Gaianne, converning, Estela, Ethan , Fred, Jim, Sarah, Terry.

The idea of the topic was to bring mainstream medical people over to transition.

Some might be half-way there already, midwives being an example, also perhaps nurses, dental hygienists, and technicians at fairly basic levels of training.

Related: What will doctors do when they are out of work? Also, how can the medical system be "backed down?"

We drifted off topic:

Keeping well will be a more prominent part of medicine; more general knowledge of basics--wounds, broken bones, fever, and herbs needed.

Superbugs are already out of medical control: Learn from AIDS about coping in the absence of mainstream remedies.

Clean water is the single most important aspect of community health.

TO RETURN: We need to INVITE medical people into transition.

Biking For Personal and Community Well-Being (& Fun)

Convener: Aaron Goode,

Participants: Roger Uihlein, Maria Pinango, Bernard Brennan, Sara K., Ethan D., Randy D., Marion Gehlker

Questions raised: How do we get more people to become riders? (Carrot and stick approach of eliminating obstacles as well as providing incentives). How do we encourage commuting to work and school? (Addressing safety issues, neighborhood schools, making transportation inter-modal). What are some of the positive developments in our bioregion with respect to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure? (Elm City Cycling advocacy work at city and state level, SeeClickFix, New Haven's Department of Transportation initiatives to add bike lanes, sharrows, traffic-calming devices, etc.). What are areas that need improvement? (Linking bike infrastructure together to create safe routes, selective enforcement of laws). What are ways that we can limit the expense of bicycling through collaboration and mutual aid? (New Haven Bike Collective, bike-sharing).

Useful links:
Elm City Cycling
New Haven Bike Collective
Bike Walk CT (formerly Central CT Bicycle Alliance)
Yale Transportation Options
City of New Haven Dept. of Transportation "Bike New Haven" website
Google Maps Bike Directions
National Bike Month 2010

CommunityWell-Being - how do we create it and sustain it?

Convener: Catherine Bradshaw,
Participants: Bernard Brennan, Allan Brison, Terry Halwes, Moses, Maria Tupper, Meg, Maria Pinango, Randy, Fred Cervin, Marge Allende, Sara Kirschner, Ethan Drozd, Marion Gehlker (others came and went)

Started by asking "What is Community?"
Repeated, positive, mutually supporting, easy access to each other, proximity, shared values and ideals, shared circumstances...

We have concentric circles of community - family, neighborhood, school, religious group, town, etc.

How can we foster community?
In an economic downturn, will community happen naturally, or will people feel pitted against each other for limited resources?

Community is something that comes naturally to us as human beings but there are barriers that get in the way of it. If you leave people alone, they'll build community.
Obstacle: fast-paced life - we're coerced into doing things to survive such as hold down a job so we can pay the rent and buy insurance, etc. - this robs us of time that could be put toward building community
Obstacle: have to contend with people who live by survival of the fittest

But we want to have choices - the choice to have a car, etc.
Choices set up momentum - you have a child and that leads to material needs that require a certain income, etc., etc.

There's wealth in creating time to do things like building community - different kind of wealth than monetary wealth, but perhaps just as or more valuable

We need to get down to scale of neighborhoods/blocks so that we're connected to those around us for mutual dependence and support.
But we're residentially segregated by class and we know that diversity is a strength. In dire economic circumstances, post-peak oil world, the privileged will no longer be privileged and will need the wisdom and skills of those who were low-income to survive. People in poverty already know how to do more with less.

How can we start to build the resilience of stronger community so that we'll be ready when the dire circumstances are upon us?

Create eco-villages, or co-housing arrangements, cooperative houses - neighborhoods on purpose.
But so far, those involved in New Haven co-housing are white, educated, middle-class, middle-aged, financially comfortable (these are the people who have the time and resources to pull such a project together). When a site is chosen, they expect younger and more diverse families will join.
Research showed that 90% of attempts at forming intential communities failed; 75% of co-housing projects failed (from Creating a Life Together, by Diana Leafe Christian.)
Those that survive are good at consensus decision-making. C.T. Butler wrote the book on formal consensus, Conflict and Consensus. Start by agreeing on a common vision.

