The Community Production Initiative

The Community Production Initiative is a campaign to turn Jackson into an innovative hub of sustainable manufacturing and fabrication that will help build and expand “community wealth”[1] in the city. The first phase of this initiative is the development of a Center for Community Production. The Center will be anchored by a Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab), and serve as a Fab Academy training center, a multi-stakeholder cooperative, a coding and digital programming innovation hub, a maker space[2] and the city’s first hub of community production.

In the effort to build this innovative hub and advance our mission of creating a democratic economy, Cooperation Jackson is conducting a fundraising drive to build the Center for Community Production, which will further the cause of building a dynamic, innovative, technology embracing local economy that will enhance our Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI)[3].  The Sustainable Communities Initiative is an effort to create a Just Transition[4] for Jackson from extractive energy and industries, and to build a model sustainable community in West Jackson anchored by a Community Land Trust (CLT) that will be home to a “live-work” Eco-Village and an integrated network of green cooperative enterprises.

The Sustainable Communities Initiative Overview

Turning the Vision into Reality: Our Needs
In order to build the “city of the future”[5] we need your help. We need to raise $600,000 to establish the Center for Community Production by mid-January 2017. Why mid-January 2017? Because the next Fab Academy begins at the last week of January 2017 and we want to have our Fab Lab in place by that time so that we can complete the training our three existing Fab Lab interns are currently receiving from INCITE FOCUS[6], a Detroit, Michigan based Fab Lab, to enable them to become fully certified technicians, and to offer the Academy courses to more members of our community to expand the number of certified technicians.

The $600,000 we are seeking to raise will cover the following primary expenses:

This Initiative is an Investment in the Future of our Community

The Center for Community Development initiative is an effort to democratize the 4th generation of industrial innovation and technology being rapidly developed and put them to maximum social use in order to humanize the new social relationships they will foster. Utilizing this technology in this manner will help us address several essential production needs in our community, like the need to create “sustainable” or “green” manufacturing businesses, and our need for quality, affordable “off the grid” green housing, which fab lab production makes possible.

What is Community Production?
Community Production is industrial manufacturing and fabrication based on a combination of 3rd and 4th generation industrial technology, namely the combination of digital technology and automated production with 3-D printing and quantum computing, that is collectively owned and democratically operated by members of geographically and/or intentionally defined communities.

What is a Fab Lab?
A Fab Lab is defined by “a technical prototyping platform for innovation and invention, providing stimulus for local entrepreneurship. A Fab Lab is also a platform for learning and innovation: a place to play, to create, to learn, to mentor, to invent.” It contains some of the following standard items, “industrial-grade fabrication and electronics tools, wrapped in open source software and programs written by researchers at MIT’s Center for Bits & Atoms.” They also contain “a laser cutter that makes 2D and 3D structures, a sign cutter that plots in copper to make antennas and flex circuits, a high-resolution NC milling machine that makes circuit boards and precision parts, a large wood router for building furniture and housing, and a suite of electronic components and programming tools for low-cost, high-speed microcontrollers for on-site rapid circuit prototyping.” [7]

Through our partnership with INCITE FOCUS[8], a Detroit, Michigan based Fab Lab and Center of Community Production, Cooperation Jackson is going to bring this level of production and training to Jackson to create a “living futures” city for the people of Jackson.

How You Can Contribute
The Center for Community Production is going to be a multi-stakeholder cooperative. The cooperative shares are going to be held by three entities: Cooperation Jackson, the Fab Lab Work-Owner Technicians, and Community Stakeholders.

Community Stakeholders
We are seeking to recruit a minimum of 200 Community Stakeholders by mid-January. 200 Community Stakeholders purchasing $1,000 shares will generate $200,000 or 1/3 of the estimated total.

National Investors
We are seeking to recruit a minimum of 200 National Investors. These are individuals willing to make a $1,000 capital gift to Cooperation Jackson for the explicit purpose of raising capital to support this initiative. 200 National Investors contributing a minimum $1,000 each would generate $200,000 or another 1/3 of the estimated total for this initiative.

Philanthropic PRI (Program Related Investments)
We are seeking to secure the remaining 1/3 of the estimated total from various Philanthropies willing to make a Program Related Investment in the Community Production Initiative to help us secure the facility and equipment needed. Two philanthropies providing $100,000 each in investment will cover the remaining 1/3 or four providing a minimum of $50,000 each in investment will also cover the remaining balance.

Partnerships and Investment
We are also open to and seeking venture capital and other forms of “non extractive” investment, that we will accept in various forms, particularly low to no-interest loans, via private equity contributors or partnerships with social capital investors, businesses, and educational, research and innovation labs that share our vision of community production.

To purchase a membership share or to make a contribution or investment, please contact us at or call 601.355.7224.  Foundations and Philanthropists wanting to make a PRI investment should contact our Co-Director, Kali Akuno, directly at or via call or text (no voice messages please) at 323.422.6025.


[1] “Community Wealth” is a term popularized by the Democracy Collaborative to describe the social and solidarity economy and its impact on local economies. For more information see

[2] A "maker space" is a physical location where people gather to share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network and build. Definition provided by ELI 7 things you should know about Makerspaces at

[3] For more information on the Sustainable Communities Initiative see

[4] For more information on the “Jackson Just Transition Plan” visit

[5] The Mayoral Administration of Chokwe Lumumba committed Jackson, MS to becoming a sustainable city in the Fall of 2013. This commitment was made in the “Jackson Rising” policy statement of the administration which can be found at

[6] For more information on INCITE FOCUS visit their website at

[7]  See Fab Foundation definition at 

[8] see for more information on INCITE FOCUS.