Where will the gathering be?

We will gather peacefully for silent meditation the morning of July 4th, 2017 from dawn until noon; and a peaceful assembly of free speech and expression from July 1st through the end of Vision Counsel; in the state of Oregon. To learn the process by which we find home each year, click here.

To find out how to get into the gathering without getting a mandatory court appearance ticket, click here and check out the right side-bar.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Tips for a Safe Journey Home & A Positive Gathering

If you plan on driving, make sure your car and driver is 100% legal-all lights work, valid insurance and registration, seatbelts, car seats for children. Our government assumes that we are criminals. Please try to arrive during daylight hours as the roads into gathering sites can be tricky and we want you to arrive home safely. If you can make space in your vehicle for a rider or you need a ride, ride share is happening at your local craistlist.org or on FaceBook.

If you will be sharing a ride, please meet the folks you'll be riding with at a local coffee shop, make sure you feel comfortable traveling a long distance with them, and establish the ground rules. If you are coming via bus, plane or train, try to connect up with a ride from your destination before you get there. If you are planning on hitchhiking, please travel with a buddy, only bum rides during the day and if you get a bad feeling from a ride, PLEASE don't take it. There will always be another one.

I strongly recommend you plan on arriving home in the morning - the earlier the better. If you are coming home and it's late, my best recommendation is you kick it at a campground, roadside rest area, or motel as you sit fit. Then get up at dawn and come on home.  The roads into the gathering can be challenging, the signage can disappear, and you will be tired. Keep in mind that your journey really begins once you park your car. From there you'll have to hike into the gathering with your gear and try to find a place that meets your needs -- very hard to do after dark.  It can easily take 6 hours from the time you park your car until you have your tent set up. Doing it in the daytime is fun, doing it at night when you are exhausted is not my idea of a good time.

*Always* say no to requests for search, no matter what they tell you. It is not illegal for cops to lie to you, and they often will do so to get your consent to search. "You might as well give us permission, because if you do not, we will go get a warrant and you will be here for hours." This is a bluff. Don't fall for it. Their time is much more valuable than yours.

If they insist on searching over your objections, don't prevent them physically in anyway - but continue to repeat "I do not consent." Ask for names and badge numbers, write down time, place, and what happened in detail. Every little thing matters in a court of law, even the things that don't mean much to you or me. If you can, take pictures, videos, and/or tape recordings.

Also, if they ask you if you have contraband, and tell you that if you have just a little bit and give it to them that they will not search you, tell them no. Never, never, never incriminate yourself. That means don't consent to anything, don't give them anything but your license, registration, and proof of insurance, don't admit to anything.

When approaching the Gathering site, remember that you're coming as friends in somebody else's back yard. Treat the local folks with the courtesy, respect and concern that they deserve as members of the Family of Humankind. Be Loving and Kind. Don't be rude, steal, trash the town, disturb the Peace, or try to "shock" people. Be mindful of others' sensitivities. Remember the original Golden Rule when dealing with BOTH Babylon AND Rainbow: Treat Others the Way you want to be treated! Please, make your journey a safe one. Don't be under the influence while driving.

Let's all get home safely.

Ignore all rumors of cancellation or organization!
Live Lightly with the Land and People!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

On Freedom (a video)

So this brother is making a documentary about intentional communities in America, maintaining mutual respect, keeping the peace, freedom and equality. and some of the more challenging issues we face in being free. It's called The Idiocratic Life   From  - http://theidiocraticlife.wordpress.com

Part 1

Part 2

Monday, May 22, 2017

Spring Council/Counsel/Circle

Spring council/counsel/circle  (spring ccc) starts June 10. The general area should be known a few days before. Directions will probably come out just before June 10.  More information will be posted here as it becomes available.

Spring ccc is where the site for the 2017 gathering will be determined and gathering layout begins. There may be travel to see sites the scouts propose, lots of walking, discussion and/or consensus. All are welcome to participate in the process.

However, if you come, please be self sufficient. Bring clothes for warm, wet and cold weather, good boots/shoes. Water and Food to share, shelter (tent, sleeping bag, etc) your own cup bowl spoon, all the stuff you'd need for gathering & a sense of humor. 

