Repair Café in the Berkshires

Pittsfield Resilience Circle Host a Repair Café
Saturday, January 19th, 2013

The Repair Café concept was formulated in 2009 in the Netherlands by journalist and publicist Martine Postma and sustainability accelerator Peter van Vliet. Since January 2011, the Repair Café Foundation has provided support to local groups in the Netherlands and other countries wishing to start their own Repair Cafe ( [Image: First Repair Café held in Brussels.]

Janet Henderson writes:

What do you do with a broken toaster? Or with a bike that needs repair? Or with a pair of pants when a seam rips? Or a partially dysfunctional umbrella? Throw it away? Certainly not!

The Pittsfield Resilience Circle is organizing the Berkshires’ first ever Repair Café. It will be held in Pittsfield on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 1 to 5 p.m. in the St. Stephen’s Church basement at 67 East St. The event is entirely free.

[The  Repair Café] involves people in the community giving to other people in the community, making needed repairs of all kinds. Various repair persons will be available to fix small appliances, clothing and other fabric items, bicycles, toys, small furniture items, computers, and so on. Anyone with a broken item in need of repair may bring it to the Repair Café between 1 and 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 19th. We will fix as many articles as we can during that time. We’re also offering free refreshments for those waiting in line.

The Pittsfield Resilience Circle could use more volunteers for the Repair Cafe. Persons with experience in any kind of repair craft or who would like to provide general help, please call Tom Harter at 413-212-8589 or email Janet Henderson at The Repair Café is looking for more sponsors (those who donate $20 or more). We are thankful for our sponsors, including the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT), who is contributing both money and time!

By holding a Repair Café, the Pittsfield Resilience Circle wants to help reduce waste, promote repair skills, teach us all to be more self-sufficient, have fun, come together in a non-consumerist way, forge bonds of friendship through mutual dependency, and make Pittsfield a better place to live.


Members of the Pittsfield Resilience Circle meet twice a month to learn together and become better friends through doing things for and with each other. The Resilience Circle is based on information available at The group also has an informal Gift Circle. Information about Gift Circles can be found on the OpenCollaboration’s Blog.

One Comment on “Repair Café in the Berkshires

  1. Looking for a Resilience Circle in Franklin County?

    A group in Greenfield, MA that calls themselves “The Neighbors” has been meeting monthly for four years. They incorporate fun and food into their monthly meetings –and have a lengthy check-in at each meeting. They spend time learning together, engaging in mutual aid, and inspiring one another to learn new habits in order to live in a new economy with ecological limits. “We start every meeting by singing,” said one member named Sandra. “Then we have a check-in and discussion.” The Neighbors have read books together, watched documentaries, and generally helped each other out. When members have faced health challenges, they’ve taken turns cooking and accompanying one another to the hospital. Several members started or expanded gardens. “We had a work weekend for one member when she wanted to clear land for a garden plot. We all showed up with saws and shovels to clear the plot.” In addition to their monthly meeting, The Neighbors have a monthly game night usually attended by at least half the group. “This is fun and affordable entertainment,” said Sandra. “Early on we created a list,” said a member named Tom. At 82, he is the oldest member and lives in elder housing in an apartment building. “We identified things we could share and things we needed. These included tools, skills, copy machines, kayaks, and other services.” “The spirit of our exchanges are gifting and sharing,” reflected Tom. “We admire the time bank and time dollars approach, but don’t want to spend all the time keeping score.”

    For more information, contact Sarah Byrnes (, 617.477.8630 x307).


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