Are you ready to enjoy what the hard working citizens of this city have to offer? A truly local economic engine that strives for the best environmental, socially just, artisan inspired, forged in the Hammer way to do business. If so, then welcome one and welcome all to Homegrown Hamilton – inspired by Hamilton, built for Hamilton, showcasing all things Hamilton.
Who would have guessed that you could purchase the best this city has to offer within one building in the heart of this fair city. Local foods, beverages, artists, music and…. did we mention the on-site roaster of fair trade, organic coffee? Homegrown Hamilton has a wide selection of wholesome, locally sourced organic breakfasts, lunches and dinners, including lot of vegan/vegetarian/gluten free options. We also offer free delivery of lunch to local businesses!
Artists, musicians, poets, comedians, public speakers, educators, activists, farmers and even concerned citizens now have a place to meet, grow and prosper. Stay tuned to our facebook page and website to see the wide array of events going down at Homegrown Hamilton.
And we almost forgot to mention….we have a great selection of amazing local craft beers! Selection changes as the season moves, but we always have a delectable brew on tap for you!
Check out Homegrown Hamilton at: www.homegrownhamilton.com (website coming soon) And on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Homegrown-Hamilton/107124789391782
Want to book an event? Email Tim at email@example.com
We are in the process of migrating to a new email system, which will hopefully help with some of the outages we’ve been experiencing. Over the next day during the transition, if you find that your emails aren’t going through please them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and apologies for any inconvenience.
Okay folks, the website is finally back online and stable after almost a week of outages. The problems appeared to have been caused by a server migration on the webhosting end of things, and a DNS entry that wasn’t updated to match the new settings.
Unfortunately the outage temporarily knocked out our email access, so if you have tried emailing anybody @skydragon.org recently that mail will have bounced. Email access has been restored, so please try again if you weren’t able to get through. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Below is a letter from our head chef and board member Marg Ann:
So as the end of July comes along it is time for me to post something on the Bread & Roses page.
I was just asked the other day what my tag line from my emails means for me – it is what I strive for each day I get up. I have always tried my utmost to live the tag line in my email: Live Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly… Though I do fall short of that from time to time. For those who don’t know where this comes from, it is a biblical phrase from the Old Testament where a prophet is asked : “What does your God require of you?” and he responds with: “To live justly, love mercy and to walk humbly before my God”. This quote was brought home to me when my Father passed away a few years back. At the visitation for him – there were many people who came through that told me how much my dad impacted their lives, but what hit me the most were the ones who cam through who never actually met my father, but their parents knew my dad or someone else they knew, knew my dad and they had to come because what they were told about how he impacted their lives…
You see my father would do almost anything for anyone – he one time was stopped by some guy on the street who asked if my dad would spare some change so he could get a bus fare to Sudbury to see his dying father – my dad said to him “I will take you to the bus station and buy the ticket for you – if you want…” and the guy was stunned and questioned my father about it – and in the end accepted the gift, He said he was grateful for this. My father said he never saw the guy again… but that didn’t matter… He showed mercy and compassion to someone in need.
I realized that day at the visitation and then at the funeral that everything we do and say will impact someone’s life in some way either positive or negative, whether we know them or not, whether directly or indirectly… That what we do is seen by someone. I concluded that day that I would do my utmost to live as my father ~ Live Justly ~ Love Mercy ~ Walk Humbly… and in this way not only do I honor my father’s legacy he passed on, I also honor everyone around me and myself.
I am far from perfect and sometimes I mess up good… yet who on this planet we call earth is perfect and without faults… We are a contradiction – we say one thing and do another etc… yet I am learning to have mercy for myself and others…
I have learned so much about myself while managing Bread & Roses Cafe and Catering taking that with me as I move forward. This brings me to the Cafe portion of this posting… as most of you know the Bread & Roses Cafe, effective August 1st, is no longer going to exist. This was hard decision to come to and regarded a lot of thought, It was becoming apparent that the Cafe as is was reaching it’s limit. I have been able to take the cafe as far as I could in it’s present structure. So for Kevin, Mike, and myself it became very clear that the cafe needed to be restructured and that something different needed to take it’s place. We came up with turning it over into a for-profit privately owned business (which actually would fulfill one of the mandates of the Coop – small business incubator ). I said I would think about this a possibility for me to take on. After much thought I came to the conclusion that I had taken the cafe as far as could and that I would not be able to have the type of food establishment I really want to have in this physical location, as well as some other issues I would have to overcome and therefore decided that I was not the one to take this project on.
