LETs Unconference Adelaide

by Cate Foley-Burke

Hopes Cafe was the venue on a hot sunny Adelaide  morning . The cafe is a venture by the Clayton Wesley Uniting Church in Norwood. Within was a buzz with traders setting up stalls and sharing conversations. Locals and interstaters were meeting and sharing their offers of produce, including home made bread, jams, pickles, veggies, advice, crafts, photography, bric-à-brac, and shoulder massage .

The official opening began with an honouring of the traditional peoples of this country. Greg, the Uniting Church minister, welcomed us to the venue, and was happy to announce that the cafe accepted LETs, and that the venue was available for hire with LETs.

The market trading flowed and the cafe provided a space for conversation. From Sydney was Annette Loudon, from Brisbane Alison Bird, from Moreland Vic, Marie-Luise, and myself, Cate Foley Burke, from Tasmania.
Kylie Willison from Adelaide gave us all a warm introduction to the Unconference. For the first couple of hours conversation and trading were the focus .

Lunch was followed by talks and workshops. Annette from Sydney focused on the IT Perspective, and let us know it’s still slowly moving forward, the new mobile site being the best advance for a while. She spoke of the New Economies Conference in Brisbane last year. It was more of a theoretical approach than anything functional, from her perspective. A representative of the Anti-poverty Network also spoke, and offered the idea of partnerships between groups like theirs and LETs.

Alison Bird shared a simulation game her sister devised, to assist our local communities in understanding local trading systems. In this game the trades are all valued at 200 Units/CENTs. There’s a deck of cards, each paired as a “want” and “offer”. For example: Wanted: someone to establish a “Wicking bed garden”. The corresponding offer could be “Wicking bed gardens built for home gardeners, 200 units. Another example:
Wanted: Second-hand trailer. The offer could be: 200 units. The cards are given out and people take two, one “offer” one “want”. Next, the players mill around and find each other’s matching offers and wants . They do the exchange and fill out a trading sheet. They all trade to the value of 200 and all finish with 0 points, having gained 200
units and spent 200 units. So this game reminds us that it’s all about trading and exchange, and not accumulation
of units .

We also had a choice of several workshops running after the first three talks, to diversify the afternoon. One of these was my sharing on the Local Coordinator Gathering in Tasmania last October. Another was the CENTs leaflet. Members really appreciated the way it was complied, including the content, colour and simplicity. I gave our
leaflet to several interested members. I also shared photos and stories of our Tasman Eco Village and the local “Nubeans” group traders in action. The other two workshops were on home-made laundry liquid, and very useful recycled netbags for fruit and veg shopping .