Welcome to our School of Living electronic newsletter where you can catch up on what is happening in our land trust communities and SOL committee work.


by Sabrina Simon

Image courtesy of Sabrina Simon

    Empower Project is a Black-woman-led permaculture and nonprofit farm located in Park Heights, Baltimore and operated by the President and farm manager, Sabrina Simon. Empower Project's mission is to empower communities toward self-liberation through food sovereignty, education and environmental stewardship. The project is in its first year of operation and has been successful in growing and donating food to the community even throughout the challenges that COVID-19 has presented. They have been able to grow over $2000 worth of food on just a small 10th of an acre. They began by donating 20% of their food to a local organization called Bmore Community Food who participates in food distribution for food-insecure residents of Baltimore City. They also have found a market to sell the other 80% of the food grown which contributes to the free food distribution to senior citizens offered by Real Food Farm of Baltimore City. Empower Project has since transitioned to donating 100% of their produce to Bmore Community Food.

    Due to unforeseen circumstances, Empower Project was land-insecure for their next growing season but thanks to the partnership between School of Living, Heathcote Community and Many Streams Farm, Empower Project has secured an acre of land to cultivate for the next 3 years, making it possible to continue their charitable mission while also creating economic viability so that the project can eventually purchase their own land and fulfill their dreams of creating a farm-based community center and intentional community.

    In addition, Empower Project and their partners will be applying for a USDA grant in order to offer a seasonal BIPOC Beginner Farmer Apprenticeship program whose purpose is to uplift BIPOC beginner farmers by offering the technical training and resources to start and operate their own farms. The apprenticeship will offer 14 workshops led by local leaders in ag, providing education ranging from Black farming heritage, to soil ecology, permaculture design and farm business planning. It will also assist the apprentices with access to and participation in USDA programs.

    Empower Project still needs your help! They are currently raising funds in order to assist in start-up costs and materials for the farm, along with purchasing their own land in the future. Click here to support Empower Project to meet their goals!


    by Deborah Fisher

    Image courtesy of Deborah Fisher

    This summer has been a “change over” for many of us. Time to try something new! For the past 25 years I have been selling flowers at the farmers market in State College. This Spring we started a flower CSA called Shared Earth, where customers prepay for a set number of bouquets delivered once a week. Now we are opening a self serve farm stand for customers to pick up at Julian Woods. In addition to flowers we will be offering seasonal produce grown in our gardens and greenhouse.


    With Eric Jackson

    Sept 2, 7:00 pm – 8:30pm

    Join Zoom Meeting

    Eric Jackson of Black Yield Institute will facilitate a discussion about how community land trusts (CLT’s) can support and engage in obligatory reparations. Eric will frame the discussion by sharing the contemporary and historical context of reparations as well as different pathways to reparations. Then we will dive into a discussion about what this can look like practically for CLT’s, with a focus on School of Living’s CLT model. How can CLT’s transition more land into Black ownership and/or utilization? In what ways can CLT’s help retain existing lands with Black ownership? How can CLT’s support Black leaseholders that are living on CLT land? Please be aware that SOL’s CLT model is different from most urban CLTs that focus on affordable housing. If you are not familiar with SOL’s CLT model, please watch the first 43 minutes of this recorded webinar, “Introduction to School of Living’s CLT Model,” prior to the discussion. You are also encouraged to learn about reparations before this webinar. Here is a list of resources about reparations that will be helpful in self education. The essay by Douglass DeCandia, Reparations toward a more just and beautiful world, might be a good place to start. This event will be open to the public. Come with your ideas and solutions and questions!

    Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 8.57.40 AM
    Image courtesy of Eric Jackson

    Eric Jackson is an organizer, educator, and filmmaker, humbly serving as the visionary and a co-founder of Black Yield Institute, committed to building a movement toward Black Land and Food Sovereignty in Baltimore. Currently, he and his team are committed to a 1.25 acre urban agriculture operation and building a cooperatively-owned grocery store in South Baltimore, while also conducting Black-led research, facilitating political education, and organizing an action network.

    Eric has over a decade of experience working in and with communities operating programming and helping people to build power and address a myriad of issues, including food inequities. A Baltimore native from the Cherry Hill Community, Eric is the recipient of numerous awards and a public speaker who has presented hundreds of addresses and workshops to diverse groups about food sovereignty, building power, and establishing strong organizations to address complex social issues, specific to people of African Descent. He is affirmed in and secured this work through the love of his family and friends, especially the brilliance of his Queen, Diara, and four children, Oryan, Erian, Amir, & Kamau!


    October 10, 2020


    The Coop at StellaLou Farm is offering an autumnal community event themed on the acts of giving and taking from each other and the earth.

    The interactive components of this happening ask participants to engage in an exchange of resources: creativity, labor, perspective, and food. We ask our community to symbolically interact with this cycle, giving up something for something else. Restoring and exchanging knowledge, connection with each other, and connection with the earth.

    October 10, 2020

    Click for details. Registration is required.


    by Sunny Rehler living in the State College, PA area

    Dear Goddess of Water,

    Please have mercy!

    All of your children

    Are dry and thirsty.

    Please send your gifts

    Across Centre County,

    We pray for the gifts

    Of your Blessings and Bounty!

    Dear Goddess of Air,

    We honor you as one source

    of our vitality

    and life's- force.

    Benefits are many from Earth-Spirit,

    Grounding our bodies, providing our food

    Which sustains our bodies

    And improves our mood.

    We all depend on dear Fire-Spirit,

    His sun sends its rays

    To cook our food

    And brighten our days.

    Goddess of Water,

    Please hear our refrain!

    We are dry and thirsty,

    Please let it rain!



    Flight from the City: A School of Living Documentary

    Matt Tennyson is collaborating with School of Living (SOL) to create a unique documentary to spread the word about communal living. This way of life can be a revolutionary way forward towards a more sustainable, harmonious, and peaceful world. With your donation, we can support Matt to complete the production, editing, and release of this important film.

    Stellar Roots

    Stellar Roots is a collective of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people rooted in healing and in service of land based community living. They have been operating as a partner of the School of Living Land Trust since 2018 and are working and living on the Itsodi land, a School of Living land trust property. Learn how you can support this project. Note that Stellar Roots is not a non-profit organization and your donation will not be tax deductible.

    Empower Project

    Please, read our leading article about this, most recent, fiscally sponsored project of School of Living. Your support will help them with start-up costs and materials for their farm as well as to secure their own land.


    • Save the date: Eric Jackson of Black Yield Institute will join us for our monthly Zoomcast on September 2, 2020 at 7-8:30. Watch for Zoom details.

    • From Michaelann: For gardening resources and free tutorials including how to grow ginger, I've been checking out Fruition Seeds. Though they are located in zone 5, the information is really useful. They also have a fantastic educational instagram account to follow.

    • Keystone Tree Crops Cooperative is "introducing a model for generating right livelihood and economic equitability for those who work with bioregional tree crops."

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