It is with great fondness on my time here that I hand off the Cafe to those who will take it over and I look forward to see where Mike (board member) & Beth Pattison and Tim Lidster (board Member and mortgage holder) will take on the new cafe, I am not going to say much here as I want them to explain their vision for their venture is going to be.
I am moving on to new ventures one of which will be a catering company called “Cloud 9 Cookery” it’s focus will be on Local Organic food, and will push environmental and food security issues. I am also looking forward to getting back into some activism as well, this has been an area of my life that was shelved for awhile. It will center around food security issues.
I will be staying on the Board for Sky Dragon, this is an important organization and I want to stay connected. You will see me around from time to time as my schedule will allow…
Live Justly ~ Love Mercy ~ Walk Humbly
Hey again folks, another important update. The Sky Dragon Center will be closed for the last two weeks of August for some much needed renovations. More details about this, and changes coming to the Cafe, in the near future.
Hey folks, it’s been a long while since our last update, and this will be a short one I’m afraid. Over the next month or so there will be heavy road and sidewalk construction along King William and adjacent streets. The city will be updating the utility services in the area to accommodate the newly renovated Lister Block.
The good news is that the city will try it’s best to minimize disruption to local businesses. So the Sky Dragon Center will remain open and we’ll do our best to work around the construction. Hopefully you can bear it with us.
Hey folks, the Bread and Roses Cafe has new hours of operation:
- Monday: Closed – EXCEPT for ‘Edu-macation mondays’, from 5:30-9pm. See the events page for more information.
- Tuesday: 11am – 8pm
- Wednesday: 11am – 8pm
- Thursday: 11am – midnight
- Friday: 11am – midnight
- Saturday: 10am – midnight
- Sunday: closed
If you are interested in booking the space on a Monday, and for events inquiries in general please contact us at email@example.com for more information.
Hey folks, just a quick update to highlight some changes to the website. You’ll see to your right an calendar of upcoming events at the Sky Dragon. There’s also a new section on the site for the Bread and Roses Cafe, with a link to the menu and a customer survey people are encouraged to fill out. We need your feedback!
The board minutes from November and December are now posted, sorry for the delay in getting these up. January minutes are forthcoming.
We’ve also created a page for volunteer opportunities and volunteer information in general.
We are asking people to fill out a survey to let us know how we’re doing in the cafe. Please take a moment to fill it out and give us your honest feedback.
Update: The Dinner and Jazz night is going ahead again in the new year. Tickets are now being sold, so if you’re interested in attending reserve yours today
Awesome jazz and a magnificant three course meal prepared by Chef Marg Ann, and featuring local wines, a silent auction, and a great time to be had by all. This event is by reservation only. Please contact 905-777-8102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
- Saturday January 22nd, 2011.
- Doors open at 6pm
- Dinner at 7pm
- $70 per person
- $120 with guest
Hey folks, unfortunately our head Chef has taken sick, so the Jazz & Dinner night scheduled for Saturday has been postponed until the new year. We apologies for the short notice on this. For those who have already bought tickets please get in touch with Marg Ann at email@example.com.
Hey folks, the Sky Dragon will be hosting a Jazz & Dinner Night the first week in December. Come out for live jazz and a three course meal paired with local wine. Tickets are available beginning November 1st. To reserve your tickets please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- $70 per person
- $120 per couple
Saturday December 4, 2010
Cocktails at 6PM, dinner at 7PM
Bread and Roses Cafe
27 King William Street, Hamilton
A quick word to say that we have created a space on this blog for publishing public documents created by the board and it’s various committees. You can access the Board Public Archive through the menu on right side of the page.
A little late in the posting, but the maintenance committee has been seriously busy around the Sky Dragon center. We cleaned out the basement of cruft that’s been collecting for the past 5 years, and the somewhat foreboding back alleyway which had become a dumping ground for trash. It’s amazing how much extraneous stuff can collect in your space – but don’t worry, we found good homes for much of it and recycled the rest.
Some much-needed floor to ceiling cabinets were installed in the blue-room on the second floor. A little more work still needs to be done there – those cabinets need doors and a few finishing touches. Already though it’s really helped clear up that room a lot and it’s (almost) usable again as a meeting space.
The maintenance committee plans to meet this coming Sunday to work on a bunch of projects. We’ll keep you posted on the progress as it happens. Also, if you’re interested in helping out email us at maintenance-at-skydragon-dot-org. We always appreciate the help!
