On June 15, 2017 Earthseed will be celebrating a one-year anniversary. That’s the day that we signed closing documents on 12 acres of land in Northern Durham. This was the first of several tremendous leaps of faith we took together—into something that has felt both totally unknown and very familiar. A few months later, Earthseed was signing closing documents for the adjacent 36 acres of land, 33 of which would go under conservation through a partnership with Triangle Land Conservancy. As a group of black and brown folks in the US South this is significant, with implications and ripple effects beyond what we could have imagined.
The year we’ve spent on this land has reminded us that bringing to life an ‘alternative’ to the status quo requires us to explore new ways of being, of interacting with one another and with the larger system we navigate on a day-to-day basis. That doing this work requires a significant amount of courage, resilience and commitment. It also takes patience and perseverance.
One of the more difficult moments of the past year is that one of our members has taken a step back to take some time for reflection and healing. Given that we are a volunteer-led endeavor we need to work within the realistic capacity limits of 7 volunteer members. We are doing the best we can with what we have. Although we’d love to accommodate all of the wonderful things folks want to host on the land, we need to first make sure that our foundation is strong.
For this reason, for the remainder of 2017, Earthseed will be entering a ‘quiet period’ where we will be focusing our energy on:
- Converting one of our barns into a community gathering space which will host workshops, events and even a community kitchen!
- Doing our internal work to strengthen our processes and to articulate fully what living into our values actually looks like.
- Engaging in a land visioning process in order to create a comprehensive land management plan that will carry us strongly into the future.
This work will take time and some serious effort on our part, yet we are clear that this type of intentional work will lay the groundwork for all of the amazing things that will certainly happen on Earthseed land in the near and distant future. We have not done this on our own, and none of it would have been possible without the tremendous vote of confidence from our individual supporters and organizational partners. Yet another testament to the power of cooperation and the good that can come from collective efforts.
We recognize that these 48 acres that we are stewarding don’t belong to us, that getting to walk it, sleep on it, play on it, grow on it is a privilege available to too few People of Color in this country. For these reasons we are grateful for the wildness and expansiveness of this land, for all that this land has held and will continue to hold. It reminds us, compels us, sustains us, renews us. We are clear that what we are building here together honors those that came before us and those that will come after us. The wealth we are building will not merely be measured in financial gain, and the beauty that we are creating is not solely for our enjoyment. This is for our broader community and for the movements that we are a part of. This is about liberation.