West Marin Commons Mission
West Marin Commons is dedicated to the practice of community in West Marin.
We seek to establish, preserve, and enhance both common spaces and the life that occurs in them,
and to create social infrastructure for resource sharing, conservation, and learning.
Our Five Project Areas
COMMONS CONNECT- the virtual places we meet
COMMONS SPACES – gathering places and pathways
COMMONS KNOWLEDGE - learn about our commons
COMMONS CELEBRATION – how we celebrate the commons
COMMONS COLLABORATION – ways we work together
How we came to be
West Marin Commons was born of a desire to foster a social complement to the scenic landscape and natural ecology that we in West Marin work so hard to protect. In particular, we are working to create common spaces for spontaneous sociability and community activities; to cultivate native plants in a way that reinforces the symbiosis between inhabitants and habitat; and to establish social infrastructure for the sharing of rides, garden produce, tools and household stuff.
The organization began in the fall of 2006 as a series of gatherings in living rooms and public venues to discuss the concept of the commons and how it could enrich life here in West Marin. Then came a talk and slide presentation by Mark Lakeman, a founder of the City Repair Project in Portland, Oregon, which has led a commons revival in that city at the neighborhood level.
There was such enthusiasm after Lakeman’s talk that we set aside a day to survey the state of the commons in our town. (In Medieval times such surveys were annual events called “perambulations.” ) On a rainy Saturday in February, 2007, over 70 residents walked through town in small groups, to see our common spaces and places as they are, and to imagine how they could be. The groups gathered afterwards to share ideas; and local architects took their ideas and, over the following weeks, rendered them in visual form.
The architects presented the ideas at another community meeting, and West Marin Commons emerged from this process. The early community brainstorming is an inspiration rather than a blueprint. We have had to focus on a few projects and seize upon opportunities and new ideas as they have arisen.
West Marin Commons is a self-governing project of On the Commons, a 501c3 non-profit organization, (formerly the Tomales Bay Institute).
Overall direction of West Marin Commons lies with a steering committee and director. Contributions and direction also comes from those directly involved in sustaining our project areas.
Elizabeth Barnet, Steve Costa, John Gouldthorpe, Ann Sheree Greenbaum, Madeline Hope, Jonathan Rowe.
John Gouldthorpe, Julia Peters, Madeline Hope, Mark Switzer, Ann Sheree Greenbaum, Judith Larner Lowry
Elizabeth Barnet and Jonathan Rowe
Ann Sheree Greenbaum
The commons embodies the economics of community. The West Marin Commons functions on lots of volunteer time – in garden and pathway projects, resource sharing, barn dances and community discussions, to name just a few.
We have an ongoing need for volunteer office help, grant writing, graphic design, and the like. If you would like to give some time, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations are welcome from those who can contribute financially. These are tax-deductible and should be sent to:
West Marin Commons/On the Commons
PO Box 127
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
Founding Advisory Committee
Ann Sheree Greenbaum
Ann Sheree Greenbaum
Our Five Project Areas
COMMONS SPACES – Gathering places and pathways
Point Reyes Station TOWN COMMONS
The YELLOW HOUSE POP-UP at the Town Commons in Point Reyes Station
Mesa Road Pathway in Point Reyes Station
California Native Garden at Livery Stable in Point Reyes Station
Name the gathering places
Public libraries, Community Health and Resources, Point Reyes Community Garden, Toby’s Community Playground, Inverness Pocket Park, Benches on Main Street, Paths for walking, KWMR-FM, on and on.
COMMONS CONNECT - Online networks for exchanges, sharing, community support, and links to news and information of West Marin
The Economics of Community
SHARING AND COOPERATION
The following includes Google discussion groups that have been set up to facilitate sharing and cooperation within our communities. Over-the-Hill-Gang Ride and Errand Sharing Board, and West Marin Share, help reduce our dependence on cars and fossil fuels, promote sharing and re-use, and build a local culture of mutual aid.
FOOD AND GARDEN
Local Food System Initiative – a West Marin Commons Google group (produce swaps, gleaning, fermentation and canning parties, bulk buying and possibly a cow share.)
