Farmhouse Toolkit

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There is plenty opportunity for levels of commitment. The only remit is that folk take responsibility for what they take on and that is, as much as they need to.The idea of this list is not that we do all of these things
full-on but that we can use these topics to widen interest and to help understanding of the critical connections around different ideas.

GOALS

To outreachOrganising small projects, workshops and events that can be taken around the community to encourage participation and highlight work at the garden and farmhouse.

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To create critical connections

Finding what we have in common in groups and activities around the neighbourhood and identifying ways of creating solidarity and working with each other.

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To encourage use and knowledge of the Common Good

To create and emphasize how important the commons is to us identifying, researching and documenting the range of commons that exist and providing advice and assistance to those actively engaged in attempts to restore Scottish commons.

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Independence from restricting institutions

To operate as independently as is possible and allow freedom of expression, so long as it does no harm to others, the group, or its members and avoid being Inculcated by dominant groups or influences.

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Empowerment

Empowerment is not what someone gives you. Empowerment is achieved by knowledge and shaping knowledge into useful ideas. Then hopefully using these ideas creatively in the common good.

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Education

Our education policy will cover a wide remit and encourage the pupil of one class to be the teacher in another. Education in the 21st century will be more about working together, mixed age groups, rather than the personal achievement education of the industrial age.

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Set-up--------------------------

Office space Find some office space for project, until such times the POD is built

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Meetings Set up regular meetings, introductions and volunteer appeals community survey, meet-ups, publication, radio programs. What do we have, what is needed, procedures for organising things.

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Administration Set up for how project will be administered in the short and the long term.

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Evaluation process Plan project evaluation, which will take place at each stage of the project. During and after each training/strand/activity all project participants will be consulted on the learning achieved, benefits to them and their experience of the project (positive and negative) through a detailed questionnaire and a group discussion. Ideas of how to proceed will be incorporated into the program as we go along to facilitate as wide a participating group as possible.

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Constitution Write up and amend constitution if needed.

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Education policy Plan education policy around training for responsibility of running and organising project as well as the many different topics that could form study areas.

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Research Research into local history, statistics, socioeconomic impacts, housing, gentrification, development, social infrastructure, services, and effects on local population. What are the communities short comings. For instance "As in Glasgow, much of NYC’s vacant land is located in the poorer neighbourhoods. A major issue in NYC with re-use of vacant and derelict land for development is the displacement of poor people through gentrification. Ironically, this has often occurred in areas where community gardens have improved property values sufficiently to interest developers in investing in the neighbourhood, whereby the community rightfully feels as though their hard work has sown the seeds of their own destruction. Policies must be in place for community-led improvements in vacant and derelict land to benefit the community and not punish them". Juliana Maantay

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Consultation/Survey Consult with the public, start to survey and measure interests, what folk are thinking about, what do they care about and how farmhouse could be of use.

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Skills audit Create database of skills, volunteers, who can do what, encourage folk to join, skills database and what they could contribute. Encourage local workers, businesses, to contribute time skills equipment, materials.

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Training Use the project to encourage training in what needs done so that learning has an immediate as well as a long term purpose. Training in tools, building, gardening, computers, accountancy, book keeping. Use folk already experienced in the community, learning institutions and build to train folk to be trainers.

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Building POD Encouraging collective ownership by the use of tools, building, design. Mini projects relating to building work. We will build a free standing workshop/meeting space that will incorporate many of the structural details that will be needed on our main building. Local training organisations could supply basic hand tool skills, safe working preparation and so on. We would encourage a few architect students to be on hand to discuss design and structural detail. We would seek the help of retired trades and local crafts people to mentor learners. The projects would as much green technology as possible, reuse of materials and be completed within a stated budget.

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Mentors Post industrial society is awash with skilled and talented folk that are cast aside because the labour market has no use for them. The community has plenty use for them. Mentoring and helping young people to learn can be very rewarding and as much a rewarding experience for the teacher and in valuing what they know.

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Localisation Most of the problems in the community can be solved by the community we only have to reshuffle our priorities. We need to be sure that what we are looking for can not be found in the community before starting to looking outside it.

