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New Civic Engagement Opportunity: Join the Potluck Action Network

The Potluck Action Network (www.potluckactionnetwork.org), is building a network of thousands of potluck groups across Canada and the US, meeting in each other’s homes on a regular basis for the long term, to plan and experience active civic engagement. Each person in each potluck group of twelve commits to doing one progressive action of their own choosing per month, while discussing it and getting feedback from the other members of the group at the potlucks. Designed for members of every age, from ten through college through retirement, these groups have no leader but instead are guided by a “Chef” in the group, whose action focus is to ensure group continuity, inform the network of the group’s progress, and keep everyone meeting regularly, happy, engaged, and well fed. Each potluck group purposely works on a self-chosen set of topics, ensuring that each member stays interested and able to influence the directions and successes of the potluck group. Members of the Potluck Action Network believe that through learning about and acting on the issues we choose, we create experienced specialists on a variety of topics, guard against burnout, have fun, make lifelong friends, and create a network of people learning to create constructive changes, all while enjoying dessert.

Anyone can start a new group by visiting the website above and clicking on “start new group.” When you start a new Potluck group, you’ll become what is referred to as a “Chef”. You’re the person who makes sure the meetings happen, makes sure the group is working on multiple issues, and makes sure each meeting has a healthy dose of Food, Fun, and Action! Many groups use a pair of Co-Chefs, and the person who’s Chef can change over time. The ideal group size in the Potluck Action Network is 12. If you don’t have 12 members in mind right now (that’s usually the case), you probably have two. If they can each bring two, and those folks can bring two, you’re all set. Several groups have begun with meetings of 4 or 6 for several months till the word gets out, then they suddenly get to 12 members. Or your first meeting may have more than 12, and that’s ok too. The point is to have that first meeting and work to make it a good one. As a Chef, you will be supported and mentored by the Chefs of two other groups in the Potluck Action Network.

Amy Lang
Amy Lang is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at the University of British Columbia. She wrote her dissertation on British Columbia’s groundbreaking Citizens’ Assembly process, and is currently doing follow-up research on the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly.

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