Help West Jackson move from Defense to Offense by supporting Cooperation Jackson’s two critical development projects
Our first task is to match a $15,000 challenge grant. We aim to exceed this match by December 24th! We can do it with your help. Help us meet this match and make a generous donation today.
Who We Are and What We Do
Cooperation Jackson is an emerging vehicle for sustainable community development, collective ownership and economic democracy in Jackson, Mississippi. Our mission is to build a solidarity economy anchored by a network of cooperatives and worker-owned, democratically self-managed enterprises and support systems and institutions. We currently have a Community Land Trust that has over 40 parcels of land; an urban farming cooperative called Freedom Farms; a lawn care cooperative called The Green Team; and an emerging small-scale digital fabrication factory or Fab Lad, called the Community Production Cooperative, which will officially launch in January 2019.
After nearly 5 years of growth through trial and error, we are ready to take the next stage in our strategic development. The core components of this next stage center on the expansion of our Fannie Lou Hamer Community Land Trust and the piloting of our EcoVillage development.
These two initiatives will place Cooperation Jackson in a rather unique position. There are few working class organizations in the United States in position to dictate the terms of development in their community. When we purchase the “Ida B. Wells” plaza and develop deeply affordable housing on our Ewing Street land trust holdings, Cooperation Jackson will then truly occupy a unique position in this country.
The Ida B. Wells Plaza
What we are calling the “Ida B. Wells Plaza” is currently the West Park Shopping Center. It is a commercial plaza located at 1028 W. Capitol Street in West Jackson intersecting with Rose/Monument Street. For years this shopping center served as a vital community institution in West Jackson as it served as the home of one of the last remaining Black owned grocery stores in the country, Jackson Cash and Carry. By including the plaza in our community land trust, we will preserve the property as a community institution.
Cooperation Jackson is going to use the ”Ida B. Wells" Plaza to create a cooperative grocery store in the community and provide permanently affordable commercial space for cooperatives, small businesses and artisans. We are going to build out the grocery store in phases. We project that it will take 5 years to complete its development. The first phase of its development will entail utilizing the old grocery facility to create a aquaponic and hydroponic cooperative and a new cafe and catering cooperative, both which we intend to gradually merge with and help create the foundation of the cooperative grocery store. The second phase will entail us utilizing the overall space to serve as a swap meet, farmers market, and food hub serving Black farmers in Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas in the main. These two steps will lay the foundation for the cooperative grocery store we envision over the course of time.
The purchase of the plaza will also put Cooperation Jackson in a strategic position towards determining the course of development on W. Capitol Avenue, which is a major entry way into Downtown Jackson. By possessing this critical land holding we will be in position to help contain the forces of gentrification in alliance with other community partners, and help prevent the forced displacement of the Black working class residents living along the Capitol Street corridor.
In addition to helping us hold the Fortification Line, which denotes the Northern boundary of the territory we are trying hard to preserve in West Jackson (see the “Build and Fight” chapter in our book “Jackson Rising” for more details), the purchase of this property we would enable us to gradually expand the based of cooperative economics and community production in West Jackson.
The Ewing Street Eco-Village Pilot Project
The Ewing Street Eco-Village Pilot Project will be our first major test run at establishing an EcoVillage in West Jackson. What is an EcoVillage? We use the Global EcoVillage Network definition, which defines and EcoVillage as an intentional or traditional community using local participatory processes to holistically integrate ecological, economic, and social and cultural dimensions of sustainability in order to regenerate social and natural environments.
Since our founding in 2014, we have envisioned constructing an EcoVillage to create a viable live-work community in West Jackson that would enable us to fight gentrification and displacement and create a sustainable way of life for everyone who lives within it. The groundwork we’ve laid so far has been to establish of a community land trust and begin building ecologically conscious worker cooperatives. We are also beginning to incorporate digital fabrication construction techniques that will allow us to build deeply affordable sustainable housing and communal structures.
The Pilot Project will be facilitated or “stewarded” by the Community Land Trust. The Community Production Cooperative will build our first green housing units and communal facilities on the properties based on human centered design principles utilizing digital fabrication building processes and techniques. Freedom Farms will take the lead in designing the permaculture outlay of Ewing Street to make sure that our development is in harmony with our habitat. The Green Team will manage the landscaping on the properties. And our goal is to unveil our first model structure on Ewing Street by the end of 2019.
Our overall goal is to raise $200,000 for these two initiatives by the end of March 2019, through online “go fund me” drives, community fundraising events, major donor solicitation and matching fund challenges. Our goal for December is to raise $100,000.
Again, our first task is to match a $15,000 challenge grant. We aim to exceed this match by December 24th! We can do it with your help. Make a generous donation today.
You can help us in the following ways:
1. Make a generous tax-deductible contribution to our organization online or via check or money order.
2. Organize a fundraiser in your community to elicit the support of your family, friends, community members and associates interested in supporting or investing in transformative projects.
3. Spread the word of this initiative and encourage your family, friends, associates, business partners and community members to support it.
You can make an online donation at www.CooperationJackson.org or write a check to Cooperation Jackson and mail to P.O. Box 1932 Jackson, MS 39215.