For hundreds of years, harvest festivals have brought neighbours together as a community, to talk, trade and celebrate the plentiful food before the beginning of the long nights of winter. To help bring back that kind of community network and local crafts, my group, FADA, will organize a Feile na Samhain (Halloween festival) Nov. 1.
As part of the day-long family festival, we will host workshops where local people can learn to:
* make felt out of wool,
* make a basket out of willow branches,
* use a bow and arrow.
We will also have children's theatre, storytelling and puppetry, and children's workshops where the kids can:
* learn about worms and how to make a wormery;
* make their own small windmills;
* weave willow together to make baskets,
* make their own masks.
We will also have booths on gardening, seed saving, bee keeping and forests, while Colaiste Gaol students will offer an exhibition on what County Kildare was like in the early 20th century, based on their interviews with elderly residents.
Theresa Carter, of FADA and Kildare Transition Town, will talk about the Transition Town movement, which is moving hundreds of communities away from fossil fuel dependence. Davie Philip, of the Dublin organization Cultivate, will speak about the methods communities are using to do this. Eleanor Sutherland will talk about using hedgerow plants to stay healthy, and I will talk about peak oil and the world’s future.
All these are baby steps -- five people might learn how to line boots, ten people might meet and follow up the relationship, a few kids might think differently about the world. But out of threads like this is a community woven. The events of the last few weeks have frightened so many people because their fortunes - their food, housing, relationships, entertainment, everything in their lives -- rise and fall with the fortunes of Wall Street gamblers. The more we restore a free-standing, functional community that feeds and supplies itself, the less dependent we are on an economy composed of a froth of bubbles.
Top Photo: County
Wicklow in the fall.
Bottom photo: Irish musicians and mummers at Donadea forest last December.