As a refresher, the purpose of spring ccc is to determine where home is. The individuals who have been out scouting will have information to share about the site(s) they found and the family on the land at spring ccc will have to reach consensus by silence or by foot on where we will be. 

Please be advised that from spring ccc, the gathering moves into Seed Camp.  Folks at seed camp find and develop water sources,set up the first kitchen and dig the first latrines, locate and mark out the parking lot, lay out trails and remove obstructions, locate Main Circle and dig the fire pit, and set up a welcoming entrance to the gathering.

This is a time when you can work intensely with a few other people and form some deep friendships. 

From this seed grows the flower of our Gathering.

Just an FYI, early in the gathering is when law enforcement presence can be the most intense as ratio of cops to gatherers may be high

This is a great time to form relationships with the USFS resource personnel, work out an unsigned operating plan with the rangers, and set up a process by which the USFS personnel can meet with gatherers on-the-land.  A specific location and time is a really good strategy as then everyone in camp knows where/when to be if they want to meet or not meet with the forest service. It takes many voices to do this work.  If you are not sure what an operating plan is, check out the collection of past operating plans on-line.

For more information on how home is found, click here.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Gathering with Kidz by Info Karen (Guest Post)

My good friend, Info Karen, put together today's guest blog post -- not to confuse anyone but there are two of us living in San Diego. Karen with an "E" and me - Karin with an "I". Since Info Karen has kids, she graciously agreed to put together today's guest post for those of you coming home with kids. If this helped you, please stop by Info when you're at the gathering and thank her.

Bringing babies and small children to the Rainbow Gathering can be quite a chore, but it is also very rewarding, and a wonderful growth experience for them. But deep woods camping with your kids can be quite a challenge. Being a Rainbow Mom myself, I was asked, a few years back to pass along some helpful advice for folks who are bringing their kids for the very first time. The following article sprang from those requests. I wrote it when my eldest was 6 and my twin boys were three and potty-training. I’ve been to the annual Gathering with my first when he was an infant and when he was 3, and then brought all three of them many times after that. This is especially directed at first time Gatherers since a few requests of this type have come my way, but there is lots of good advice for anyone with kids. Do you have more ideas? Please add them in the comment section.


ARRIVAL AND HIKING IN: When you first arrive at the Gathering, you will be directed to a meadow to park in, (or perhaps along a road). Hiking in with kids often takes a couple loads, so having a partner who can either hang with kids or go get the second load is a huge help. Get a baby carrier of some sort to carry your littlest ones in. On the first trip into the site, we tend to bring the kids, the tent and our plates, cups and utensils in the first load, plus whatever else we can manage. We each will wear a kid on our backs (we have twins). After figuring out where we want to camp, I will stay at the tent site with all three kids while the hubby goes out for another full load. While he is gone I will put the tent up, and perhaps go exploring with the kids to find a meal, fill our water bottles, and locate the nearest shitter.

KID VILLAGE: You can camp anywhere with kids, but it is especially nice to camp at Kid Village. It is a drug-free, peaceful area that serves three good kid-friendly meals every day. Kid Village is easy to find. Ask anyone. When you get to Kid Village ask the folks there where there are some good tent spots. They will direct you. At Kid Village, they usually have a little play area with seesaws and swings made from downed trees and rope. There is also usually a sit-down potty there (people just call toilet areas "shitters" so sorry if your child goes home spouting that word!! For adults, shitters are long trenches that you straddle. It’s nice to wear skirts if you want to have a little privacy cover!) Often for little children there are small deep cylindrical holes dug so that the kids don’t have to balance across a trench.

DAILY LIFE: You will want to bring, for each of you, a water bottle, a dish, a spoon, a cup and a day pack to carry everything in while you are away from your tent. If you drink coffee, make your cup a thermal one with a lid. If you can, put a carabineer on your cup as it’s nice to always have it hanging from your belt. Each morning, you will want to pack your daypack for the day and go out wandering. You may head back to the tent for naptime, but you will want to take your dishes, your water bottle, and whatever diapers or things you need for the day with you when you leave your tent in the morning. For dishes, most people bring just a bowl. But after many years of gathering, I have discovered that the very best bowl is a tupperware or similar style container with a lid. This way, if you can't get to a dishwashing station right away after you eat, you can pop the lid on it and toss it in your bag without dirtying anything inside your bag. We found plate-shaped containers with three divided sections which is nice if you get soup and something else. It keeps them divided. Plates with lids are also good for bringing food back kids, or storing things they might not eat right away.

