Share Fest 2016 was an amazing celebration of organizations devoted to sharing resources. Co-housing Louisville was there seeking 6-8 people to buy a house together. The Louisville Area Intentional Communities Incubator was there in furtherance of its mission to find a way to bridge the gap between the dreams of intentional communities (or communities designed to pool resources and provide a tight, durable social network). LVL 1, a collective ‘hackerspace’ where people share tools and know-how to “create/ destroy/ hack” was teaching people to solder bright LED lights onto a fleur de lis sign. The Louisville Free Public Library had a Makey Makey plugged into 5 bananas letting people play CDEFG on banana keys. And of course, the Louisville Time Bank, the event’s host, was there inviting people into their vibrant and friendly community of individuals focused on building a supportive alternative economy.
Setting up a table to talk about cooperatives with Elizabeth Jones gave us the perfect opportunity to learn how creative and entrepreneurial the city really is. A young man who started Stronghold Chess Club, with a mission to put “Chess on every porch, in every park, and in every heart, explored what a chess cooperative would look like with us. A West End group in the process of forming a food cooperative talked to us about the union cooperative model, a model combining the strengths of local level cooperative management with larger scale labor union negotiating power. Someone else told me about plans to turn a house she owns into a hang out place for retired people.
The event left me with the clear impression Louisville is on the verge of something big. Large scale solutions are great, but they leave too many people and too many needs out of the equation. Right-sized entities like those represented at Share Fest are the best hope for filling the gaps and helping people understand fairness in our economy.