By Cathy Hunter and Ruah Swennerfelt
Sustainable Charlotte recently completed two popular annual community-resilience projects ― a repair café and electronic waste recycling.
The Repair Café was held on April 30 at the Charlotte Congregational Church. The atmosphere was festive, the room filled with laughter and conversations. People from 56 households brought their electronics, lamps, dull kitchen and garden tools, broken zippers, toys, and even a treasured cuckoo clock.
Since this was a real café, in the morning people were welcomed with hot coffee, tea and homemade sweet things. At lunchtime, a bounty of soup, chili, quiche, salads, cider and breads helped keep hunger at bay.
There were no charges for fixing anyone’s treasures. We suggested instead a donation of money or goods be given to the Charlotte Food Shelf. Participants were very generous and 516 dollars, along with lots of food items, were donated.
So, what exactly is a repair café?
It’s a four-hour community party of talented local folks who volunteer their handy skills to fix or help you learn to repair your broken stuff. Just bring your broken things to the Repair Café and watch and learn as the handy folks do their magic. Your participation helps keep stuff from Vermont’s only landfill, which will be filled to capacity in about 2040.
It also reduces your consumption, because you reduce the need to purchase new goods. Repair cafés form a worldwide movement that strives to preserve repair skills and promote more repairable products. Besides the United States, there are repair cafés in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, India, Japan and dozens of other countries.
Big thanks go out to the many fixers who donated their time and skills; to the Congregational Church for donating a great space; to Back Door Bread for, once again, donating delicious bread; to the many volunteers who set up, cleaned up and orchestrated the event; and to those who brought their items to be fixed, which made the day such a success. Also, thanks to the Charlotte Library and Grange for co-sponsoring.
Couldn’t make it to the Repair Café this time?
Hold on to your broken stuff, because we’ll be back in the fall to offer another Repair Café.
On the following Saturday, May 7, Sustainable Charlotte collected tons of electronic waste, once again collaborating with Green Up Day and coordinating with Good Point Recycling in Middlebury, a premier electronics recycling business. Keeping these electronics out of our landfill is so important for our state and for the environment.
Sustainable Charlotte is working to build a sustainable and resilient community that can thrive in a world of finite resources. We are learning together how to recover essential living skills, re-localize our food and economy and improve our health. We are seeking to unleash the collective skills and resources in our town in order to support regenerative grassroots community projects in collaboration with others in our community. Visit the website to learn more about Sustainable Charlotte.