Mondragon Corporation, the co-ops in Bologna, the Recovered Factory movement, and the Solidarity Economy in Brazil teach us?

Gerry Dragomir continues to emphasize the place of money, the spectre that we can never chase away. Accounting, investments, and money management may be to many of us realms that exist in some other place, in someone else’s world. But this is our world too. Here we return to the basics, balance sheets and positions of financial statements. How do we create and understand such information, and how do we both place value and generate the place(s) for value from them? But perhaps more importantly, what, in this context, is (the place of) value?

We had the pleasure of hearing from Steve Williams, from Constructive Public Engagement, give an informative guest lecture on data mapping, and more generally, the burgeoning relationship between technology and narratives. At first the two may seem like odd bedfellows, the decidedly inhuman form of machinery coupled with the primordial characteristic of the human condition, storytelling. But as Reilly Yeo helpfully clarified for us during Williams’s talk, “We should use data as a window, not a black box,” which is to say, in another context, “The play’s the thing.” Through examples and methods, we discussed possibilities and challenges of mapping not just places and settings, but what happens in such places. If there was a climax to this narrative, it perhaps gestured towards the imperative for change. How do we take mapping, the archetypal tool to chart places, and rethink this tool as a means for social change? How do we identify the rise from niche innovations to redefinitions in the socio-technical regime to finally a hegemonic shift in the socio-technical landscape itself? Indeed, each stage of change itself has its place.

But this change can, perhaps must, begin locally. Since the beginning of Groundswell, we have all sensed the covert dilemma between our mandate for implementing feasible, community-based political change and the call to not be tempted by the red herring of the evils of particular manifestations of contemporary capitalism at the expense of tackling the system itself. Of course, at what place do we, and should we, direct our passion? Gilad Babchuk, in his developing role as Groundswell sage, defiantly proclaimed we can do nothing if we do not start at home, Vancouver, implying that community activism is not a distraction from but a necessarily generative stage towards bigger things.

Let us look at Vancouver: Located on a peninsula, the affluent west side cocoons itself in its own world, using Main St. as its gatekeeper, disallowing cultural and social access to east-side residents without a passport. North Vancouver is for the urban young professionals and retired conservatives, and West Vancouver attracts some of the country’s richest residents, who do not derive their money locally but from offshore markets. They all have their own places, their own plot of land, their own moira, fatalistically cordoned off by rivers and bridges. Blinded by the faint promise of speculative capitalism, they derive their value—their very cultural worth—by gambling with stocks and bonds. Here place takes on powerful, metaphorical terms: The geography of the land, the places of our lives, corresponds to the (lack of) bridges between these disparate worlds. Is it fate that creates these disparities? The fate of plotting one’s lands, relying upon the gambling house, and cutting oneself off from the world with geographical barriers, creating one’s own moira without any way of breaking free from the boundaries, a lot separated by water and bridges, and Main St. With these conceptions of place, there is no room for transcendence, no room for change. This is why east Vancouver, without its own peninsula, can symbolize alternatives. But in east Vancouver too we isolate ourselves with our radicalism; as Gilad emphasized, we may not have passports to the other worlds, but we are not even trying. We must not subjectivize those from outside east Vancouver to create an “us vs. them” mindset; when nobody outreaches, we unwittingly play along with the game just as much as everybody else does. To get out of the game, Gilad professed, we first have to understand it and then play it knowingly, that is, strategically. Heck, even Dante went along with Virgil’s game of fun through Hell before he could escape; in contemporary times, it is the classic tale of Tron. Our projects in Groundswell require self-reflection and bridge building, not more bridge burning.

So, at what place does this leave us? Where do we go from here? This week’s Groundswell guest speaker, Claudia Li, co-founder and co-director of the Vancouver-based Hua Foundation, probably answered this question for us without realizing it: Even she does not know where (and why) she is going, but maybe that is the point. Li created the Hua Foundation, whose mandate is to bring together the worlds of cultural heritage and social change through an environmental lens, because of a growing tension she noticed in her communities between tradition and activism. Li does not have any answers for such questions as: At what place do we direct our attention, community preservation or community changing? At best, Li can only hope that the question is a false dichotomy, and perhaps all the Hua Foundation can do is reframe questions instead of providing answers. Li delivered her most insightful remark in her conclusion: “The point is to reframe the message instead of recreating it. We need to change our methods of tradition and not the tradition itself.”