Howdy folks, just a quick note that the Sky Dragon will have a table at the OpenStreets Festival this coming Sunday. We’ll be selling coffee, handing out Maydays, pamphlets and all kinds of goodies. Okay, so that might be the extent of the goodies but if you like you can stop by and keep us company. Sidewalk chalking may happen, weather permitting. The table will be setup somewhere around James St N and Cannon.
Hope to see you there!
This is a little late in the posting, but the policy committee had it’s first meeting a few weeks ago and we thought it would be a good idea to post the minutes. We will be drafting new bylaws and policies to help restructure the Sky Dragon as a multi-stakeholder co-coperative less than a year from now. It’s a lot of material and work to get through but we’re a keen bunch and anxious to get at it!
You can read more about co-operative structures here.
We’ll be regularly posting our minutes to keep people up to speed on our progress. Click through below to read the minutes from our first meeting.
News from the Kevin MacKay, Executive Director of the Sky Dragon:
It has been a few months since our last official update, and there is much to relate since the Sky Dragon Coop first experienced an acute financial crisis in March. Today I’m very relieved to say the situation is better than we could have hoped for, and the Coop is engaged in an inspiring renaissance and revitalization.
The major challenge facing the Coop in March was the Teacher’s Credit Union pulling out as first mortgage holders. This necessitated the Coop finding alternative financing at very short notice, and prompted a community-wide call-out for support. Thankfully, the community responded with vigor, and suggestions for financing, donations and community bonds came flooding in. In the midst of all of the offers of help, one particularly incredible offer stood out, and we’re excited to officially announce Sky Dragon’s new mortgage-holder – Lidster Financial Services.
Special thanks to Dan Haartman who did an amazing job re-enforcing the patio fence last Sunday. The fence was really showing it’s age, practically falling apart in places. So he welded some metal bar across the top as a railing to hold the whole fence together.
The new railing still needs to be painted, and some work still needs to be done to better anchor the posts. But on the whole a lot better than it was.
The Sky Dragon held an informational meeting last Tuesday for potential members of the new interim board which will take over operations from the current board in a couple of weeks time. The interim board will be short-lived (just over 1 year) and is tasked with restructuring the co-op in order to make it more sustainable and connected with the community.
We are guessing the new board will be between 12-15 people with various committees to carve off, analyze and act on specific issues regarding the centre. Ideally, each committee will have one or two board members who can act as a connection to the rest of the board. This probably sounds pretty vague, but much of the details will be filled in by the interim board, so we don’t yet know exactly what the new system will look like.
The nominees have until mid July to accept the position and when that happens we will post some more details.
Well folks, the blog is back from a short downtime earlier today. We’ve finished migrating the website over to our new webhost Canvas Dreams. The next step is to move over the various @skydragon.org email addresses and we’ll finally be done with our old host. The long-term plan is to do a complete overhaul of the website, as sadly it has been neglected for some time. At some point during that process, this blog will be re-purposed to a general Sky Dragon news blog as we move out of “Save the Dragon” crisis mode and start restructuring and rebuilding the co-op.
Although there hasn’t been official word yet about the new financial arrangement, though there were hints in the last email Kevin sent out, people are generally feeling like the Sky Dragon is on much more solid ground. We are more or less Stay tuned (soon, hopefully) for more news about the restructuring and the website redesign.
Shortly, the Sky Dragon website will be moving to a new webhost. We’re currently with Netfirms, and the hosting package is somewhat limited in what we can actually do. So within the next week we will be moving to CanvasDreams, a great host with an eco-friendly business model, and a lot more hosting options. We’re very much looking forward to:
- Lots more @skydragon.org email addresses to use (currently limited to 10 addresses – bleh)
- Proper mailing lists for the various sub-organizations in the centre
- Subdomains for setting up independently maintained mini-websites
- More server-side scripting options for setting up a volunteer database and more
The change should be more or less seamless. Our website address will stay the same (skydragon.org) and existing email addresses will stay the same. Basically, if all goes well you won’t notice the difference, though there may be a short interruption in accessing the website and email.
Visually, the website on the new host will look exactly the same, but the hope is that further down the road we can better leverage the features offered by our new webhost.
