Early in July, the man who started a circle of active and
concerned Ubuntu Contributionists, Trygve Peterson, reached out to Derrick
Broze – freelance journalist, YouTube personality, and now a Bitcoin-sponsored
activist on a nationwide speaking tour.
Trygve wanted to know if there was anything the Ubuntu Minneapolis
Circle could do in collaboration with Derrick’s event for the Twin Cities, and
he was told to contact Juliet Nail, an activist with a group of concerned local
Juliet asked Trygve if the Contributionists could put
together a permaculture event for Derrick – an “Action Day” – where his group,
The Conscious Resistance Network, could participate and contribute. The Minneapolis Circle accepted the challenge
and went straight to work.
On August 8th, the “Action Day” came to
fruition. Derrick, and his team members
(Miriam, Johnny, and Mick) joined the Circle to install a rainwater capture
system to provide water to a newly erected hoop-style greenhouse on a city lot
used locally by Ubuntu Minneapolis as a base of operations.
For anyone new to the word “ubuntu” – it is a South
African word that implies unity in community.
Michael Tellinger, leader of the global Ubuntu movement and the Ubuntu
political party in South Africa coined the term “contributionism” to capture
its meaning in English. Both the
movement and the political party are organized and growing in countries around
the world, including the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and many others.
Scattered in and around the metropolitan Twin Cities
area, the local chapter of Ubuntu Contributionists was devising ways to
incorporate the “One Small Town” strategy released by the Ubuntu home office in
South Africa during October of last year.
“It’s hard to imagine implementing the One Small Town strategy
in this big city,” said Trygve, “so I thought, how about if we start with one
small house and then build a network from there.” At a recent meeting the Minneapolis Circle of
Contributionists noted the many progressive organizations manifesting with
common goals across the country, and a permaculture project seemed like the perfect
way to start bringing them together.
“A hoop-style greenhouse alone doesn’t really capture
or convey all the benefits of permaculture,” said Tank Barrett, another
Contributionist, “… but if we used raised self-watering garden beds supplied by
a rain-water capture system, we could get a lot closer to what permaculture
“Here we capture the rainwater in the barrel shown, and we have
installed lines to carry the water into the water reservoirs of the garden
beds,” said Tank. “It isn’t a real permaculture yet, but it’s a start!”
According to Google, permaculture is “the development of agricultural ecosystems intended
to be sustainable and self-sufficient”. “A residential lot in
the city is the last place anyone would expect to find permaculture,” said
Jason Nelson, another Minneapolis Contributionist, “but with the ever
increasing population of this world, I think it would be a good idea if we
began to find more efficient means to produce and distribute our food. If we
can move closer to local sustainability and self-sufficiency through
permaculture ideology, we will be that much closer to finding real long-term
solutions that everyone can implement – even if they live in the city.”
“One product I found
that made this whole project easier was something called ‘Catch a Raindrop’. It’s sold at many area retailers, and it is
made to fit inside the downspout for your rain gutters,” said Tank. “It filters out most leaves and other debris
that might otherwise end up in your rain barrel and it’s designed to
accommodate a regular garden hose,” he continued.
Over a period of 3 weeks, the Minneapolis
Contributionists spent their Saturdays to prepare the hoop-style greenhouse for
the Action Day event. First they cleared
the ground and rounded up materials donations.
Next, they built the structure. Finally,
they assembled the raised garden beds and prepared the materials to install a
rain-gutter water capture system when Derrick and his crew arrived.
David Koehler – another Contributionist – installed the water lines.
“We didn’t put the plastic cover on until we had all the dirt we needed
– but now with the plastic on we realize we will be able to lengthen
our growing season by quite a bit, said David.” He continued, “We may
even get a crop of lettuce or something before this year is out, but I
will leave that to people with greener thumbs than mine.”
things considered, this event was a rousing success. The gardens are
ready for planting, and there was a packed house at the Birdhouse Inn
& Gardens where Derrick Broze and his team spoke that evening.
next project will be to collect the donation of a large aquaponics
system. “We aren’t sure where we are going to put it that it will be
safe from the cold winter weather,” said Bruce Schaefbauer, another
Contributionist. While the
Circle is figuring that out, they intend to
build a healing pyramid in the side yard – a small metropolitan nature
preserve that is already home to some chickens.”
yet another Contributionist who donated most of the bricks for the floor
and lots of labor said, “Our goal with the One Small House is to engage
the community and to encourage cooperation and collaboration.
Hopefully, we can all learn a little about the Ubuntu Philosophy and
support each other as this world transitions to a healthier
socio-economic structure and a set of paradigms that values people and
life over the almighty dollar.”
They may be just a few small steps, but the Ubuntu
Minneapolis Circle is seems to be taking them in the right direction and for
the benefit of everyone.
Ubuntu Minneapolis Circle
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