DONATION: Student Farmworker Alliance

This week, I’m making a donation to the Student/Farmworker Alliance:

I’ll be making this donation tonight at “Jam for Justice,” an exciting music and art event brought to you by local SFA organizers in order to raise funds, raise awareness, and have a good time in the process.

Jam for Justice is tonight at 9 pm at Tres Hombres in Carbondale. Come have a drink (if you drink), listen to awesome music, and support farm workers all in one night! Bands include: The Ivas John Band, Nighty Night, The Jug Dealers, and Matt Mings on acoustic guitar. There will also be Live Art for auction by Justin Rosenfield and raffle tickets for sale. Raffle prizes include: a $50 Longbranch gift certificate, 2 free entrees from Global, fair trade chocolate from Town Square Market, gift certificate for Fat Patties, a two-topping Pagliais pizza, and more! Cover charge is $5 at the door — and I know economic times are tough, but this is cheaper than a movie, and far more entertaining than anything Hollywood has to offer at the moment.

In case you’re not familiar with them, the Student/Farmworker Alliance (SFA) is a national network of students and youth organizing with farmworkers to eliminate sweatshop conditions and modern-day slavery in the fields. They work in alliance with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a membership-led organization of mostly Latino, Haitian, and Mayan Indian farmworkers and other low-wage workers based in Southwest Florida. They understand their work – which formally began in 2000 – as part of larger movements for economic and social justice.

Most of my donations toward Causes will be going toward purely local organizations. However, the local supporters of the SFA and CIW have been very active and productive in this cause for several years now, and I want to support their local work in the service of a broader social justice cause. Their work has offered concrete material support for the SFA and CIW while also inspiring local people, especially young people, to get involved in this and other solidarity work. Solidarity with working people in other regions is very important, and these local organizers are leading the effort to ensure that our food and services aren’t brought to us through the exploitation of workers in other regions.

If you’re fortunate enough to have money in your pocket after you’ve paid for food, shelter, utilities, and so on, consider making a donation to Student/Farmworker Alliance, either by attending Jam for Justice or contacting local organizers Erica Dodt [ ] and Katie Lenza [ ]. You can also contact them if you would prefer to get involved by volunteering, participating in future events, etc. They’ve done some great work for the cause, but that work will only reach its full potential with proper support from people like you.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for any support you can send their way!

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DONATION: Food Works

This week, I’m making a donation to Food Works.

Food Works was formed to draw attention to local food, local farmers, and issues of social and environmental health. Their mission is “Local, sustainable food systems development for Southern Illinois.”

I’m a really big fan of local foods and local food systems. Here are just a few reasons why:

(1) Eating local food reduces your carbon footprint. In other words, if you live here in Carbondale, it causes less pollution to ship your food from Cobden to Carbondale (about 15 miles) than it does to ship it from California to Carbondale (about 2,000 miles) or South America to Carbondale (about 3,000 to 5,000 miles).

(2) Eating local food supports the local economy. You know how people are always complaining about how the U.S. is in a recession, and how Southern Illinois is even worse off than the national average? Well, if we buy local food, most if not all of that money goes to people who live and work in our area. They, in turn, will spend at least some of that money locally too. If you buy non-local food at a corporate chain, the opposite happens. Most of that money goes out of the region, and most of it will be spent out of the region — or hoarded by shareholders in the form of corporate profit.

(3) Local foods are fresher, tastier, and more nutritious. Our advances in refrigeration and preservation technology have made it so that we can ship food thousands of miles and store it for long periods of time without it spoiling. This is a good option to have in some cases. However, some foods — like greens, vegetables, and fruits — suffer a loss in quality from this treatment. Local foods are fresher because they’ve been harvested more recently — sometimes on the same day that you buy them!

(4) Local foods bring the power back to local people. Currently, almost all of the major decisions about our food supply are made by far-away corporate and government bureaucrats who know nothing of our local conditions, local needs, and local perspectives on food issues. They pass regulations which lower the standards of our food quality, and they cut corners for the sake of profit in ways that put our health at risk. Local food systems allow local people to reclaim power over the food decisions that affect their lives and the state of our region.

Food Works is doing some very important work to develop our local food systems in an ecologically and socially sustainable manner. They initiated a Community Food Assessment to discover what the state of our food system is here in Southern Illinois, and they’re working on developing a new and transitional farmer training program, as well as promoting the many good foods already available here in Southern Illinois.

If you’re fortunate enough to have money in your pocket after you’ve paid for food, shelter, utilities, and so on, consider making a donation to Food Works. They’ve got some good projects in the works, but those projects will only reach their full potential with the proper funding.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for any support you can send their way!

