SAN ANTO: Help SWU’s Roots of Change Cooperative WIN a grant for expansion into an urban farm

Help SWU’s Roots of Change Cooperative WIN a grant for expansion into an urban farm.
We are in the running for a grant from Brighter Planet — but the project needs the most votes to win.  Voting is open June 1-15th.
Please go to http://projectfund.brighterplanet.com/projects/roots_of_change_cooperativa and choose VOTE FOR PROJECT.  create an account (if you don’t have one)… you will receive an email confirming your address.  Then you can vote 3 TIMES!!  (just choose roots of change coop and hit vote again)  It takes less than 5 minutes.
Questions?  Please contact marisol@swunion.org
Background Project Information
In 2006, Centro por la Justicia began an Eastside sustainability initiative in response to the struggle to defeat further development of fuel storage tanks. An integral part of our local movement for climate justice in San Antonio has been the development of home-grown solutions that are culturally-appropriate and led by those who are most affected by the local causes of climate change (coal fired power plants). While the potential for a vibrant green economy in San Antonio is growing, the grassroots communities have little understanding and education about what ‘green’ means nor how it is beneficial and accessible for low-income families. To date, the Roots of Change Cooperativa has acquired over an acre of unused brownfield land. In 2006, we began the process of transformation into a functioning community garden, the first food producing community space in the City. This will combat the carbon footprint caused by the dominant food system. We aim to build upon this success by further developing the first grassroots-level sustainability center in San Antonio. We will model alternatives and simultaneously build training and leadership of grassroots youth and families, focusing on four program goals: (1) expansion of the garden into a functioning urban farm and development of the physical and social infrastructure necessary for making this space the hub of a city-wide gardening cooperative; (2) creation of space for the first locally-grown food market in San Antonio; (3) transformation of the complex to one of accessible sustainability (via water harvesting, greenhouses, passive solar, and weatherization); (4) development of a center to train local youth and members in such sustainable techniques through a green jobs training center where the community can learn gardening skills to apply to their own homes.
The county where San Antonio sits was recently ranked 211 out of 221 Texas counties for accessibility to healthy food and green spaces. The creation of an urban garden network can both revitalize unused land as well as provide healthy food choices and increase the food security of local families. This seeks to tackle a number of serious problems we face as a community: first, 30% of families live in poverty and cannot afford organic produce; second, 31.1% of San Antonio adults are obese (nation’s highest rate). These same communities are also home to the majority of polluting industries in the city, including 4 coal-fired power plants, 22 fuel storage tanks, toxic landfills, crisscrossing railroad tracks with a deadly legacy of toxic spills and one of the largest shallow groundwater plumes of chlorinated solvents in the country.
The funds will support materials the expansion of the garden, community trainings and holding two farmers markets this summer targeting local high school youth and our low-income people of color community.
Genaro L. Rendon
Director
Southwest Workers Union
PO Box 830706
San Antonio, TX 78283
ph. 210.299.2666
fx. 210.299.4009

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