A couple of months ago, a writer for Shareable magazine approached Rani and asked us to contribute to their article on ShareFests. Rani and I spent some time talking about their questions and then she wrote up some great responses. Alas, when the article game out (you can read it here) it did no more than mention that Palo Alto has a Share Faire. Well, at least we’re on the map. But we thought that the exchange with Shareable was too good to lose, so we’re reproducing it here as a blog post for you.
[?] What are some activities or events that do particularly well at your ShareFests?
Our Share Faires are held quarterly, and include goods (garden produce and tools, craft supplies, books, toys, and clothes) as well as skills, which vary each time. Classes by experts and which involve food are often popular, as well as garden-related booths, but seasonal activities (wreath-making) and new ones (shoe-making) do very well. Anything for kids attracts families – we have done crafts, storytelling, friendship bracelets, and music, among others.. We have also just tried a conversation circle with great success in an outdoor setting!
[?] In your opinion, what’s the importance of a ShareFest?
Transition Palo Alto, and the Transition movement in general, is founded on the principle that climate change and resource depletion are opportunities for a better vision of the world – one where we build community, encourage others to try things first and dive in, then understand its significance in your mind, and finally take it to heart, where it moves you. We beliyour Share Faires and other sharing events offer opportunities for people to dive in with their hands, but also deepen their involvement in the other two, through building confidence and resilience, developing and encouraging teachers, and bringing everyone along these steps to grow the movement.
[?] What are the goals for your ShareFests? What do you hope comes out of them?
Of course, we hope that sharing encourages less waste, less reliance on resources, and a stronger local economy. We hope that we are helping build a network of people who have skills and resources to support our community. However, we also hope that those who teach go deeper into understanding their roles as wisdom-keepers, and that those who attend do more than trade stuff but instead try something new, become experts and teachers themselves, and build a stronger, more integrated community that has shared its knowledge and is resilient in the face of what is coming. We have the broader goal of a vision for the future that is optimistic, interconnected, and a smooth transition to a post-carbon world.
[?] Anything you’d like to add about your events?
One issue we have had with our Share Faires is that as we become more popular, we find more people bringing items and leaving them. We have had to be careful about this sort of dumping, because it suggests an easy out – a way to release your material guilt, when what we are trying to encourage is less consumption. Instead, we are trying to focus on sharing the stories of our stuff, to make one-on-one connections, to help people find good homes for things that they are releasing from their lives.