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Common Good The common good holds a mass of critical connections, histories, traditions, scope, opportunities waiting to be discovered. Our garden/farmhouse being one

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Workshops--------------------------

Outreach projects Outreach & Useful unemployment. Mini projects, planters, workshops, that can go out to the community and help to engage folk in the Farmhouse project. Such as presentations, slide shows, skill sharing, gardening, DIY.

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Visit Earthship The Earthship was launched and officially opened on 21st August, 2004. The Earthship has been granted full planning permission and now has a permanent building warrant, giving validation to Earthship building techniques in Scotland. What can we learn from this project we can use on our own. There are many ideas and visit opportunities that can help to inspire our work

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Fife Diet The Fife diet has a food manifesto The manifesto is the culmination of five years action research in Fife and beyond, trying to get an understanding of how food can be part of restorative practice across health and well-being ecology and community. The purpose of the manifesto is to try and help build a food culture in which communities can begin to take charge of creating a better food system. We want to do that to.

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Architecture To create awareness that knowledge of buildings, construction, planning, design and use, is in not just the domain of the professional. Communities need their own experts if they are to asses the impact of developments in their environment and to contribute and articulate the communities needs through the jargon of professionals. Architecture as a social subject. The retinal experience of our built environment, what we see, is very important to our mental well being. A disrespect for our buildings is a disrespect to our history and to the people who are part of that history. The person in the wheelchair still enjoys the vistas looking across the park and open space even though they lack the physical enjoyment. How we learn to enjoy combinations of light and space, volume, shape increases the enjoyment of looking at things, sharpens critical skills and adds so much more to our city environment than just walking through it. It also helps us understanding the difference between progressive planning and the destruction of community infrastructure through gentrification.

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Building skills Carpenters understand the appreciation received because they can hang a shelve on the wall without it falling down. These are practical and empowering skills that as well as making life easier can bring much enjoyment. Particularly to unemployed folk who have to sit around the house because they have no experience in doing these kind of things. Also enjoying these activities with their kids is a way of focusing the family unit and increasing a sense of usefulness when money and work are short.

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Environment The Farmhouse project will be a field of research in environmental issues. We will learn about the environment by doing things. By understanding the practicalities of that we can put in place as well as the science of climate change. The economic effect of taking the environment into consideration can also be of benefit as much of the energy we use in day to day life can be better used.

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Gardening Gardening is a powerful tool in so many ways and connected to many disciplines. As well as feeding ourselves and getting exercise doing it, we also take on other interests without even realising. We think more about the weather and reading the signs that it may chang. Time organisation on when to do what and in what sequence of events. Science and practical learning skills go hand in hand and there is much we learn in the garden that can be used in the wider community and adapted other aspects of our lives.

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Autonomous living The garden and farmhouse is a place for kids to learn autonomous living. Learn where things come from, how to feed themselves and grow what they eat. Helping in the organisation and decision making through real tangible things, engenders responsibility and helps to bridge the sometimes unconnected abstract education of school.

Maker workshops Summer Maker Workshops. Finding out what we are good at and finding help in developing ideas and skills. Learning to work through ideas on our own and in teams with set goals. "The challenges that lie ahead for all of us require aptitude for adaptability, sensitivity to resource management and collaboration with a diverse group of people. We believe that children can best learn to address these challenges by engaging with adults, around invention, design, planning and production: We can use artists, architects, engineers, craftspeople, teachers, designers, chefs, musicians to achieve these collaborations. Children are at their boldest and most receptive to exploring and enjoying activities When kids grow up making things it tends to stick with them. We will encourage this throughout our project.

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Common Good Research Learning to identify, record and restore common good assets into community use and control will strengthen our project and encourage others. We will work on training on how to research the common good and create a database for these public assets.

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Local democracy More local government is more efficient, better quality decisions get made, mistakes get picked up on sooner and decisions are far more accountable, costs are cheaper than massive centralised buildings and organisations. The common good is a structure for local democracy and we should really be concerned centralised power does much to ignore it. Our farmyard we can exercise a model of local democracy.

