Collaboration

Some of our friends

OUR STRATEGIES- collaborators p. 16-17aNative Americans
We operate as allies for our native American neighbors both in the West and in the East, in the Southwest and Rocky Mountains, in the Great Lakes, in Canada, Mexico, Central and South America.

 

People of color
We show up in solidarity for actions.

Women and queers
We use our privilege whenever others are being discriminated against.

OUR STRATEGIES- collaborators p. 16-17bInstitutions with similar missions
Not for profits, schools, churches, small businesses, healthcare institutions, bioregional and restoration organizations, organic gardens–all can and do ask Reinhabitory Institute for formal support.

 

 

Fibersheds
Textile hobbyists and professionals alike are finding common cause in restoring a local textile and dye culture.

Fibershed‘s Craig Wilkinson provided REINHABITORY Institute with indigo seedlings, germinated by Headstart and by Wilkinson, which RI has planted in collaboration with East Bay Waldorf School in El Sobrante CA.

Gill tract community farm, collaborating with UCBerkeley, has
nurseried RI’s flat of homegrown indigo in their  greenhouse, ready to plant.

Fibershed‘s Wilkinson expects to realize two harvests of indigo from each of 5000 plants this summer, in anticipation of a fermentation at Fibershed‘s fermentation floor in Nicasio CA.

Every contributor to the fermentation will receive a proportional share of the blue dye.

Restoration

With the depredations of the last century and a half, eroding the values we evolved with as an agrarian people, the pace and tenor of modern life require us to restore many aspects of our human way-of-life on our home watersheds:

  • cultural
  • environmental
  • social
  • psychological

jose_escofet_table_of_bread_cheese_olives_and_wine-1012729Cultural
We are relearning many of the things our ancestors took for granted: how to grow food without chemicals, how to create an integrated agriculture, how to can and dry foods, how to identify mushrooms and other medicines in the wild, how to process fiber from several animal and plant sources.

Environmental Art by Andy Goldsworthy

New discoveries are teaching us many things: how to use solar to store and produce energy, how plants that evolved on different continents, like quinoa, offer many nutritional benefits,

  • Will we WANT to do these things in order to live in place?
  • Will we be willing to learn from the indigenous people who have live in our watershed for millennia and are restoring their own cultures?
  • Will we have the patience to analyze the optimal energy sources for our watershed, by season?

Environmental
We poorly understand nature’s intricate relationships:

  • co-evolution of insects, plants and animals,
  • functions of soil mycelium,
  • subtleties of prairie and desert in terms of functional watershed,
  • how grasslands and forests sequester carbon,
  • how river, fish and forest restoration are intimately related,
  • how a molecule of DEET destroys the life-cycles of our native silk moths,
  • what multiple chemical effects are destroying our amphibians and bees,
  • the positive benefits of controlled burns.

If we don’t understand these intimate synergies, how can we begin to work on restoration? Restoration scientists know a great deal they are prepared to teach, through the land grant universities, for example, and cooperative extensions.

Social
The United States was founded by and for the individual in the context of community. The benefits of community are several generations removed from our direct experience.

Cuba’s isolation after the collapse of the Soviet bloc 30 years ago and the U.S. embargo for the past 50 years demonstrates what a society naturally creates in isolation from the larger trends of the outside world. While global cultures are being eaten alive by a predatory capitalism that remains unchecked by national and international institutions, Cuba has created humane institutions in healthcare, education, childcare and family benefits, and growing food. The benefits of instituting these social benefits communally has been possible within the Cuban experiment.

In the United States, during the same half century, movements to put social benefits into place have been sabotaged by charges of socialism and communism. A political policy that uses fear to control the population has worked to check constructive criticism.

Restoration is complex and would involve in a national public works employment program, guarantee of human benefits of drinking water, clean air, universal healthcare and housing and excellent education throughout the country, regardless of local property taxes.

A citizenry whose government guarantees these basic human right would have the support of the people. Can the countries within the European Union and Scandinavia be faulted for their high income tax when everyone is guaranteed the same basic human rights and protections against predatory capitalism?

