Hey, it’s Sachie Hayakawa, Movement Engagement Manager at NEC, and I’m excited to share more about our Youth & Frontline Regranting Program grantees as part of NEC’s #MakingWaves series. Our grantees are turning tides in the new economy movement – join them and NEC by making a contribution today!
Members of Chaplains on the Harbor, an economic justice organization on the Washington coast, launched a community-run farm called Harbor Roots in 2017. NEC’s Youth & Frontline Regranting Program supported Harbor Roots’ farmer apprentice program during a critical time in its launch. Here’s their story:
“A rural logging and fishing community, with industry in decline, Grays Harbor County can feel isolated and forgotten by the rest of the world. When the timber economy collapsed, the region was left with very few jobs and little hope. But many of the people didn’t leave. We stayed. In a place where 46% of us are on public assistance and 1 out of 25 are homeless, we have weathered every storm since, and have taken care of each other when no one else would. No one knows better how to revive this county than the people who have struggled most in Grays Harbor. We are people living on the streets, people who gave our lives to the timber industry, people who are dealing with addiction, people who have seen time in jail. We are the lifeblood of this community.”
Harbor Roots is building a new story for Grays Harbor County. This farm and CSA program provides living wage jobs for formerly addicted, incarcerated, and homeless young people, in addition to wrap around support they need to rebuild a thriving community in Grays Harbor. They are reclaiming the right to fresh food, to sustainable use of the land, and to an economy that benefits everyone, not just the few at the top.
As Chaplains on the Harbor organizer Aaron Scott puts it, “We seek to hire them to rebuild the physical ruins of Grays Harbor County, to feed local people who are starving in the midst of natural abundance, and to always keep an eye on the horizon by studying and learning from other people’s struggles for liberation. We believe that nobody’s more qualified to be a ‘restorer of streets to live in’ (Isaiah 58) than a kid who’s had to live on the streets for most of their life.”
Hannah Jones, Harbor Roots’ Farm Manager, adds “The seed grant we got from NEC was critical in helping us jump-start Harbor Roots. Beyond that, the NEC staff and network were always offering further support to connect us with people doing similar work.”
All of NEC’s grantees are changing the current by building a new economy movement that truly values people and place. Will you join NEC in supporting our members and movement by making a donation today? Your donation will support NEC’s Youth & Frontline Regranting Program grantees, like Harbor Roots!