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A Garden Grows on Main Street

A pioneering effort to deepen the commons in one town

West Marin Commons is working to make Point
Reyes Station and neighboring towns at the edge of
the California’s Golden Gate National Seashore into
a model of commons thinking and practice, and to
foster a social ecology that complements the natural
kind in which the area is so rich. This unique community
effort to strengthen the commons in one
place is coordinated by OTC Fellow Jonathan Rowe
and Elizabeth Barnett.

One of the group’s main projects involves places and
spaces for the cultivation of human interaction and
community?“and also for rebuilding a positive relationship
between ecosystem and social system. They
are working to create a gathering spot on Main
Street modeled on a zocalo, which is a kind of town
square found in Mexican towns. A Native Garden
near Main Street is devoted to plants that are indigenous
to the region, as are the plantings installed
along the new pathway through town. In the works
are plans for a Latino garden, and carbon sequestration
project on grassland near Main Street.

Another focus is building a commons economy. The
online ride and resource sharing boards have become
part of the metabolism of daily life. Every day
people find rides into San Francisco, or exchange
old couches and musical instruments, tips for solving
computer problems and leaky roofs ?” you name
it. (The boards also are evolving into a way for helping
people in need.) West Marin Commons’ speaker
series explores the many dimensions of commons
consciousness, and their barn dances embody the
commons spirit in an atmosphere of community
celebration.

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