Documentation Volunteers will gain skills in using camera and sound equipment and in basic film editing techniques. Build a film crew that will concentrate on film and sound recording which will later be stored in Elder park Library as a resource for the community. We will be creating our own documentation, surveys, literature and media in our own words and through what is important to us.

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Media Making our own films, programs, and encouraging community journalism is a way of encouraging questions, opinions and news reports in the communities own words, as well as understanding the media in general and how it works will be important in projecting and spreading our ideas.

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Practical skills The most important contribution one can make these days in a community project, is not so much great ideas, but applying basic practical skills to what needs done. Just helping out is so valuable. Making pots of soup , fixing things, doing small bits of work and using the half hour you have constructively is really what builds things and gets them going. We do not wish to burden folk with work loads that are impossible to sustain, but that they should be in control of their own time and use what ever they have constructively.

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Cheap healthy living Before the industrial revolution, it was more labor consuming (and therefore costly) to refine bread, so white bread was the main staple for the aristocracy only. This made them “refined”. The poor living on parish bread, a wholesome unrefined mix of basic roughage of protein and fiber - with stigmas attached, strived for the same bread as the upper classes. The following proceeding mass consumption of white bread saw the statistics on heart problems and other related symptoms of processed bread rise in the poor. Ironically today we see the opposite the middle classes now eat "unrefined" bread. Hopefully we strive to eat brown bread, which is more wholesome than processed white and in the long run cheaper and healthier in many ways.

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Property There is a widespread misunderstanding that “property” – the term – refers to nouns, such as “house” or “car” or (piece of) “land”. That is not the case in law and philosophy, where property most commonly is understood as social relations with regard to things .[commoning] If we think of this as we walk around our community we will begin to see the work that needs done. Our old school buildings and that which has been de-socialised and become mere property, needs to be re-socialised. The Farmhouse project is an exercises in re-socialising community property.  

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Economics Economics are based on value systems. There is no reason that we can not set these values ourselves and they do not have to be about money and the value systems of banks. It is becoming apparent to most people that these systems only work for a certain small group of people. We need to start practicing a participatory economic system that gives credit to values other than money that are held by the many in abundance.

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History We are constant participants in the making of history, which is why history is so important in examining where we have been and the use of historical knowledge to plan where we are going. How we record, document and archive what we do is our participation in history. Ours is a living history project.

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Open Source In a technological age computers, whether you like them or not have become very important to our very survival. Open source technology offers the computer user, rather than just play with programs to actually create programs. To join a world wide community of education through shared data, building operating systems (OS) and thousands of programs that are free to all and can be installed on discarded computers that do not have enough memory to to handle “closed source”, programs. These are the commercial OS and programs that we need to buy and install that constant demand that we need more memory, new computers, and buy upgrades for every few years that most folk can not afford. Imagine if a kids first computer was second hand and they were given Abuntu. (open source operating system) and told to get on with it. Would so many be lost in the passive one way traffic of the net? It is the choice of programming or being programmed. We hope to build an open source network around the farmhouse.

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Mapping/Assets Asset Mapping Once buildings were built to celebrate social progress in the city. So many of these buildings which were part of a visual history, like the Seaman's Mission in Govan, have been trashed to make way for, sometimes nothing, or bland generic factory units or cheap build housing. Having no visual history of your community is a form of isolation. Mapping your community helps to identify places that could be developed for community use and enriched by the knowledge of what was there before.

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Open Street Map We will work with OSM to put our project and Govan on the map. A map we create ourselves with places of importance and interest in our community. A mapping party is when we go out into the community and find out what we care about and what goes into our part of the map so the rest of the world can see it.

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Story telling Music Drama Much of our history is wrapped up in the oral tradition. Telling our stories is how we shape understanding of what is happening around us not, not in the myths of yore but in the day to day. Experiences, that for one generation seems ordinary to another can seem fascinating. Stories are where our history is stored and what keeps it alive. Music and drama other vehicles are for the sharing of stories.

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Creative writing Words are multi functional, you can use them for all sorts of things, to express things, to make things clear, to confuse, to articulate ideas, to tell the truth, to lie, to explain why's. Words are a tool like any other. Once you learn the basic principals of how they work there is no telling where they may take you.

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