2022 Quick Recap
Published on December 22, 2022 by Lindsay Shade
Here's a quick update about what we've been up to this year!
- In early 2022, we were grateful to receive a gift from the Southern Power Fund to create a grantmaking program to assist folks at risk of being displaced from their homes by corporate landowners carrying out evictions and land transfers. There were a wave of eviction notices in Mingo County, WV and we wanted to get assistance to those families to buy land or relocate. We spent a chunk of time this year talking with some of those folks and figuring out the grantmaking process at Open Collective so that we could get our logistics in order. We hope to begin making grants right away in 2023.
- We also continued our work in southwestern Virginia to map land ownership and public revenues inequalities and provide data to inform policies to remedy the situation. You can read about some of that work we did in collaboration with Appalachian Voices New Economy Network here.
- A couple of our members from universities put together an article, targeted to other academics working in rural areas, that describes how we go about researching who owns land and how the tax burden is distributed. We want to see more people taking up this kind of work in collaboration with community organizations because we think that our collective future is deeply tied to land. That article was recently accepted for publication in The Professional Geographer. We are looking into funding an agreement to make sure it will be open access/accessible to the public (unfortunately publishers charge big fees for this).
- Several of our members have been involved in mutual aid and recovery work since the floods that hit Eastern KY and southwest Virginia in the summer. We are also looking at how land ownership intersects with long term recovery and disaster preparedness.
- This year overall has been all about keeping our heads down and getting the work done, and well, surviving. Many of us have also been trying to prioritize personal relationships and care in the wake of major hardships and disaster, on top of pandemic burnout. In 2023, we look forward to seeing more of the fruits of our labor in the form of a new grantmaking program, mapping platforms, collaborations and organizing for long-term just transition, and getting more funding to keep up the work. We are grateful for the infrastructure that OCF provides to help us make it happen!
Thanks for all the support and hard work of folks who keep this collective effort going. We wish everyone a restful holiday and look forward to reconnecting with more updates in the new year!