the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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watch: practicing for when peace breaks out on the latest our land

This latest episode of Our Land takes place at the intersection of farming, faith, and political activism. Take a walk with us through farms formed by the Catholic Workers Association. “A friend calls it practicing for when peace breaks out, because, really, if we were to live in a world filled with peace, we wouldn’t be able to live with the resource extraction that’s happening.”

See the (dare we say charming?) sisters at Sinsinawa Mound in Wisconsin who are sharing land parcels– “we hold the land in common”– with young farmers to grow food for their community.

And be ready to get your goosebumps on and go forth into the world inspired.


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ice detained migrant farmer activists: thousands responded.

Though those who live farther away from the muddy melting snow of Southern New England, may not have caught wind of the migrant rights struggle that has been playing out between farms and courthouses around the region, it’s worth everyone’s attention.

Since the ICE arrest and detention of farmworkers and Migrant Justice leaders Jose Enrique “Kike” Balcazar Sanchez and Zully Palacios Rodriguez on March 16, hundreds of people have gathered around Vermont and in Boston to demand the young activists release. Migrant Justice is a Vermont-based organization that organizes three regional migrant worker communities to advocate for human rights and economic justice. Especially considering some of the anecdotes in this excellent piece by LatinoUSA.org on their case, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which immigration officials are not intentionally targeting human rights leaders for deportation.

Both are in their early twenties, neither with any prior arrests, and they were on their way home from the Migrant Justice center when they were stopped. Balcazar, as LatinoUSA reports, “is an active community organizer in Vermont, and served on Vermont attorney general T.J. Donovan’s Immigrant Task Force, which was created in January as a response to President Trump’s immigration executive orders.”

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full scholarships for mediation training in the nys agricultural mediation program

 

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Recently, I had the opportunity to be part of a workshop discussion at the NOFA MA conference within which arose the idea that our farms can become centers and examples of social justice and fairness. (Heck yes!) In line with this idea, the New York State Agricultural Mediation Program is currently offering scholarships for mediation training, specifically to people with roots in the agrarian community. The scholarships are provided by the NYS Agricultural Mediation Program (NYSAMP) in order to train mediators who can help out in underserved, less-populated rural areas– and in particular, they need mediators who can serve Columbia, Greene, Ulster, and Sullivan counties.

The NYS Agricultural Mediation Program offers free statewide mediation services to farmers to resolve conflicts including neighbor complains, loans or debts, landlord disputes, and family succession.

These new scholarships are available for a four-day Basic Mediation Training (valued at $1250) and are for applicants who “are curious by nature, and empathic, able to see the good in people, even when people may be in the depths of a highly stressful conflict. Applicants need to be able to see several discrete perspectives or differences of opinions at a time and hold them without judgement.”

Applicants will be interviewed for scholarships. And, if chosen for the program, will be expected to attend the training in March at Common Ground and Dispute Resolution Services. Afterwards they will join an apprenticeship program where they will put their skills into practice and receive coaching.  Applicants must be committed to “giving their time and talents” back to the community and be available to serve as a volunteer mediator in Columbia, Greene, Ulster or Sullivan counties. Applicants need to commit to serving as a volunteer mediator for at least 6 mediations per year for two years. 

The scholarships are provided by the NYS Agricultural Mediation Program (NYSAMP) in order to train mediators who can help out in underserved, less-populated rural areas.

If you are ready to serve or if you know of someone, who you think would make a

great volunteer mediator to “nominate” please contact:

Common Ground for Columbia or Greene County
(518) 943 0523; or email us at info@commongroundinc.org

Dispute Resolution Services for Sullivan and Ulster Counties
Jolynn Dunn  845-551-2668

Applications are due by February 10th.


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emergency day of action against DAPL

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The Sacred Stones Camp at Standing Rock has put out the call for immediate emergency action to stop the drilling below the Missouri River for the Dakota Access Pipeline after yesterday’s announcement by the Army Corps of Engineers of their intent to issue permission to proceed with construction, ignoring a previous order to conduct an environmental impact study on the project before doing so. Without action, drilling will likely begin today, Wednesday February 9, and the pipeline could be completed in 80 days.

If there were ever a time to flood TDP banks, shout outside of Army Corps of Engineers offices, and share this information widely, this is it. Find actions near you today!

We’ll leave you with this excellent quote from indigenous American Kandi Mosset in the Guardian today: “The Dakota Access pipeline is a symptom of the larger problem, which is the fracking that’s continuing to happen. Society as a whole needs to wake up and realize there are no jobs on a dead planet.”