I’ve posted the official document on how to gain a Sky Dragon Membership. At all levels the membership gets you a nifty membership card, a %10 discount, voting rights and the opportunity to run as a Community Representative with a seat on the Co-op board. Other levels have their own benefits, so checkout the membership how-to page for more details.
We’ve been getting a lot more feedback from the community at large and that’s something we are truly grateful for. Keep it up! I’ve posted a bunch of the comments to the Community page. We’re especially interested in hearing about your experiences at the Sky Dragon, what you like, dislike and what you would like to see changed. So please keep those comments coming in!
A message from the Board circulated via email the other night…
* * *
I hope this message finds everyone well and enjoying the glorious spring weather. I have to apologize for the lateness of this update, and want to thank our friends and supporters for their patience over the past few months. Since the last update lots has transpired, and there’s much to relate.
Since we went public with our financial crisis in Mid March, the Coop has been focused on three priorities: securing the financing needed to replace the Teacher’s Credit Union mortgage, fundraising to cover immediate costs and to reduce debt, and planning for a full organizational restructure.
But First, the Festivals…
Before we could engage these priorities, we first had to deal with two big events – the Halton Eco-Fest on April 17 and 18 and the fourth annual Mayday Festival on May 1st. The Bread and Roses Café was the sole food provider at the Eco-Fest, and had to set up and staff an off-site café for two days. This proved to be a huge logistical hurdle, and stretched the small B&R kitchen to capacity. With the help of amazing volunteers and staff (Mark, Jeff, Simon, Natalie, Angela, Holly, Kathryn, Sue, Marg Ann, Mike, Beth, Lisa – you all rock!), the Coop pulled off the event in fine style. Feedback from festival vendors and participants was very positive, and this looks to be a yearly possibility for the Coop.
(click through to read the whole message)
Thanks to everyone who made last weeks Art Crawl at 228 James St a huge success. Special thanks to Mike Pattison who was absolutely key in pulling everything together, and thanks to the many artists who filled the space with so many amazing works. This is part of an ongoing effort to better connect the Sky Dragon with the James St neighbourhood and hopefully we can build relationships with the businesses and people there.
Thanks again everyone!
A major thank-you to everyone who came out to support the Mayday Festival. To those who performed, to those who volunteered their time, to the organizations in attendance, and to those staffers who worked long shifts: Thank you! A special thanks to the Steelworkers and the other labor groups that came out and we look forward to working together – and celebrating together – in future.
The Steelworkers march, featuring a debut by Mr Moneybags, made it into The Hamilton Spectator.
Here is a random sampling of photos from the event. If anyone has Mayday images posted online I would gladly link to them from here.
Click through for more photos…
Just a quick reminder about the Mayday Festival tomorrow running from 11am to 11pm. There will be art, music, great food and lots of people (including Steelworkers Local 1005). From the magazine named after the holiday:
Mayday is a holiday that stretches back to the earliest times, when rites of fertility and renewal were performed in European pagan cultures. May 1st marked the beginning of summer, and the return of earth’s bounty. Traditions included dancing around the Maypole and crowning the May Queen, who represented the Earth Goddess reborn. With the advent of Christianity, Mayday became associated with the Virgin Mary.
From it’s pagan roots, Mayday symbolizes the rebirth of hope and the possibility of change. The divine feminine and the power and beauty of the natural world are honored, and our connection to the earth is renewed.
May 1st is also a worldwide worker’s holiday commemorating the Haymarket Martyrs. The Haymarket affair occurred during the course of a three-day general strike in Chicago in support of the eight hour work day. After police killed four striking workers, a protest rally was called for the next day at Haymarket Square.
So come out and have a great time!
Many and special thanks to everyone who helped out with the Eco Fest event! It was an amazing opportunity for the Sky Dragon and through our collective efforts we made it happen! So thanks for those who volunteered during the festival and those quietly working behind the scenes. Thank-you!
Above: over 700 of these delicious veggie burgers were prepared in advance of the Eco Fest. While very tasty, we didn’t sell all of them. You can buy packs of 4, 6, 12 burgers at the Bread and Roses counter for $2/patty.
The Sky Dragon is in need of volunteers in the coming weeks. Read on below if you are interested in helping out:
* * *
Thanks to everyone who has indicated that they would be willing to help the Sky Dragon out through volunteering their time. We greatly appreciate your offer, and now we’d like to take you up on it!
There are a number of ways in which you could help out the Co-op, including volunteering at two important upcoming events, helping do needed maintenance and organizational work at the Sky Dragon Centre, and helping with Mayday Magazine.
