Farmer Leo Cultivates Autonomy and Resilience at Oakland SOL in East Oakland

by Susan Juniper Park I caught up with farmer Leo Orleans at their 6-person collective residential and community space called Oakland SOL (Sustaining Ourselves Locally) in the San Antonio neighborhood of Oakland.  The collective is home to Queer and Trans People of Color who run arts and gardening programs out of the center. Oakland SOL was a mini-grant recipient through our Resilient Hubs Initiative to support neighborhood models of resilience.  I got a tour and a conversation after their workday to install a drip irrigation system in their sizable backyard farm. Continue reading

Engineering Resilient Community Engagement

by Susan Juniper Park On a beautiful April day in South Berkeley, I instantly relax as I step into the lush urban paradise of Ashby Garden.  It’s a busy work party day and volunteers are peppered throughout this fecund haven with it’s emerald Spring leaves bursting from the ground and the bright technicolor of sundry flowers beckoning the native butterflies and bees. I turn a corner and notice some of the hardest working folks are a quad of UC Berkeley students who are busy digging and weeding.  These students are here with Engineers for a Sustainable World—a national organization made of professionals and students. This local chapter is based out of UC Berkeley and it’s student membership is drawn from the University’s venerable Engineering and Science programs. Continue reading

Introducing the Resilient Homes and Hubs Initiative

These days, it’s pretty hard to ignore the growing signs of disasters due to climate imbalances and systemic inequities (even here in the US).  Many people tend to react to these stressors either by going about business-as-usual (thus ignoring reality) OR by “prepping” themselves for a doomsday survival of only themselves and their immediate family.  While still others have the foresight to nurture community-based responses that ensure a shared and fair approach, emphasizing that we’re all in this together.   Continue reading

Meet the Changemaker: Jessica Bates

“We have a very supportive community here and so we really rely on each other for support. We are not just sharing items but we are sharing life.” Jessica Bates has taken home and neighborhood resiliency up 10 notches at the home she shares with her husband Josh in El Sobrante. From rain water harvesting to growing perennial plants to organizing both disaster preparedness meetings and Crop Swaps with neighbors, they are exemplary models of Resilient Homes and neighborhoods. Continue reading

Trauma at the Soil

- Why Food Justice is Environmental Therapy - My neighbor Wanda lives in Berkeley, California – she calls herself a Black Urban Farmer and tells me that urban farms heal the wounds that slavery created. People who toiled on the soil experienced trauma at the soil – a continuum of our humanity and balance with fellow humans violated, disconnected, broken into that which must be healed. We were meant to play in the soil, before the hubris of trash. Thus dirt is dirty. Continue reading

Meet The Changemaker: Daisy Ozim

“As a child of Nigerian immigrants, I felt as though I get the best of both worlds. Nigerian culture and African American culture. I’ve been involved in community based outreach and advocacy and civic youth engagement, since my late teens. I became a fierce proponent of health and wellness as well as decolonizing all aspects of the public sector when i realized that systemic trauma was the number one leading cause of economic, education, health and social disparities Continue reading

Meet the Changemaker: Kelly Jiang

“I have learned how difficult grassroots organizing is, it is not like a company where everything is organized to flow. But it is like trying to invest time to bring together the different ideas together and allow them decide to realize what is good for their communities." Continue reading

Permaculture Convergence - Resilience In Action

Held at the Solar Living Center in Hopland California October 5-8, this annual gathering supported hundreds of citizen activists, permaculture designers, activists and community organizers from North California and beyond to design and share extraordinary solutions aimed at harnessing the power of permaculture in to build more resilient and sustainable homes, neighborhoods and communities. Over 70 workshops took place, happening off seven stages spread around the sprawling yard of the Solar Living Institute in Hopland, itself a model for sustainable living. Attendees who travelled from far locations and camped on one side of the SLI. Continue reading

Love Buries Hate

While thousands of folks in San Francisco prepared to throng the Crissy field Park to rally in a move of counter-protest against far-right groups in late August, a community inspired activity gathered mass at a North Richmond neighborhood. Families, individuals and organized community came together to engage in activities aimed at building cohesion and depict resilience, thanks to NorCal Resilience Network’s partner- Urban-Tilth, an organization that involved in community development and resilience building in the Richmond area. Continue reading

Meet The Changemaker: Jada Imani

“We cannot be fear in a society torn by fear- I must be love. I also open up and share as much as I can.  Through Tatu Vision, I create and host spaces at least in my twice a month which are all ages and donation based.  Each month we unite as a community to celebrate our beauty, resilience, local artists, and forward-thinking creativity.  We noticed there are toxins in the dominant culture which perpetuate a cycle of sexism, xenophobia and separation through fear and ignorance.  So we intentionally spaces which offer an alternative culture of inclusivity, empowerment and unity.” Continue reading