Contacts Are Being Made…

I’m finding the best way to stay on the top of the wave is to paddle like crazy! Being the only one on this paddle-board, holding the momentum is best done by spending lots of time just going over and over the same information – paddling, if you will. In any case, treading water is a better description of what’s been happening!

I spent a day on the computer applying for an annual million dollar contribution from Co-op Community Spaces that was more than half done when it all went away. Lost due to a time limit. I knew the time-out was there but it said “if inactive”, and it wasn’t inactive – I was working on it! I comfort myself that I’ll know it backwards when I get the opportunity to talk about it. I’ve since found out that there is no resurrecting it and I’ll have to start all over. I will have the answers ready before starting next time!

I’m in the process of contacting Thompson Rivers University faculty to introduce myself and the opportunity for collaboration in Our Heart Gardens. Their help in the creation will be invaluable and will provide good experience and a life-long joyful association for the students. And I think I really need to make this happen before I decide upon a location. You see, I’ve seen another place…

And it’s bigger than I thought!  It’s across the road from the Fortune Shopping Centre and has windows on three sides and has a huge expanse of pavement, next door to the RCMP detachment. Did a quick search for retail space looking to see if I could tell you more and, oh my, the RCMP space is coming available in early 2015… that’s now!  I just sent an email to North Kamloops Business Improvement Association about Our Heart Gardens, hoping they would be interested in supporting the idea of having us there. It would be ideal, with the bus loop just a property away!

I’ve been getting advice from people, telling me that I should just concentrate on getting the first Our Heart Gardens location up and running, rather than trying to create the network right away. While I understand and appreciate their concern, I wonder if their advice is right in this case. I remember when I first shared the idea with the Ladies, their response was “It sounds like Utopia!” Many of the target market live on the North Shore and, until the buses have been brought into the organization, a close location would be good for them. While involvement of students of TRU is desired, they have bus passes and can do homework while they travel. I feel it important to remember the Source of the inspiration, the fact that I’ve been guided to this all my life, and that I’m just doing my best to do what is put in front of me, as Guidance suggests. It will all come out right in the end!  Have a little faith…

Mapping Out the (Near) Future

If you have a big goal it’s good to have a plan, a map for the journey forward, and that was the purpose of my meeting today with Colin O’Leary of Venture Kamloops. Coincidentally, making a map was the final exercise in a course I’ve just completed. Kinda perfect! First let me tell you a bit about the course and then I’ll brief you on the aspects of Our Heart Gardens that Colin and I discussed, and last is something new.

Scilla Elworthy, of Rising Women Rising World, has been advisor to Peter Gabriel, Desmond Tutu and Richard Branson and is world renown as a peace builder. Her first on-line course “Rising Women Leadership Jumpstart”, through The Shift Network, came just when I needed it, knowing that I would need help in developing Our Heart Gardens past the concept stage. Scilla was so very inspiring and she laid out a course that was everything I hoped for, and more. With a wonderful group of like-minded, passionate and powerful women to lend me an ear when I need it, and their expertise too, I feel more grounded, confident, and blessed. Their accomplishments and ability, and their willingness to be open and giving are amazing and I look forward to seeing the progress of their own projects, all born from what in the world breaks their hearts.

Shannon McArthur to see Colin O’Leary – sounds like it could be Ireland, doesn’t it?  Nope! Kamloops, BC Canada, it is; where the first Our Heart Gardens WILL be located (unless Winnipeg, or another city gets theirs together first) but it won’t be tomorrow, nor in 6 months either, although I envision a time-frame of a year. Lots of work needs to be done before then, though, and here’s my list for now:

  1. Business Plan – Colin will send me his template (got it!); Leticia has offered assistance
  2. Legal structure – Community Contribution Company (C3) was suggested, a new company structure (for info go to Small Business BC and BC Cooperative Assoc offers free advisory service). Benefits include ability to sell shares. Alternative: Cooperative requiring participation of landowner, taxpayers, tradespeople, municipal government, transit authority and financing bodies
  3. Financials – Accountant c/be KPMG or ask for suggestion from Deborah Monahan @ Valley First Credit Union. Revenue streams include grants, crowd funding, contests (sale of shares too, if C3 structure is used)
  4. Location – contact Real Estate Foundation for assistance as this is primary figure required in Financials

Colin responded very positively to the KFPC presentation I shared with him, as a way to get us both on the same page. The mini-agenda I brought helped to focus the conversation on what I needed to know (I thank classmate Laticia for her guidance.) I now have templates for both a Business Plan and the Financials and will do what I can with them, confident that when I am as done as I can be, Laticia will be there for me again as she has offered her expertise (completing her doctorate, she’s in class this weekend so isn’t available to give permission for full disclosure – all in good time! I did want to say though, how much I appreciate her generous offer.)