There will be volunteer meetings on 5:30 pm at Ricca’s Furniture (228 James St. N.) on Wednesday April 14, Wednesday April 21, and Wednesday April 28. Any of these meetings are great opportunities to plug in and find out about what needs to be done!
Mike Pattison has revised the Big Board recently and here’s what it says:
Now our Action is in Motion
To date approximately $20,000 has been raised in Community Bonds (approximately $8,000 being used for building appraisal and accounting). Serious interest and numbers being shown / examined to multiple investors.
This friday we have a community art installation for the Art Crawl at Ricca’s Furniture building.
Memberships are coming in… (tell us why you have not joined – we want to know!)
Volunteers are through the roof!!! This community is amazing!!!
May 1st Mayday Festival is going to be huge
- Two patios
- The parking lot
- Labour is coming (2,000-3,000 people)
- You will be here
Note to volunteers – sorry for the delay but we must be fully ready for you as we will NOT waste your time. So that said fill out a true volunteer sheet being made available this wednesday at the counter.
Just a quick post to highlight some content that has been added to the right-side menu. I’ve started a page for community feedback where I can repost some of the feedback people have been giving us. Also, a page has been added to better organize the content from the March 29th meeting. Included there are individual sound clips for easier listening.
Also a reminder that the Sky Dragon will be setting up a Community Show at Ricca’s Furniture building, for the Art Crawl this friday. Stop by if you can!
Photographer Lorne Chesal has posted some images from last monday’s community meeting. You can see them here:
There is also a follow-up article in the Spectator that nicely highlights the three-month extension to the mortgage:
If you come across some other Sky Dragon coverage, feel free to post it here. There is also some great coverage in the April edition of Mayday Magazine, which you can pickup at the Sky Dragon and various other points around town.
A new Sky Dragon Coffee Club program was announced the night of the Monday meeting. Read more about it:
* * *
We are starting a Sky Dragon Coffee Club program where people can receive a pound of freshly-roasted , fairly-traded, organically-grown coffee once a week and you take it to them. Our first try at this will begin the week of April 12th and continue for five weeks until the week of May 10th.
HOW TO JOIN:
- Talk to people you know in groups that meet regularly about our weekly coffee club (for example, your yoga class).
- Complete this form. Drop off or fax the order form by April 5th.
- Coffee that has been roasted on Saturday or Sunday will be available for you to pick up at the Skydragon Monday or Tuesday of each week. You can pay for the whole order up front (which we would prefer, of course) or pay for the coffee when you pick it up.
Download the order form and signup today!
BTW, these beans were turned into delicious coffee
I’ve done a quick edit of the audio recordings from the presentation monday night. If the flash player below doesn’t work out, you can download the whole audio track as a single MP3 file.
When I get a chance I’ll split the recording into individual files to make listening more manageable. If people are interested in helping transcribe the audio to text please contact me via email (peter.rogers at gmail dot com) and I’ll help get that coordinated. Probably the easiest way to do this is to break the recording into 10 minute “chunks”. Before you start into it though, email me the starting and ending time of the chunk you want to transcribe then wait for my confirmation back (just in case somebody is already working on that chunk). I’ll post the pieces as they come to me. Thanks for the help!
[audio:http://skydragon.org/blog/wp-content/Sky Dragon Community Meeting (Mar-29-2010).mp3] Download: Sky Dragon Community Meeting (Mar-29-2010)
A little late in the posting, but the community meeting last night was an amazing success by many measures. The night led off with a joyous announcement by Mike Pattison that the Teacher’s Credit Union has granted the Sky Dragon a three-month extension on the termination of the first mortgage. (I’ll double-check that number) Note that time is still running out – the Dragon still needs to secure alternative financing – but this extension gives us the desperately needed time to make that alternative financing happen.
The event was well-attended (maybe somebody can provide a better number but I would guess 100+) and there were some excellent presentations made by members of the board and some of the staff. Afterwords, people broke into themed discussion groups to provide feedback and questions on specific topics that arose during the presentations. All kinds of other wonderful things were taking place at the same time that brought a lot of positive energy to the night (a speakers corner video camera, fresh coffee, treats, lots of feedback and portrait shots for the art crawl).
There was definitely not enough time for people to express everything on their minds despite the event running over 3 hours. Integrating community input, participation, will be an on-going process for months to come. The next big target in terms of a public event is the upcoming James Street Art Crawl (April 9th). We have graciously allowed to use the Ricca’s Furniture building (much thanks to the new owners) to setup a Save the Dragon exhibit where we hope to put on display all the community feedback and support we’ve received so far.
