Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Neighborhood meet-up: disaster prep

As you may recall, I sent out an email a little over a month ago querying the neighbors to see if they were interested in getting together to establish groups with common interests. I was nervous about proposing some of the things I did, mostly surrounding urban homesteading living, but the reception was positive and a lot of families were interested.

We had our first meet-up this past Saturday - a two hour affair with people bringing snacks, appetizers and drinks. Because my husband was still recovering from pneumonia, one of our neighbors ended up hosting it and a lot more people showed up than originally RSVPed. All told, about 9 families came to this first event, which was essentially a meet and greet, but we also went over basic disaster preparedness and decided how often we wanted to continue these events.

We socialized for about 50 minutes and then I got the group together to talk about why I sent out the initial email and we discussed how prepared people felt they were in case of a major event, what else they should be doing and what kind of neighborhood contact list we should have and what kind of information we should have on it. Of those who had some stored supplies, they were mostly following the 3-day standard, but I suggested that thinking beyond that would make sense and even having a shared neighborhood resource for water filtration and the like would be of worth.

I proposed creating a Google doc that everyone could access to add information ranging from where to turn off their gas line to what special skills or equipment (see water filter) they had. The City of Seattle also offers signs for residents that say "OK" on one side and "HELP" on the other in case of an emergency that you can put in your window.

Conversation turned more towards establishing relationships for less exciting things than an earthquake and more like heavy traffic or snow tying them up and someone picking up or watching their kids during times of need. In other words, creating more of that neighborhood network that I envisioned.

We decided to meet the first Saturday of every month for an early evening deal, with alternating families hosting, which basically means pulling some chairs together. Fortunately, one of the neighbors has a 15-year-old daughter who babysat the little kids inside while we sat outside chatting, eating and drinking.

Because the group was so large and, I think, because many were there just to socialize, we didn't get too much decided by way of focusing on anything in particular for future meet-ups. I'll propose the next "theme" when I organize the next meeting and hopefully we'll get some more breakdown of particular group interests. I want to do a neighborhood garden tour and see what other people are growing. In the meantime, just getting people more familiar with each other is a good thing as is getting the ball rolling...

14 comments:

Erica said...

You (well, you and the tsunami) inspired my neighborhood to do something similar. My block is getting together to talk about this same thing tomorrow night. Do you have any preparedness checklists for beginners you recommend?

Crunchy Chicken said...

Erica - Check out the info that Seattle has for their SNAP program, it's pretty well planned out for neighborhood preparedness: http://www.seattle.gov/emergency/programs/snap/

Hazel said...

I think the social aspect is just as important, and possibly a good way in for people who wouldn't normally get involved in something like preparedness.

I'm in England, and you may be aware of a wedding happening in London on Friday. My neighbour and I decided to take advantage and we're organising a bring and share BBQ (bring and cook?) for our street (25 houses) on our shared front drive. There are a few residents who nobody knows, and who know nothing about their neighbours. They say they're coming, so it's a start.

I'm not sure how much disaster prep you can get into a Street Party, but I have mangetout growing in my flower bed, so I may be able to get veg growing into the conversation!

Melonie said...

I'm a pretty new reader here, but wanted to tell you this is fantastic. I'm in southern Japan (nowhere near the 3/11 disaster area) and often have preparedness on my mind just due to typhoons, earthquakes and such. Having lived in SW WA for years my thing there was earthquakes and power outages. I think it's phenomenal that you are getting this going and that you had such a great turnout! Love it. :-) You're giving me some great ideas of how I can reach out to my base neighbors in a similar way, especially with typhoon season coming soon here.
Best of luck for the next meeting!

nika said...

way to go! you may know about Transition Towns already but if you do not, learn! building local resilience depends on doing exactly what you all are doing - meeting the neighbors - socializing -having fun - talking about preparedness - identifying local needs - the garden tour is awesome - and hopefully continuing to get together to further knit together your community.

here is a link to learn about the transition movement

http://www.transitionus.org/

from facebook and fellow homesteader - Nika B (@nika7k)

El Gaucho said...

Kudos for taking the initiative to organize your neighbors together. All it takes is one person to be a catalyst for action. Just getting to know your community members well enough to be on a first name basis is a great first step towards being prepared in an emergency.

Anisa said...

It sounds like your first meeting was a success! I'm thinking about how to make something like this work for our block.

adventuresindinner said...

So weird. We just had this conversation with my Dad this weekend (he used to do disaster planning as part of his job) which prompted us to do some planning with our nearest neighbours on Sunday.

homesteader said...

CC,
I am so glad this is working out for you. I tried in my former locale with no luck and I am trying again where I am now.
Devin

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

Mazel tov on the successful turn out! Crunchy chicken for mayor! Or alderperson(do you have those there?)

Crunchy Chicken said...

Hazel - "mangetout" - I learn something new every day!

Equa - Nope, no alderpersons that I know of. Maybe a dougfirperson though.

Hazel said...

CC- Ah, snow peas! Or flat peas, as my Great Aunt calls them...

Deb Fitz said...

I'd like to get a group like this going here at the lake ... you mentioned putting together a Google Docs database ... you are welcome to use my Emergency Preparedness Spreadsheet if it will work for you

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Atob1r1jTV37dFlza3dSVXlKcDRla05faThIb1p2WGc&hl=en#gid=0

And thanks for the link, Deanna ... I'm adding you to my blog list :)

Greenpa said...

Spectacular, Crunch.

My admiration increases. :-)

LinkWithin