This is what a deep economy looks like: Cupcake Camp Boston (plus OOTD)

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may have noticed that I’m a bit obsessed with Bill McKibben’s book Deep Economy. This is because McKibben so clearly articulates a vision for a future that is livable, community-based, and joyous–a future that will destroy neither the planet nor the lives of its inhabitants. His book is both practical and visionary: both a blueprint for creating a healthier society and an exploration of what that means.

And so, when I recently attended Cupcake Camp Boston, I couldn’t help but see it as one delicious example of a deep economy: a tiny, tasty model of a society built around community connection rather than profit.

Cupcake Camp promotes both local businesses and community togetherness, with a good helping of buttercream frosting. The basic idea is that you pay a small fee to sample a certain number of cupcakes from local bakeries. (Ironically enough, I didn’t end up eating a single cupcake! By the time I arrived, tickets were sold out, so I just wandered around. A few of the booths gave me cupcakes despite my lack of a ticket, but I was too full from breakfast to eat them, so I was planning to save them for later…until they started getting all melty, so I gave them away instead.)

In addition to the cupcakes themselves–which are both a great deal for the consumers, and great publicity for the bakers–there were all sorts of fun, free activities, including a cupcake relay race and a cupcake eating contest!

There was also Zumba, led by instructors from a local studio. It was hot, sweaty, un-self-conscious, booty-shaking fun.

A few little girls joined in, and won the Taza chocolate bar that was awarded for most enthusiastic dancing.

With one of the instructors, and two of my lovely neighbors, after we danced our asses off!

And there was a local brass band, Hornography, playing a wonderful combination of pop, rock, and hip-hop: from “Call Me Maybe” to “Forget You” to “Buddy Holly” (hells yeah 90s rock) to “The Distance” (yes, a song by Cake, at a cupcake festival!).

When they played “Sexy And I Know It,” they changed the lyrics to “I like cupcakes and I know it.” “Girl, look at those cupcakes…”

Off to the side, a couple was swing dancing.

I sat in the shade blowing bubbles, while an adorable little curly-haired boy ran around popping them.

And I thought, this is community. This is what a deep economy looks like.

Music, dance, food, sunshine, frolicking children, being together as neighbors, a general spirit of fun and laughter. The chance to support local businesses for those with $7 to spare, and plenty of free fun for those without (or those, like me, who just showed up too late).

Creating a durable society involves both hard work and fun–because a society can’t be sustainable without joy (or cupcakes).

Here’s my cupcake-themed outfit:

Top: Lane Bryant, belt: Re/Dress, capris: Target, skirt: eBay a million years ago, sandals: Clark’s, glitter bow: Crown & Glory, necklace: Kuma Crafts, cupcake hairclip worn as pin: Sick for Cute, earrings: the Brookline Booksmith (yes, it’s a bookstore that also sells tchotchkes and accessories!), spike wristband: Hot Topic, beaded bracelet: homemade, sunglasses: Sweet & Lovely, tote bag: Borders


5 thoughts on “This is what a deep economy looks like: Cupcake Camp Boston (plus OOTD)

  1. What a fun-sounding event! Wish I could’ve been there!

    Yeah, I’m not entirely sure what “deep economy” means having neither read that book nor researched the topic elsewhere, but based on what you’ve shared here alone, I think that Somerville as a whole is a great example. I can think of other places I’ve lived that have at least little pockets of economies based around community like this (Providence, pretty much all of Vermont, Asheville), and I hear good things about the cities and small towns in the Pacific Northwest as well. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and scared, and to forget about these things, but so much of our world is already sustainable or at least heading there. There exist ecovillages for instance, which are pretty much the definition of sustainability.

    Where you run into real problems are in areas with lots of suburban sprawl (like much of Florida, New Jersey, most of Rhode Island aside from Providence and the cute little beach towns, etc), where things are too spread out to get places by bike or foot and there’s no public transit, and people are too disconnected from their community to want to make a difference in it. For people to help out, they need to be motivated to; they need to see the results of their actions, they need to be engaged in their communities and feel excited about them. Most suburbs can be toxic environments in that they disconnect you from the larger world, from the results of your actions. People exist in little bubbles in their yards, houses, and cars.

    Fortunately though, not everywhere is like this, and people are starting to realize the toxicity of these sorts of environments (both for human emotional and physical well-being, and for the environment). Officials are putting in bike paths and bus systems in suburbs, which used to be unheard of. Community centers are popping up. People are throwing events like Cupcake Camp. It may take a longer time for some places than others to reach where they need to be, but things are happening everywhere, and this gives me hope.

  2. Pingback: OOTD: The biggest bow ever | Tutus And Tiny Hats

  3. Pingback: 10 ways people could make a living in a green economy | Tutus And Tiny Hats

  4. Pingback: OOTD: 100% Big Thrifty goodness | Tutus And Tiny Hats

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s