Better Farm Echoes Green

Echoing Green, an organization founded in 1987 that "invests in and supports outstanding emerging social entrepreneurs to launch new organizations that deliver bold, high-impact solutions," is accepting applications for its next round of fellowship recipients.

The two-year fellowship program offers support to social entrepreneurs and their organizations to "solve deeply rooted social, environmental, economic, and political inequities" so all individuals may reach their potential. The organization has to date invested more than $28 million in seed funding to more than 471 social entrepreneurs and their innovative organizations.

Better Farm applied yesterday. Here's a quick recap of some main points we covered in the paperwork:

Q. As specifically as possible, demonstrate the need for your organization.
14.7% of people in Jefferson County are at or below poverty level. Paired with the fact that fewer than 14% of Redwood residents pursue diplomas beyond high school, the area has few alternative education options. An injection into Redwood of affordable or free public resources to expand cultural understanding, push for ecological advances in science and construction, and open people's minds in regard to what education can be, will drive the community forward in ways currently unavailable to local residents. The community [sic] will benefit by bringing artists, writers, thinkers, green builders, and the like into its folds. The surge in residency and visits will invigorate Redwood's economy; and the educational opportunities will drive high school graduation rates and percentages of those pursuing education beyond high school.

Q. Help Echoing Green visualize what your organization will do. Describe the specific programs that your organization will engage in to deliver your long-term outcomes.
A. Residencies: We will offer workshare and residency programs in which college students, high-schoolers, and people of all stripes and persuasions can come together to live communally and work on different projects. In exchange for inexpensive or free rent, an individual will commit to bettering his or herself and the encompassing space—by participating in or teaching a workshop, performing home reparis or maintenance, tending the herb or vegetable garden, or managing the compost.

Workshops: We will hold courses ranging from a few hours, to a day, to a weekend or week in any number of subject matters to bring new ideas to the community-at-large. Whether green building, solar installation, pottery, welding, writing, yoga, or alternative housing structures, Better Farm will hold itself to a strict standard of revolutionary ideas and curriculum to ensure new ideas are the norm.

Events: Through festivals concerts, kids' days, arts & crafts, day camp, and celebrations open to the public, Better Farm will strive to be a community center for all Redwood residents, where eople can gather in a productive setting to share ideas.

Those selected for Phase 2 of Echoing Green's Fellowship Application will be notified by 5 p.m. EST Jan. 8, 2010.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.