~~Portland Cross-Pollination Project!~~

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April 03, 2008

The national movements to cross-pollinate

The idea of cross-pollination is similar to many ideas of community connection and learning among many fascinating and creative projects across the country.

Essences of cross-pollination can be found in descriptions eloquently portrayed in so many books and well-known speakers. I continuously discover new groups and websites for study circles or cross-cultural exchange. And in my own life, I see cross-pollination as the building block for The City Repair Project’s Intersection Repair and other neighborhood organizing activities.

This brings up two questions: 1) Am I trying to foment “yet another” project, website and listserv instead of inhabiting those what we already have? And, 2) How can we all learn from each other and explore coordinated action?

Click here for some answers!!

Some answers:

1) I am weary of anyone creating “yet another” website, listserv or meeting. I wonder why it’s so much more attractive to start something new rather than embody and evolve the structures already created. For example, at the end of a slideshow someone may suggest making a website or e-list so that everyone in the room can keep in touch. I like to point out that everyone got there through “the network”, so let’s continue to embody the network and trust that our efforts will connect.

At the same time, I am very conscious that I have my own Journey de Jenny website, listserve and project. Sometimes I wonder if these things are the very “new institutions” that I am seeking to avoid, and that with my lens of “cross-pollination”, “non-profit industrial complex” and “movement of movements”, I can make everything that I witness fit into these moulds. Am I doing exactly what I discourage in others? Or am I doing exactly what I witness in others—the need to make sense of the world within one’s own language?

I tend to see these things as my personal vehicles to directly connect with and among the people and groups that I am personally familiar with. My goal is to be a channel of links as they make sense, not to bring everyone together under one umbrella. And with the Cross Pollination Project, I seek to create a mechanism for social action among existing entities, not a new organization.

I invite any comments or perspective on this.

2) In the past few months of publicizing these cross-pollination ideas, I have met or been connected with many, many cross-pollinator type people across the country. While it’s always exciting to find “peers”, I am also wondering what to do with these connections, how to take them beyond swapping life stories. I ask, what does it mean that many of us are getting on such similar wavelengths about social change systems and possibilities today?

Right now, I am simply allowing myself to form these connections and trust that when the time is right, something will come of it. I have to listen to my own advice: the “random” conversations are valuable in and of themselves and that by knowing about each other, understanding some of each other’s stories, and forming a personal relationship, we are weaving ourselves together in ways we may not yet realize. Yes!

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