In these times, it’s important to know who your people are. At the 2018 Summer Co-op Academy (SCA), held in the historic South on the still-living land of the Occoneechee people, stewarded by the incredible Earthseed Land Cooperative, this year’s cohort of powerful, visionary young people created community with each other.
As we gathered around a love for food, culture, and cooperation, we practiced building liberated relationships with each other, asking questions about conflict resolution, accountability. We also talked about our people, those who brought us here, the ones who keep us going, and the ones we are building a future for.
We envisioned just, joyful, cooperative futures that center abundance -- for our communities of color, working-class communities, and marginalized communities, across the US and the Global South.
Here's what the 2018 SCA Cohort had to say about their experiences:
As SCA was winding down in Durham, not too far away in Charlottesville and Washington, D.C., a 'Unite the Right' rally was just getting started. Counter-protests turned up in a big way, coming from the city and out of state to shut down the white supremacists who attempted to demonstrate their “right” to inflict pain and fear upon anyone not like them. Black Lives Matter, Antifa, Ni Uno Mas, local residents, and more, created community and held space across time and distance to stand together for racial and economic justice. Our communities have always done this. We have always joined forces when necessary and come together in cooperation to protect ourselves and each other. Earthseed Land Cooperative holds this truth as well, and held us in it, tending to land with histories of pain, struggle and triumph, farther back than can ever be known. The stories of Black folks, Brown folks, Indigenous folks, immigrant communities, and other communities of color are layered together with pain and power. The communities that hold those stories have always been resilient.
This year’s SCA cohort of cooperators are all about resilience. From the Central Valley of California to Halifax, Nova Scotia, co-ops are working to build community, hold each other down, and lift up the most marginalized. Fabian and Yesenia are re-centering healthy food in the Central Valley of California, where farmworkers are being exploited and water poisoned. Flower Power is stepping into the Green Rush, reclaiming a whitewashed industry used to criminalize Black and Brown folks for generations. avery is centering young Black folks in Atlanta as they move to create community wealth and their own liberation.
There are so many examples of the ways that our coming together can bring us more abundance than we ever thought possible. As we came together at the 2018 SCA, we brought our people with us -- in vision, in community, and in action. And in our commitment to building together, we created something radically beautiful.