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Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
April 27, 2011     Hells Canyon Journal
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April 27, 2011

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Page 6 Hells Canyon Journal April 27, 2011 Food Production Tips and an Introduction to Timebanking Spice Up the April PEN Local by Melanie Allardale Fond memories of last year's gardens mingled with mouthwatering optimism for this year's plantings as local folks gathered in the New Bridge Church of the Nazarene to swap seeds and stories at the April 21 PEN (Pine Eagle Network) Local meeting. Phil and Yolanda Brown's luscious greenhouse vegetables and ingenious recipes for enjoying local foods plus an informative pre- sentation on an Eastern Or- egon Timebank provided food for thought and body. Seven folks from La Grande who had read "Tran- sition Towns" by Rob Hopkins, (a plan for creat- ing local resilience and eco- nomic well-being without money) in their book group, and then read about PEN Local in a Hells Canyon Journal article, augmented the crowd of 35 attending the meeting. A copy of"Tran- sition Towns" is making its way through the valleys, thanks to Liz McLellan. Basics of Timebanks "Time banking promotes economic well-being without money," Local Economy Com- mittee Chair Kyle Ransom began his explanation. "A timebank is like a local com- munity bank that keeps track of time instead of US dollars. For every hour you spend doing something for someone in your community, you earn one hour to use to have someone do something for you. It's a 'pay it for- ward' system." People with skills help people who need jobs done. Skills encompass a wide va- riety of knowledge: people can offer to teach sign language or read to someone who can- not read anymore, as well as provide skilled labor and ser- vices, fixing things and help- ing with daily chores. Some systems allow a person to accumulate up to 25 hours ifi "debt". They can go into the system anytime and find any- one who needs their skills to work off their hours." A per- son can also "gift" their hours to anyone in need, for in- stance, someone dealingwith a post surgery situation or a sick child. How the Exchange Works "Let's say you need some: one to help out in the gar- den for two hours. You can post a request to the timebank or search the timebank directory and con- tact another member to set up an exchange. A timebank member then comes by and helps out in the garden. Once the service is com- pleted, you transfer hours on the timebank from your account to the service pro- vider. You've spent two time dollars and your helper has earned two time dollars." The group viewed several short film clips that described successful time banks in Maine, Massachusetts and the UK. There are 80 time banks currently operating in the US. The one in Massa- chusetts has been operating for ten years. Timebankers in the videos enthused about the system, saying it fosters cross-generational links: el- ders need help, and under- employed young people pro- vide; creates new friends and helps people appreciate and utilize the abundant re- sources within their own com- munities. The timebank group will train a number of time-bank- ers to assist those with little computer experience who want to participate. Time- bankers willing to be "com- puter ambassadors" will earn timebank hours for aiding less "techie" community members. Timebank Coordinator, Liz McLellan, demonstrated the software she has acquired from the Austin, Texas timebank that can make it all possible. Several people will test the program for user friendliness, and the Local Economy Committee will de- tail the next steps for com- munity involvement at the next PEN meeting, Thursday May 26 in Halfway. "The timebank will re- quire one orientation meet- ing and signing a member agreement so that everyone starts on the right foot." Liz elaborated. Timebank users report little or no difficulty with slackers, due to the orientation process, the transparency built in to the timebank system and what Liz called "reputation eco- nomics." The project, which will most likely begin with ser- vices as an hour-for-hour vol- untary exchange, is not a tax- able event. Products and goods may be added eventu- ally, and the system may in- terface with other networks in nearby communities. Any- one with questions or a de- sire to help test the system may contact Liz at lizmclellan For a more complete explanation of Timebanks, go to the PENlocal webpage at Seniors Cassie Bloom* Josh Bunyard Daniel Minarich * Cody Powell* Juniors Ashley Butler* Chelsie Gulick Randee Koski Jessy Lawrence Luke McCoy Devri McNeal* Justine Pallan* Elise Ter]eson* Sophomores Michaela Butner* Austin Dennis Tanner Seal* Keegan Wreden* Yancey Walker Freshmen lamie Butler Phoenix Millhouse* Tyler Newberry * Indicates a Grade Point Average of 4.0 e ng JL,,' 1.111 Photo courtesy of Karen Reynolds