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Roots & Dreams and Mustard Seeds Inc.

Coalition building to support and enable just transitions and equitable outcomes for low-income and BIPOC community members here in the Berkshires!  Community acquisitions, worker co-ops, land trust development, food sovereignty programing, housing co-ops, popular education programming, participatory budgeting, workers rights and related solidarity economy themes are provided mutual aid and development support! Please join us in change making!

 
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Projects

Working together to create change!

Don't forget to read our newsletter for more in depth up to date information!

 

Rose & Cole's Transport Co-op

Worker Co-op Start-up

Rose & Cole's Transport Co-op is a mission oriented co-op, that seeks contracts with organizations and businesses who can support subsidizing rides for vulnerable clients. Due to the pandemic 7 of it's contracts have gone to virtual programming and will resume when it's safe to do so. Meanwhile they are actively looking to workforce development organizations, local employers, and/or schools who may need transportation on behalf of their constituents, workers, or members. 


They most definitely accept individual contracts too. An individual contract just means residents know their transportation schedules at least 3-4 days ahead of time. While they do not offer on-call at this time, their strategic plan includes the development of an UBER like app that would allow this type of growth. Meanwhile contracts enable them to assure a reliable schedule and a living wage for workers. 


They will spend the next two months reaching out directly with organizations and employers in Pittsfield to prepare for a September/October re-opening. 


Rose & Cole is also accepting weekly grocery contracts, helpful for those who are immune compromised. 


Please email them at rc.coopdelivery@gmail.com 

Donations are being accepted to support their insurance costs and the co-ops down payment for a 15 passenger van! Thank you so much for your support!

https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/rootsmustardseeds

Communitechz

IT Worker Co-op Start-up

Communitechz IT Co-op worker owners, Rae and Zach meet with us weekly to discuss how to operate safely at this time. They are definitely accepting work but will refrain from in-home service calls at this time. On the other hand, they don’t mind service pick-ups and drop offs! Book now via their Facebook page! 


https://www.facebook.com/communitechz/

They are also currently interviewing candidates interested in joining their team as a worker owner. Love computers but still learning? Some apprenticeship can be provided on the job. Let them know you’re interested! 

If you would like to donate toward Communitechz start-up please click the link below and note Communitechz legal start-up costs.

Roots & Dreams - 

https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/rootsmustardseeds

Atravasendo Esta Juntos

Cooking Collective

A Manos Unidas collective of Latino cooks from various countries such as Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru, and El Salvador among others, is now in their 8th week of delivering over 300 meals to Pittsfield's families in need, many of them Latino,  every Wednesday evening. 

This collective also mans a weekly Saturday market that includes 600 lbs of donated fresh organic food distributed to family’s in need living in Pittsfield MA each and every week!

You can support their incredible work at the link below!

https://www.mightycause.com/story/Lcy1afmanosunidas

or https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/manosunidascoop

Gustitos Baracuas

A Latino Catering Co-op, an initiative sponsored and founded by Mariam Orengo and Manos Unidas Co-op.

Mariam Orengo, a Puerto Rican native, has been utilizing her incredible cooking skills to provide a form of social entrepreneurship for Manos Unidas these last 3 years! She raised over $7000 in funds for her Puerto Rican community to rebuild their roofs after the hurricane in 2017and then again raised funds to support people after the 2018 earthquake there. Most notably, as of recent, she supports Atravasendo Estos Junto Collective by taking alternate weeks serving and helping to deliver over 200 meals to Latino and low income families in Pittsfield, MA.  Her delicious cuisine is also available to your family and you can support her catering business by calling her at 413-310-8944 or messaging her on facebook at Gustitos Boricua - https://www.facobook.com/Gustitos-boricua-108729413847870/

Mariam is raising money for her own food truck to be held at O.U.R Ressurge right next the The Common Park on First St. Please donate through Manos Unidas's paypal account and note Mariam's Food Truck.

https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/manosunidascoop

Fronteras Comunes Bi-lingual Zine

A Social Activist/Art Journal Collective

It’s Time For A Contest! Calling All Artists! 


Be on the cover of the next Fronteras Comunes Issue- Despertares/Awakenings! 


Stipends of $50-$200 awarded to all contributing artists and writers. 

Background Info: 

WOW! The last Fronteras Comunes Zine was released in 2016, a bilingual bi-annual zine founded by Manos Unidas in 2010. You can read that issue here - So much is still pertinent!  

https://issuu.com/fronterascomunes/docs/labor_issue_spring_2016

Suitable funding for bi-lingual journals is not always easy and resources have been lacking these last few years but we are so excited and grateful to recently a Markham Nathan grant - just in the nick of time too! 


