Install a rain water catchment system you’ve always wanted, to prepare for a drought? Check. Prepare your home for “The Big Earthquake”? Check. Meet the neighbors you’ve always wanted to talk with? Check.
The Resilient Hubs Initiative uses a grassroots community-based approach to help scale up home and neighborhood resilience. Our vision is to create a network of sites - including homes, schools, community gardens and neighborhood centers that are “ready for anything” - better prepared for natural disasters, climate change and other stresses in our community. Our long-term vision includes online resource guides, community organizing training workshops and support for on-the-ground activities such as garden and water conservation work parties. The Resilient Hubs Initiative is a collaboration with Daily Acts.
We are excited to help to scale up home and neighborhood resilience efforts through this community-based approach. According to the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Initiative, one of the most crucial community resilience strategies is to strengthen social cohesion among neighbors and community members so that it’s easier to work together during emergencies. Yet there are surprisingly few environmental groups that focus on strengthening neighborhoods to support resilient homes, and few disaster preparedness efforts that integrate climate action into their programs.
“Social networks—the horizontal and vertical ties that connect us to others—are our most important defense against disasters.”
(Daniel P. Aldrich, 2011, Citylab.com)
Read about the three pillars of the program below.
Resilience Hubs in Action!
The Resilient Hubs Initiative launched projects in 2018 in the East Bay, thanks to the support of EBMUD (East Bay Municipal Utilities District) Water Conservation Program, Water Education Foundation and Threshold Foundation’s Thriving Resilient Communities Collaboratory. The NorCal Resilience Network regranted funds to support work parties that brought together hundreds of neighbors and community members to install rain water catchment systems, drip irrigation and other water conservation projects at seven different sites, as described below:
Rising Spring Farm; El Sobrante: Rising Spring Farm is a home located in the El Sobrante hills. The couple have worked hard to create a model neighborhood organizing, including weekly neighbor meetings, Crop Swaps and regular work parties. Thanks to the help of a dozen neighbors and community members, the farm now has a 5,000 gallon rain water catchment tank that will be used for the entire neighborhood for water storage.
Canticle Farm; East Oakland: Inspired by the work of Joanna Macy, Canticle Farm is an intentional community, urban farm and community classroom. One of the residents helped to organize a work party that brought together neighbors and community members to build a rain garden that will serve to reduce runoff and flooding, and filter pollutants carried in stormwater runoff. The, rain garden will also create an excellent habitat for birds and butterflies.
The Sogorea Te Land Trust is an urban Indigenous women-led community organization that facilitates the return of Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone lands in the San Francisco Bay Area to Indigenous stewardship. The group collaborated with the Permaculture Action Network to bring together close to 200 people to prep the land for a large rain water catchment system and work on garden projects in October 2019; the work party also featured music, food and workshops with social justice themes.
Urban farmer Wanda Stewart is the vision behind Oakland's Hoover Elementary School garden, affectionately called the Hoover Hawks. The garden does not have traditional garden boxes, but instead is built using mounds of soil. At the Hoover Elementary School work party, parents and students worked together with students from UC Berkeley and Berkeley High School to help install a rain water harvesting system. “It was so inspiring meeting kids who were so excited to be working in this beautiful garden at their school! It made me want to learn more about permaculture. Now I want to work on water conservation projects at Berkeley High!” said Elizabeth, a participant from Berkeley High School.
The NorCal Resilience Network thanks EBMUD, the Water Foundation and TRCC for its support of this important project, which shows huge potential replicating throughout the Bay Area and beyond.