Earthseed ‘Quiet Period’

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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:

  1. Converting one of our barns into a community gathering space which will host workshops, events and even a community kitchen!
  2. Doing our internal work to strengthen our processes and to articulate fully what living into our values actually looks like.
  3. 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.

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FUNdraising for the Barnraising!

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On June 15th, 2016 Earthseed Land Cooperative purchased a beautiful 12-acre property in Durham County! Additionally, on November 4th we acquired the adjacent 36 acres for a total of 48 acres (33 of which will be conserved as green space!) This land has woods for roaming, fields for growing, and structures that we will transform into community spaces for convening, organizing, celebrating, healing and beyond.

The focus of this crowdfunding campaign is the transformation of one of the barns into a community gathering space on the land.  Our goal is to raise $30K within 30 days.  Specifically, this seed funding will enable us to: reinforce the structure, install flooring, refurbish the heating system and install weather protection.

The longer-term phase of work will be focused on installing a community kitchen and bathroom, preparing the land for agriculture, herbaculture, walking trails, treehouses for short-term rentals, a bathhouse, as well as space for a limited number of private residences for like-minded folks of color in our community.

The 8 of us have come a long way together in the last 4.5 years, now we need your help to further this collective dream! We welcome your financial support to continue moving this great work forward! Please donate TODAY and forward to anyone else you think may be interested in supporting.

Thanks to some of our great friends, we’ve already raised $4,316 towards our goal!  If you want to become a SUSTAINER of Earthseed, you can do so by committing to a monthly amount ($10, $25 or $50). Please visit our website to sign up!  We are looking to gain at least 40 sustainers with this campaign!

Donors of $500 and above can be part of our SUNSHINE CIRCLE—early investors in bringing the Earthseed Vision to life! Among other perks, joining the Sunshine Circle will allow you to participate in Earthseed-hosted workshops (about 1/month) for free. To see a list of upcoming workshops, visit our website! 

To learn more about Earthseed Land Cooperative:
https://earthseedlandcoop.org

Earthseed’s Mission: To increase the self-determination of ourselves, our communities and generations to come, by providing access to land and structures that enable us to build wealth, foster environmental sustainability and actualize community wellness.


A bit about cooperatives: A cooperative enterprise is based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity, as well as accountability and transparency. And, it must operate democratically, according to a set of principles—set by the International Cooperative Alliance—that include open membership, equal voting rights for each member regardless of how much is invested (“one person, one vote”), returns based on use, continuous education, and concern for the community.

The land is my womb!

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My feet feel raw today
Raw from the rock floors and muddy paths they have crossed
The comfort of the keyboard
And the scroll of the screen
Paling in comparison with the alive ruggedness of the land
With its cycle of death and birth
Not in the distance
But right up close

This place is not my home
The land is Not my home
but my womb
Not my womb which to bare fruit
But the womb I crawl inside of to remember from where I came

I am the mama bear
But still there is a place from where I was born
And it isn’t in a hospital
Or a city street
It is from the land

Do you cry when you remember this?
Does your heart shrivel in the knowledge that you aren’t alone?

I have heard it said that we can’t ever return home
But home is a revolving current reaching out to us
We only need to stop
And lie in the tall grass
As the [sunlight] pepper our backs

We stop and stay still
Not in the hope of salvation
But in the knowledge that all that we need is already within us
It comes from the land, too

My body hangs heavy on the earth as it has done a million times before
Abundance raging through me
Reminding me that open space is the only womb I need
Panoramic mountain vistas pulling me out of my shell

Concrete cages me in
I lose myself in its solidness
But when all I can see is meadows, grass and mountain peaks
The freedom of potential that is my birthright slaps me across the face
And I wonder why I ever left

Open space is my womb
To be birthed and to birth my gifts
To see you beyond your limitations of thought and feeling
But instead for the wild animal you are
Open space holds me close, fills me up and lets me go
Open space hold me down, brings me back and spits me out

Where are you reminded that everywhere is home?
Go there
Lie down and be still
Let this reminder be your prayer

-Ruth Lera

We are landing!

 

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Family and Friends:

We are so proud to announce that Earthseed Cooperative* is landing!

Earthseed is about to settle on a beautiful 12-acre property in Durham County! This land has woods for roaming, fields for growing, and structures that we will transform into spaces for retreating, convening, organizing, celebrating and beyond.

We are in a tremendous place of excitement and gratitude. There are so many in our community who have visioned with us, who deeply want us tosucceed in this cooperative enterprise, and to whom we are spiritually accountable. We want to give a deep bow of gratitude to Vivette Jeffries Logan who opened our first “land group” conversation more than 4½ years ago with powerful ceremony and who has been a mentor and supporter ever since. 

We are so grateful for the incredible wisdom, resources, love, ritual, and blessing in our community and THIS is a request to keep sending more love blessing and prayers our way.

In particular, we are asking for prayers and energy toward:

COOPERATION: Continued stretching, living, breathing into this work and its application to the nuts and bolts of operations and governance.
FINANCING: We have secured preliminary loan approvals (June 15th is our closing date!) and we have some money in the bank. And, there are still many details to figure out!
LOVE and LIBERATION: In the face of capitalism, land loss, violence and oppression, we choose livelihood through collaboration, and have dreams of a haven to share with our communities. Please read our fabulous mission, vision and values statement.

More updates are coming soon!

With gratitude and respect,

Cristina Rivera Chapman, Kifu Faruq, Santos Flores, Corre Robinson, Justin Robinson, Zulayka Santiago, Tahz Rufus Walker, Courtney Woods

We offer special gratitude for the brilliance of Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Julia Sangodare Wallace, and Melanie Wilkerson who are former members and instrumental to conceptualizing Earthseed’s vision.

*Earthseed Land Cooperative