What If "Neighbor" Meant More Than Just the People Living Next Door?
Earlier this year (2022), Joel Zaslofsky co-hosted two Global Gatherings with me to explore an idea he's passionate about - "neighboring". What if the word "neighbor" meant more than just the person who lived next door? What if we thought of "neighboring" as a verb, actions that someone could take in their community? What might that look like?
Here are some of the ideas/stories that we shared:
* Neighboring is intentional. Find ways to be a neighbor in the best sense of the word. Start conversations. Remember names.
* Consider the power of invitation and welcoming. What does this look like in your community?
* Find out what's already going on in your community. Find ways to let people know and celebrate together.
* Meal swap: a group of families take turns preparing meals for each other each week.
* Potlucks, sharing garden produce and baking, block parties, "driveway" parties, sharing favorite recipes any opportunities to get together over food.
* Community gardening: Set up an area in the community for people to have garden plots; "Yard-in" - someone turns over part of their yard to the community for a garden; Plant your own garden in front of your house (instead of out back) and invite people to share the work/the produce.
* Connecting people who experience houselessness with opportunities to share their gifts with the community, especially with youth.
* Front Yard Living - sit out in front of your house and engage with neighbors and people passing by
* Organize neighborhood clean-ups
* Learn about the stories and history of your community. Find ways to celebrate together.
* Little Free Libraries, Little Free Art Galleries, Little Free Poetry Corners, Little Free Pantries.... the possibilities are endless!
* Organize a Community Creative Idea Generator. Create a neighborhood listening process. Ask people, "This neighborhood would be stronger, better when... " Ask them how they can help make that happen. Connect people who care about the same things.
* Create a community bulletin board (in person and/or on FaceBook)
Some resources mentioned during the Global Gathering:
* Bethel University, A pop-up university for the community, by the community! Bethel University is a unique community pop-up university in Bethel, Vermont. During the month of March each year, anyone can teach courses on any topic under the sun.
* Take a street and build a community, YouTube video
Quotes about neighboring:
We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. ~ Bob Moorehead
When strangers start acting like neighbors, communities are reinvigorated. ~ Ralph Nader
Nothing makes you more tolerant of a neighbor’s noisy party than being there. ~Franklin P. Jones