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supporting black and brown farmers: NC’s earthseed land cooperative is doing beautiful transformative work in their community, and they need our help

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It’s Tuesday, and we bet that you could use your daily dose of inspiration from people doing beautiful things in the spirit of hope and transformation. It’s another day, and we have another rad collective farm for you– and for this one, we are calling on the Greenhorns community to help amplify and support the voices and work of people of color who are doing incredible work in food justice, community building, and the resistance of oppression.

Introducing Earthseed Land Cooperative! A “transformational response to oppression and collective heartbreak: a model of community resilience through cooperative ownership of land and resources,” created by a visionary group of “black and brown parents, activists, artists, educators, business owners, farmers, and researchers, who came together to remember our relationships to land, to livelihood and to each other.”

The Cooperative is committed to centering the voices of people of color and other traditionally marginalized communities. They grow food with the intention of increasing access to fresh produce, offer classes and youth programs, and offer a retreat and sanctuary space for activists and artists. In their own words, “Our work is to support our members, our compañerxs in resistance, and our broader communities: to grow food, to grow jobs, to grow movements, to grow spirit and mind; to hold ceremony, to hold our differences, and to hold our common liberation.”

I’m sorry, I just can’t write any more without a firm and capitalized, HECK YES.

And now, to the point: Earthseed Land Cooperative has recently found a new home for their Tierra Negra Farms in 48 acres of pasture and woods in North Durham, NC., and they need help to get their programming and farming firmly rooted in this new ground. 

THE CAMPAIGN
Earthseed Land Cooperative just launched a fundraising campaign to transform their barn into a community gathering space! Our plan is to start by raising $30K in 30 days
Learn more here, donate to the campaign, and consider becoming a sustaining supporter of their radical efforts.
Don’t have money to give, there are more ways to help!

AMPLIFY: Give them some love on Facebook, send out an email with our campaign info, tell your friends and family!

CONNECT: Build a bridge to people/organizations who should know about the work that we do? Share our project with your people who want to see Black and Brown folks in the South reclaiming land for our common liberation with the blessing of Indigenous community and our ancestors.


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rad social justice and farmer training in the bay area

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The Bay Area Farmer Training Program provides the education, training and tools for a new generation of farmers in California’s Bay Area to create socially-just, ecologically sustainable and economically viable urban and peri-urban farm businesses. Exceedingly high recidivism rates, increasing immigrant populations, a scarcity of living-wages for vulnerable citizens, and the rapidly aging farmer population all combine to create an urgent need to champion collaborative strategies in community development and seed opportunities to access training, land, and jobs in urban areas. Between MESA’s experience connecting educators, mentors and farmers around the world, and Planting Justice‘s years of innovative and successful re-entry programs, we bring a wealth of experience to the Bay Area Farmer Training Program!
This program supports immigrants, refugees, formerly incarcerated, and under-resourced beginning farmers in having strong voices to lead their communities towards thriving, equitable and resilient food systems. Co-Lead Farm Educators Ana Galvis Martinez and Paul Rogé offer a comprehensive program featuring experiential learning, site visits, participatory presentations, anti-oppression trainings, online curriculum, and ongoing mentorship support for those who aspire to farm as a career path.

 


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seven ways to be a better leader in systems change

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Oh man, we just love this: Seven Lessons for Leaders in Systems Change. Great for educators, activists, community leaders, farmers, and– generally– everyone who gives a damn.

Here’s a taste, but please click-through to read the full piece at at the Center for Ecoliteracy.

Lesson #1:  To promote systems change, foster community and cultivate networks.

Most of the qualities of a living system, notes Fritjof Capra, are aspects of a single fundamental network pattern: nature sustains life by creating and nurturing communities. Lasting change frequently requires a critical mass or density of interrelationships within a community. For instance, we’ve seen from research and our experience that curricular innovation at a school usually becomes sustainable only when at least a third of the faculty are engaged and committed.

“If nothing exists in isolation,” writes famed essayist Wendell Berry, “then all problems are circumstantial; no problem resides, or can be solved, in anybody’s department.” Even if problems defy solution by a single department, school districts are often structured so that responsibilities are assigned to isolated and unconnected divisions. Nutrition services may report to the business manager, while academic concerns lie within the domain of the director of curriculum. To achieve systems change, leaders must cross department boundaries and bring people addressing parts of the problem around the same table. For example, we’re currently coordinating a feasibility study with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). It requires looking simultaneously at ten aspects of school food operations (from teaching and learning to finance and facilities) identified in our Rethinking School Lunch framework.

In the push to make decisions and produce results quickly, it’s easy to bypass people — often the very people, such as food service staff and custodians, who will have the task of implementing changes and whose cooperation is key to success. It’s necessary to keep asking: “Who’s being left out?” and “Who should be in the room?”