DIAPERS: If you use disposable diapers, I would bring a double thick bag (one inside the other, to lessen the smell and strengthen the bag) with some kind of clasp that can be put on and taken off numerous times, to keep your dirties in. You will need to hike this (very) heavy bag out at the end, as there are no trash stations inside the gathering. Everyone carries their own trash out. Depending on how long you stay, a full bag of dirty diapers can be one whole load! With twins, and ten days in, our bag was large and difficult to manage. If you use cloth diapers, I have seen people wash them out in five gallon buckets and hang them on clotheslines hung between trees. You can get a 5 Gallon bucket for about 3 bucks at large hardware stores. Bring your own clothesline as well. Kid Village has had a communal diaper wash area in the past but I don’t think it is a regular thing at all.

FINDING FOOD / DINNER CIRCLE: At Rainbow the food that is cooked in the kitchens is free for all, and is purchased with donations to the Magic Hat that lives on the desk at the Information Booth, and is also carried around every evening at Dinner Circle in a musical parade. Dinner circle happens every evening in the Main Meadow. Most larger kitchens will bring their cooked food down to the dinner circle and serve there. Bring your dishes! People form a large circle, do a group “Om”, and sit down in circle to be served by the food servers. Pregnant or nursing Mamas and children (and non-parents helping children) are asked to come to the center of the circle before the food is served to get first dibs. Don’t be shy. Come forward when it is announced and get your kid a plateful of good food! Breakfast and lunch are often served out of individual kitchens. Kid Village is a good place to find steady outpouring of food, and if your kid misses a meal, they can direct you to fixings for a peanut butter sandwich or a carrot or something. That said, most people like to bring snacks from home to keep in their tent to keep the kids happy. Dried fruit, nut butters, jerkey and granola are things many people tend to bring.

NAPS: For small babies, it’s not common, but I have seen people bring a playpen and hike it in. That way you can set the baby down somewhere clean for a while. You might consider bringing one and leaving it in the car. Then you can decide if you want to hike it in or not. A lightweight baby floor chair might be a simpler idea, or perhaps a Moses basket? When I brought my first born to his first gathering at about seven months old, I put a blanket in a cardboard box I got from a kitchen! Having walls is nice for a new crawler. A good ground-blanket made out of something with a water resistant bottom layer is nice to have. After realizing the cardboard box was nice to have but not the best choice, the next time I brought a kid’s pop-up backyard play tent. They pack down tiny and can be used to lay the baby down to sleep if you are out wandering away from your camp and want to take a break, or give him/her some shade to rest in. We also napped our eldest in that for a couple years. It was handy, and kept us from having to go and sit quietly outside our own tent for 3 hours every single day. We used two to nap our twins separately during the afternoon, because if they napped together, they would just play in the tent and not sleep.

NECESSITIES: You should have water bottles you can carry around for your family. You can fill them up at any kitchen. Look for a giant cooler on the kitchen counter with a spigot facing out toward the public walk-up area. Bring sun block, wide brimmed children’s hats, bug spray and sun glasses. We are bringing those new 200 hour LED flashlights for our littlest boys who will of course want to have one of their own when they see ours. They can accidentally leave it on for hours and it won’t use up the batteries. Sandals that can get wet or water shoes are great for playing in the stream. When the twins were three years old, and liked to wander, we brought masking tape and stuck some on the backs of their shirts saying “IF FOUND PLEASE RETURN TO INFO” where we were camped! When the kids got older we made sure each kid had his own daypack to keep track of his things.

TENT SLEEPING: Also bring warm sleeping bags. It gets down to 40 at night. We always bring thermal underwear to sleep in, both for us and for them. When our son was a baby, and we worried about the safety of sleeping bags, we slept him in a down-filled, winter outdoor snow suit, wearing a hat, with a regular blanket over him. That way I wasn't worried about losing him down inside the sleeping bag or about him scooting out into the cold at night. Beware of using any kind of gas heater inside your tent as the fumes inside a closed tent can be deadly.

