Tree SilhouettesOver the last year, I have found myself in several fairly interesting discussions about community development work. Not in the nature of actually building empowerment within communities or the struggles associated with that but something just as significant. Everyone knows this type of work takes time, effort, energy, dedication, collaboration and plenty of other elements in the mix. Reflecting through a social justice lens this also means that we have to look at community work through the complexities of culture, communities, privilege and class to name a few.

So what was the discussion around? The precarious nature of internal dynamics of organizations.

Frequently, I had conversations with friends, workers and acquaintances over the frustrations of internal dynamics and structures. The conversation usually starts with comments surrounding their voices were not readily heard, continuous structural changes, and overall diminished sense of empowerment. The workers essentially become disenchanted and either leave or just stay until their contracts end. All this to say, this nature of community organizing lacks a sense of desire for others to replace them.

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shaneonabike:

Michael and I started a new DIY Food Action collective to aid people in food justice. For now we have posted lots of content around recipes, canning tips, and other things. It’s our goal to speak out about various food justice issues alongside aiding people to become more food secure and autonomous collectively and individually!

Originally posted on diy food action:

Here’s a tried & true dill pickle recipe. Three generations in the making. Here’s a step by step process of how to go about making these amazing pickles.

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The last weekend I spent rolling out some new spoken word tracks on my soundcloud account. This time around I thought it could be interesting to get some music to go along with it….

I would like to build my work around collaboration with other artists around the world.

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After picking up my last pannier from Jardin de Resistance in Montreal I offered to buy some excess yellow squash they had on hand to make relish out of (actually I hadn’t found the recipe until I ran home and deeply searched the net — this recipe is now locked down so I liberate it just for you).

Each year I try to challenge myself to can as much local food as I can (either freezer, dehydrated, or in cans) to perserve and have healthy fresh food in the winter (which is loong :) In Montreal, we tend to only get food from way south even as far as South America after having been on a plane for many hours and not really tasting that fresh in the winter. So I’m trying to reconnect with older traditional ways of keeping food safe and yummy for the winter :)

What you got cookin’??

It’s a pickled spicy relish using tumeric and mustard and works really well with meats, burgers (veggie or meat) and just a great addition to any dish that needs a bit of relish! Thanks to the amazing folk at Coop Les Jardins de la Resistance for letting me buy some extra organic CSA veggies from them to make this beautiful relish!

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[I recognize that some people might read this article and find it hard -- or _I hope not_ offensive. Please comment and write in the comments cause really the point of this is to create a discussion not prove my point]

It’s interesting working in several organizations and seeing the various dynamics and relationships that exist within them. Most recently I’ve been working in a pretty large cooperative that contained at moments up to 35 people and now more around 25 people (on a good day). Our mission is to support other organizations attain their goals online through the use of open source software. It’s interesting, nerdy, and fun to help people realize new and cool things they can do online. And most importantly, at least for me, is to be able to break that _hard-ass_ bubble barrier that technology creates for folks. Yep you go it technology empowerment!

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On Friday night I attend a talk by Andrea Smith who spoke about the racism that exists in North America around the Violence against Native Women and the struggle of indigenous peoples.

Andrea Smith is a Cherokee feminist and anti-violence activist who is the the  co-founder for INCITE! An aloquint speaker i found that I was really drawn into the points that she made around systemic racism that exists in our North American culture around peoples of colour.

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[Written for Michael Freeman - a man of many talents - wait for the audio I reckon it will be better]

A progressor of progression
Towards a new – open world.

Not so cold
Not so old
So so so much more bold.

A spoon deep in a vessel
Sizzling senses of hot sauces

Brewing…
Of deep support,
sustenance,
and spirit.

His hands like a magician
Crafting unseen grace in the food he touches.

A tapstry of local foods -
a plate of possibilities.

Casting people in a revolution of trance for
Change with their mouths.

A magician unlike others
He’s ready to teach
– You and me -
The magic!
And remove the smoke and mirrors…

Michael
Your a friend I respect
A laugh as contagious as a winter cold
A heart solid like a beetroot freshly picked.

Your not buying into this cash train
Finding possibilities,
Spreading messages,
In the actions you take
The actions  you make.

- An actor nota talker -

I thank you
For inspiring, encouraging, and loving me

It’s true -
Our friendship is like glue

Founded on canned foods,
Long talks,
and all the shit that will shift this revolution onward upward and forward.

SALUT!

A city of ghosts
Poverty dripping from buildings…
With bordered windows, silent streets, and meandering men.

A desperation for change – for newnesss -
The rich have diserted
Fled for suburbs, fled for gates & locks
The rest have stayed… have stayed…

And yet.
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[I found out just the other day that a dear friend of mine from Australia has passed on after having a diabetic coma. It's really hit me hard as I really saw her as a sister, friend, and awesome person in this world. So to her I wrote this...]

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I’m in the process of writing more reflections but for now I’ll post the two blogs that I wrote for work…

Conference Day 2

Workshop: Technologies of Collaboration and Cooperation

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