The Gathering was a significant day to anchor our local community and social economy to a larger movement for change. Over 350 participants, presenters, and volunteers came together at St. John’s high school to learn, laugh, and experience Community Economic Development in action.
The day began with a blessing from Elder Mae Louise Campbell from the Clan Mothers Healing Village, followed by a panel from the project exploring their new models of existence that are deeply anchored in community and connection to the land. They are embodying the heart and spirit of CED. Their social enterprise, Mother Earth Construction, creates family and feeds hope. Val, Jamie, Tia, Danny, and Amanda spoke about their experiences in this sisterhood.
Christine Clarke, from Freedom Dreams Cooperative Education, explored the concept of economic justice: anchoring in community through the cooperative model to transform our workplaces towards care and have agency over our own work When we deeply care for each other in our organizations and enterprises, they can be sites of personal and community transformation.
After a shared meal, participants came together for the Gathering Afternoon Plenary. Anny Chen and Laura Tyler led an exercise to solidify learning about collaboration and immediately put it into practice.
Our collective knowledge and experience grew with two workshop opportunities during the day. Workshops were presented by local community builders on topics like intercultural storytelling, creating inclusive spaces, rural CED, cooperatives, and social enterprise. Participants learned from panels and presentations, from small group sharing, and through community building networking games.
Throughout the day, greater collaboration was facilitated, solidified, and propelled toward a collective vision for change. The Gathering continues to serve as an anchor for community builders.
Photos by Travis Ross
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