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DUST: Detroit Urban Sustainability Training

Angela and Gregg are honored to share workshops, kitchen classes and resources with many of our urban agriculture/sustainability heroes and friends through this summer’s Detroit Urban Sustainability Training. Please spread the word and make plans to join us for 10 days in Detroit! Thank you! ~G

10 Days in Detroit learning Urban Sustainability from Detroiters living it.

Dates for DUST Workshops Summer of 2011
June 1st to 10th
June 20th to 30th
July 10th to 20th
August 1st to 10th
August 20th to 30th

DUST is an intensive hands-on immersion course in urban sustainability, grass-roots community building, and community arts. Spend ten days in Detroit visiting Urban Farms, Gardens, Local Green Businesses, Green Building Projects, Public Art Works, and Community Art Galleries while learning about composting, worm farming, urban chickens, bee-keeping, natural building methods with local materials, water collection, grey water systems, bioremediation, and creating local food systems.

via DUST: Detroit Urban Sustainability Training.

April 27, 2011   No Comments

Participate in the People’s Movement Assembly!

This Thursday, Angela and I are excited to assist with the People’s Movement Assembly. Angela will be co-facilitating the Food Sovereignty group and I’ll be co-facilitating the Neighborhood Stability group. One of the beautiful aspects of a PMA is that it is flexible and open to facilitate respectful communication with others. While I experience and describe the PMA as a deeply soulful process, others see as a rational tool for building relationships. At the end of the day, the PMA holds space for what you put into it. And these are MY observations and points of entry and expression. I recommend taking in this Just Education? post for another vision.

First, wow! Hosting a People’s Movement Assembly is a massive undertaking and we’re in AWE of the amazing folk who’ve come together to make this a reality. While recognizing the PMA’s immensity, I also have to bear witness to it’s organic nature. I’m a big proponent of emergent systems and while there have been intense amounts of planning, elbow grease and mindful mediation to hold the PMA, I feel that in some ways, much like permaculture, the process is very intuitive.

Many people have pulled Angela and I aside to ask about our take on Detroit Works and the People’s Movement Assembly. I wasn’t familiar with the PMA process until last year’s US Social Forum and really, I didn’t begin to understand the process until we started sharing with the Detroit Food Justice Task Force through the Cook Eat Talk community gatherings. These successful and respectful gatherings, in my experience, replicate many PMA strategies.

For me, the PMA co-creates a community space where everyone present can be heard and participate in a realistic assessment of power, resources and needs while building community vision and achievable actions. It’s the type of model that Detroit Works would have put into practice if they actually wanted to hear everyone’s voices. The PMA has emerged as a people powered response to issues of infrastructure, land use and resource allocation that Detroit Works was unable to hear.

Of course, now the terrain is changing. In a recent meeting, one of our partners brought up an important point that I agree with. While I don’t want to downplay the oppression manifest in Detroit Works itself, as Thursday’s PMA comes to fruition, the Emergency Manager Law ups the ante a thousandfold.

This law protects and even encourages race and class influenced displacement of people for land and profit. At the same time it defends the privatization of the commons, our public schools, water and sewerage system, parks and other city services. I’m deeply frustrated that we have to face these corporate funded and orchestrated threats to community resilience in the face of the global issues of peak oil, climate change and economic crisis.

However, my frustration is tempered in the knowledge that Detroit isn’t a blank canvas, Detroit is a deep crossroads thick with souls in all states of being. Respectfully and as I am able, I perceive this as an indigenous energy. Something specific to this geographic location on the planet. I posit that it is this energy that encourages Detroiters lean towards innovation and creativity. It is also leads me to think that the lack of awareness of this energy, these souls and the people around us, which is fostered by Detroit Works and the marketing of the city, distorts this creative energy and actually puts it in the service of continued oppression.

Through participation, I’ve found that the PMA process and the models and strategies that inform it come forward as tools to raise our awareness and respectfully participate with others and these energies while lifting up everyone’s voice, creativity and vision. Detroit Evolution has always expressed the importance of creativity and vision in the requisite transition to sustainable and respectful lifestyles. Angela and I believe that the PMA process has emerged as a step towards realizing community rendered visions of localized infrastructures and grassroots economies.

In the full light of the ongoing threats and our inherent grassroots creative genius, the PMA will hold space for Detroiters to share their voice and vision with one another. We encourage you to join with us this Thursday, April 28 from 4-8 at Sacred Heart Church 1000 Eliot St, 48207.

Please take a moment to read the PMA Principals below.
As always, thanks for your continued interest and support.

In Health, Joy & Liberation!
Gregg for Angela, Aya and the DE crew.

