:: a few last thoughts ::
This post is the fourth and last in a small series about the Wisconsin Permaculture Convergence. This blog post relays my experience of the event. First post of series is here; second post about the workshops I attended is here; third post is here.
The Swap Table. A table was set up during the entire event for swapping. I brought specific items for the swap table, and I definitely had fun with it. I have hosted swaps and attended swaps for various specific items — purses, kids clothes, and food. This table was not specific to one type of good. “Free for all” tables require me to have certain goods for the most success, and I knew if I brought something that wasn’t swapped, I had to take it back home with me. People left things unattended on a table and it worked out fine. It was similar to the “free” boxes that I saw during my time at Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
It was going to be a place for stuff that was valued by this community. Plants, seeds, food items, books, gadgets — things that a household could use would be successfully swapped. It’s kind of like a potluck meal. I brought Pear-Ginger Jam (foraged the pears), Mulberry jelly or syrup (I can’t remember which, but I foraged the mulberries), and Honey (from the hives I tend) and traded them for books (not a surprise).
Vendors. I wasn’t sure if vendors would be there. This convergence had an area where the following were sold: books, teas and tea accessories, and plants. You almost had to walk through the vendor area to access anything on-site. The gathering was small enough that I didn’t feel things were at risk of selling out before I had a chance to buy (shopping dilemmas during past home school conferences come to mind). I decided before I left Iowa that I would not bring any plants home. I was very tempted, but stayed strong. Just imagining the eye rolls of my kids kept me in line. I don’t know if I would have changed anything about the vendor area.
Reflection. Would this work in Iowa? I don’t know. I am reminded much of unschooling — the nature of the community is unstructured, so someone would need to buck up and get formal. If there is an Iowan with a PDC, I think an Iowa event would be your calling. Without that person, I wonder if partnering with the organic or fruit and vegetable grower associations would be one way to have a convergence in Iowa. It is difficult to take time away from the growing/planting season, and winter travel is difficult, so I do not see an easy or obvious way to do something similar in Iowa. However, I have no problem driving out of state (especially with our hybrid car!).