Seed Grant Superstars: 200+ Projects Sprout in All Shapes & Places

Because we at Shareable know that sharing projects can be tough to get off the ground, we believe it’s important to support these projects early on, especially in communities with fewer financial resources. By doing a successful sharing project together that addresses real needs with creativity, community and fun, a crucial, first step is realized in building a sharing city. We’ve seen many sharing projects provide the foundation for thriving local sharing communities and ultimately a sharing cities network.

When Shareable put out the call for sharing project seed grant proposals, we had no idea what was in store. Last year we had less than 50 applications and this year we received over 200!, most of them awesomely inspiring. From over 30 countries - Colombia, the Philippines, Uganda, Iceland, Slovenia, Lakota Nation, and many more - we gained a glimpse into the growing worldwide sharing and solidarity economy movements. Not only was the response in just two weeks overwhelming, but the proposals were profoundly creative in addressing the economic crisis in new and empowering ways. Though the proposals were extremely diverse, there were some common themes: FOOD!, coops (especially worker coops), lending libraries, little free libraries, and timebank+ programs. Philadelphia, PA and Greenbelt, MD tied for the most proposals from one city.

The criteria for proposals were: it must be a sharing project of some kind, based in a specific city, and involving young adults or low income communities. Because we received some great applications for sharing events, we awarded smaller grants for events that support projects as well. We had a limited pool of funds and tried to select for diversity and odds of success, which means some great projects didn’t get funding even though they met the requirements. It was a very tough decision, and we hope to fund many more when we do it all over again. We encourage you, if you feel inspired reading about these projects, to support them by volunteering, offering supplies, or making a donation to help them fully fund their projects. You may even feel inspired to start a new project in your community!

Ann Arbor, MI, USAA2TimeBank: A2Share, a student-led sharing organization, is developing a new community timebank that will focus on sharing between the University of Michigan and the greater Ann Arbor community. This project will bridge with a sharing platform for University students to trade their gently used clothing, books, and media. Donate to this project.

Boston (Worcester), MA, USA - Youth Film Coop: Future Focus Media Co-op will train 16 Worcester youth in filmmaking, cooperatives and solidarity economy, and provide graduates with an opportunity to become a worker owner in Future Focus Media Co-op. As an outcome, participants will be prepared to use the various multi-media platforms to advance youth causes and document stories in their communities and in the solidarity economy movement. To donate video equipment, training or funds, contact info@futurefocusmedia.org.

Buffalo, NY, USA Participatory Budgeting: The Clean Air Coalition is developing a PB implementation plan, consulting with coordinators from current PB cities and working with local government to create a democratic process in which community members get to decide how to spend part of a public budget. Donate to this project.

Chicago, IL, USA - Civic Science Lending Library: CivicLab is creating a library of environmental justice monitoring kits and related peer learning wiki and skillshares will be hosted at CivicLab to provide the public with the tools and skills to monitor industrial pollution in their neighborhoods while growing the community of civic scientists in Chicago. Donate to this project.

Chicago, IL, USA Seed Library: LETS GO Chicago is teaming up with this youth-led Summer of Solutions project to create a physical space for the community to exchange locally produced seeds for use by community growers taking part in a neighborhood yardshare CSA. This library will be home to seedstock, adapted to local conditions, providing seed abundance to lower costs and enabling community members to produce food. Participants will become members of a growing network of community gardeners who share yards and skills, food, and other resources at monthly network potlucks. Donate to this project.

Cleveland, OH, USA - Community Compost Program: Rust Belt Riders Composting is providing community composting for Cleveland residents, led by a worker-owned cooperative, for the benefit of ongoing community gardening initiatives. This entirely bike-powered business advances local food production, advocates cycling, and supports some 300+ community gardens, a tool lending library and 15 local farmer's markets while mitigating city-wide waste. To donate bike trailers or money, contact rustbeltriders@gmail.com.

Rust Belt Riders

Cleveland, OH, USAHealthy Cooking Collective: West Side Cleveland Food Not Bombs / St. Clair Superior is developing a youth-led program to address food insecurity in Cleveland’s near east side, which was among the hardest hit during the foreclosure crisis. The project will be based out of a teen center and will also develop skills and job training for urban youth. To donate cooking, serving or food supplies, contact Dan.

