After Vincent Dessberg asked me several times about talking about the vision that he had for 2035 Cornell Street, we finally sat down in December 2012 and I asked him about his mission, his vision, his values, and his goals and objectives so that we could formulate a reasonable action plan. As the first step on the action plan was to clean up the shop, the resulting document simmered for awhile. I was living in Bradenton at the time, but when the time came to vacate for new guests, I asked Vincent about staying on the property so that I could more readily address the action plan.
As with most visions, there was a vast expanse between what Vincent saw as his end result and what we were given to work with. Originally, or at least at the time of our initial meeting when Vincent’s interest was most piqued by the idea, the goal was to create a raw food café, drawing from the food grown on the rooftop vertical gardens, and building climbing walls inside and out. In order to build climbing walls, we needed space, and since the building was chock full of remnants from previous ideas that had piqued Vincent’s interest, we were going to have to do some creative repurposing.
I’ve told Vincent before that I think he is a man ahead of his time. I have watched his endeavors unfold since we met several years go, with varying degrees of success, and I’ve seen his frustration grow as he struggles to engage people with his attempts at serial entrepreneurism. However, as with all of the failures I’ve manifested in my attempt to do new things, I can only hope that he has become wiser for the wear.
Nevertheless, the majority of Vincent’s initial attempts culminated in an industrial light warehouse, where I volunteered for the task of transitioning the space from a collection of shattered dreams to “a support structure for healthy living, community development, and creative expression, and as a catalyst for a more fruitful economy.” Although his experiments had not yet reached any level of economic fulfillment, I saw in all of them the possibility for a thriving business. My idea was to build on the resources that we had at our disposal, and start weaving them together, sort of seeing each project as a seed and the space as a garden, carefully cultivating each crop so that it would bear the most fruit. Since I, myself, am also transitioning into a life of using money again, this also gave me the opportunity to give more consideration to the streams of finance that could develop from these various projects.
Even before my yearlong boycott of Federal Reserve Notes, I had been working on a theory of economic distribution that could be written up as an algorithmic code in order to allow for instantaneous financial distribution that would revolutionize the crowd sourcing phenomenon. And while I have not yet figured out how to develop the application, I feel that the true gift of what I am trying to offer is not the technological widget that will diminish participation in life to the click of a button, but the opportunity for actual participation in our own economic development by building avenues away from our dependence upon faulty systems based on debt, greed, and slavery and toward a more interdependent, community-based existence so that we may free ourselves of the unnecessary suffering that we inflict upon one another merely for the sake of a game with unrealistic expectations and largely unsatisfying results. I think that, while my WeBMaP idea of automatically distributing funds from transactions to fuel artistry, business, citizenry, and charity is really nifty, I don’t believe that we need a technological program to save us, be it a bank, a corporation, a government, a religion, or a computer application. What we need is to realize our freedom by realizing our unity.
The opportunity that I have been given through my participation in this space allows me to experiment with my model on a practical level, where I can have measurable results, but more importantly, where I can actually taste the fruits of the changes I cultivate. It has been eight months since I moved into the space and started my process of organization and redesign.
The Flow Factory currently operates out of 2035 Cornell Street, but the model can be replicated anywhere. Plus, with a flexible, multi-currency payment structure, including the Common Wealth Time Bank, and the fiduciary channeling system of ABC2 Economics, it offers the opportunity to help invigorate the economy while helping people do what they love to do: eat, play, make art, build stuff, develop relationships, teach crafts, and learn new things. And through that process, we can help people find new ways to develop greater enjoyment in life, stronger ties to the community, better health, and more sustainable practices to allow for a more graceful future.The time has been filled with a variety of experiments, varying degrees of success, and a few pinches of failure thrown in for flavor. However, I feel that we are now at a place where we are more prepared to fully open the doors to The Flow Factory so that we can develop a model of using open space as a conduit for multiple community and entrepreneurial ventures utilizing full free market economics that can be replicated and refined according to a community’s needs and assets.