Of course there are other parts of the path that need attention too… and in that, I have to do what I can, and then exercise a little faith. As I learned in Scilla’s course, it’s really nice to work with people who can see the dream – it’s more sharing than work! So, I need to continue to spread the idea – the right people will be inspired by the concept of Our Heart Gardens and will want to do what they can to help. While having faith is important, sitting back and taking it as it comes doesn’t feel as good as making choices and being involved – it’s rewarding and it’s FUN!

Finally, I’m not content with the content of the website! Concerned with attracting and motivating people in the best possible way, I’ll be delving deep with help from another friend (Tami Smith of The Dawning Point) who has offered to “unravel the blocks that prevent you from effectively telling your story”, a new Single Session service she’s developing that works directly at producing a big impact in sales success. Her special skills with seeing to the heart of what matters most will help me refine the website to improve its ability to sell the concept of Our Heart Gardens!

KFPC Presentation – Mission Accomplished!

It was a wonderful first “presentation to a group” of Our Heart Gardens and good connections were made that will be the foundation of what is to come. Seeds have been sown in JUMP with Glenn Hilke and Barbara, TRU students will be sharing the website and the possibilities with their instructors and peers, and everybody knows to come to the website to learn more – because there really wasn’t enough time to give them a complete picture.

The first question from the floor revealed something I wasn’t aware of. I talk about Our Heart Gardens as if it already exists, because it supports the Gardens’ existence, but it doesn’t yet. So, as happens each time, I must adjust the presentation (shown below.) I got great comments and congratulations and will follow up on all the connections and suggestions I was offered.

I almost walked out the door before making those connections, though, and I learned the presentation isn’t over when the applause stops! That’s when I need to step up and direct the energy of the sparks made in the audience. Some like to confirm what they can to do to help, others need to communicate the ideas that were inspired. Some people just want to say they enjoyed the presentation and look forward to seeing me again! How nice is that!!

I gave them a business card and the “Downtown & Four Families” section of the website, and this is what I told them:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you all. I’m so impressed with the things you’ve accomplished and challenges you’ve met by working together. I have a challenge I’d like your help with…

OHG is a new kind of public facility where organic produce is grown indoors, not to replace but to augment the crops already grown in the fields. The KFPC Strategic Plan includes precisely what OHG is designed for – creating food security in close-knit communities, sharing and celebrating people while they work together to feed hungry people.

In exchange for people’s work we offer healthy meals, fresh produce and bus tickets – higher demand for transit allows improvement of services and security. A network linked by transit can highlight our diversity and enable circulation. It could become a first-of-its-kind-in-the-World tourist attraction!  Vancouver, and other cities, are working on networks of community gardens but no-one has brought the labour indoors, compensates with bus tickets and uses drop-in participants!

The first Our Heart Gardens I think should be a 24/7/365 Primary facility as a sanctuary for the vulnerable and a good place to go for shift-workers, insomniacs and people in recovery.

While the City has set a Food Hub as a long term priority, in combination with OHG we have the opportunity to meet many other, on-going and short term goals including

  • increasing the volume of year-round local foods,
  • providing access to healthy local foods and
  • ways for everybody to grow food as well as
  • facilities for food processing and community kitchens.

Interest and momentum can be created and maintained by providing a wide range of things for people to do in OHG. The handout provided discusses the effect Our Heart Gardens will have on the city and the people who live here, to help you get a feel for what a difference this facility can make to all our lives.

Albert Einstein said “Problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them.” ―

We have problems to solve and we have to work with the resources we have. The new mind-set we need must be created by nurturing and empowering people, and cooperation is key.

We have an opportunity to engage and honour First Nations people, to learn their philosophy, knowledge of the land and skills of storytelling, ceremony, ritual and respect. They use sharing circles as a way to include everyone. Each OHG will be managed by a council elected and informed by sharing circles so everyone can be fully heard with consideration and respect. Adoption of this First Nations practice supports individuals and the community, as well as fostering the new mind-set Einstein suggested is necessary.

I have an appointment with Venture Kamloops on April 10th and the website is up and the blog will have a story about talking to you.

What I need from you is your help in creating the first Our Heart Gardens. Being first, we will follow your many successes, like Communities in Bloom, by showing the World a way for all humanity to thrive here on Mother Earth.

Thank you for your time. After the meeting I’ll be here to answer any questions you may have.