These are truly helpful words for when us Groundswell participants begin creating our own community-based projects. Our place, after all, should not be about finding answers, but creating questions.

Groundswell is Work

by Chris: Photo by Zack Embree, http://www.zackembree.com/

Last night, Groundswell was on display. We were a part of the Ashoka event at the Living the New Economy conference on Granville Island, and Gilad, Reilly, Amanda, Uffe and Chanel spoke in different ways about what Groundswell was, how it conceived of education, and why it was important to have a space for something beyond ‘business as usual’. At the end of the night, the facilitator described the discussion as ‘magical’, and there was a palpable sense of excitement that the world was moving places.

The night before, Groundswell was mired in the muck. We were on—by my count—hour 3 or 4 of our attempt to agree to a decision-making model for our group. Facilitated by Neelam and Chanel, the session made a circuitous, digression-filled advance toward finally ending in agreement, by consensus, on our model. There was a joyous round of applause, the steam finally escaping out from the intense conversations we had been having. It was noted, however, that not everyone had been present to be a party to this decision, calling into question the ‘consensus’ we had reached, and so our model was adopted only for a trial period. The book was not closed on the subject.

I find it wonderful to think about these two events, happening so close in time to each other. Groundswell on the stage; Groundswell constructing its foundation. When I heard Gilad and the others speak at the Ashoka event, I was excited, joking that I wanted to join up again, anew. And yet, even in the somewhat monotonous late-night work on our decision-making model, I still felt excitement beneath my drooping eyes, possibly even more so. Last night’s Ashoka event gave me some insight into why this might be.

After the formal session, I asked Reilly for her thoughts as to why Groundswell seemed to resonate with so many people. She had noted earlier, and I had found myself, an excitement about our school, as if the words had struck a chord that had just been waiting to be strummed. I’m paraphrasing Reilly’s response, but it touched on the fact that many of those who hear about Groundswell are realizing that ideas and critiques about our world need to find real traction in not just our actions, but our labor, our work, our many economies of exchange. It is real, difficult, serious work.

Photograph by Julien Thomas, http://julienfthomas.com/

Groundswell struck the chord for me, personally, from day one, because it was upfront with the work involved, and the realities of needing employment, making compromises, and working through our insurmountable ambiguities (one of the foremost of these being that we are conducting our actions on land that does not in the first place even belong to us).

I guess what made the hard process of consensus building exciting for me, then, was how labor- intensive it was, how stubbornly honest it was at the work involved. There were many moments where we could have ‘short-handed’ our way to a decision. Previous to our last session, we had come close to a decision and were debating ‘powering through’ to the end. One person spoke up and noted that some people had left, we were all getting tired, and that ‘powering through’ was not the way we could make this decision. It was frustrating, but it was the right thing to do. Everyday I’m more convinced that I can trust our group to do the right thing regardless if it is fun or efficient.

The Ashoka event was great, the speeches powerful and genuine. But what gave it force and what, in my mind, gives Groundswell its potential, is the work underneath it all, the labor. The Muck. Without these, a presentation is just words, and an attempt toward a new economy is just a footnote to the story of the world.

Last night, our panel was asked if they could provide ‘homework’ to the audience, concrete things that they could do tomorrow to contribute to the logic Groundswell was working within. There were many wonderful suggestions. Gilad (who still insists that his English is poor, and wouldn’t we all be so lucky to have our frustrations with language result in such soulful aphorisms) offered a suggestion I had heard from him in the past, which was to begin to have “real relationships to your dreams”, a phrase that I think gets at what Groundswell is asking us to do every day. The final statement on the subject was made by a fellow Groundsweller and friend. She said that if she could suggest one thing, it would simply be to speak the truth. To conduct yourself honestly, and say what you mean in all spaces.

Like reaching consensus with your peers, or ‘changing the world’, it seems like such a simple idea. But it takes a lot of labor. And I for one find that very exciting.

"Never, ever give up."

From Tessa, another of our Groundswell participants In this week we...Questions

Had a community building process on decision-making, lead by Neelam and Chanel. Then we talked more about capitalism with Matt, he pointed out three key points from the reading (and I didn't manage to get them in my notes). One question that was asked was "what are the processes by which uneveness is created?"

