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Neo-Network: Mimi's Organic Exchange

By Staff in News on May 2, 2011 7:20PM

2011_5_2_MOE.jpg In an online, instantaneous, and ever-evolving world, we have innumerable social networks and a myriad of opportunities to connect with others. But face-to-face communication is waning and quality time is fading away---so are we really creating lasting connections? Mimi’s Organic Exchange (MOE), which is located in Chicago, is another kind of network, a healing network that facilitates “positive sharing” among professionals, small businesses, artisans, non-profits, and others interested in developing sustainable connections through social events. MOE supports socially, environmentally, and spiritually sustainable products and services.

In 2006, Mimi Clayton, a self-proclaimed "natural networker," wanted to create connections among her friends, celebrate their talents, and help them market themselves. So Mimi threw a party in her backyard-- a marketing party. The gathering featured art, photography, gardening, tarot card reading, music, food, improv sketches, a tuba player, even a brass band. The event was a success and Clayton realized that people needed a network. After a chance conversation about proactive and holistic approaches to health and living, Clayton decided that people did not just need a network, but an organic one. By definition, organic is “of, relating or derived from living organisms.” Or as Clayton puts it, “life.”

MOE fosters human connection, environmental initiatives, and spiritual growth through education, community events, and marketing for environmentally friendly and socially responsible businesses. Since its formation, Clayton and co-founder Diane Ponder have embarked on a journey to further explore arts, music, education, environmental events throughout Chicago and in other cities. The endeavor has evolved into a non-profit, The Convergence Project. The purpose of The Convergence Project is to educate the public about sustainable, earth-friendly living activities, creative endeavors, and business practices .

Both MOE and The Convergence Project are groups that are passionate about teaching and encouraging others to be more open-minded, building community, and forming real connections. In Clayton’s words, we want people to “be respectful to each other. We are living on this planet. We are all living together.”

MOE and The Convergence Project will be presenting at the upcoming Green Festival on May 14-15 at McCormick Center.

Saturday, May 14, Green Festival, McCormick Place, Community Action Pavilion

1:30PM METAGREEN - Grounding the In-Vironment. The panel will discuss strategies of consciousness in the green movement and how to strengthen our community.

Sunday, May 15, 2011 McCormick Place, Sustainable Home and Garden Pavilion

12:30PM Make Your Art Green with The Art Lab 123 - This hands-on workshop will introduce methods for making your own art materials such as eco-friendly paints.

Sunday, May 15, Green Festival, McCormick Place, Green Living Stage

3PM Urban Green Living - News about local and seasonal food, the role of organic food and fabric, green waste disposal, and a snapshot of the local business scene.

Elisa Revello