Thursday, June 22, 2017 This Week's Paper

The Grand Cinema

// The power of Community

Local Life, Go Local and Tacoma Farmers Market will host a movie night and conversation around the theme of grass roots community efforts at the Grand Cinema on April 29, 6:30pm. The movie, “The Power of Community,” has strong themes of local food, sustainability and walkable neighborhoods – all through the lens of neighbor-led efforts. The night will also kick off Go Local and Local Life's 2013 City of Neighborhoods Campaign.

“The Power of Community” is a documentary filmed in Cuba and focuses on what's known as “The Special Period” in Cuban history. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba's economy went into a tailspin. Oil imports were cut by more than half and food by 80 percent. This film shows how Cuban communities pulled together, created solutions and ultimately thrived in spite of their decreased dependence on imported energy. The interviewees share how they transitioned from highly mechanized agriculture to using organic farming and urban gardens. They also share how their communities reoriented their lives around walkable neighborhoods and alternatives to oil-dependent transportation. After the movie, representatives from the three organizations will host a conversation about the hidden assets found in relational and neighbor-level collaboration.

For Go Local and Local Life, this will be the kick-off of their City of Neighborhoods Campaign. The campaign will be a series of monthly events that center around the City of Neighborhoods Conference on May 18 and last through the summer.

“City of Neighborhoods is all about what we call bottom-up, or basically neighbor-led, community development, and this film is a fun, unique look at some folks in the modern world who were forced to depend on their neighbors. In the process they developed a better food system and a more community-centered way of life,” said Justin Mayfield, Local Life's executive director. “Havana grows 90 percent of its own food now.”

Last year was the first year for the City of Neighborhoods Conference, and 178 people attended a day packed with 20 workshops, several talks and a few well-known keynotes. All the topics were centered around neighbor-led efforts in making neighborhoods more connected and livable. This year the conference will be at the historic Downtown Post Office building and will feature keynote speaker Jim Diers, returning by popular demand. “Jim was inspiring and fun to listen to. He always has lots of interesting stories from his work with neighborhoods around the world,” said Mayfield. Many workshops and presentations from about 40 local and grassroots leaders are also expected as part of the day.

The Power of Community showing at the Grand Cinema will cost $5. City of Neighborhoods is $20. Tickets for both can be found online at More information is available at

Local Life is a Tacoma-based nonprofit that catalyzes holistic, identifiable neighborhoods where people create, connect and collaborate. The organization produces cultural and learning events to promote neighborhood development. Two Five Trees, City of Neighborhoods and the Downtown Block Party are Local Life productions.