One idea is to map out the assets of a neighborhood, including the skills, talents of the individual members. Bob Francis is a local expert with this - lives in Bridgeport area. Catherine Bradshaw can contact him.

Other ideas:
Community Yard Farm sharing - people in a neighborhood growing various things and sharing among each other
Tool library - people in a neighborhood owning a set of tools together that they share among themselves.

Does the city of New Haven support communities in forming neighborhood groups?
Those that are active seem to have sprung up on their own.
We can learn from those that have been successful about what's helped them do what they do

The example of Cuba when it lost the Soviet support -- The Power of Community (movie and web site) -- the whole country switched to labor-intensive organic agriculture.

LOVE: Tolerance and patience for people in crisis

SESSION II: 1:00 - 2:30
Convened by Siobhan

Gaianne, Aaron, Theresa, Estela, Sara, Ethan, Ben, Roger were in attendance.

The topic emerged because of the approaching group of crises facing our nation and world. When more and more people begin losing jobs, housing, families, etc., the number of folks experiencing crisis will likely increase. And this number of people will most likely overwhelm current mental health clinics and professionals. What kind of response can we give to individuals in our lives having meltdowns. What about strangers?

Acceptance - Lifestyle crash can happen to anyone anywhere anytime.
Listening - Acknowledgement of anger and pain in individuals can help relieve anguish.
Boundaries - How much involvement is appropriate? Whom can we touch? When? Where? Why? How?

Generally, the response to those suffering has been aloofness. Isolation precedes negative manifestations of inner turmoil. Human divorcement from the natural world prevents us from applying ourselves to situations. Density of persons affected by a meltdown influences the likelihood that action will be taken. "Someone else must surely be doing something."

Public "leadership" has no response to societal malfunction. Vulnerable, marginalized people must go away. USA! Everything's OK! Except not really.

How afraid should we be?
How do we become worthy constituents of a human community?
How do we prevent the distressed person from feeling they're falling off the edge of the world?

Nature and community
Fresh air and sunshine
Activity vs anxiety

The consensus was, yes, we do have responsibilities to other humans. Viewing the person in crisis with compassion, allowing that it could easily be ourselves, while maintaining personal boundaries. In Open Space terms - The amount you can give is the right amount. Encourage human interaction and participation to alleviate stress, self-destructive behavior

Raising Chi Through Creative Play

Session II: 1:00-2:30
Convener: Shula


Creative play and well-being happened

Childhood Trauma and Abuse and As It Relates to Adult Healthcare Costs

Convener: Joe Lesiak
List of participants: Maria, Jim, Aaron, Siobhan

Began by examining the study,” The Relationship of Adverse Childhood Experiences to Adult Medical Disease, Psychiatric Disorders, and Sexual Behavior: Implications for Healthcare”

The study showed that, “Many of our most intractable public health problems are the result of compensatory behavior like smoking, overeating, and alcohol and drug use which act as short-term solutions to the emotional problems caused by traumatic childhood experiences.”

The study showed if these experiences were addressed, in this case by a questionnaire, medical visits were generally reduced by the patients in the study. Or by their conclusion, “provide[d] a credible basis for a new paradigm of primary care medical practice that would start with comprehensive biopsychological evaluation of all patients at the outset of medical care.”

We discussed that many of these “intractable” health problems are often the result compensatory behaviors. As the study showed, and as we have seen by our own experiences, these traumatic events which are unrecognized and unacknowledged causes health problems later in life.

The conversation expanded into addressing it in the larger context of community (schools, neighborhoods, families, friends, etc.)

How do communities address issues of traumatic experiences for children?
Justice vs. Truth: does our current system resolve these issues or do they perpetuate them even further?
Community response: working on creating a framework for the community to address and deal with traumatic experiences

Concluding points:
1. Acknowledge and address that their experiences exist and the amount or extent of the experience are greater than thought or appreciated.

