"Action is the antidote to despair."
The Foghorn Express is about more than just blowing the horn on important issues. It's also about following through with action while supporting creative and community-hands-on initiatives. I have come to experience that Nevada City & County Residents are their own experts at finding innovative and timely solutions that build a healthier and more resilient community. Below is just a small sampling of some of my favorite personal community undertakings, inspired by my connection and understanding of this community.
Nevada County TimeBank
This hour-for-hour exchange is one of the best community building tools I have ever experienced. Launched March of 2015, The Hour Nevada County TimeBank simply keeps an accounting of your good deeds, ultimately turning these hours into a local AND international currency. Whether you are an individual, an organization, business, or village, your good deeds can be transformed into real value. If you want to know more about Hour Nevada County, go to: http://www.hournevadacounty.org Below is an example of what an online TimeBank account looks like.
Three Forks Bakery & Brewery
Supporting businesses that support the local, and organic food network is very important to me. Particularly when it comes in the form of a local brewery and incredible bakery that offers a seasonal and organic menu. I was more than happy to undertake the videography/editing, and social media promotion of Three Forks Bakery & Brewery’s Kickstarter campaign. Check out the kickstarter campaign video I created, below, and then see how far Three Forks has come today!
This is one of the simpler projects undertaken, but still a favorite. It was an adjunct to the Commercial St., Boardwalk. Nevada City Public Works was going to cut down and remove this parking meter. Instead, I requested the city to allow me and community volunteers to transform it into a Give-O-Meter. The funds collected by the meter were dedicated to the upkeep and beautification of the boardwalk and Nevada City.
Nevada City Farmers Market
It was an immense pleasure to be a co-creator of The Nevada City Farmers Market along with Angie Tomie of Mountain Bounty Farm. It was also a weekly delight playing the role of the original market manager and clanging the morning cow bell alerting everyone the market was officially open. Now an iconic weekly summer event, the NCFM showcases some of the best organic produce, meats, and other fine food products in Northern California. This is where residents and visitors gather every Saturday, June through November, to enjoy live music and the finest Nevada City has to offer; that incredible sense of community. Launched in June 2008, the Nevada City Farmers Market has become a local institution and has managed to help shape Nevada City's local food scene; thanks to the incredible volunteer force and stupendous, hard-working farmers.
The Nevada City
It was in March of 2010 when the Nevada City City Council unanimously approved the creation of a holistic plan for the entire city of Nevada City.
Upon the council’s approval, as Councilwoman, (2008-2012) I organized an ad hoc committee of local experts and residents to establish the framework for planning and to identify and prioritize projects. Following the city’s approval, approximately 100 Nevada City residents, business owners and stakeholders attended two half-day workshops and identified over 60 current sustainable projects and more than 40 possible future projects in Nevada City alone.
It’s mission: To create a vision for community that values environmental quality, social equity, and economic vitality, and to develop strategies for supplementation, long-term management and economic viability.
Nevada City City Council/Mayor
After a few years of frustration trying to better understand how city hall works I decided the best way to find out was to completely jump in. So, in 2008 I announced my candidacy for Nevada City City Council winning that June with the majority of votes. It was during these next four years that I would serve as mayor (2009/10) working closely with the community through public workshops, conferences, and many hands-on projects to assist Nevada City in securing a more resilient and sustainable future. After a four-year hiatus I decided to run once again and in 2016 was honored to be elected to another four-year term.
Wheyward Girl Creamery
Whatever it takes to build a strong community and support the local economy I'll do it. This time the call to support our local food network came in the form of creating and administering a Kickstarter campaign to launch a local, downtown business, Wheyward Girl Creamery. I was happy to be able to put my videography and editing skills to good use for the Kickstarter video, below.
Farm to Table Banquet
This extravaganza became a local favorite and one I wanted to do simply to demonstrate what can be done on our public streets. I also wanted to showcase one of the best things we have going in Nevada County and that is our local, organic food scene. So every August in 2013-15 I rounded up the tables and chairs, pulled in the incredible team members, hired the musicians, and hosted the Nevada City Farm to Table Banquet; connecting restaurants with our local organic farmers so our friends and neighbors could celebrate the best life has to offer and in the heart of downtown Nevada City...
Nevada City Boardwalk & Terrazzo Lights
Nobody could have predicted how controversial the Nevada City Boardwalk and hanging terrazzo lights over Commercial Street would become. But after four years of public input the test pilot was ultimately approved unanimously by the Nevada City City Council in 2016. The Nevada City Boardwalk was designed to be a test pilot with the ultimate goal of transforming this section of commercial Street into a town square.
for the Homeless
I just have to say, this is one of the more creative projects I have ever undertaken; over 100 volunteers got together and over a course of two days built a whole fleet of micro- houses on wheels for the homeless. Each micro-house included rickshaw handles, corrugated tin roof, two roof--hatches with mosquito netting, an interior shelf, and enough room for one person with a dog and gear. Each micro-house was hand-delivered to the individual who found themselves in the woods without a roof over their head. I personally delivered these micro-houses and relocated them when the need arose. Today, a handful of these micro-houses are still being used... six years later. Check out the original video HERE
HAALo Building (formerly the APPLE Sustainability Center)
The original idea for the APPLE (Alliance for a Post-Petroleum Local Economy) Sustainability Center emerged from the Community Congress workshop that I hosted in 2008. We were able to secure over $80,000 in volunteer labor and material donations allowing us, within 3 months, to transform this inefficient and outdated building into one of the most green and energy efficient buildings in Nevada County. Today the very popular HAALo resides in this building.
Solar Installation on City Owned Buildings
Before ever running for Nevada City City Council I decided to prove myself to the city by assisting the engineering department in installing a micro-turbin at the city sewage treatment plant. During this time I started a non-profi, PowerUp-Nevada City, dedicating my organization's efforts in finding energy-efficient programs and incentives for Nevada City and other rural communities throughout the Sierra. PowerUp-NC championed the installation of 48 voltaic solar panels on the roof of city hall as well as other municipally owned buildings throughout Nevada City ultimately saving the city 30% in their electric bill. Nevada City has the most solar panels per capita in the state of California.