We have a recording of the presentations that will be posted shortishly, along with the presentation slides.
A quick reminder about the meeting tomorrow night:
Save the Dragon Monday March 29 Ricca’s Furniture Building 228 James St. North, Hamilton 7 pm to 9 pm
Presentations by Sky Dragon boardmembers, community consultation, art, music, refreshments. All are invited, all voices welcome.
There’s been a bit of Sky Dragon coverage on various blog sites, which is always heartening to read. I realize these posts mostly quote words posted on this blog, but I’m linking here in the hopes that some cross-discussion pollination happens.
Two more articles appeared in the Spectator, which you can find online here. I think these are letters to the editor pieces, and I’m not sure if they appeared in the printed spec or not.
Also, a Save our Sky Dragon (SOS) discussion forum has been started on the Mayday website. Feel free to drop by and express your thoughts, ideas, criticisms, stories.
Mike Pattison has setup a big whiteboard at the Sky Dragon to pull together some ideas about how the center is moving forward. Next to the board you’ll find a big stack of paper to write out your own comments, thoughts, concerns, criticisms. Here’s a snapshot of what’s on the board right now:
Immediate Financial Needs
- 1st mortgage holder ($270,000)
- Building appraisal ($3,000 to $3,500)
- Year end taxes ($3,000)
- Pro-bono / discounted help
- legal assistance
- Longer term
- grant writers
- center coordinator
Immediate Volunteer Needs
- Halton Eco Fest
- Mayday Festival
- Eco Film Fest
- Public relations
- town criers
- phone calling
- lead investigating
- Eco market (artist boxes)
Immediate Public Needs
- Sales agents for
- Mayday ad sales
- space rentals
- Also required
- T-shirt making
- button making
- anything craft promoted
- computer paper
- poster paper
- ink cartridges
Further help is required. Any cash donations (receipts to be issued on $25 or more) will be held in an account now being established. Anybody with time to volunteer can leave their name and contact information for Mike Pattison at the cafe counter.
Additionally, people interested in helping with these specific areas please include your strengths / background when leaving your contact information:
- Anyone interested in helping with PR
- Kitchen / catering volunteers
- Building / repair
- Any other strengths or interests
All legal, accounting, investing opportunities please contact Kevin Mackay by phone (905) 777-8102 or email email@example.com
Below is an email update from Kevin MacKay that arrived late last night.
* * *
Apologies for the lateness of this update, and many thanks to everyone who came out to the meeting held last Sunday at the Sky Dragon Centre. Your concern, passion, emotion and ideas were invaluable, and the meeting went a long way toward buoying the spirits of Coop members and supporters. Thanks also to all those people who have phoned and emailed with suggested solutions and offers of support. These communications have been warmly received, and every suggestion is being considered in turn (there’s a lot of them!).
The situation as it stands is that the Coop is still looking for a first mortgage, in the amount of $270,000 (this is the final, accurate figure, not the $260,000 estimate mentioned earlier). In addition, the Coop needs help with some expenses concerning building appraisal, legal and accounting fees. The deadline for Teacher’s pulling the mortgage remains April 18th, which is a tight timeline.
Presented at the meeting on Sunday was the idea that the Coop needs to undergo structural changes in order to ensure its long-term financial viability, to improve its effectiveness, and to better involve the community. These changes involve modifying the Coop model and opening it up to different stakeholder groups, including community members and partner organizations. This process will take months to complete, but it needs to start now.
The most significant next step in the campaign will be a larger, more structured community meeting. At this meeting, the Coop’s vision and operating history will be presented in detail, along with the structural challenges it has faced and continues to face. Coop board members will explain the various aspects of the Sky Dragon project, and reveal a plan for its renewal, growth and sustainability. Most importantly, community members will be asked to contribute their ideas and to help the board collectively generate solutions.
Immediately, the Save the Dragon Campaign could use the following help:
- A $270,000 first mortgage (provided by one person, ten people, 20 people, etc….)
- Pro-bono legal and accounting help
- Financial Donations (we will be confirming their status for charitable receipts shortly)
- Help putting up posters and handing out flyers for the Community Meeting
- Help disseminating update emails
- Volunteer help for upcoming events, including the May 1st Mayday Festival, the April 17th & 19th Halton Eco-Fest, and other Centre projects as needed
- Tangible ways in which the Coop can be supported (know anyone who wants to buy some locally roasted Fair Trade / Organic Coffee?
