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Mad River Union
HUMBOLDT – “They are managing and they are proud,” Carrie Peyton-Dahlberg said, “but a little extra help would be huge.”
Peyton-Dahlberg knew that residents at mobile home parks in the Trinidad area would benefit from food deliveries and other help with errands because of her volunteer efforts during the 2016 mobile home rent control issue. Some of the residents are elderly and many are sheltering in place.
“People assume that there isn’t a need here,” she said, “but there is.” The idea and initial funding came from her and blossomed with volunteer help.
Finn Ferguson never really wanted to be a business owner.
“I was not a big fan of being the person in charge,” she told the Outpost in a phone conversation on Monday. But sometimes preparation meets opportunity in unexpected ways.
Ferguson and her friend Gwen Price recently took over Eureka Florist, a 90-year-old flower shop in Henderson Center. And while they’re facing some challenges familiar to all new business owners (plus a host of others caused by COVID-19), Ferguson and Price don’t plan to operate their shop like a traditional business — with a boss who hires employees to work for an hourly wage. Instead, they’ll run it as a worker-owned cooperative, meaning everyone involved will be a co-owner with an equal stake in the venture’s success or failure and an equal voice in its management.
Ferguson learned about this alternative business model via Cooperation Humboldt, a nonprofit that aims to make the local economy more equitable and sustainable through an array of community-focused endeavors, from “Little Free Pantries” that stock food for hungry residents to a skill-share network, workshops and study groups critiquing capitalism, patriarchy and white supremacy.
This article by Tamara McFarland was featured in the February/March 2020 issue of EcoNews.
The average size of a new house in the United States has doubled since 1960, while the average number of household members has dropped from 3.3 in 1960 to 2.6 today. As our physical footprint per-capita has risen, so too have our nation’s carbon emissions and our rates of social isolation.
One in five US residents report feeling lonely or socially isolated, and this lack of connection can have serious effects on physical health, with researchers reporting that loneliness can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The US Department of Health & Human Services reports that “As a force in shaping our health, medical care pales in comparison with the circumstances of the communities in which we live. Few aspects of community are more powerful than is the degree of connectedness and social support for individuals.”
At Cooperation Humboldt, we understand the critical importance of human connection and interdependence, both for individual quality of life, and as an important way to transition to a sustainable and regenerative way of living with one another and in harmony with the planet. One of the ways we’re currently working to build the world we need is by incubating one or more Ecovillages in Humboldt County.
An Ecovillage is a community with the goal of becoming more socially, culturally, economically, and ecologically sustainable. e idea is to create living arrangements that have a positive, regenerative impact on the natural environment through ethical sourcing of building materials, physical construction and design, and behavior choices.
The Ecovillages we envision will foster mutual support and meet residents’ inherent needs for autonomy and connection with the natural world. They will also provide important economic benefits to residents by empowering them to build equity if desired, and to participate in a democratic process to help make decisions on the issues that affect their lives and housing.
With support from Cooperation Humboldt, we expect that each Ecovillage will be designed by a group of potential residents who would likely coalesce around some kind of theme or shared interest – permaculture, arts/culture, folks with young kids, etc. Over time, we envision creating a local network of ecovillages, each with its own theme and culture.
Each Ecovillage will include features like renewable energy, water catchment, grey water, and edible landscapes – but beyond that, each village is likely to end up looking quite different. Some could be more urban, while others may be more rural; some villages will be made up of completely separate fully featured homes, while others will include tiny homes with larger central shared facilities (or any number of other
combinations of physical features).
Because the specifics around our first project will depend so much on who is going to live there, and what their skills and passions are, we are now in a process to convene one or more groups of folks who would actually want to live at the first Ecovillage. Cooperation Humboldt will offer resources, support, and capitalization, and we require direct participation now from future residents so that we can build this first ecovillage to fit their needs and aspirations.
If you’d like to learn more or join us in this process, please visit cooperationhumboldt.org/ecovillage.
Argy Munoz, of Cooperation Humboldt, in the tool library being set up by the nonprofit in the back of the Labor Temple in Eureka on Friday afternoon. The library is set to open by mid-September and will offer a sliding scale membership starting at $40 a year to borrow tools. (Sonia Waraich — The Times-Standard)
Cooperation Humboldt planted 20 community fruit trees in public locations throughout Eureka and Arcata as part of the organization’s food program.
