MANning up


Progress on developing Mutual Aid Networks is ramping up nicely. I’ve been saying lately that the first half of 2014 is my time to Go Big or Go Home. What that means is that the job of shepherding these into existence is much too big for one person (with bits of help from others who have full-time jobs elsewhere) and I recognized that I either need to get the high-level and large quantities of help that I need to do this on a global scale and move quickly (my ideal) or I need to just focus back in on making this happen here in Madison, sharing our work with the world as we go.Go_Big!

Well things seem to be lining up to Go Big! So, I’ll keep you posted as we go. And if you’re reading this chances are you can contribute to our building the capacity we need, so please get in touch to let me know how you’d like to be involved.

And now for my report on our progress the last two weeks:

We will be holding weekly MAN web meetings into the foreseeable future, until enough people are up to speed. These are mainly for potential pilot sites and supporters but feel free to join just to learn if you like. They are every Wednesday at 2pm EDT (time zone converter here). The first hour is an overview of the project with clarifying Q&A, the second hour is for deepening the discussion among MAN pilot sites. We are currently discussing the core principles we’ll agree to and making our communication strategy and timeline. Meeting schedules and other communications are now here. These web meetings are a lot of fun – there’s great energy and enthusiasm! Slides from previous meetings are here.

I’ll be heading out to the East Coast in June to present at the Slow Living Summit in Brattleboro, VT, and am using the opportunity to visit potential pilot sites on the way out and back. Chicago, Ithaca, Maine, Boston, Lansing and Detroit are currently on the agenda. Let me know if you’re somewhere en route and want to find a time to meet between May 31 and June 14.

Last and absolutely far from least, we held a MAN Design Team meeting on Friday April 4. We answered the questions we feel the bylaws need to address, then turned over the writing of the bylaws to Jon Hain, who has generously offered to take the first crack at them. Jon is one of the founders and directors of Madison HOURS, who stayed with it its whole long life and is now helping to shepherd it into its new incarnation as a component of the MAN. Jon was a primary contributor to the organization of Madison HOURS in addition to having extensive experience with cooperatives from his time as a Willy Street Coop staffer board member. He’ll be working on the overall MAN bylaws alongside the bylaws for the Allied Coop, our first local MAN, in order to set the stage for creating complementarity between local MANs and the overall MAN network – the latter of which has now taken on the nickname the Main MAN, which I really love! (I’ll need to change my slides and writing from MetaMAN to Main MAN.) He will aim to draft them before April 22 and the Design Team meet again Friday April 25, 11amCDT to discuss and move forward. Far-flung participants are welcome to join online (instructions and meeting details here.)

Detailed notes are here. Stay tuned for more, things are starting to move!


As always, thanks for paying attention.


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