PMA Principles
The People’s Movement Assembly (PMA) is a movement by the people, for the people, and of the people of Detroit

  • We stand on the principles of the Declaration of Human Rights, the Earth Charter, and the Environmental Justice Principles. From this frame we bring the voice of Detroiters in communities with no voice
  • We believe that Detroit has rich history and we want to build on existing strengths
  • We believe in improvement of the quality of life of Detroiters by providing all with a quality education, and eliminating poverty, joblessness, homelessness, and pollution
  • We believe in a grassroots approach and that self-determination should be the voice of the PMA and that the city’s foundations and corporations cannot dictate the role of Detroiters without involving them in the planning and real democratic decision-making related to their city.
  • Neighborhoods are communities that value their history, memory, and identity. These are assets that people need not only to survive but to thrive.
  • Rightsizing, in the guise of urban renewal, without the full (bottom/up) involvement and approval of the residents will impoverish our city
  • We reject the notion that refusal of services as an “incentive” and reject this form of eminent domain through economic, social, and environmental coercion

April 27, 2011   No Comments

Undoing Racism in the Detroit Food System – 2 Day Training

Last year I attended the first Undoing Racism 2 Day Training and found it very transformative. I’m pleased to share that another 2 Day Training is being offered this year. Seating is limited. ~G

Undoing Racism in the Detroit Food System
Two Day Training April 30 & May 1

Detroit is rich with community, deep with history, and full with resources that reveal a narrative, our story, that stands in opposition to the politics of the day. Behind the census numbers and the media whitewash, is a Detroit where families and communities are collaborating to create sustainable infrastructures that reflect our mutual needs and unearth and lift up our “invisible capital.” Through urban agriculture and the good food movement, everyday Detroiters are reshaping the way we see food, ourselves and our communities. Each year we see more community gardens, small production farms, hoop houses to extend the growing season, mobile produce markets and home-kitchen products going to market. More people are connecting to the importance of and power within food.

This power, while holding great potential for families and communities, is threatened by institutionalized racism and white supremacy. Even as more people reconnect to their food, we witness inequity on the rise as access to good food is turned into a trend dominated by new, predominantly white Detroiters who rarely recognize or respect existing history and culture. The opportunities afforded Detroit through urban agriculture and good food have been co-opted to market the city as a place for people who are deemed more creative and economically viable than the majority of the population. Entrepreneurial and economic opportunities within the food system are often given to these so-called innovators, who don’t have roots, are not accountable to others, and stifle equitable growth.

While at the global and national levels our food security is threatened by genetically modified seeds and chemical laden processed foods, at the local level we are also threatened by corporate land grabs made in the name of philanthropy and an emergency manager law recently passed by the State government that can be used to control not only our schools, but also one of the most vital aspects of food security, our water system. These issues connect to and affect our community food security and are all intricately linked to race, class and power.

These struggles and this co-opting within the food movement, reflect historical struggles in Detroit. There are political and cultural forces at play that are not only committed to keeping the status quo, but also to perpetuating the expansion of corporate/private control of every facet of our city and our lives. As we witness the city offering incentives for corporate employees to move into some neighborhoods while they cut services to others we are witness to racism and white privilege being leveraged to cut off communities from freedom, justice and equality. In the face of this oppression we must work diligently so that all people are respected and valued and that Detroit’s African American, Latino, American Indian, Arab American and Asian communities are lifted up. Truly sustainable systems demand racial equity.

One year ago, a group of individuals and organizations committed to food justice offered a two day Undoing Racism in the Detroit Food System workshop. This training offered by The People’s Institute nourished the seeds sewn by the open discussions on race facilitated by Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit at their yearly conference. Since this training, monthly gatherings have continued the discussion and caucuses and study groups have held space to support the process of undoing. In August of 2010, Detroit hosted the US Social Forum, which offered the opportunity for many individuals and organizations that support the work of Undoing Racism in Detroit to connect more deeply with one another and national and global movements.

Upon this history, and in the face of the current state of Detroit, we are convening our second two-day Undoing Racism in the Detroit Food System training on April 30 & May 1, 2011 at the MSU Center, 3408 Woodward.  All those working in the food system are invited to participate. This training will be facilitated by a Detroit-based team led by Adrienne Maree Brown, an organizational healer, trainer, Detroit US Social Forum national co-coordinator, and a facilitator for the Detroit Food Justice Task Force and the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition.

Space is limited to 45 people. To register please return the application (pdf) before April 22 – Thank You!

The Undoing Racism in Detroit’s Food System Training will take place on Saturday April 30, 9:30am-5pm and Sunday May 1  from 9:30am to 1:30pm at MSU Center, 3408 Woodward,  Detroit.  The cost of registration is $75 for two days and includes lunch both days.  While we recognize the difficulty of attending for both days, it is important to the process that those participating must attend both sessions.  Scholarships are available, and are first-come, first-served and limited.  Please also note that space at the workshop is limited to 45 people.  All applications must be received by April 22.  Priority will be given to those who live or work in Detroit, or have participated in the monthly Undoing Racism large group sessions. Please print the pdf and mail. Thank You!

April 21, 2011   3 Comments