“We believe that nutritious food is a fundamental human right and our food projects aim to put that belief into practice in very tangible ways,” Tamara McFarland, who coordinates the organization’s food program, said in a press release.
There’s an old fable about a village near a great river, a river used for drinking water, fishing and washing. One day a fisherman noticed someone floating downstream, unable to swim to safety and yelling for help. The fisherman jumped into the river and swam toward him, eventually pulling him safely to the river bank, only to see another person floating downstream, yelling for help.
After saving the second person, more people continued to float down the river. The fisherman then had the idea to set up a post nearby with a villager on duty, ready to jump in and save anyone in peril — a sort of direct service to save people from drowning. However, this didn’t stop the people from floating down river and the villagers couldn’t save everyone.
They began to wonder where all these people were coming from and decided to go upstream to find out. After hiking upriver, they found a perilous broken bridge from which people were falling into the river. The villagers decided to fix the bridge to prevent people from falling in.
They had found a solution to a persistent problem by looking at its direct cause and fixing it.
This classic parable is often used by organizations looking at prevention in the fields of healthcare, education and law enforcement. It also served as a guiding principle for the Humboldt Area Foundation’s newly established Donor Circle Fund.
(via the US Solidarity Economy Network blog)
“Along the rugged coastline of far-Northern California, activists have launched a program to tangibly demonstrate their commitment to food justice and neighborhood building. This local Little Free Pantry initiative is a project of Cooperation Humboldt, a nonprofit committed to creating a solidarity economy on California’s north coast.”
I commend the courage and leadership shown by the four Arcata City Councilmembers who voted to remove the McKinley statue from the Plaza (Opposition to City Council’s McKinley removal decision begins to emerge, Feb. 24). Though it was (and will continue to be) difficult, they have struck at least one small blow to the dominant culture of patriarchy and white supremacy that we are all living under.
I know Sofia Pereira to be one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I know, and I take offense to the tone of Michael Winkler’s letter on her behalf. Unfortunately it’s far from rare for women in positions of leadership to face this kind of condescending treatment from their male co-workers.
I assume based on what I know of Mayor Pereira that she understands the deep wounds that colonialism and racism have inflicted on our community, and that she recognizes the importance of allowing those hurts to be aired and hopefully rectified. This process is ugly and uncomfortable – but not nearly as ugly and uncomfortable as the long list of atrocities that have been perpetrated against indigenous people on these lands over the past two hundred years.
Every bit of the wealth and prosperity that we currently enjoy on this country is based on the oppression and extinction of native people and people of color. None of the land on which our homes and businesses sit would be “ours” had it not been viciously taken through the genocide of indigenous people. The wealth that has passed to us (primarily white people) generation to generation was only made possible through the murder of native people and the exploitation of slave labor. Like it or not, that is the reality of our current economic system.
In this context, Dan Hauser’s assertion that “it would be totally unfair and unreasonable to promote this effort with City funds,” would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. Has he no understanding that every dollar collected by the city for hundreds of years is tainted with the suffering of indigenous families? Apparently not.
We, as white people, have a lot of work to do. At a bare minimum, we need to learn to be OK allowing the victims of this systemic violence and exploitation to be mad. What other reaction could they possibly have to the knowledge that their parents and grandparents suffered so mercilessly in this, their home country? What other reaction should we expect in the face of the statistics showing that nearly 30 percent of Native Americans live below the poverty line, and that Native Americans are killed in police encounters at a higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group? Hopefully once we master the ability to allow space for this anger, we can move into productive conversations about how to create a future that is very, very different from our past. But we won’t get there if we continue to demonize oppressed people any time they display justifiable anger.
Removing the statue isn’t about “erasing our history”; it’s about listening to the voices of those whose lives have been the most harshly impacted by that history, and following their lead about what can be done to begin to heal these deep wounds so we can move forward
If anyone would like to watch the Feb. 21 City Council meeting in question, you can do so through Access Humboldt’s website, accesshumboldt.net; the incident around which your recent article centered begins around minute 58.
Cooperation Humboldt Board Member