Posted in Uncategorized

DONATION: Gaia House Interfaith Center

This week, I’m making a donation to the Gaia House Interfaith Center:

The Gaia House Interfaith Center is a local community center with a 60-year tradition of serving the Southern Illinois community and SIUC campus with programs that address the burning issues of our times. They are a gathering place for community events and a focal point for social justice activity by people of all faiths and beliefs.

Over the years, this community center has played a pivotal role in my life and my community involvement. This is where I first went to a Student Environmental Center meeting, which was my first introduction to the environmental movement. It’s where I had my first job after receiving my bachelor’s degree. It’s also directly or indirectly the way that I’ve met many of the people who make me feel at home here in Carbondale.

Nowadays, the Gaia House Interfaith Center serves the community through a variety of exciting programs:

* a spacious and charming building where people can host meetings, dinners, and other events;
* weekly dinners such as the InterVeg vegetarian potluck and Rice & Spice international slow foods dinner;
* annual events like the Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner;
* a lending library covering many spiritual, ecological, and political topics;
* a long-term home for numerous spiritual, social justice, interfaith, inter-religious, and multicultural organizations and events;
* weekly Theology on Tap discussion of religious and spiritual issues over the beverage of your choice at a local pub & grill;
* the Gaia House Development Group which is working on a project to rebuild the Gaia House as an ecological dorm and community center that will serve as a model of sustainability for our region;
* and other miscellaneous programs and resources too numerous to mention.

Maintaining physical meeting and office space for all of these groups, events, and resources takes a lot of work and a lot of money! Some of the center’s support comes from local religious, spiritual, and social justice groups who use their facilities or support their work. But the rest of it comes from people like you and me who care about all of the exciting things that the Gaia House Interfaith Center brings to the community.

If you’re fortunate enough to have money in your pocket after you’ve paid for food, shelter, utilities, and so on, I’d like you to consider making a donation to the Gaia House Interfaith Center. The diverse and progressive programs and activities that they support are a big part of what make Carbondale a great place to be.

If you don’t have any spare cash, consider volunteering. They have a big work day coming up this Saturday from 9:30 am until lunchtime, with free Fair-Trade coffee for volunteers, and lunch if you stick around that long! They also have a variety of other ongoing volunteer opportunities.

If nothing else, you can always support the Gaia House Interfaith Center by showing up for one of their events or programs. They’re always happy to see new (and returning) faces, and you’ll be happy to receive some good food, or good conversation, or good food for thought — or all of the above.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for any support that you can send their way!

Posted in Uncategorized

DONATION: The Women’s Center

I’ve been working on new ways to provide and encourage support for local community groups. As part of this effort, I’ve decided to start donating money. Given my low income and growing debt, I don’t have much to give. But I’ve decided that as long as I have income, however little, the nonprofit organizations that do so much for this community will have income too.

My first donation is going to the Women’s Center:

The Women’s Center provides many helpful services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. They have a 24-hour crisis hotline (618-529-2324); emergency shelter; food, supplies, and transportation; individual and group support and counseling; information, referrals, and education; legal, medical, and personal advocacy. Basically, if you are a survivor of domestic abuse and/or sexual assault, they will find a way to help you with what you need.

How are they able to do all of these great things? First of all, the staff and volunteers are the ones who make it all possible. Second, their budget comes from a mix of city funding, state funding, and donations made by people like you.

If you’re fortunate enough to have money in your pocket after you’ve paid for food, shelter, utilities, and so on, I’d like you to consider making a donation to the Women’s Center. They do some of their own fundraisers like the Taste of Chocolate, and those exciting events help to keep the center going too. But they accept donations year-round from people like you who care about the work that they do. You can even make a donation in someone else’s name and the Women’s Center will send them a nice card for their birthday or other special occasion.

Here’s the link to their donation page:

If you don’t have any money, you may be able to help them with some of the supplies on their Needs List. You can also volunteer your time in a variety of ways:

If nothing else, you can help by letting people know about their services and participating in events like Take Back The Night.

This issue is important to me because I know far too many women and men who are survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The people at the Women’s Center work hard every day to help these survivors and do whatever they can to raise awareness and reduce the rates of violence and assault. Personally, I think that they deserve ten times the funding that they get for the work that they do. Until that happens, each of us can do our part to support them, whether that means making a donation, or volunteering, or simply being aware of the work they do and spreading awareness about it in your own way.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for any support that you can send their way!

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My name is Treesong. I'm a father, author, talk radio host, and Real Life Superhero. I live in Carbondale, Southern Illinois. I write novels, short stories, and poetry, mostly about the climate.

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