Being a Food Justice advocate I was pretty excited to see some other Food Justice activists in their work environment and urban gardens today. I met some of the creators of Cooperation Operation last month at the Burner Grant Event and they were the first place recipients. I met with Liz since the event and just asked her so many questions about how her organization created their urban garden, how their mutual group all are from the southside of Chicago and have families that extend back generations in the south side as a common factor in wanting to grow food in a food desert.
The Cooperation Operation (Coop Op) is a non-profit community organization that transforms vacant urban land into spaces for educational and economic empowerment. They envision a world where all people have access to affordable healthy food, education, housing, employment, and critical social services.
The land I visited today is in Pullman and originally the organizers approached their Alderman for support in reclaiming industrial land for food. The Alderman pledged them a five year lease and since then, the Pullman district has been named a National Monument and
is a component in the National Park System.
Liz Nerat, a writer and board of directors for the Coop Op led a writing workshop today. she really has a gift for teaching and facilitating. I was impressed with her focus during the heat, puppies, my crazy questions and some of the participants have self-doubts (me included!) she kept us all going. We also laughed so much!