Plant it, Planet will be the umbrella collective entity that will replicate sustainable food models in vacant spaces in Chester, PA. They want to create a network of sustainable systems that, 1) demonstrate the feasibility of local, walkable food sources; 2) create an intergenerational learning community; 3) use resident voice, autonomy, and sweat equity to affect change in their community; 4) develop a platform for local artists and professionals to engage the community.
Plant it, Planet’s study circle is made up of educators, healers, farmers, organizers, yogis, neighbors, and visionaries. At their recent study circle gathering on October 6, thirteen members of Plant it, Planet gathered to dig into resources from farming co-ops across the country, like the Southern Federation of Worker Co-ops and the Greenhorns, and learn about worker co-ops from visitors from Red Emma’s in Baltimore.
Terrence Topping-Brown explains that Plant it, Planet is exploring cooperative business models as alternatives to non-profit organizations because “people from the community need to be making the decisions of what happens in the community.”
In response to the worker-owners from Red Emma’s sharing about their cafe and free school model, Terrence continued, “it’s super powerful…When you have a space for people to gather, for people to enjoy themselves, to freely express themselves, to learn, and enjoy healthy food, that’s the business model that’s going to succeed going forward!”
Jamila Wilson reflected on how aligned the 20 Book Clubs project is with her work as a healer and grower: “The study circles are an excellent way to be amongst folks who are interested in the same thing and to grapple with questions around the processes and steps to form a co-op, understand what consensus building looks like, and learn the challenges with running a business together. I am really excited about the 6 months and beyond of this project.”
“For me the healthy eating, the co-op, the agriculture, the fruits and vegetables are all interrelated to who we are as a people and how we need to heal.”
— LaNoana Segree Odom
By working side-by-side with her fellow cooperators Misty and Paul, Ms. Bonita Taylor has learned a lot about healthy eating and wild foods. “I thought I knew everything about nutrition…they changed my life, really, they saved my life…It’s been a life changing experience for me.”
Liz Walker shared her roots as an educator with the Freedom School Movement and honored its holistic model with a strong sense of collectivity and then asked the group, “how do we take the entire concept and model that we’ve built up farming together and own it for ourselves?” She also committed to sharing the lessons she’s learning and questions she’s exploring in her study circle with the young people she works with.
Reflecting on the 20 Book Clubs launch event, Liz continued, “It was really exciting…to see all these different models of cooperatives…it’s encouraging…what we’ve had all along, it doesn’t have to be that way.”