Sustainability and Creativity in Austin, Texas

9th July 2013

Thanks to Maggie Duval for a fantastic talk about what is happening in Austin, Texas.

We were inspired with lots of ideas, some of which are listed here:

  • DIYO – Do It With Others
  • the great thing about making is  that anyone can do it, it’s empowering and a great antidote to mass consumerism. Why not try upcycling/re-purposing/cross-purposing?
  • there are 30 alternative schools in Austin, including the Austin Tinkering School. Kids are encouraged to build and make things, run their own events and start their own businesses.
  • Check out the Austin Eco Network website
  • ‘Jelly’ developed out of an initiative where people came together to work in cafe’s ‘so people can become friends  and not just network’. So you can work on your own but there are people around if you want  to talk and work through ideas.
  • Check out the Austin Bike Zoo
  • In Austin people used to keep their front gardens neat, now there is a growing movement to grow fruit and veg in their front gardens, changing the precedant.
  • Check out the Urban Patchwork Neighbourhood Farms
  • Resolution Gardens – a service to build and maintain or teach you how to look after your own fruit and veg plot
  • In Austin you can join a foraging group and join a project mapping wild food in the locality
  • There are now 35 farmers markets in Austin, some in quite suburban areas
  • Other foody initiatives include the quarterly Edible Austin magazine, Urban Roots working with young people to grown food, Eat/Drink Local Week. The Slow Food movement is also quite strong in Austin.
  • The Annual Funky Chicken Coop bicycle tour
  • There are over 1000 food carts in Austin, e.g. trailers serving pies, tacos etc. There are lots of creative designs and menus!
  • Future Craft Collective and Slow Family Living -ideas for making crafts with your kids
  • Austin Makers Faire – bringing all the makers together and sharing skills

Why is all this happening in Austin, we asked Maggie. She explained that people love the place they live (Austin has hot springs in the city centre!), there is a strong engaged grass roots movement which draws people in from suburbia with fun creative stuff that improves quality of life.

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