NURSING BABIES: Another idea I has which turned out to be SUCH A GOOD IDEA, was my homemade nursing shirts. While still at home, I got a couple long-sleeved thermal shirts at the thrift store. I cut vertical slits in the front for nursing, and when I was at the Gathering I would wear these shirts underneath my regular shirt. The benefit is that on cold days, and ESPECIALLY on cold nights, I could lift my outer shirt to nurse without having to expose the sides of my torso to chill air. It was SO much warmer, and easier to doze when nursing in the middle of the night half our of a sleeping bag! These shirts might not be so necessary for eastern Gatherings, but most western Gatherings can get pretty cold at night.

COMMUNICATION FOR OLDER KIDS: As our kids got older, and wanted to go off and explore on their own, we went out and got a good set of FRS radios, one for each of us, and some extra batteries. These are fairly long range radios. For the kids we put them on lanyards and hung them around their necks, and sometimes they put them in their daypacks (although they sometimes would miss our calls if they did this). A belt loop holster would be a good choice as well. This way, if they want to stay out longer, or ask a question, they can reach you and it gives them some more freedom, and the parents some freedom as well! (Also, they are good for letting the other party know that pizza is just coming out of the Ovens and that you should hurry on over!)

LASTLY: Have a blast! It’s a great way to immerse your kids in wild nature! -Info Karen- (Mom to three exuberant boys) Please comment below with any questions or great ideas or parent-hacks of your own! Please comment below with any questions or great ideas or parent-hacks of your own!

There is also a Kidz Rap available on-line.

The Mini Manual

The Rainbow Gathering Mini Manual is a cooperative project sometimes subtitled: Suggested Wisdom Culled from Years of Experience and/or Trail & Error.

If you ever picked up a Rainbow Guide at a gathering, then you've probably read the Mini Manual. It tends to evolve over time, but if you've not read it, I suggest you give it whirl. There's a good copy up at http://www.bliss-fire.com/MiniManual.htm in html format and a PDF version available.  If you could print out 25 copies double sided on recycled paper to distribute to people at the gathering, you will be doing a huge service to the family by helping people learn the collective ways to keep each other and the land safe and  healthy.

If there are points in the mini manual that you feel are especially important, grabbing old sheets and painting that section with legible lettering and pretty art work really helps get the message out to people. (see beautiful image on left)

Let's make sure everyone at the gathering knows this information. You can print it, you can rap it, you can paint it, you can sing it.  Just get it out there.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Main Supply 101 by Overboard (Guest Post)

Thanks to Overboard for writing this great rap based on his years of experience in Main Supply.

Here's a piece that I wrote up about the workings of Main Supply. Some things here are not SET IN STONE, just the way that we've chosen to do it in recent years:

Main Supply is our communal food collection and distribution system, open to any kitchen that maintains basic sanitation (appropriate hand wash, dish station, toilet facilities, compost and grey water and food storage and preparation techniques), serves their food openly and freely to any that ask (at their chosen meal times), and is willing to communicate reasonably and civically with the Main Supply focalizers and other kitchens. Kitchens should plan to provide the bulk of their own supplies but through cooperative economics, we can supplement that very efficiently. Sending someone knowledgeable with your kitchen's supply/meal plans to our biweekly Kitchen Councils (rarely more than 20 minutes) and serving Dinner Circle each night are highly recommended but not required.

As kitchens get set up and come within a day or two of being ready to serve, they will be added to the list of kitchens receiving shares of the next biweekly shopping trip. By mutual agreement, kitchens are assigned 1, 2 or 3 shares of food, based on their capacity and production. That number can, and often does, change from one shopping trip to the next. At the peak of the gathering we're usually shopping for 24-30 kitchens totaling 40-60 shares. With each shopping trip we also shop for 2-5 shares more than what we are expecting, to allow some overages and providing for 1-2 new kitchens that pop up on the shopping day.

Of the total purchases, approximately 2/3 is spent on fresh wholesale produce. We always find at least two different produce distributors in the area and check both price lists every day, buying some items from one and some from the other. Some years we even have access to a regional terminal market where 8-30 different companies have walk in refrigerated warehouses. We can competitively shop all of them, for each type of vegetable. We also contact these distributors before the gathering to arrange for them to order some items that are a more economical grade of vegetable, though maybe not as pretty. Also we have them set aside all of their seconds and products that are too old to sell but still edible. Most are happy to do that for us.