You can link here: http://groups.google.com/group/food-system-initiative?hl=en
Heart and Harvest – a food co-op organized by Sebastian Ellis, now has a blog:
RIDES AND ERRANDS
Over-the-Hill-Gang Ride and Errand Sharing – Save gas, spare the air, make a friend. A West Marin Commons Google group
You can link here: http://groups.google.com/group/o-t-h-g?hl=en
REUSE MATERIALS, HOUSING, INFORMATION ABOUT LIVING IN WEST MARIN
West Marin Share – Tools, toys, household stuff and more, somebody might have a spare of what you need. Also, housing, housesitting, and household needs like where to find a seamstress, what internet service is working for you, etc. Free Exchange of Practical Information. A West Marin Commons Google group
You can link here: http://groups.google.com/group/wmshare?hl=en
Announcement Board next to Toby’s Coffee Bar in Point Reyes Station
Recycle Circus — support this free-market annual event in April
West Marin Parents Network – Play dates, music teachers, recommendations on dentists and consignment stores. A West Marin Commons Google group
West Marin Soapbox – If you don’t say it, who will? A West Marin Commons Google group: http://groups.google.com/group/wmsbx
ETHNOBOTANICAL STUDIES AND PRACTICE
This West Marin Commons Project area, takes its inspiration and guidance from a study group initiated after a talk by Tending the Wild author Kat Anderson. The group evolved further with the involvement of Nick Tipon, Judith Lowry, Barbara Deutsch, Brock Dolman, Rufus Blunk, and others. To facilitate communication and encourage networking, Ethnobiology Google Group was established. You can find out more on this page and link to the group here: http://groups.google.com/group/wmcommons-ethnobiology-project-a-tending-the-wild-collaborative/about
Other Project Areas
Research and Learning
The State of Our Common Wealth - How to measure it? What is it to begin with? This project tries to start with the questions that don’t often get asked.
Public Art, Street Animation, Historical Awareness
Hand Tile Wall at Toby’s Community Playground (with local artist Madeline Hope).
Reclaimed Redwood Fence and Arbor at Livery Stable Green (with local artist Rufus Blunk).
Native Creatures Installation Piece at Livery Stable Green.
Seasonal Native Plant Poster at Livery Stable Native Garden (with local artist Heather Pratt).
Partnership with Gallery Route One’s Latino Photography Project. This has been an ongoing partnership since 2009. The new Town Commons is a subject for members of the Photo Project.
COMMONS KNOWLEDGE – Workshops, Speakers, and Community Discussions, Events, A Commons Reader
In October 2011, West Marin Commons awarded
California Council for the Humanities Story Fund grant
West Marin Commons is excited to announce that we have been awarded a $10,000 grant from the California Council for the Humanities/Story Fund to create a short documentary film on the process and importance of creating commons in Point Reyes Station. The film will be directed and produced by Corey Ohama.
This project is made possible with support from the California Council for the Humanities in partnership with the Skirball Foundation. The Council is an independent non-profit organization and a partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on the Council, visit www.calhum.org.
In October 2011, Mark Lakeman of City Repair presented a talk and workshop on creating commons spaces.
In 2010 and 2011 First Five Marin funded classes for young children and their families in the West Marin Commons Native Garden/Outdoor Classroom
Teachers included Ane Carla Rovetta, Rebecca Burgess, and Rufus Blunk
March 25 and 26, 2010: Creating Community Gathering Spaces with Milenko Matanovic of the Pomegranate Center
Fall 2009 Series: Illuminating Landscape: Inquiries into Land, History, and Culture
Friday, September 25th, Nick Tipon, Southern Pomo Elder, on Sacred Sites
Friday, October 9th, Ignacio Chapela, U.C. Berkeley, on The Wilderness Within
Sunday, December 13th, 2pm Lillian Vallee, poet, writer, teacher brings us Singing Back the Lake – Restoration in the Central Valley
All talks were held at the Dance Palace Community Center, 5th and B Streets, Point Reyes Station
A Commons Reader – a collection of writings on the commons
Jonathan Rowe writings and radio interviews: www.jonathanrowe.org
COMMONS CELEBRATION – Barn Dances, Community Apple Pressings, La Mesa de Las Abuelas Community Potlucks
West Marin Barn Dance Hub
West Marin Commons Quarterly Dances at Toby’s Feed Barn in Point Reyes Station
Musicians: Ingrid Noyes, Michael Harmon, Paul Shelasky, Sue Walters, Erik Hoffman, Ned Riley, Morgan Meadow, Tawnya Kovach, Morgan Meadow, Tim Weed, Sam Sajjapan, and bicycling musical troubadours from Salt Lake City via Seattle, James Miska and Chaz Prymek.
Callers: Erik Hoffman, Evie Ladin, Andy Wilson
Fundraising – Ann Sheree Greenbaum, John Gouldthorpe, Mark Switzer, Elizabeth Barnet
Website and Publications – Elizabeth Barnet, Lisa Thompson (www.duckdogdesign.com), Uli Weeren; Jasper Blunk and Josh Luftig (technical assistance), Christian Anthony, Holly Gault, Murray Suid
Outreach – Julie Peters, Elizabeth Barnet, Nancy Bertelsen, Murray Suid. Josh Luftig, Madeline Hope
Speaker Series – Elizabeth Barnet, Judith Lowry, John Gouldthorpe with support from Kat Anderson
Online Networks – Murray Suid, Susan Brayton, David Clarkson, Josh Luftig, Elizabeth Barnet
PO Box 127
Point Reyes Station, California 94956