With Uffe and Amanda, we started new exciting community consultation project, that will last through to December! Plus had a snowball fight with crumpled up paper!

Kevin from the BC Cooperative Association visited us and taught us a ton about co-ops. We learned that businesses that operate with a corporate model have a 40% success rate, and that co-ops have a 66% success rate. The four main business/organization models that exist are: corporate, co-operative, non-profit, and CCCs (Community Contribution Corporation). The last is a a mix of the first three, and is appropriate when you "want a business corporation with a social twist."

During story-time with Gilad we talked about how it's important to work from a place of heart, rather than a place of 'head' (mind). We asked "how do we make change?," and Gilad said he wasn't entirely sure 'cause it always varies, but that whatever we do, there are three main threats in the process: (1) you start to identify yourself in opposition to the mainstream, saying "I am not that" and then you forget to define who you really are because you stop asking the question of "who am I? who are we?" People join you and you're doing well.. you become cool with your alternative, and (2) you STOP LEARNING because your ego gets in the way. You think you know everything... but you don't, and you never will... none of us ever will :) So, (3) you think you're the shit, and then you decide to build bridges into the mainstream, but others in your group/cohort hold you back, because they're scared.. and maybe you're scared. You're scared because buidling bridges requires you to open yourself up, it makes your organization vulnerable, it forces you to ask "who are we, and what do we do?" 

Finally, Romi Chandra Herbert, the founder of the Gay-Straight Alliance, and current co-director of PeerNet BC visited us, and shared his personal story of growing up in Maple Ridge, facing homophobia and racism. From listening to his story, it seemed that a lot of his anti-racist, queer activism was a way of healing from his past hurts -- this being yet another example of how our early life experiences can light our fires and inspire us to make change. Further, his persistence and willingness to keep going through big challenges was incredible and humbling. Never, ever, give up.

Some elements of a week at Groundswell

From one of our participants, Russell: Community Agreements2013-09-30 10.23.37

A very pertinent meeting was held at Groundswell to begin discussions about designing some foundational framework for our fresh and budding community. Wonderfully facilitated by Neelam and Chanel (Groundswell participants), the collective brainstorm has thus far produced ten community agreements, which we will attempt to live by in hopes of creating a loving, supportive and creative learning environment.

Networks, Technology and Your Project, with Reilly

We started with Yochai Benkler's thoughts on “social production.” We asked: Can we ethically use social production for the benefits of our own projects? We looked at projects like Wikipedia, Linux, Drupal & Mozilla Firefox to ask how they have created livelihoods for people.

We then looked at Dan Pink's ideas via an extremely well-calculated RSA animation, “The surprising truth about what motivates us.” His answer: Mastery, Autonomy Purpose. Thinking through motivation is especially important in organizations where we want participation to be voluntary, in the way that social production is. How can technology & network effects help us create mastery, autonomy and purpose so that people will be motivated to work without feeling coerced or dependent on financial incentives?

Social Innovations Around the World, with Gilad

Gilad's Spiral:

Without witnessing Gilad's theatrics and listening to his tangential stories while he draws you his “spiral” on a flappy white piece of paper, it's hard to convey his message so beautifully in words.

Basically, in order to progress, grow and learn in life, one must trustingly and bravely go toward the “unknown” and feel the doubt and confusion that comes with it.

As you grow, you'll eventually climb out of the “unknown” and find yourself on the path toward the “known” realm. However, being in the “know” can only last so long before your inevitable plummet toward the “unknown” again. Continue this process and you are ever expanding in the spiral of life, or something like that.

How Money Works, with Gerry

In small groups we began to design and think about what it takes to create our own types of currency.

Co-Developing Community Research Tools, with Uffe

We asked: What is it to be a researcher? How must we conduct ourselves as researches in our community? What steps is a Groundswell participant to take in moving forward with the development of their own project?

Selena Couture, a Groundswell board member, came to discuss Decolonizing Methodologies by Linda Tuhiwai Smith in combination with the concept of “participatory research.” It was great!

We also went on a tour of the Fresh Roots Urban Farm and has a potluck at another participant Heidi's house, home of the Hammock Residency.