The other 1/3 is spent on other foods like dry goods and perishable products. We buy these from a variety of sources, including wholesale restaurant supply stores, occasionally, grocery stores running extremely good sales, large ethnic food markets and salvage food stores. These are stores that buy up and resell foods from stores that went out of business, mislabeled products, overstocks, dented or damaged products or occasionally good food that has passed an arbitrary sell by date. These often supply us with unbelievable deals, sometimes selling us full pallets of food for $100 or less. I spend the whole year leading up to the gathering hunting for the best possible prices in the state or region where we are gathering.

When things go smoothly, we try to have kitchen councils on Sundays and Wednesdays, do the shopping on Mondays and Thursdays and then distribute food on Tuesday and Friday mornings.

With each supply run we spend approximately 3/4 of the money on 20-25 staple items that almost every kitchen uses, like cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. For dry goods we usually buy lots of flour, rice, pasta, baking mixes and beans and let kitchens choose, say, 3 of those per share (20-50lb bags). This keeps kitchens from getting overloaded with things they don't need or use.

When we buy staples that a certain kitchen doesn't use, like garlic and onions, eggs or dairy, we always allow them to take a little more of something else, to make up for it. Kitchens are also encouraged to trade supplies with each other, to fit their needs and wants.

The other 25% of the budget is spent on smaller quantities of a larger variety of ingredients. Things like ginger, string beans, sugar, pancake mix, oatmeal, peanut butter or even a little bit of economical donut filling on occasion! These items are then made into piles of roughly equal worth (not necessarily what we PAID) of around $10-20. Then when kitchens come to pick up supply, they are allowed to pick a certain number of piles based on their size. This allows kitchens to have more choice in their food, brings more variety to the woods and encourages kitchens to come early and send someone who knows the needs and wants of their kitchen.

Along with the Magic Hat money, some Main Supply focalizers (including myself) welcome kitchens to send along additional funds, to purchase things above and beyond what Main Supply can provide. Receipts will always be provided. Sorry, but we cannot handle EBT/Food Stamp cards. No more than one credit or debit card per kitchen, per run, please. We ask that lists are kept to no more than a few special items that we wouldn't normally buy, per trip. We also need to receive the money and list by the close of dinner circle, on the day before we shop. If kitchens pay for extra supplies, they can *usually* pick them up as soon as the bus returns instead of waiting until the next morning. Unlike with Magic Hat money, with private funds, I personally (though not every focalizer) will honor requests for meat, coffee, tobacco or papers. I will not shop for your alcohol though.

In total we usually do between 5 and 8 total supply runs, starting 2-4 days after we first arrive on site (immediately following Spring Council).

Kitchens are also welcome to come up to Main Supply at any time, to see if other supplies are available. Generally any foods dropped by anyone at Main Supply, between supply runs, is considered first come, first serve. Main Supply will also be regularly stocked with an assortment of spices and baking ingredients. Please do not take more for your kitchen then you expect to use up in a few days. It is highly encouraged that kitchens regularly check their supplies and send any clean foods, that they will not use, back to Main Supply for redistribution.

Please do not drop supplies at Main Supply, expecting them to be delivered to a specific kitchen. They will likely be given to the first kitchen that asks. If you are bringing food that needs to go to a specific kitchen, you will need to bring them there yourself, find someone to carry them, or have someone wait with the supplies while you find someone to carry them. We CAN NOT be responsible for delivering your supplies OR guarding them indefinitely. Anyone sitting at Main Supply should not be assumed to be an "official worker". Involved Main Supply workers will likely only be at Main Supply on the standard distribution days.

We'd love to hear from kitchen focalizers *before* the gathering. Join this Facebook group for more info.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

For Oregon Residents (or what to expect from the gathering)

What exactly IS the Rainbow Gathering?

The bottom video includes interviews with townsfolk and merchants of stores and lodges near past Rainbow Gatherings. They were asked for their honest opinion of how the event went, the effects it had on their business, and what advice they would give to people in towns near future Gatherings.