Greenbelt, MD, USA - Young Co-operators: Greenbelt Community Development Corporation (GCDC) is kickstarting a 12-week pilot program for fall 2014 that will introduce Greenbelt youth ages 10-14 to cooperatives while also helping them adopt healthy, active lifestyles. The youth will plan and operate their own business co-op to sell smoothies at local farmers markets and other venues. They will fabricate a bicycle trailer to haul to their smoothie stand to the markets and use their bikes to blend the smoothies’ locally sourced and fairly traded ingredients. Donate to this project.

Greenville, SC, USATool Library: Gardening for Good will create a community tool library in a centralized location at the Swamp Rabbit Teaching Garden, a food desert neighborhood that would not have access to the tools otherwise. A community tool library will allow Gardening for Good community garden network to serve more community gardens (80+ already!) by providing access to tools, encouraging volunteer projects and inspiring the creation of new community gardens. Donate to their project crowdfunding campaign.

Huntington, WV, USA - ReBicycle Shop: Burrito Riders is nonprofit free bike shop that serves the homeless and the poor. It's is a stop-gap for the people who rely on their bicycles for pure need, but can't afford the luxury of maintenance and repair so they ride it until the wheels fall off, quite literally sometimes. They have an ‘earn-a-bike’ program for those who can’t afford to purchase one to begin with and they are going to expand into a bike kitchen model with open community access. Check out their supply wishlist.

Jackson, MS, USA Community Land Trust and Cooperative Housing: Cooperation Jackson will study existing housing and land use, conduct a "walking survey" and outreach, host neighborhood discussions to develop an organizing plan for the CLT, launch a capital campaign to purchase vacant lots and abandoned homes in West Jackson, advocate to government to allow purchase of vacant lots and abandoned homes and develop the CLT and a housing cooperative (in addition to laying foundation for Construction, Urban Farming, and Child Care Cooperatives). Donate to this project.

Cooperation Jackson

Lisboa, Portugal - TROKAKI Swap Shop Skillshare Fair: Horas de Sonho will complete a 4 month long community assessment of local skills and knowledge. Starting with a careful diagnosis of these skills, they will then promote workshops to stimulate inter-generational learning and will finish with a skillshare fair using an existing community currency. To donate to this project, contact horasdesonho@gmail.com.

Louisville, KY, USA - Timebank Skillshare Series: Louisville Timebank will host skillshares to  increase sharing amongst current and prospective members, with particular involvement of low-income communities and communities of color on topics they deem most important. Donate to this project.

Los Angeles, CA, USA - Local Economy IncubatorArroyo Sustainable Economies Community Organization (ASECO) believes solidarity economics means addressing the pervasive and systemic inequitable access to resources. Through a series of workshops (mompreneurs, food law and the sharing economy, crowdfunding and more), the incubator will launch its business development services in conjunction with the Community Revolving Loan Fund to benefit members of the Arroyo Seco Network of Time Banks. Donate to this project.

Media, PA, USA - FreeStore: Transition Media is setting up a FreeStore in a Methodist church alongside a FoodBank and a Clothing Room, both of which serve low income communities and link to the diverse faith community in order  to demonstrate how gifting/sharing culture is transforming the community and how it can be of service to others. Donate to this project.

Melbourne (West Footscray), Australia Create & Share: Willing Older Workers W.O.W! is hosting a free, locally-based creative writing group, book swap and skillshare for all ages and cultures. The Project will encourage the sharing of books and creative empowerment as well as bringing people together in their Write For Your Life series for people who are struggling financially, including a large, local immigrant community. Donate to this project.

Nairobi, Kenya - Community Fruit Tree Project: LoveBasket has initiated a community fruit tree project in a local school with the aim of planting more than 7,000 fruit seedlings, this is part of their strategy to involve the community in conservation of the environment and reduce carbon emissions while providing additional food to a region continually facing scarcity. There will also be tree care skillshares, harvest and seed swaps and tool lending to support the success of the process. To donate, contact Malele.

