A Center for Grassroots OrganizingCurrent Projects
Grassroots Organizing and Movement Building
We’re increasing our infrastructure for community events, conferences, workshops, and providing open meeting space for the greater social justice community and local population.
Our primary aim in doing what we do is to do it with as many people as we can, and to raise the bar from project collaboration to united social movement strategy. Here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to
- Training: We offer Know Your Rights and other legal support with the VT National Lawyers Guild, as well as Nonviolent Direct Action, Media Prep, Intro to Herbalism and Wildcrafting, we’ve helped coordinate POC-only wilderness experiences with Abdul Mujb, Banners and Puppet Making, Just Transition Principles/Climate Justice Intersectionality training, Land Listening and Agroecology, Training youth and adults to become Know Your Rights and Direct Action trainers themselves, and more
- 2 Years of Youth-led Direct Action & The Youth Action Alliance: Supporting youth organizing efforts at the intersections of climate, race, and ecological agriculture. Stemming from our Uprise Camps, we help our younger friends with training, equipment for occupations, civil disobedience, and network organizing. They have brought draft horses, 101 chickens, had campfires, dance parties in the street, shut down the legislature, disrupted the governor, held movement assemblies, and coordinated training in nonviolent social movement building, all to demand a livable future. And that’s just at the Vermont Statehouse.
- Alliances: We helped draw together a coalition consisting of NOFA VT, Migrant Justice, The Youth Action Alliance, Extinction Rebellion, Rural Vermont, and others for the Climate Encampment for Youth, Migration, and Agriculture. 3 days of education and protest on the statehouse lawn, with tents, equipment, organizing, and personnel support from the Grassroots Center. We were central to the creation of the Vermont Climate Union (an attempt to replace nonprofit/NGO dominance in the Climate Movement with grassroots power and democratic decision making), A Just Transition Working Group for Vermont, and the Regeneration Corps partnership. We have a few more exciting things in the works and will let you know when they’re ready to launch 😉
This project stems from a construction delegation to the Standing Rock resistance camp that some of the CGO team worked on. Now a rotating team of skilled volunteer builders and friends have begun to build infrastructure and supply support work for mostly people of color social justice organizers around Vermont. We’re proud to have worked with Kunsi Keya Tamacoce/Beverly Littlethunder; Upper Valley Farmers, Organizers and Landworkers of Color Collective (UVFOLCC); The Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe, and others. We’re currently planning a double-header trip to Cooperation Jackson in Jackson, MI and to Indian Bayou, LA in February-March. This work builds friendship and shared leadership in our movements, offering time and resources and to get some good projects, and good friendships, built with good people. We’re well on our way to forming a nonprofit partnership with New Frameworks Design Build, to supply more salvaged and donated materials, education, construction, and collective enterprise formation for ecological housing and construction.
Every summer youth leaders ages 13-19 come for an amazing week of teen empowerment, arts production, nonviolent direct action, and friendship — all while strategizing for our collective future. During the pandemic we stayed rolling, following state protocols and making sure our youth knew we would stop at nothing to have their backs. As mentors with a broad spectrum of skills, we are passionate about helping young people become organizers, change makers, and allies in our rapidly changing world. This camp is a collaborative effort by youth from around VT and across the country, as well as the Make Arts & Action Collective, Earthwalk Vermont, Bread and Puppet Theater, Building Fearless Futures Racial Justice Education Collective, and the CGO, as well as less formal mutual aid with other organizers, farms, and community groups around the State. If you would like to help with publicity, coordination, or staffing, please get in touch!
Agroecology: The Farm
Our amazing Agroecology Team is currently working on the team vision, our perrenial and annual planting and cultivation, and many other land-use goals and projects. We are working on models to respond to climate instability, human displacement, and economic decline.
MEanwhile, our new 94 foot greenhouse is ready for delivery! This year we’ve stepped up veggie production, perennial medicines cultivation, and ag. education. In 2021 we’ll be doubling down on all of this, and
- Access to Land: We’re accepting proposals from people who want to farm the land for short to medium-term. Special consideration for farmers of color, social justice mission driven projects, and regenerative farming proposals.
- Cooperatives: Our measure of farming success is based on how many people can get involved in sustainable and just agriculture here and on allied projects. We’re accepting proposals for agricultural projects, espcially those led by frontline and and marginalized communities, and grassroots organizers. More details HERE.
- Soil Carbon Farming: We’re working with the Natural Resource Conservation Service to secure further funding for fencing and water systems for our upcoming community grazing partnership! One of our top farm priorities is to establish an intensive grazing program. We will be introducing livestock to the land as we develop the personnel to engage in stewarding and supporting this project. We hope we’ll be greeting our soil-building herd with an independent grazing collective in the Spring of 2022. Please contact us if you want to discuss being part of this.
Construction and Renovation
Come help us build our movement building space. We’re increasing our infrastructure for our communities, and are have an ongoing residential volunteer program. We also have periodic workdays. Let us know if you want to help out!
- New Barn Floor: Just finished in time for a season with the Northstar Collective!
- Barn winterization and finish work: Window repair and replacement, wall & ceiling insulation, furnace installation. Once this is complete we’ll be able to host people out of the cold!
- Outdoor Living: Tent platforms, glamorous outhouses, and a permanent camp kitchen are in various stages of construction (e.g. finished, underway, and still drawing pictures). Soon we’ll be able to host guests in the spring, summer and fall more comfortably, as well as having quarantine options for visitors.
- Joe’s House: The rebuild of Joe’s house continues. Joe is the farmer that sold us and owner financed this place it so he could live out his days here with us. He’s an awesome person, and we’d like to celebrate him coming out of the closet at 75 while living with us! We plan to have him settled back in his old farmhouse this winter (’20-’21).
The Make Arts & Action Collective
We make a lot of art with and for our allies. Our whole production setup rolls out to occupations and protests, Uprise Camp, and conferencesaround the region. Printmaking, collaborations with grassroots organizations and highschools, art making at events and demonstrations, and all kinds of arts production work. we’re proud to have made tons of stuff for our sister project Justicia Migrante/Migrant Justice, Extinction Rebellion, youth climate leaders in many forms, Black Lives Matter of Greater Burlington, The Black Persepctive Occupation at Battery Park, The coalition to Stop the Vermont Fracked Gas Pipeline, and many more. We’re always eager to work with artist, educators, and organizers, so please contact us if you’d like to talk about collaborating. [email protected]
The Land Alliance
(Author’s Note – The Land Alliance is still in it’s formative stages as an informal network discussion. Because we have not prioritized the drafting of strategic statements, this assessment of our work is solely the author’s impression and paraphrasing. This is important in light of the danger of usury of POC allies, and to honor our consensus process.)
In the Summer of 2019 CGO organizers invited their friends and colleagues for an exploratory session.People came from land-based social justice projects around the State to talk about working together. Specifically: Can we, social change organizers with legal control of land, establish formal and informal structures to share our land with each other, with other regional neighbors, and with new people coming to the area? We are currently working out how to center reparations work as a strategic cornerstone for our network and developing our relationships with each other and our collective goals.