Psychological

  • Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine lays out how several generations of policy makers have controlled the population of the United States with fear and tactics, allowing them to control us without much of a police force.
  • With one of ten U.S. women experiencing rape or violence in her lifetime, with a disparity in wages and representation in government and the higher echelons of business, the proven advantages of the female point-of-View in both business, government and society is not fully taken advantage of.
  • With one of ten black males spending time in prison, and black young people being shot down in the streets without justice being served, black women holding jobs and raising children alone, often without the benefit of community or extended family, the possibility of living in a society that enjoys equity and social justice is nil.
  • With endless war being waged by the U.S. around the world, and corporations having a carte blanche to the resources of the Third World and indigenous populations, is it any wonder that we can’t afford the same social benefits as Cuba, Europe or Scandinavia?
  • With the top 1% of U.S. citizens collectively having as much wealth as the bottom half of U.S. citizens, power is collected disproportionately in a small handful of people.
    • How is the illusion of democracy maintained in such an oligarchy?
    • How does the American Dream remain alive and a realistic goal among the poor, the working class, and middle class of Americans. . .the other 99%?
    • With our presidency and other elected officials bought and sold, how do we maintain faith in our system?

Education

Difference between urban and rural agricultural and
ecology education projects

Organizing not only the restoration of cultural practices but also the ecology of a home watershed is much easier in a rural community.

Why?
The memory of a way-of-life linked to the seasons is still alive, if faltering, in most rural communities: canning, hunting, fishing, planting and harvesting, spinning and weaving are all within recent memory and often practice of families and communities in rural areas.

Many still heat with wood, tap maple syrup in the Hunger Moon, know where to buy dairy, meat and vegetables grown locally, learn as children how to fish, hunt and trap according to the season, and with respect, and teach their children where and how to forage for wild foods and medicines.

Cross cultural fertilization

What are the benefits that can be carried from rural areas to urban and vice versa? in these days of a global cultural exchange via the internet, what advantages can the urban perspective bring to the rural and the rural to the urban?

Urban Rural
More diversity Closer to intact food and natural sources
Same music and dress Same music and dress
Attitudes toward cooking at home Attitudes toward cooking at home
Less contact with nature More contact with nature
Different sense of community Extended families
Exposure to different pollutants: Exposure to different pollutants:
      noise, light, exhaust       farm chemicals
Street skills: tolerance Rural skills like fishing & hunting
Anxieties, sharpness Relaxation, laidback

Transformative effect of Agriculture and ecology on young people: Roots of Project GROW

The Penn-York Valley (referred to locally as The Valley) is a group of communities that straddles the New York and Pennsylvania border. It includes the villages and boroughs of: Waverly, Sayre, Athens and South Waverly.
The Penn-York Valley (referred to locally as The Valley) is a group of communities that straddles the New York and Pennsylvania border. It includes the villages and boroughs of: Waverly, Sayre, Athens and South Waverly.

Qualitative research with thought leaders in the Valley in 2008 revealed a strong shared belief that creating a track in agricultural education for young people would provide those not going on to college and/or leaving the Valley for other places, with an honorable career or at least skills to continue to live in place with their extended family and community.

Similar groups in proximate cities like Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Rochester find that this work in the outdoors, either growing food or restoring watersheds, results in a 95% plus rate of graduating from high school, compared to a national average of 40-60%. These quantitative data show the transformative effect of this work on young people, including so-called “at-risk youth.” A long term study should be funded to demonstrate this transformative effect after these youngsters have become adults.

In the five years after being founded, Project GROW had developed strong alliances with governments, institutions and families in the Valley, along with multiple teaching gardens on the ground. As of 2014, two summers of Youth Training initiative were completed, in partnership with local foundations, social service agencies, school systems and churches, along with supporters of Project GROW. PG’s strong board of directors and supporters feel confident about their founder’s retirement in 2014 and are continuing strong with the program.