Planting Justice is dedicated to empowering and employing youth of color, the formerly incarcerated, and other disenfranchised urban residents to transform the yards of Bay Area residents into productive, nutritious, organic gardens using permaculture design
I have enrolled to study Environmental Management and Technology at Merritt College in Oakland in San Francisco Bay Area. Am looking forward greatly to learning from the landscape horticulture (permaculture) and environmental management schools within Merritt itself. I was at the campus earlier in the year and its a great site and facility.
Arrive August the 2nd and start on August 23rd.
Big ups to Chris at the Peralta international education office for his help in navigating the application process.
An interview with Mike Leung, founder of pre-start-up Worker Cooperative Credit Union
Worker Cooperative Credit Union
We are organizing a credit union that will serve worker cooperatives in the United States. This group is in the process of applying for a federal charter. We currently do not have an active charter and are not federally insured.
Worker cooperatives are businesses that are worker owned and democratically managed by their members. The credit union will help meet the following needs of worker cooperatives:
1) The worker co-op credit union will provide financial services for worker cooperatives and their members. Worker cooperatives often have difficulty attaining credit. This credit union will provide business lending exclusively to worker cooperatives. It will also provide personal loans for members’ capital contributions, as well as general consumer lending to its individual members. The credit union will provide a way for the members to support worker cooperatives through their use of its financial services.
2) The credit union will support technical assistance for its worker cooperative members. This may include financial, legal, or organizational assistance. It will also support efforts to develop new cooperatives and replicate existing ones.
3) The credit union will support education and awareness about worker cooperatives. It will help highlight the benefits of worker ownership and democratic management in the workplace.
Source: Worker Cooperative Credit Union
Mike Leung talks about Abolish Human Rentals and the Worker Cooperative Credit Union
We are unfortunately in an environment where an uncompromising purist for the abolition of human rentals would be a pariah. While it is never pleasant to compromise one’s beliefs, in practice the vast majority accept some level of hypocrisy in their actions. Which compromises should be made, and at what cost, needs to be an active discussion among modern abolitionists. Those choices are a sign of a vibrant movement dealing with the realities of applying theory in practice. Theory for its own sake is pointless. It is only when theory becomes widely known and widely applicable that it can reach its full potential.
Time and resources are limited, so it is important to think strategically about the most efficient ways to have an impact. This does not mean everyone should reach the same conclusions. Circumstances differ, as do abilities, and energy. Embrace these differences as a sign of progress and diversity.
There are many steps that can be taken to abolish human rentals. By analogy one can think of appropriate actions if they were seeking to abolish slavery. I will list a few things that can be done here, some more practical, others less so:
Refuse to rent yourself – Demand a vote and demand profit appropriation. Suggest your business be converted to a worker cooperative. Or become self employed.
Boycott businesses that use rented humans – Refuse to support them through your consumption. This obviously isn’t so easy in today’s society, but shifting consumption to worker cooperatives when possible definitely helps.
Divest from business that use human rentals – Don’t finance them by investing in the stock market and don’t buy their bonds. Socially responsible alternatives do exist. For starters use credit unions instead of banks. While credit union workplaces aren’t democratically managed it is a small step in the right direction.
Support worker cooperatives – Purchase from your local worker cooperative, learn about what they are doing, how they operate, and how their members and community benefit.
Educate your friends, family, and coworkers – Spread awareness, start a discussion. Due to some heavy ideological baggage this is a difficult topic to discuss with strangers, without sounding crazy. Leverage existing relationships and connections.
Organize, protest, demonstrate – Demand the immediate and unconditional abolition of human rentals. Civil disobedience has historically been the most effective opposition to injustice. Business as usual means people’s rights can continue to be ignored.
