Like This IdeaLike
About this idea
For the Water’s Ecovillage Proposal
Growing up in poverty as a black female, I have been aware of many problems with the structure of our society for quite some time. Recently, I have begun to start thinking about some solutions. I spent 4 months in Sacred Stone Camp, Standing Rock, North Dakota to observe and learn what it would be like to live and work in a environmentally- and politically-centered ecovillage. Weeks prior to even hearing about what was happening in Standing Rock, a few people and I had began to discuss creating a black-owned ecovillage in Tennessee. I saw going to North Dakota as the perfect opportunity to begin learning the skills necessary to do so, and ended up staying there from October-February.
There I learned what it meant to be a part of community in which people of all nations around the world were brought together for common goals - to have unity and to protect the earth. We learned truly what “Water is Life” and “Defend the Sacred” meant - that all life comes from the water of the womb, and therefore all women are sacred and shall be protected, just as we so passionately protect the water. After leaving camp, I went on to WWOOF (working on farms in exchange for food, room, and board) in Oregon to continue learning permaculture principles.
Currently, I am back in North Dakota to help with the final steps of our class action lawsuit. In addition to this, I am in the works of building my own nonprofit organization, For the Water. This nonprofit organization is inspired by the tenets we learned in camp and from Love Water, a nonprofit that provides clean drinking water to those in need. Our mission is to build a bus that will run on veggie oil, and refurbish it with bed bunks and a kitchen. The bus will be used to transport Water Protectors and women in need to and from camps and various safe spaces. Post-camp, our lives have been consumed with helping people get to safety. It has become apparent to us that instead of waiting years down the line to begin building the ecovillage dreamt of before starting this journey, the time is now that it is needed the most.
We are proposing 1-acre of land to be sold at a low, discounted price or given as a donation to jumpstart this project. Based on my research on land costs in Tennessee, we feel $800 would be a fair price to ask for. We would like to discuss the possibility of setting up a payment plan, or the possibility of having the land donated to our cause with plans to eventually purchase more land to expand on our ecovillage.
Our vision is to provide a safe environment, healthy food, clean water, and education to women in need, impoverished children, activists, and any people in need who are looking to improve their lives in our local communities of Tennessee.
Our goal is to be able to continue our activism across the country, while also making a permanent, positive change in our local communities.
Why Is This Ecovillage Necessary?
Since leaving camp, our lives have become consumed with living in service of other people. Whether they be Water Protectors or elders from camp, women in need, or the homeless, we have encountered and helped many people in our travels. I firmly believe that our childhoods determine a lot for our futures. The lack or abundance of resources and education will shape your toolkit for navigating society. It is very hard to build your own toolkit, when your entire community is not given any tools at all, while others are given tools aplenty. We have also personally discovered how hard it is to rebuild your toolkit after giving your tools away for the greater good of humanity.
We want to create and provide a safe space for our local communities in Tennessee that will serve women and children escaping domestic violence, people and children of color escaping systemic racism, activists looking to recharge and plan with each other, and ultimately, anyone who is looking to improve their quality of life.
Poverty, violence, and substance abuse correlate and to me is one of this nation’s biggest issues that has yet to be tackled on a big scale. Poverty is more heavily distributed in the South, and more commonly affects people of color. In addition, there are over 10,000 Native Americans in Tennessee alone, yet there is no federally recognized tribes or lands. This ecovillage can serve all who are looking for a sense of community and culture that we've all lost through assimilation.
It is small, local efforts that will be what shifts this societal epidemic. Many studies have been done to prove the lack of adequate resources to impoverished communities. We would like to do case studies on our own communities, showcasing the improvement of quality of life when impoverished people are given access to healthy food, clean water, and good education.
How Will We Make This A Reality?
We don't expect this to be fast or easy, by any means. We plan for a slow, enduring process that will take years to cultivate and nurture.
Structure of the Ecovillage
The center, focal point of the ecovillage will be a community garden/outdoor kitchen and dining space. This is where most of the learning will take place, as we will provide a “wild-living skills” school. Surrounding the garden will be the village itself. Around the living spaces will be community spaces, i.e., an ancestral and cultural history library, the healing/zen space, and a medical unit. People will be housed based on an honor system, meaning all are trustworthy until proven otherwise.
Once the garden is growing and basic structures have been built, we plan to provide food to those in need by donating to Food Not Bombs and setting up “free farmer's market stands” in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. We will also provide educational tours and field trips to the children of said neighborhoods. We plan for the ecovillage to be 100% sustainable, minimalistic, and as beneficial to the people we serve as possible. Once we achieve self-sufficiency, we plan for the surplus of the village to provide revenue to the communities we serve.
Funds to support the ecovillage will come from working jobs and pooling our resources to benefit the common goals of the community. We would like our main source of income to come from selling our art, food, and handmade products at markets. Big projects will be funded by fundraising through online and speaking at events. Eventually, we will be able to apply for grants through our nonprofit status as well. We realize this is not a lucrative business and don't plan to be millionaires - just to do good for other people.
Although this ecovillage will be POC/women/children-centric, it will truly benefit and serve all who find themselves there. We believe our life purpose is to serve others, protect the water, and defend the sacred.
We deeply thank you for the opportunity to share our plans with you, and hope you feel so called to invest and trust in our cause.
Please register or login to add your zip code.
Please register or login to add a comment.