 Bi-lingual journalism that actively engages and features our Latino, African American, and Indigenous community is key to creating a platform for unheard voices! We call this issue, Despertares/Awakenings! We are surely awakening to so much lately! Change is a foot and we want your voice in this issue!  


We send forth these questions - how has COVID, and or the recent surge in racial justice activism awakened you? Has it changed old perspectives? What do you envision is critical/necessary for a truly equitable society for all? 


No worries if you don’t make it on the cover! We hold a two page spread inside just for art! 


This issue will be printed for Berkshire production and also placed on a national platform, Issue.com. All contributing writers, artists, and translators receive a stipend ranging from $50-$200. Also let us know if you’re interested in design/layout! 


Railroad Street Youth Project and Roots & Dreams is a collaborator with this very necessary collective project! Members of Fronteras Comunes, at one point, worked with TESA, Tools and Education for Social Action to become a worker co-op, but journalism has increasingly become more difficult to fund. At this point we continue this project as a journal collective and would love your input! 

Please message submissions or interest to rootsandmustardseeds@gmail.com and 

manosunidasorg@gmail.com

If you would like to donate to this important work, please click the paypal link below and note Fronteras Comunes on your donation. Both Roots and Manos are collecting doantions on behalf of this project.

https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/manosunidascoop

https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/rootsmustardseeds

O.U.R. Resurge/Nuestro Resurge


A collaborative project with Blueline Architect @ The Eagle’s Building, this solidarity economy hub, located at 146 First St. Pittsfield MA is a process orientated partnership with our community set to provide an empirical model of community acquisition, a increasingly necessary strategy to ensure equitable and just transitions for low income and BIPOC community members. Democratically run, this cooperative fosters participatory and popular education programs, the growth of multicultural cooperatives, a multicultural bi-lingual resource exchange, participatory architecture (architecture as art), racial justice activism through art and dance modalities, and on and off site food sovereignty/permaculture programming including the build out of a community greenhouse with botanical gardens. 

This project seeks to be a model that can be replicated elsewhere in the city of Pittsfield and in our state,  As a part of the Morningside community it endeavors to support community development  in its neighborhood and on Tyler Street with both on and offsite projects.

Partner with us! 

Partners are participants, member-owners, organizations and businesses, colleges and universities, funders, steering committee support as well as capital and regional developers.

Current members include:

Blueline Design Architect,  Alma Latina Cooperatives, Roots & Dreams and Mustard Seeds Inc., Jacob’s Pillow, Manos Unidas, Atravesando Esto Juntos Cooking Collective, Fronteras Comunes Bi-lingual Zine, Rose & Cole’s Transport Co-op, Reformation Academy, Berkshire Mutual Aid, The Sewing Collective, Communitechz Co-op, and Gustitos Baricuas Catering

Thank you to MASSHIRE, Bryan House and The District Attorney's office for their support of Blueline projects for youth workforce development, two anchor institutions that will utilize the year round greenhouse to jump start green and clean business ventures on and off-site, a collaborative project with Tyler Street Business Group. 

Thank you also to regional developers Cooperative Development Institute, Equity Trust and MASSDEVELOPMENT. 

Support our work!

 Contact rootsandmustardseeds@gmail.com & Anthony@bluelinedesign.com

If you would like to donate toward downpayment costs please click the link and note O.U. R. Resurge/Nuestro Resurge downpayment.

Roots & Dreams - 

https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/rootsmustardseeds

Latino Sowing Collective

A part of the emerging Alma Latina Cooperatives

The Latino Sewing Collective in Pittsfield, MA has been meeting with Cooperative Development Institute every other week these last few months. They would like to move beyond just sowing masks and develop contracts with local hotels and other institutions sewing sheets, curtains, etc.! Thanks to the USDA cooperative development grant, CDI will continue mentorship, supporting the collective in developing itself as a worker co-op. 

At this point the co-op is creating a supportive steering committee and documenting the values they want their cooperative to live by. 

Meanwhile, adult and youth masks are all set and ready to go! You can call Erika, 413-347-2438 or Silvia- 413-464-1123 to put in your order!

The Sewing Co-op is apart of a growing coalition called The Alma Latino Co-ops.  Coordinating members from Manos Unidas Co-op & Roots & Dreams are building a  team that supports emerging Latino cooperatives.  Other co-ops involved are Atravasendo Esto Juntos, Fronteras Comunes Bi-lingual Zine, & Gustitos Baricuas Catering. To learn more contact Nancy Gomez at +1 (413) 841-8935

If you would like to support this start-up please donate to Manos Unidas and note Latino Sewing Collective. https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/manosunidascoop

The 1K Project

Direct Cash Stimulus

Are you a family that has been impacted negatively from COVID 19 and could utilize direct payment of $3000 over the course of the next 3 months? 