2. Our current medical system address symptoms rather underlying framework for the symptoms

3. Shame, secrecy and taboos prevent acknowledgment and actions to remedy those underlying causes

Vincent J. Felitti, MD and Robert F. Anda, MD, MS. The Relationship of Adverse Childhood Experiences to Adult Medical Disease, Psychiatric Disorders, and Sexual Behavior: Implications for Healthcare. from The Hidden Epidemic: The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease. Cambridge Unversity Press, 2009.

How can we support and nurture the development of a mentally healthy community?

Session 1: 11 - 12:30
Convener: Marge Allende -

Participants: Moses Boone, Bernard Brennan, Allan Brison, Randy Domina, Sara Kirschner, Estela Lopez, Meg Rudne, Theresa Burgher, Terry Hawles, Maria Tupper, Chris Zurcher, Ethan Drozd

Discussion and recommendations:
Discussion centered on ways to bring people together in mutually supportive, interactive ways.
Recommendations were numerous, some of which are as follows:

Developing a mutual aid culture

Establish a wide variety of exercise outlets that encourage community involvement (eg. grinding grain, biking, walking, gardening, mow lawn on own steam, sports related pick-up games, etc,) and find way to list meeting times and places so people have interactive choices

Find ways to increase awareness of outdoor places of "beauty" in one's own community

Start a Walker's Club and advertise it in the Advocate

Support development of mental health services that include both Western and Eastern types of "medicine" and "treatments"

Create "healthy spaces" (ie. places where people of all ages can gather with others who are looking for safe, interesting, educational, recreational, etc. activities and/or opportunities for interaction

Develop "Discover your city" activities

Find ways to cultivate community motivation to interact

Establish "Supper clubs" for the purpose of eating and talking together

Set up "Walking tours" (to learn about own community/ nature areas/ revisit familiar places and observe changes/ nature in general)

Find ways to encourage curiosity about information nature provides (eg. knowledge about birds could replace the need for a calendar - How? Come and find out)

Share skills - Tap into community "genius"

Get the Q House opened again

Promote block parties and intergenerational gatherings (paper airplane contests, pick-up games, dances hire local bands, pot lucks)

Advertise where/when activities are happening

Decrease isolation by emphasizing the importance of relationships to others and self

Growing a Medicinal Herbal Garden

Convener: Marion Gehlker (
Shula Weinstein: ebenross@yahoo, Catherine Brockshaw:
Gaianne Jenkins: , Bernard Brennan:

We discussed various (wild) herbal plants that can be used for medicinal purposes:
St. John's Wart, mugwart, valerian, skull-cap, echinecea, comfry, rose-hip, lemon balm, camomile, peppermint, garlic, ginger, jewel weed (for poison oak), hot spices etc.
and their effects, such as anti-psychotic, anti-depressive, sedative etc.

We have anecdotal knowledge but need to consolidate it,
find an expert who could do a presentation on medicinal herbs grown locally.
Interestingly, a lot of the herbs we discussed seem to be regarded as weeds, or at least easily proliferate

- how to find plants, grow them (unlike veggies that may have to be stressed to produce better fruit), use them
- is there a difference between medicinal vs. culinary herbs, e.g. garlic, parsley, thyme, oregano etc.

Suggested readings:
Back to Eden (by a Vermont doctor)
Penelope Ody: The Complete Medicinal Herbal
Tammy Hartung: Growing 101 Herbs That Heal
The Complete Home Healer

Other suggestions welcome., with links to herbal resources, events: herb fest, rosmary roast,
herb fest June 5, 2010

Action items:
consolidate knowledge, organize skill-share/presentation, book club/suggested readings,
create experimental medicinal herbal garden:
possible locations: UU, Commond Ground (Joe said it's in the making),
community gardens/NH Land Trust (Maria T. said she is not aware of any but perhaps the Latino community has such gardens)

contact people and/or places:
natural food stores:
Edge of the Woods, Thyme & Season, Foodworks
Justin (Two Coyotes)
Zack (He did a presentation on mushrooms; Meg has his address)

Gateway Community College, Southern, Yale: Rudd Center, Divinity School, Sustainable Farm