by Debra-Lynn Hook, Kent Community TimeBank

The manager of Kent’s Haymaker Farmers’ Market initially decided to join the Kent Community Timebank to meet her neighbors and to support the director of the program, her good friend, Abby Greer.  But it didn’t take much for this business-minded communitarian to see the possibilities between the community-minded Timebank and the community-minded Farmers’ Market.

“I saw a lot of potential right away, how the market could be involved with the Timebank,” Kelly said.

Indeed, soon after Kelly and the market joined, Timebankers were offering to sell T shirts, pass out market surveys and swipe cash cards at the market each Saturday, freeing Kelly to do the work of managing dozens of vendors and hundreds of customers.

But it was when a bank of Timebankers came together to help create the mammoth, 3,000-square-foot mural on the bridge surrounding the market that Kelly began to experience the full-blown effects of community partnership.

Kelly had been able to raise enough donations to buy supplies and to pay area artist Elaine Hula Hand to create the vision and paint the mural.  But the gritty work of prepping and priming the bridge and helping with some of the painting details was going to require more woman and manpower than the market could afford.

There was also a time constraint: The six-month project, begun in May 2012, needed completion in October, before cold weather set in.

Enter Timebank.

“There was an incredible core group of about 15 and then another 15 or 20 who would do a little bit here and there,” says Kelly. “I would say, all tolled, Timebankers gave 350 hours. The mural simply would not have been done without Timebank.”

Kelly remembers a particular moment when Timebankers came to the rescue.

“There was this one day when it seemed we had reached this crisis point in timing,” says Kelly.  “The bridge wasn’t completely prepped.  I was in the middle of juggling other things in my life.  I needed to go home.  And then the power washer died.”

Word went out within the Timebank network.  And soon, hands, using scrapers and grinders, were taking the place of the power washer.

bridge photo by Debra Lynn Hookbridge photo of Elaine Hula Hand by Abby Greer

         
                                                                                                                      



                                                                                                                                      












Photo by Debra-Lynn Hook         Photo by Abby Greer
“When I left, there were two people.  When I came back, there were 10,” says Kelly.  “Elaine turned around and looked at me, and said, ‘Oh, thank God for all these Timebankers.’”

Elaine says working side-by-side with committed Timebankers left her with a sense of “belonging and togetherness that I haven’t always felt in places that I have lived.  The experience showed me what community can be in a way that was hopeful and inspiring.”

brige photo by Megan

Photo by Megan Sena
Kelly says she has lots of ideas for future Farmers’ Market-Timebank collaborations, one of them a local foods dinner under the bridge.

“I need help every week,” says Kelly.  “And the nice thing about Timebank is it doesn’t drain people. “People do what they can and there are always more people behind them.”

Timebank and the Farmer’s Market together is win-win, Kelly says.  “The Farmers’ Market is huge for the social networking opportunity,” Kelly says.

“Whenever we put out an offer for Timebanking, people who have never been to the market come and they say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know this was here.’  People get an opportunity to meet farmers and food producers and hear about where people are coming from.  And those people begin to care about each other.”