Roots & Dreams and Mustard Seeds Inc. as well as our sister organization, Manos Unidas Co-op is partnering with The 1k Project to support families through sponsorship as well as nomination. We will fill out a nomination form on your behalf and support you as a sponsor! 

Text (815) 393-1070 to sponsor a family now! You can do this as an individual, organization or business! You don't need to sponsor the whole $3000 per family. $50 or higher is sufficient!”

A message from the 1K Project! 

“The 1k project connects families in need with families who can sponsor them. We hope this bridges the gap until they have new employment or other assistance flowing.

The typical family that matched successfully with a sponsor is a family with at least 2 dependents, particularly small children, single mothers, people who are unable to work because of a medical condition, families with no income, unable to get unemployment insurance, and have no savings. Most families who are sponsored face challenges with groceries, rent, basic utilities, and medical bills.

Applicants must be nominated through someone that can be verified through our referral chain. That could be an employer or a local not for profit. Business owners can ask a customer to nominate them!”

https://www.1kproject.org/

If you would like to also support direct cash payments to families in need please click the link below and note cash for Berkshire Families.

Roots & Dreams - 

https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/rootsmustardseeds

The Mural Project

September 27th,2020, 2:00-5:00 @ Park Square, Pittsfield, MA – kick off event of a community initiative presented by O.U.R. Resurge & Blueline Design. This project will be ongoing over these next few years. Several places outside and within The Eagle’s Building have been designated for our mural awakenings!

This on-site art (shown above) was sponsored by Blueline Design at The Eagles Building contrasts the American Eagle (the depictive symbolism of America and Eagles members) with the Indigenous Golden Eagle. The sponsored art was meant as an intentional way to facilitate a conversation about old and new power structures and furthermore, to promote an awakening to indigenous and cultural fables/symbols as a means to inform and empower us in transformative, just, and equitable power dynamics. 

The wisdom of our ancestors needs space to be rebirthed and depicted as we create modern constructs meant to empower.  Storytelling and art are such critical building blocks for change-making. It helps to reclaim the meaning and purpose begot from being a part of this rich cultural collective of humanity that spans across time.  As we know Graffiti is an immediate and raw form of human expression often used as political commentary. We would like to combine storytelling and art to create “The Mural Project” at The Eagle’s building. 


This project will be ongoing over these next few years. Several places outside and within The Eagle’s Building have been designated for our mural awakenings! 


Initially we will be working with Jules Talbert, a Literature Major and compelling comic artist at NYU, who is currently working alongside Anthony Barnaba of Blueline Design to further this story of the American Eagle, and the Golden Eagle as apart of Frontispiece, a Latin term to mean the principal front of the building and/or an illustration preceding and usually facing the title page of a book. This initial comic type Frontis piece will be placed on the two walls entering the Eagle’s Building. Jules and Anthony will be present at our community kick off event to get community feedback on what else should be included in the Frontispiece! Along with community input, three different speakers (Latino, African American, and an Indigenous) will share their stories and the symbols that are meaningful to them as it pertains to transitioning out of oppressive power structures. A canvass will be present for youth and adults alike to paint their ideas which can later be used as a part of the mural 

Overall, THE MURAL PROJECT, continuing into Spring, 2020, will utilize fables which are verbal stories using animals and nature as well as graffiti as an art form. While fables are often thought as children oriented, it can  help adults, with fixed ideas, see the message hidden in a fable and allow the adult brain, to absorb the meaning of the story without feeling it as a threat. It creates a moment of introspection and from there maybe: better understanding of how people should be treated. (Equally) 

Community members will continue to discuss both cultural fables and personal stories about images and symbols that come to mind when they consider inequitable structures/racial oppression in our country as well as images and symbols they believe personify healing! We look forward to the ongoing events and community participation for this incredible project at the historic Eagles Building.

We will send out a separate Kick Off community invite soon! Thank you to PNAT (Pittsfield Neighborhood Action Team) for a spark grant that supports the materials needed for community to create art and for a lead artist to support us! Want to support the ongoing work of The Mural Project? Email: rootsandmustardseeds@gmail.com and anthony@bluelinedesign.com

If you would like to donate to the arts materials or speaker fees for facilitation of this important on-going conversation click the link below and note The Mural Project. 

Roots & Dreams - https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/rootsmustardseeds

Organizing for Indigenous Rights

A Move to Change the State Flag & Seal!

We’ve been busy working with the MA Indigenous Agenda Coalition to support necessary changes including the modification of state flag and seal which now shows a native man with a sword over his head with the Latin insignia-by this sword we have peace. Above is recent pictures of us at The Statehouse! 