DIESEL-FREE CHICKEN TRACTOR: PEN local folks check out Lyn Akecs' portable, Iow-costpoultry palace perched on the back of his pickup. Such enclosures may be fashioned from recycled fencing materials; this one is salvaged dog run fencing set up on skids. To move it around the yard, the Akers family puts a rope on one end and pulls it or picks it up by the wire. Other chicken tractors in the valleys have attached handles and some are built on old trailer frames with wheels. A Threat to Local Workers? In response to concerns from the group that local trades people would feel threatened by local time- banking, Liz pointed out: "If you are tradesperson wor- ried about other trades- people taking work away from you through this sys- tem, three things to keep in mind: 1. Qualified trades people are in competition anyway. 2. In a cash-strapped economy you have fewer cli- ents because clients don't have cash to pay you. In a timebank you can still be com- pensated for your work, and use the timebank hours to get other things you need done in a low-cash-flow situ- ation 3. Both you and your client have saved cash for those things which absolutely still require cash such as fuel or medical care. 4. You will add to your reputation for being a com- munity-oriented small busi- ness owner. "A timebank is a supple- ment to and not a complete replacement of the cash economy," she continued. "It gives everyone more flexibil- ity and security in a time when we are all feeling the very serious pinch." i Honor Roff . Qtr 2010-11 Liz went on to say, "I think it's really good and impor- tant to address as many con- cerns as we can. We hope to involve all organizations in the area to enable more young folks to get training and earn timebank hours, to increase participation in community projects, and to gather more volunteers to help with flood or other emergency response situations. Phil Brown also reiterated PEN's mission to work with the local community to ini- tiate more jobs. More Local Food for Thought Accompanied by h'er dad, : Phil Brown's, luxuriantpots of Swiss chard and celery and a tray of emerald green wheat grass, Yolanda Brown displayed a bowlful of home- grown produce from Phil's low-cost greenhouse: spin- ach, lettuce, chard, celery greens, onion tops, parsley, kale and aloe vera, plus dan- delion greens, clover, alfalfa and violets from the yard, that she makes daily into smoothies. Then she with- drew from a seemingly bot- tomless milk carton, a smor- gasbord of homemade food products: goat cheese from Karen Reynolds' goat milk, crackers from Tom Omann's wheat, dried greens from this spring's "weeds," salad dressings from homemade vinegar and/or yogurt sea- soned with dried herbs, salsas, canned and dried fruits. "Give the kids some enter- tainment," she suggested, holding up a Mason jar al- most full of cream from local cows, "and have them shake this." Jake Brown confirmed five minutes of shaking at his house produces butter. Hot Gardening Tip of the night: Cut offthe central seed- bearing stem Swiss chard produces and you will have edible greenery for up to three years. Phil pots a few plants from the garden each au- tumn, adds fresh soil, a mix of earthworm compost and very rotted sawdust, and win- ters them over in a green- house, "although any sunny window would do." He puts them back in the garden in the spring with a dose of fresh soil. Phil briefly discussed square-foot gardening, which calls for a soil mix of compost, vermiculite and peat moss. "Effective, but expensive." He spreads saw- dust on his garden path- ways, "for aesthetics," he Said. After two years, the sawdust rots enough to be used in a soil mix instead of the recommended peat moss, so he rakes it away, puts fresh on the garden paths, and substitutes the rotted sawdust for peat moss in his soil mix. Carlie Powell Justin Seal Katelyn Whybark Eighth Grade Hayli Kuta Jami Pallan Seventh Gra00 Christine Cook Devin Rasmussen* Ryan Rau Lacey Walker We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle Photo courtesy of Karen Reynolds HOMEGROWN FRESH VEGGIES YEAR-ROUND: David Crookston holds a bowlful of Phil Brown's greenhouse harvest: spinach, lettuce, kale, chard, celery tops, green onion, parsley and aloe vera, plus dandelions greens, alfalfa, clover, and violets from the neighborhood. The family puts it all in this blender, along with some home-canned fruit or juice for a daily , smoothie. Branch Library Hours Halfway - 541-742-5279 Wednesday: 2:00-5:00 p.m. Thursday: 4:00-7:00 p.m. Friday: 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. Saturday: 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Richland - 541-893-6088 Monday: 1:00-5:00 p.m. Tuesday: 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Wednesday: 1:00-5:00 p.m. Saturday: 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Web site: Corrections Our primary interest it o be as accurate as ] e. If you know of p an error in a story, please let us know at 541-742- 7900 or