Sustainable Communities Initiative
The Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) is about how we collectively develop place, space, culture, institutions and businesses in ways that sustain our communities socially, culturally, ecologically and economically. Our aim is to help stabilize rents, provide affordable “green” housing, create quality living wage jobs, and lay a foundation for the sustainable transformation of Jackson’s economy through cooperative enterprise and solidarity economics. We know this is related to and will serve the practice building towards self-governance models, community control and self-determination.
SCI encompases an eco-system of not only cooperatives, but interconnected systems. Insync with our work to build a caring, social, solidarity economy, SCI sets out to establish a Community Land Trust, Housing Cooperatives and an “Eco-Village” model.
Our Vision of Sustainable Community Development
We see the following as foundational tools to realizing the overall mission and goals of Cooperation Jackson.
Fannie Lou Hamer Community Land Trust (CLT): Cooperation Jackson has purchased vacant lots, abandoned homes and commercial facilities in the West Jackson neighborhood surrounding our central hub at the Balagoon Center. These properties and prospective properties are currently owned by the State of Mississippi, the City of Jackson, and private owners. We are organizing land into a Community Land Trust so they are removed from the speculative market and dedicated for sustainable communal endeavors whether it be housing, playgrounds or corner stores. The CLT model provides a way to collectively steward land and housing and to provide housing that is permanently affordable. It puts control in the hands of a community to decide what it wants to develop on it’s collective land.
Housing Co-operatives: We aim to turn a significant portion of the land and properties in the CLT into Cooperative spaces, like Housing Cooperatives. Housing Cooperatives will provide quality affordable housing and stable rents to help sustain and build vibrant working class communities in Jackson. Within the Eco-Village model, we aim for our facilities including housing to create a significant degree of its own energy and waste management infrastructure so that we can effectively and efficiently use alternative sources of energy and eliminate waste.
Creating Interconnected Cooperatives
Connected to establishing an eco-village model with a Community Land Trust, Housing Cooperatives, and ways for housing in general to shift towards harmony with the environment are opportunities to develop supporting Cooperative enterprises that can tap into the skills and talents present in West Jackson and greater Jackson.
Construction Cooperative: Establishing a construction cooperative is vital to the development of an eco-village and eco-system we invision. We see the cooperative starting by handling all of the building work needed for the CLT. Develop the Housing Co-ops, rebuilding and refurbishing abandoned homes and building new homes on some of the vacant lots or demolished sites.
We believe it is possible to build a comprehensive Construction Cooperative that will have the skill and capacity to build homes, commercial buildings, infrastructure repair and development work. However, the Construction Cooperative will
Waste Management/Recycling Cooperative: This Coop will help achieve the aim of our Eco-Village towards “zero waste” principles and practices. We know a comprehensive Waste Management and Recycling Cooperative is critical towards mitigate the disastrous path towards ecological destruction we are living through. We see this Coop being able to emerge by serving the waste management and recycling needs of Cooperation Jackson’s Balagoon Center, the Obadele Community Production Center, the Fab Lab, housing cooperatives and the surrounding area’s neighborhood homes. This coop will partner with our current Freedom Farms, Green Team Landscaping and have the ability to support any materials used in production and consumed are not wasted and instead get reintegrated into productive use for all of the coops and community use. The growth of the Coop would include expanding to other neighborhoods in West Jackson area and ultimately grow to a scale and create a number of sustainable, quality, living wage jobs for Jacksonians.
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