EPISODE 7: Faith Lands

In this episode we explore the works and service of farm-based Catholic worker communities in the upper Midwest. Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic workers, was highly devout and profoundly independent: she emphasized direct action for peace and justice, and direct service for the poor. This radical ministry has always lain outside the institution of the church, and the formal wealth of the Catholic orthodoxy. But this is changing, inspired by the energetic commitment of Catholic workers.

Some Dominican Catholic sisters have invited workers to work their Monastic lands. This is inter-generational transfer in the commons. None of these people own the land, as it is held by the institution, but the negotiations, and strategic vision for land-use reflects the practices of charity, service and local economic relationships which are common to the faith.

Around the country many thousands of churches own agricultural land that could be put to God’s work, for food justice, land access, new immigrants, community gardens and organic farming. Could America’s churches act as a fulcrum of land access for the incoming generation, and could we build adequate institutional support for church-decision makers such that aging parishioners can gift their farmlands into a faith-held commons for the benefit of the future?

More Resources:

Mustard seed, Journal of the Catholic workers

The Catholic Worker newspaper

Water justice work, detroit

Anti racism training

FaithLands conference, Paicines Ranch

Agriculture Conference Harvard Divinity School

Jobs to consider:

Greenhorns Radio segments related to this episode:

This episode sponsored by: Guayaki

If you’re interested in supporting “Our Land” with a donation, please get in touch with Ethan at ethan@thegreenhorns.org.

 

EPISODE 6: The Crown O’ Maine

It all started in a family van hauling organic potatoes to Boston from the very northernmost point of New England, Aroostook County, known as the Crown O’ Maine. Marada and Leah Cook grew up taking turns in the passenger seat beside their dad, who recognized that the commodity game was unsustainable for both farmers and the land and had set out to build an alternative path to market for the diverse crops of his region. From this small family enterprise, Crown O’ Maine Organic Co-op has grown to link over 300 family farms to market and has become a key driver for regional food sovereignty. Marada and Leah made the business into a cooperative, and their growing team now oversees a small fleet of refrigerated trucks and vans, coordinated out of a beautiful brick factory building in Vassalboro. Their leadership and vision for appropriately-scaled infrastructure for Maine’s economy can be a model for the nation. Their operations have grown to include food processing as well– Leah is now head of Northern Girl, which washes, chops, and prepares fresh Maine vegetables for hospitals, institutions, food service, and wholesale distributors, reducing foodmiles and increasing cashflow for New England’s northernmost growers.

An update:

Shortly after we released this episode, Northern Girl shut down, citing a lack of volume and Whole Foods’ abrupt decision to stop carrying Northern Girl products.

An open letter from Northern Girl (google doc)

Portland Press Herald- Northern Girl to Cease Operations

Bangor Daily News- Northern Girl food processor shut down, for sale

More Resources:

Learn more about organizations and people featured in this episode:

http://www.crownofmainecoop.com
https://www.facebook.com/crownomaine

http://northerngirlmaine.com

https://www.facebook.com/Misty-Meadows-Organic-Farm-527967277220281/

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Jobs to consider:

Greenhorns Radio segments related to this episode:

This episode sponsored by: Guayaki

If you’re interested in supporting “Our Land” with a donation, please get in touch with Ethan at ethan@thegreenhorns.org.

MUSIC BY: jeremyrobertharris.com