2022 Report Emergent Abundance Farming Collective
Published on December 18, 2022 by Emergent Abundance Shared Admin Account
What did we accomplish during 2022? How did we use money?
We brought on and collaborated with new members. We organized our collective into focus groups to accomplish missions associated with the physical space in the garden. This year saw lots of growth in process and organization of how the farm functions for the members as well as in and for the community. Core members became more engaged and invested in operations and sharing of responsibilities toward the overall mission of the Collective. We were able to use challenges as avenues for refinement and growth, adaptation and emergent strategy.
We were able to donate food locally to members in need, Kennett Area Community Services (the local food cupboard) & Free Food for All (a mutual aid food justice initiative). This year, we were able to accommodate the request of the food bank for high value crops such as hot peppers and cilantro. This kind of produce has a much higher value per weight, so that our total donation of 700 lbs as compared to 2,000 lbs the previous year, was actually of a higher value and deeply appreciated by the people who rely on the food bank for healthy nutrition.
We were able to hold space for young children to learn some aspects of gardening/farming/identifying plants/making medicines. We also held several skill share events to which we invited the general public and deepened our collaboration with the Kennett Library and Green Light Nurseries, as well as Chester County Food Bank. We planted trees! Specifically native, fiber and nut-bearing varieties.
We participated in the Lenape River Journey and signed the Treaty of Renewed Friendship with the Lenape Nation.
We operate on minimal funding, mostly by member donations, which helps us cover operational expenses such as purchasing seeds, plants and garden supplies.
We spent a total of $1,700. Of which we spent $535 on liability insurance and $1,165 on plants and garden supplies, including seeds, trees, organic fertilizers and pest control, mulch, stakes etc.
What challenges did we face during 2022? What did our Collective learn? How did we change or grow?
A challenge we faced is learning sustainable collaborative social systems rather than hierarchical ones where one person is the authority or lead. We learned how to hold a safe space for honest communication in regards to personal boundaries, how much each of us can be responsible for, and we continuously find new ways to address the fact that no one person can be in charge of all the projects. We are embracing internal social systems challenges by using permaculture tools (GOBRADIME) and emerging strategies that allow us to continue an ongoing process of evaluation and adaptation of our social systems. We are successfully working with emerging challenges as part of lived systems change.
We continued to identify areas and ways to strengthen our collective: both for the physical operations of the farm as well as the social/emotional/strategic involvement of the human people. We formed working groups to focus on specific goals and challenges and we had great outcomes from those sessions. Tangible changes and clarity have come from our meetings and processes and we have clearer ideas on how we will be moving forward into next year.
The communication with the township has been challenging as they have not responded to our request for a more formal lease agreement.
What are our plans for 2023? Anything exciting coming up?
Signage! We are designing more accessible paths and shared spaces and developing engaging signage to help members navigate and understand procedures and goals of the collective. Trilingual signage (Lenape, Spanish and English) in the garden space will provide more accessibility, so that the garden can more easily be a space to learn and navigate as an individual if you are new to gardening, to the collective or to some of the plants. It’s also a way to honor the people who are the traditional stewards of this land (Lenape), while being accessible to Spanish and English-speaking residents.
We are developing a process that will guide our collective in social systems’ change. Very exciting!! We are strategizing ways to actualize several projects such as getting new fencing and creating safe physical boundaries on the property that also invite and inform the members and public. We are taking many of the things learned from tending the farm and incorporating those lessons into our social organizations. We are learning what works, what doesn’t work, what needs adapting or reframing. Our social design is growing from our farming and land-relationship processes. This is creating a system that builds in a symbiotic way, back and forth. We are also investigating sources of funding to expand our effectiveness and accessibility to wider communities. We continue to actively collaborate and build alliances with organizations such as the local library and area non-profits that assist those with food insecurity and incarcerated youth. Specifically, we plan to partner with a local organization that teaches culinary and creative arts with youth in detention. We plan to develop programing so that they can work in the garden and strengthen ties to food, nature and community.