School of Living News
Welcome to our School of Living electronic newsletter where you can catch up on what is happening in our communities and SOL committee work. School of Living has six community land trusts in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Each is unique and active with projects and visions, businesses and cooperatives, people and partnerships.
Julian Woods: A Photo Story
Image courtesy of Lindsey Shuey
We are highlighting Lindsey Shuey and her beautiful documentation of Julian Woods Community (JWC). Here is the link to the full photo story of JWC. Please, be sure to take time to view her website which includes a short video of JWC. Lindsey tells about her connection with Julian Woods:
“Like many Penn State students, I had never heard of Julian Woods – let alone Julian, Pa. I learned of the community by chance one day when I met Deb Fisher at the Downtown State College Farmers Market. While I was photographing another vendor, she approached me about doing a story on her community. I needed a story topic for my photojournalism class, so I took her up on the offer and met with her in the following weekends. Over a period of weeks in the fall, Deb introduced me to the land and the people who live there. Before photographing Julian Woods, my work had mostly consisted of the Penn State and State College communities where I photograph for the Daily Collegian. Being able to experience Julian Woods allowed me to meet great and interesting people while making unique photographs. In addition, when I returned back to campus with the finished story, I was able to share the community with my classmates.”
Lindsey, we appreciate you for sharing this photographic story of JWC. You captured the quality of life in this community with wonderful sensitivity. Thank you, Deborah, for reaching out and connecting with the creative, talented people in your local community. This is a gift to us all.
The Praxis Committee is our newest committee of School of Living and it has been very active over the past year. It strives to support the ongoing alignment of SOL theory with SOL practice. It explores practical ways to implement existing SOL philosophy while supporting the evolution of that philosophy, toward the fulfillment of SOL’s highest potential. The co-chairs of this committee are Courtney Dowe and Taylor Quilty with members Karen Stupski, Brenda Carr, and Deborah Fisher. The committee’s unique contribution will help bring accountability to our evolving vision and mission. Thank you!
A Commitment to Social Justice
In 2018, Praxis Committee facilitated a review of SOL’s bylaws and associated documents while bringing inquiry to the needs of its members and communities. This groundwork led to consensus that “social justice is important.” A proposal was made to make this value explicit in the preamble to the bylaws. With such a statement, SOL can clearly communicate its commitment to social justice with the full support of the organization. Effective strategies for practice can, then, be developed and integrated into SOL’s educational programs, activities, and communities.
Courtney Dowe (co-chair of the Praxis committee) shared a google doc to begin coproduction of the social justice statement at the January, 2019 SOL quarterly meeting. She facilitated a discussion with SOL membership to consider statement language, placement of the statement in SOL documentation, and processes for making amendments to SOL documentation. Tentative language for the proposal is as follows:
“In an effort to fulfill its primary purpose to assist adults in the study and use of the accumulated wisdom of humankind, the School of Living through its educational programs, activities and communities shall strive to be inclusive of the experiences of all people including but not limited to those historically and currently oppressed on the basis of sex, gender expression, socio-economic status, race, ethnic heritage, religion/spirituality, migratory status, physical or developmental abilities. Further, it shall seek restorative justice for the historically and currently oppressed by promoting intergenerational, multicultural and multiracial access to, and stewardship of, social capital, economic wealth and political power.”
Feedback from SOL membership is encouraged. There will be a scheduled session to work with the membership on this action at the April 2019 quarterly meeting.
We are looking forward to sharing the progress on this important work!
|The Coop at StellaLou Farm
Image courtesy of StellaLou Farm
In January 2019, the School of Living Board approved fiscal sponsorship of a new project at StellaLou Farm in Cochranville, PA. You can read about the COOP project here.
Introducing Tightshift Laboring Cooperative
The SOL Land Committee is working with Tightshift Laboring Cooperative to complete the lease agreement on the Itsodi acres in Virginia. Juan Reid and
Allison Basile are members of SOL and they represent the Tightshift Laboring Cooperative. Tightshift just published their February newsletter. We have permission to include it here as an introduction to their work. We hope you will be moved to learn more, to share, and to support their cooperative!
Image courtesy of Tightshift Laboring Cooperative
Thank you Al and Juan for your vision and passion and diligence as you pursue this project. School of Living welcomes you warmly and we look forward to the completion of Itsodi land lease agreement. Stay tuned!
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