Thirty-six years is a long time to wait for racial justice to be delivered. That's how long the bill to change the flag and seal has been delayed by one committee or another at the State House. With symbols of white supremacy rapidly falling across the country, the time has come for Massachusetts to act.


For 400 years, Massachusetts has ignored the rights and concerns of indigenous peoples. Now is the time for the Legislature to pass these bills and stop ignoring indigenous voices!


-Mahtowin Munro for the MA Indigenous Agenda coalition


“We are excited to say that that the bill to change the flag and seal unanimously passed in the MA Senate. Now it has a new number (S.2848) and the legislature has gone into extended session, so we do not know how much longer we have to get it through the House. It is in the House Ways and Means Committee, and the only legislator from our area that serves on that committee is the representative named John Barrett - who represents Adams, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Florida, Hancock, Lanesboro, New Ashford, North Adams and Williamstown. If anybody who lives in any of those towns might be willing to call or write to John Barrett and urge him to support S.2848, that would be great!” David Detmold, Lead organizer. 


As you might know, Pittsfield has voted to retire Native American Mascots! https://www.masslive.com/news/2020/08/pittsfield-school-committee-votes-to-retire-native-american-mascot-of-taconic-high-school.html   


Find out more at changethemassflag.com or email lead organizer daviddetmold@gmail.com

Solidarity Economy

Hey, What's Solidarity Economy anyway?

Building out a solidarity economy hub in Pittsfield, MA is an exciting project! It is a model that we hope can be replicated elsewhere in the City of Pittsfield, and even statewide. 


Solidarity Economy has a few key points! 


The solidarity economy constitutes an alternative development framework.


Solidarity economy is grounded in practice and the following principles: solidarity, mutualism, and cooperation, equity in all dimensions: race/ethnicity/nationality, class, gender, LGBTQ, 

the primacy of social welfare over profits and the unfettered rule of the market, sustainability, social and economic democracy, pluralism and organic approach, allowing for different forms in different contexts, and open to continual change driven from the bottom up. 


For those of you curious about  solidarity economy, we belong to a larger movement in the United States - US-SEN and MA-SEN. 


https://ussen.org/

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RE-FORMation Academy

Pittsfield Community School

Reformation Academy is a Manos Unidas sponsored initiative, and a member of O.U.R. Resurge. Kristina Cardot, community organizer and longtime art teacher in CT and MA (not too mention business owner of The Funky Phoenix, North St. Pittsfield, MA),is facilitating a traveling school supported by community volunteers. All on-site classes are held from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and include hot spot availability,  professional tutoring, educational guidance and advocacy for all ages and abilities as well as hands-on rotating activities that stimulate creative learning through art, music,the nurturing of social intelligence and strategy, nature, philosophy, and sports.


September's schedule is:

TIME- 3:00 P.M - 5:30 P.M.

Mondays (Sept. 21, 28) Dower Square

Tuesdays (Sept. 15, 22, 29) Berkshire Peak

Wednesdays (Sept.16,23,30) The Common

Thursdays (Sep 17, 24,Oct.1) Durante Park

Fridays (Sep. 15,25,Oct.2) Clapp Park

If you would like to donate toward this incredible work please click the link below and don't forget to to let Manos Unidos know this donation is for Reformation Academy! Thank you! 

https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/manosunidascoop

 

Thank You for Your Support!

A HUGE thank you to our partners!


We are an interdependent organization mobilized and carried by the grassroots efforts of our community. With out you, our momentum is lost and we feel alone in carrying out the shifts we envision to create a more just and equitable Berkshires.


Did you know you can support us by becoming a member? All members, both working and due's paying, receive our quarterly newsletter, are invited to our bi-yearly feasts, have opportunity to sit on our Board, and have voting rights in regards to our major organizational moves decided at our annual meeting. As set out by our by-laws, members can be individuals or organizations!


Berkshire United Way - Innovation Grant

Helping Co-ops Soar

City of Pittsfield Human Service Grant

Transportation Subsidy

Berkshire Co-op Market

Donor

18 Degrees

Supporting Rose & Cole's Transport from inception until now!

Jacob's Pillow, Flying Cloud Institute, Williams Theater Festival,The Mount, The Mastheads

Arts Organizations who partner in fostering sustainability for Rose & Cole's Transport.

Manos Unidas Co-op

Team Partner in building co-ops led by Latino people and in creating equitable change among Pittsfield's most vulnerable community members! One of the lead organizer's of Nuestro Resurje Proyecto!

$15,000 in Community Member Donations this year!

We need you!

You're a change maker too!  Fill out a this form to become a member today! Dues paying and/or working memberships available! After filling out a membership form, donate here!

 

“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope”

Martin Luther

 

Contact Roots & Dreams and Mustard Seeds Inc.

Pittsfield, MA 01201

413-345-2794

 

413-345-2794

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