Fayetteville Summer of Solutions Grows Community Power!

As Communications Facilitator for Summer of Solutions, I’m featuring every program to paint a broad picture of the depth and variety of solutions young people are building across the nation.

This post is drawn from a conversation I had with Amanda Bancroft, an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer at the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology. The main organizers of Fayetteville SoS are: Andrea Love, Maggie Strain, Karina Hunt, Banah Ghadbian, Jeanie Lopez-Hall, Chelsea Mouber, and Brian Kupillas. The post is co-authored by me and the Fayetteville team.

Leaders in the program have a strong interest in gardening and permaculture. There are already over 50 gardening projects, organizations, and networks in Fayetteville, and so Amanda sees the role of Summer of Solutions as one that will connect these already dynamic organizations together. The Fayetteville team has already partnered with the OMNI Center’s garden, the World Peace Wetlands Prairie, and the community garden at Unity church. In addition, the group has been given several acres of land and a greenhouse, which the team is hoping to develop for gardening.

Through building collective growing power in Fayetteville, Summer of Solutions participants will be facilitating a beautiful expansion of the amazing work already happening around the city.

The “big picture” for the project is the creation of an accessible local food system:

Trained youth leaders, with grants and donations, will help community gardens produce more local & organic food, while helping farmworkers & gardeners get paid for producing it, supplementing their income with Time Dollars and Ozark Hours, and utilizing alternative transportation for both workers & food.  The type of food system we hope to create will train youth to lead, strengthen community, improve family nutrition, support farmers, increase local business, and encourage public transit use & future development.

One aspect of the project that Brian is working on involves public transportation awareness (for both people and locally grown food). He hopes that SoS participants will use the gorgeous bike trails and free bus system to get to OMNI and other gardening sites, and that SoS will encourage partnering organizations to view public transit as a viable, reliable transportation option, one day leading to light rail development.

Maggie is working on curriculum for both the training and ongoing material during SoS.  She hopes that participants and the community will learn various life skills, including cooking, nutrition, permaculture, and time management.

Chelsea is working with the Time Bank, Fayetteville Community Exchange, to make community gardening a job that’s more supported with both Time Dollars and Ozark Hours, a new local currency.

Jeanie is leading the team in fundraising, and our main fundraisers include selling crafts made from recycled materials, selling fair trade goodies, and getting people to sign up for CREDO Mobile – for every one person who signs up, SoS receives $100 from the company.

Because this is the first summer that Fayetteville SoS leaders will be hosting a program, many of the projects are still in the development stages. The team is hard at work figuring out housing and other logistics for participants, and anticipate that more concrete projects will come out of networking over the summer.

If you have any questions, email AndreaLove[at]gmail[dot]com and AmandaBancroft[at]gmail[dot]com.

Learn more about Summer of Solutions programs here!

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