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Orgs at Work: Build the Future

It cannot be overstated: 2020 was a year of tragedy and devastation, revealing chasms in class, race, healthcare, and the systems of oppression that have stood for centuries.

Nationwide protests and social media armchair activism have caused many of us to take a hard look at our privileges.

We ask ourselves if we have done enough to help. We feel inspired to act, but exhausted by the magnitude of all that needs fixing. 

There is a quote that goes, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” In that spirit, we've compiled a list of groups working to create change in the trades, farming and arts and crafts, the industries responsible for many of Dovetail Workwear community members' livelihoods. Read on to find out how you can get involved. 

Nurturing Roots members with shovels

Nyema (L) and Olivia (R) on the Nurturing Roots Farm. Photo: Thomas B

Nurturing Roots Farm is a Pacific Northwest farming program focused on educating youth & community members on healthy food choices. They create community through gardening and take-home grow boxes.

Constructing Hope Safety Training
A class member suited up during Constructing Hope's Safety Training (photo via Constructing Hope staff)

Constructing Hope rebuilds the lives of people in the Portland Metropolitan area through skills-training and education in the construction industry. Their pre-apprenticeship program serves BIPOC (Black, indigenous, people of color); people who have been formerly incarcerated; and low-income adults. A youth summer camp provides skills, motivation and construction career pathways.

Young Farmers Coalition at the US Capitol

A group from the National Young Farmers Coalition on a lobbying trip to the US Capitol (photo by Jessica Manley)

The National Young Farmers Coalition is a grassroots network of young farmers and ranchers working to build a brighter, more equitable future for U.S. agriculture. 

Oregon Tradeswomen Member Tiara Allgood

Oregon Tradeswomen Member Tiara Allgood

Oregon Tradeswomen helps transform lives by building community and economic independence through empowerment, training, career education, advocacy, and leadership development in the skilled trades. They offer free training and support to help women start successful careers in the skilled construction trades, leading to long-term financial stability with living wages, healthcare, and other benefits for their families. Oregon Tradeswomen also works in coalitions and with industry to provide training and advocate for policies which create equity and long-term systemic changes in the industry.

A Detroit Public Schools student waters plants at her FoodCorps program FoodCorps AmeriCorps Service Member Sanaya Irani waters plants at her school garden in Detroit, Michigan.

Together with communities, FoodCorps connects kids to healthy food in schools. As some schools reopen and others shift education online this year, their nationwide network of AmeriCorps members are serving their communities during COVID-19 in new ways. From sharing online video lessons about cooking and gardening to supporting school nutrition staff with emergency food distribution to maintaining community and school gardens, corps members continue to foster a love of nutrition through food with their students and communities. FoodCorps leverages its policy platform to advocate for policies that increase food access and nutrition education. 

NEW marches during a pre-COVID Labor Day parade

NEW on the move at a pre-COVID Labor Day parade (Photo via NEW)

Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) is on a mission to prepare, train, and place women in careers in the skilled construction, utility, and maintenance trades. NEW helps women in the New York metropolitan area achieve economic independence and a secure future for themselves and their families.

The Mudbone Grown crew

The Mudbone Grown farm crew (photo via Mudbone Grown)

Mudbone Grown believes in creating kinship, fostering cultural pride and community through the cultivation of land ownership, food production, and community building in the Portland metro area. At the start of COVID, through community efforts and donations, they have been able to pay 15 Black farm workers a living wage and provide produce and other essential items to over 400 black families.

Hope Renovations hits the lumber yard

Hope Renovations trainees (who are graduating this week!) with instructor Sandy DeWeese (far L) 

Hope Renovations inspires hope in women and older adults for a joyful and fulfilling future. They empower women to pursue living-wage jobs in the construction trades, via their hands-on training program, which provides repairs and renovations that enable older adults to stay in their homes as they age.

Mirabai of Black Futures Farms takes a big bite of a brussels sprout plant
Mirabai of Black Futures Farms takes a big bite of cruciferous veg

Black Futures Farm restores the connection of Black people to the land in order to build community. They provide culturally-responsive, farm-centered experiences and education for Black and brown people.

A Piece in Progress at the Experience Collective Studios
A Piece in Progress at the Experience Collective Studios

Experience Collective is a multi-disciplinary design and fabrication studio that specializes in creating one-of-a-kind artwork and installations. Their work transforms otherwise ordinary spaces into something extraordinary, all through art. They are advocates for arts education, collaboration and the power to inspire through large-scale art.

Little Wild Things Farmers with some fresh-grown produce
Little Wild Things farmers show off some fresh-grown produce

Little Wild Things Farm is a woman-owned and operated urban farm producing salad greens, microgreens, and edible flowers on less than 1/4 acre of urban space in the heart of Washington, D.C.  They donate one salad share for every 20 shares sold. Each purchase supports their mission to inspire the next generation of farmers to build a brighter and more sustainable agricultural future.

Safety first! A Girls Build student practices her drill skills

Girls Build is a non-profit that inspires young women ages 8-14 to harness the power of their creativity and physical skills through after-school classes and summer camps that explore the basics of building, including carpentry, plumbing, electricity, concrete, sheet metal and much more! Girls Build has just begun to offer additional classes for adult women.