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Newsletter, November, 2019

We're two years young!

Hello! At two years old we're busy learning and growing as we aspire to shift norms and create change!

We're so excited about the people and projects happening from the ground up! Thank you to all the grassroots work being done among our co-op start-ups as well as those organizing very cool multicultural socially conscious projects. You're an inspiration!

Communitechz

Ooooooh. Rae, Zach, and Michael have been busy designing a pretty nifty website these recent weeks! Check it out!

http://www.communitechz.com/

They are also busy creating this years marketing schematic, starting with a free IT course at Pittsfield's Senior Center. We'll update with the exact date soon!

Business Ownership Opportunity- IT savvy and want to join a great team? Email Rae - raelangsdale@msn.com



Rose & Cole's Transport: Business Ownership Opportunity!



Rose & Cole's Transport will start its transition from being an initiative to a worker owned LLC co-op and is looking to add invested owners. The UN reports co-ops as leading the way in social impact, both in process as democratically controlled entities as well as economically, with dividend pay outs to members and in the case of worker owned co-ops - profit sharing. We couldn't agree more!


Accepting Applicants!
Rose & Cole's Transport will be undergoing some major shifts and is looking for 2-3 community residents interested in becoming owners of this not for profit initiative as it transitions to becoming it's own Co-op LLC. Two to three applicants are being accepted to join weekly strategic capacity building sessions in preparation for next summers influx of NYC consumers needing transportation as they hit the Berkshires via the new Flyer.


Applicants should enjoy driving residents but also capably employ tasks associated with building a business (updating business and marketing plans) and the fiscal management of incoming funds to support this transition. Upcoming endeavors include a closer working relationship with Co-op Fund of New England in order to process necessary funds for transition, outreach to local universities for student facilitation and support in creating a user friendly app for consumers to access transportation with ease, as well as considering incoming bids from local socially minded investors to support the co-op's hard launch.


We thank all of our local contracts who have supported our soft launch as apart of Roots & Dreams. We expect a full transition by fall of 2020. We look forward to increasing capacity as a employee owned transportation company. Any applicants interested please email rc.coopdelivery@gmail.com.

Rose & Cole's Transport will continue to accept residential and organizational contracts. Booking is required. https://www.co-optransportpittsfield.com/ 


Transportation Subsidy

Thanks to the City of Pittsfield Human Service Grant, Roots & Dreams is accepting applicants for the transportation subsidy program. Sometimes the spots are full but 3 out of the 10 applicants who have utilized the program these last 4 months were new hiree's and within a two month time frame found a travel workmate, allowing for slots to re-open. Email: rootsandmustardseeds@gmail.com for more info.

Energia Home Weatherization Co-op

Director of Operations, Mark Tajima, looks to plant a second home for Energia in Pittsfield, MA. In it's first year of running, Mark projects the plant to create 3-5 new job positions. Energia is new themselves but at 25 worker owners, most of them Latino, they are growing strong and a true example of what change makers can do when they set there mind to it. The co-op was founded with support from Co-op Power, who has now been bought out, leaving the entity a fully worker owned operation. 


Roots looks to support the plant organize funding for it's Pittsfield home base. In meeting with the City of Pittsfield, Energia is invited to access an initial $5000 technical grant available to new businesses which would come in handy for retrofitting a new space. In the next six months, we will look to strategic partners to fund the plant at an additional $10,000.

Green jobs! Whoohoo! Thank you Energia for your inspirational work that shows grassroots efforts can prevail!

Business Ownership Opportunity - Energia is accepting owners. Living wage pay and training provided. Berkshire residents should expect to have to travel to Holyoke initially and work in both Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire County.  If you're a Berkshire resident interested in supporting the Pittsfield plant email us: rootsandmustardseeds@gmail.com and Director of Operations, Mark Tajima: markt@energiaus.com

Build A Bloc

This collective was founded by Terry and Nicole who realized that a transportation co-op (Rose & Cole's Transport, a worker co-op start-up) is very much a labor of love. Our community needs transportation but the funding necessary to make it work can be hard to come by. What if we created a co-op business that had the capacity to fund some of our co-op start-ups? Could real-estate be the answer. 

Build A Bloc's goal is to flip Pittsfield properties but also to ensure they are sold back to low income folks at affordable prices.

A year ago, lenders told us we had work to do. They needed to see close to 20,000 in start up capital to generate funding for our first flip. It's a year later, and we have close to $16,000. With a local Pittsfield real-estate investor now working with our team, as well as a talented carpenter, we feel that this business is going to fly sooner than later!

Business Ownership Opportunity - Interested in real-estate and think you're a good fit for this team? Let us know. rootsandmustardseeds@gmail.com

El Resurge Cooperativa

The Resurgance Project was inspired by a Manos Unidas Co-op and Pittsfield Moves member, Jose Santiago who passed prematurely.  In struggle, he taught us invaluable truths. He was a light bringer and often spoke of creating a project in the name of Resurge, one that tackled homelessness and addiction, struggles he was all too familiar with.

This project looks to mirror the power we saw manifested during the inception of Pittsfield Moves, a pilot program funded by The Ford Foundation and led by Jacob's Pillow which successfully utilized not just dance, but spoken word and the visual arts to equip our marginalized community members to unearth and voice deep traumas, both personal and systemic and translate those into dance, words, and song. The NYC dance troupe Angela's Pulse was critical to facilitating this daunting task. The culmination of this masterpiece was performed on Jacob's Pillow's Inside Out stage.

After the loss of our friend, Jose Santiago this recent year, organizations and residents look to find ways to ensure our friends who suffer are not lost in the cracks of injustice. After our experiences in the Pittsfield Moves Program, we are convinced the arts are pivotal to healing. 

Lead organizers - Manos Unidas Co-op, Reformation Academy, Jacob's Pillow, Railroad Street Youth Project, Roots & Dreams, Pittsfield Moves Members, alongside youth leader Dillon Moore, are investigating facilities that would yield itself to the work at hand. The idea of a transitional work/live artist residency for those with struggles is definitely on our minds and hearts matched with an incubator space for advocacy/social programming.

With support from our community and MA DEVELOPMENT, our Resurge Collective looks to successfully apply for capital funds to assist us with the acquisition and renovations needed for this project.

We invite community members to walk along side us and create this project with us! Email:

rootsandmustardseeds@gmail.com or manosunidasorg@gmail.com

Become a Sustaining Member!

We're having a membership drive! Please consider becoming a sustaining supporter through membership! Follow the link to fill out the form and join us in change-making!


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.


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!

Membership Dues can fit all budgets and start at $10/month and extend to $200/month or can be a one time donation. You choose! Don't have money but want to support us? That's awesome! Working members volunteer anywhere from 2-20 hrs/per week and of course working members can also be dues paying members if they choose! Please email rootsandmustardseeds&gmail.com to set up volunteer hours or with any questions.  

After you fill out the form, you can submit your dues here using paypal! If you're a monthly supporter, just check the box to donate monthly. Thank you!