The Spare Cabbage

A short post this time with some wise words from John Wardle (1996), a community philosopher (now deceased) who lived in St Albans, Christchurch, New Zealand.

John helped set up The Plains Exchange and Barter System (PLEBS) a community newsletter (STANN) and a community bulletin Board (InfoLink).

His basic message was the importance of good information and good communication in building the kind of local communities where all can grow and flourish.

It is a sad state of affairs when someone is in need and someone is offering, but the two cannot find each other. In modern cities this is very common. Effective community needs good information to happen. Without it we have tragic waste. This can be in the form of loneliness and isolation or of food, goods and energy. It takes good communication to find that kind word or spare cabbage its most welcome home.

Everyone has something to offer. There are always skills or friendship to swap in some way. There are lonely people and there are people who like to communicate. Everyone has something to offer. It’s just matter of finding it. And society doesn’t have to balance. We don’t always have to get back what you get out because you receive it back with your own attitude to yourself. Once you start measuring it then genuine community starts to go down.

To give, to receive and to care are some of the most important elements of worthwhile community, but this cannot happen if we do not know what is happening. Who needs help? Where do we find help? Who wants to buy? Who wants to sell? What events are happening, when and where?

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