Gotta love a bit of etymology online:

social (adj.)

c. 1400, “devoted to or relating to home life;” 1560s as “living with others,” from French social (14c.) and directly from Latin socialis “of companionship, of allies; united, living with others; of marriage, conjugal,” from socius “companion, ally,” probably originally “follower,” from PIE *sokw-yo-, suffixed form of root *sekw- (1) “to follow.” Compare Old English secg, Old Norse seggr “companion,” which seem to have been formed on the same notion). Related: Socially.

Sense of “characterized by friendliness or geniality” is from 1660s. Meaning “living or liking to live with others; companionable, disposed to friendly intercourse” is from 1720s. Meaning “of or pertaining to society as a natural condition of human life” first attested 1695, in Locke. Sense of “pertaining to fashionable society” is from 1873.

Social climber is from 1893; social work is 1890; social worker 1886. Social drinking first attested 1807. Social studies as an inclusive term for history, geography, economics, etc., is attested from 1916. Social security “system of state support for needy citizens” is attested from 1907 (the Social Security Act was passed by U.S. Congress in 1935). Social butterfly is from 1867, in figurative reference to “flitting.”

Social contract (1763) is from translations of Rousseau. Social Darwinism attested from 1887. Social engineering attested from 1899. Social science is from 1785. In late 19c. newspapers, social evil is “prostitution.” Social network is attested by 1971; social networking by 1984; social media by 2008. Social justice is attested by 1718.

social (n.)

“friendly gathering,” 1870, from social (adj.). In late 17c. it meant “a companion, associate.”

So this started as a social media post, but I thought it might need to be here instead… Greenspace currently has 600 likes on Facebook (675 followers) and a luscious 69 on Instagram (having only been on there for a short time, the lady doth protest).

I feel very conflicted about social media, and don’t have much of a personal presence on there, but I knew I had to advertise this Greenspace thing, and well, you know.

One of the main problems with social media is the screenyness of it. Super obvious I know. But it’s just so disembodied. Mostly we want to look good on social media, and even when we want to express the opposite and let people know that we aren’t feeling so good, it’s still a piece of glass with a picture on it. There is no snot, there is no real discomfort. We watch animals being animals for ten seconds and click a button of delight or outrage while the Congo is mined for our next tech gadget. We know all this, and yet.

Meanwhile, Greenspace has now been real for a whole two years (plus a few months getting ready to be real, plus a few months thinking about getting ready to be real). The last holiday I had I was thinking about this project, facing the fear of it, and yet feeling myself moving inexorably towards it.

So yes, it’s been two and a half years since I had a holiday, and I am seeing what seems like everyone I know going on holiday on the social media. And I am feeling mostly ok about that, I love that you are going on holiday, but also I do feel quite tired. It’s been the longest I have ever held down a job, for example (previous record eighteen months I think).

What is the social contract here? Nobody asked me to do this, I just felt drawn to it. When the previous version of the organic shop closed a sadness came over me that I couldn’t explain. It just seemed too great a loss for a community like Waiheke to be without an organic shop. It’s just one of those places where certain values are shared, and there aren’t enough of those places in the world.

My side of the contract was to aim to offer the best possible versions of everything we need for our everyday, taking into account:
– methods of growing – organic/biodynamic/permaculture rather than chemical industrial
– packaging – reusable or compostable rather than plastic bags for landfill
– trade practices – fair rather than foul
– wholeness – difficult to define, but something to do with the inner spirit and intention, something to do with life force

But I knew nothing about retail, because I am an artist and an idealist. I didn’t take into account that the organic people don’t always care about plastic bags, and the zero waste people don’t always care about organics, and the fair trade people don’t always care about either, and the spiritual people don’t always care about the material conditions of the everyday world.

Some of the beautiful people who support this project are artists and idealists too, and even though they might not have a whole ton of cash, they make sure that some of it comes to Greenspace each week. For that I am super grateful. And I just need a few more of you, maybe 20% more on a good week if we want to talk numbers.

There is so much beauty here, new and lovely things coming in every month as I face my fear and loathing of account application forms and sign up with lovely producers who are making the things that make our world go around more beautifully, more ethically & connectively.

So I guess your side of the social contract is deciding if a place like Greenspace is important enough to bring your dollars to each week, because in a world dominated by business, that’s what it comes down to. I haven’t been savvy enough to get a government or council grant to do this good work, although I am stoked that those things exist. Instead I was lucky enough to have some cash left over from letting something precious go to feel that I could make it happen (it wasn’t enough, but feeling that it was got me started).

But still there is not quite enough money. It’s so close, but now I am at the point where if I don’t figure out how to get a holiday, I might be having to quit completely. I don’t want to be dramatic, but I do want to be able to pay another person or two to do a day or two so that I can start to hand this project over to the community a little more.

I have been thinking about green money and how Greenspace can be more of a centre for consumer activism, which is a capitalisty way of saying people who want to create a world where life is more beautiful everyday for everyone, and where we don’t ignore important things like working conditions for growers, like poisoning the soil, like throwing ever more shit into landfill, and where we put our money where our heart is.

One way of doing green money is to give you $110 Greenspace dollars for $100 standard ones, or to give you a $10 Greenspace voucher to spend next time whenever you spend $100. Or to ask you to find out if there are people in your life who would take Greenspace vouchers as payment. And to ask you to donate on Patreon while I figure it out. I am not sure how to work it, but I am still excited about the potential at Greenspace, and still need to keep asking you to spend your money here.

It’s late now, and this doesn’t make quite enough sense, but I am going to publish anyway, and will see if I can fix it tomorrow. And I sort of suspect not that many people will read this far, so it probably is ok either way.

Mostly I really need a holiday. To get a holiday, I need some staff… to get some staff, I need some money… so bring your money to Greenspace for sharing all the good times around!


P.S. if you find that things are a bit more expensive at Greenspace than at other spaces, do let me know as I slowly but surely want to remedy that – when I first started I wanted to be able to provide the goodest goods for the best price, but my lovely accountant recommended otherwise as it became clear in the early days that the priority was paying rent rather than offering this cheapest bestest things service! Rest assured that all those extra dollars have gone to keeping the Greenspace dream alive, and not into heating my indoor pool.

Oh, and you can get a hefty discount on your Greenspace goods by volunteering a couple of hours a week, basically a co-op style situation. Pop in to the shop to talk about this or any other thing, you know I love a good yarn.