- Becoming a member of the new Coop! (details TBA at the Community Meeting)
If you are able to help with any of the above items, please don’t hesitate to contact the Coop. We will return your email or pone message as quickly as we are able.
Right now some of the most important things you could do are to tell as many people as you can about the event below, try to come out to it yourself, or volunteer to help organize it. We need folks to help us set up the event and promote it, artists to decorate it, musicians to play at it, and volunteers to help it run…
Save the Dragon
Monday March 29
Ricca’s Furniture Building
228 James St. North, Hamilton
7 pm to 9 pm
Presentations by Sky Dragon boardmembers, community consultation, art, music, refreshments. All are invited, all voices welcome.
An article appeared in Hamilton Spectator today giving a bit of background information on the Sky Dragons situation. You can read the article online:
And there’s a writeup over at the James St blog:
What follows is the original email sent by Executive Director Kevin Mackay sometime last week.
* * *
Well, this is the kind of message that’s never easy to send. We here at the Sky Dragon Community Development Cooperative have worked with many of you, entertained many of you, inspired and been inspired by many of you, and pissed off a good chunk of you as well. We don’t take the last point lightly, but in truth grassroots community development is a tough and gritty business, with inadequate resources, all-to-human protagonists, and intense pressures. Despite all this, in eight years of the Coop’s existence there’s been a lot accomplished, and also lots left undone.
The Coop, and the community space it has sustained, the Sky Dragon Centre, are under substantial threat right now. Our current mortgage-holder is no longer willing to finance the project, and we have until April 18th to find new financing to keep the centre open. At stake is a first mortgage in the building the Coop owns at 27 King William St.. A refinance deal for $260,000 is what’s needed to keep the centre open, and its clear that no traditional financial institution (bank, credit union) will lend us the money. In four years with our current financier we’ve never missed a mortgage payment. In truth though, we have also scraped by month to month, and have had periods where we’ve been in the red.
In the face of this existential threat, our little Coop and the community centre it supports need to evolve. The mud-puddle we’ve been swimming in is fast drying up, and its time to grow some feet and adapt to the changing circumstances.
In this sense, the Coop will change as well. The project has always been bigger than the individuals involved, and today this is more true than ever. What has been created is a unique animal – a centre that is open, radically inclusive of diversity, and yet explicitly committed to an agenda of peace, democracy, equality, human rights and political action/organizing. It was a broad and engaged community that forged the character of this space, and if it is to continue, it must continue as a radically open, transparent, and broadly-supported project. Always an agent of “the movement”, the Centre now needs to merge with it, fully and completely.
In order for this to happen, we need to find a way to Save the Dragon. This involves brave and committed citizens becoming investors. This involves even more brave and committed citizens becoming members of a re-structured Coop. We need these things, and unfortunately, we also need them fast.
For our part, it’s important to mention that the current Coop members aren’t flaky idealists who’ve bungled a good thing. On our board are very serious, hard-working people with a fair amount of skill and business sense (and horse-sense!). Without these qualities you don’t get a project like this off the ground and sustain it for five years in one of the worst economic climates in Canada. This board is still active, has great ideas, and is committed to shepherding the Coop through its transformation into a financially viable, yet truly community-owned organization. There is real value in the ethical businesses the Coop has incubated. There is real value in the building we own. With your help, this value, and the collected progressive energy it represents, will not be squandered.
And so, we embark now on a community campaign that I hope you can participate in, even if in a small way. To start, there will be a meeting at the Sky Dragon Centre this Sunday, March 14, at 7:30 pm. At this meeting there will be a 100% frank and open discussion of the Centre’s predicament, and an equally frank and open exchange of ideas, strategies, criticisms, etc. Everyone is welcome to attend, and all ideas are needed.
Of course, a meeting this Sunday is very short notice, so there will be a much larger “town hall”meeting in the next few weeks. The date and time of the town hall will be announced first thing next week, and again, it will be a completely open session for all who want to attend.
How you can help right now is to forward this message as far and wide as you can, with apologies in advance for cross-postings.
On behalf of the board of the Sky Dragon Co-op, thank you all for your interest and support. We’ve played our part in bringing the project to this point, now its up to all of us to take it to the next level…
Kevin MacKay, Executive Director