Election season is in full swing. But no matter what the outcome, we know we can't patiently sit back and expect elected officials to move us forward alone. We have to take change into our own hands.
Folks in JP have been doing that for decades. Recently, the Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition (JP NET), an initiative of local neighbors and organizations, has been catalyzing projects and connecting “Change-Makers” across JP.
JP is full of great stories, and we love highlighting them at the JP NET monthly potlucks. For example, we heard from resident Jenny Jones about how she started the Festival Garden in the Southwest Corridor Park. “I grew up on a farm,” she explained, “And I wanted kids in JP to be able to pick fresh food while they’re running around.” Now, they can. You and your kids can stop by the garden and help yourself to free veggies when they’re in season.
We learned that Will Morales overcame poverty and imprisonment to become the Director of the Egleston Y, where he tirelessly works to create opportunities for JP’s youth. We learned that Andree Zaleska built a carbon-free home, and that Andy Brooks started “Boot Strap Compost,” a thriving new business that turns food scraps into compost.
We learned that one group of neighbors in Egleston Square turned a vacant lot into an orchard, and another turned Forest Hills Apartments into a low-income housing co-op. We learned about efforts to legalize backyard chickens, create public art, and make the community more queer-friendly. We heard amazing story after amazing story, all of them based right here in JP.
Like Jenny, Will, and others, you probably also have some ideas about how you’d like to see JP change. There’s lots to be proud of, but there’s lots of work to do to bridge the “two JPs,” create green jobs, and grow more local food, and make JP better for everyone.
In your everyday busy life, you might not feel up to making any of these changes. You might hear these stories and think, “How nice! Those folks must have super change-making ability or something.”
But we know that Will, Jenny, Andree, and all the rest of these folks are normal people too. All Change-Makers have been confused, discouraged, and unsure of what to do and how to do it. So how do they overcome these obstacles? What inspires them? What keeps them going? What resources do they use? That’s what we’ll be talking about at our upcoming JP NET Potluck on Tuesday, September 25, Celebrating and Inspiring JP’s Change-Makers.
At the potluck we’ll have lots of time to mingle and chat with each other. Folks will share stories, swap ideas, and ponder sources of motivation and inspiration. Then, we’ll come together to brainstorm: what can JP NET and the wider community do to support Change-Makers? How can we help you make your vision come true?
JP needs lots more gardens, jobs, green energy, local businesses, affordable housing. We need stronger schools, safer streets, and happier people. We need to build a local economy that works for all of us, in harmony with the planet. And we can’t wait for the “experts” or leaders to build it. If JP transitions to a New Economy that works for all of us, it will be because of us – the efforts of everyday neighbors looking out for each other and this neighborhood.
So what’s your place in all this? What are you already doing? What do you want to do? Come on out on September 25, talk to your neighbors, and then get busy changing JP for the better.
September 25, 6pm, Spontaneous Celebrations, 45 Danforth Street
For more info and to RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/114027552077747