There are impediments to taking action of any sort: personal inconvenience, cost, loss of social standing, and incarceration to name a few. To act in face these or more serious consequences requires courage and support. People typically draw the line when action might threaten their career, which they deem to have invested too much to risk. Besides, a job is rarely something people can sacrifice. That barrier is undoubtedly present here. Advocacy on this issue carries significant risk and the need for mutual support is essential. Efforts to provide support and build a viable alternative should not be neglected
Source: Abolish Human Rentals
Quinton Sankofa explains how Mandela Marketplace, West Oakland accepted the community call for ownership of problem and solutions
Sustainable Self-Governance – Fri 25th, 3.30-5.30 pm USSF2010 – Detroit – Wayne County Community College http://permaculture.coop/ussf2010
mandela food, mandela marketplace
View USSF Map, Detroit in a larger map
Edits to the map which seem to conflict with a map of points of interest for USSF participants will be edited away. Contact Mark, firstname.lastname@example.org for more info or to get editing rights.
Check out this great video on Mandela Marketplace (a cooperatively owned grocery store in West Oakland), and Planting Justice, a food justice and economic justice organization using permaculture to grow healthy food and healthy jobs here in Oakland.
Please visit our website and support our work!
The mission of Planting Justice is to democratize access to affordable, nutritious food by empowering disenfranchised urban residents with the skills, inspiration, and paid opportunities we need to maximize food production, healthy jobs, and natural beauty in our neighborhoods.
“Let’s take back our economy. Let’s decentralize and democratize it,” Heather Young said, kicking off the panel called “Building the Alternative” at the Festival of Grassroots Economics, held September 26 at the Humanist Hall in Oakland.
Heather Young was one of the main organizers of the festival, a free, day-long gathering of several hundred Bay Area people who gathered to meet and discuss how to evolve alternative economies that benefit working people, support local small businesses, support pay equity, and address work through the framework of race, class and privilege. Young, a co-founder of Bay Area Community Exchange wanted to make sure everyone arriving for the day understood that finding new economic models was the essence of the festival, whose slogan was “Building an Economy for the People and the Planet.”
Held in Humanist Hall just north of downtown Oakland, the event was organized with no external funding by JASecon (Just. Alternative. Sustainable. Economics) and a handful of local citizens and workers in cooperatives and non-profits interested in finding new ways to do business in the local economy. Some of these new ways adopt different ownership models and some don’t involve Uncle Sam’s dollar at all.
Worker Cooperatives: Keeping Jobs, Profits and the Economy Local
Even as the main hall was abuzz with people exchanging information and networking, the festival kicked off in the main yard with a discussion of worker co-operatives as concrete and successful models of alternative economic enterprises that are locally rooted. They result in more equitable workplace structures and provide multiple community benefits. The panel was a primer on democratic workplaces, covering organizational, legal and financial aspects of worker-owned cooperatives, while highlighting concrete examples of how one functions.
Source: Oakland Local
People are always saying the tragedy of climate change is that those who contribute the least to the problem — the poor — are punished the hardest. There is truth to this; third-world, small-scale farmers whose fields experience climate changes too strong to adapt to don’t have industrial agriculture’s luxury of abundant surplus to cover their margin of error, or mass pesticide correction (fossil fuel use) to control the infestation of new pests that thrive in the new weather, or abundant water supplies that can be taken from the nearest neighborhood in short periods of dryness.
But with just one of these advantages taken away — through peak oil, erosion, severe drought or the like — the playing field will be evened. Those who educate themselves to adapt to a lifestyle of lower-energy inputs for higher gains are those who will thrive. Backyard farmers will benefit, while Food For Less and Wal-Mart devotees may be scratching their heads and rubbing their bellies.
Last week, I drove into West Oakland, California to meet with Patrick O’Connor of City Slicker Farms, an organization that works mainly with low-income families to increase “food self-sufficiency in West Oakland by creating organic, sustainable, high-yield urban farms and back-yard gardens.” CitySlickerFarms.org With curly hair, humility and heart, Patrick told me the vision he sees unfolding. Lower-income families taking responsibility for their own food. Unlike other programs he’s seen, he notes that the tendency of residents to maintain their gardens is high. Of course, all the cliches of the confidence building, community bonding, consciousness breakthroughs and other cb’s ring true.
They’re not doing this because their clients can’t afford food — they’re doing this because everyone should be eating local and learning to garden on some scale; their clients just happen to be unable to afford it.
We need more City Slicker Farms. Start slicking, or help someone else slick by getting in their yard and showing them this here video.
- Ben Zolno