New Orleans, LA, USA - Rolling Neighborhood ShareFest: NOLA TimeBank will organize a series of ShareFests in neighborhoods throughout New Orleans. This project’s focus is to support current NOLATB members in growing neighborhood networks. Collaborating with local members and neighborhood organizations, each neighborhood sharefest will reflect the specific needs and assets of the individual neighborhood, building connections between existing sharing projects. Check out their wishlist and donation page.

New York, NY, USA - Multi-stakeholder Cooperative: Milks Not Jails supports formerly incarcerated people, dairy farmers and criminal justice advocates to end upstate New York's investment in mass incarceration. They market, sell and distribute products under "Milk Not Jails" made by New York dairy farmers who support the policy road map to transition upstate New York's prison industrial complex into a revitalized agricultural economy. Through their partnership and cooperative structure, they create income for struggling dairy farmers, worker-ownership for formerly incarcerated people, and good food for New Yorkers to enjoy. Be a sustainer for this project.

Philadelphia, PA, USA - Student Food Coop: Rad Dish Co-op & Grocer will be located on Temple University's North Philadelphia campus, with the intention of improving food access in an urban food desert. By offering local and sustainable foods, Rad Dish looks to hack away at several key issues including student health and high childhood obesity rates while focusing on food sustainability: reducing food miles, eliminating pesticides, cutting energy use, and halting food waste. To donate supplies or funds, email the Rad Dish Co-op.

Philadelphia, PA, USA - Solidarity Economy Skillshare Series: Life Center Association will encourage the growth of solidarity economy projects in Philly on Cooperative Housing, Conflict Mediation and Restorative Justice, Alternative Models of Education, Workers Cooperatives and Labor Organizing, People's History, Principles of Anti-Oppression Organizing, Food Justice, Organizational Skills such as basic bookkeeping, media relations, production of movement artwork and graphics, "toolkits" for activists, and other topics as requested by community organizations, youth groups, and the LCA membership. To support this project, contact lca.memberservices@gmail.com.

Philadelphia, PA, USA - Repair Cafe: Time4Time Community Exchange will host the first repair cafe in Philadelphia, an intergenerational experience where individuals of all ages help each other (1) with repairs of all sorts (like computer problems, small appliances, broken chairs/lamps/shoes, mending, lawnmowers, bike tune-ups, composting etc.) and (2) learn from each other how to solve different types of problems like how to winterize their homes, create their own vegetable garden, eat a nutritious diet, etc. To support this project, contact time4timexchange@gmail.com.

Pine Ridge reservation, Lakota Nation, USA - Little Free Library: Ogala Lakota Cultural and Economic Revitalization Initiative will create a network of free libraries throughout Pine Ridge to share books focusing on healthy living, healthy recipes, inspiration, sustainable living (natural building, alternative energy, etc), Lakota culture, and uplifting kids' books. There are currently no libraries in one of the poorest counties in the country where unemployment can reach over 80%, the average male lifespan is 49 and the highest teen suicide rate in the country. Donate to this project or email Cory for book donations.

Sacramento, CA, USA Vacant Lot Community Gardens: Green Hands Project is creating community gardens on vacant lots with skill and tool sharing for homeless youth. One lot will be planted with veggies and fruit to feed people directly and to distribute to food banks and food kitchens and the other lot will have raised beds that can be used by a person for a year to grow and learn about gardening. To donate supplies or money, contact Janet.

San Francisco, CA, USA - Bicis del Pueblo: People Organizing To Demand Environmental & Economic Rights hosts a monthly series of bicycle builds, repairs, swaps, and bike rides taking place in the Mission and Excelsior Districts of San Francisco with primarily Latino, African American & Asian youth. New plans includes finding a space at a nearby school, creating an earn-a-bike program, organizing family and youth rides, holding safety class, tool lending, bike exchanges/trade-ins, and cooperative development focused on youth and underemployed persons in the neighborhood. To donate tools, bikes, or money, see PODER’s donate page.

Spencer, IA, USA - Back to School ShareFest: Spencer-Okoboji Timebank and the Dream Center will have backpacks of school supplies and clothing for kids in need, farmer’s market will provide produce, skillshares hosted on tai-chi, cooking fresh foods, as well as a bike repair cafe, a musical instrument and book swap, a stress-off tent with acupressure, 10 minute massages, and guided meditation. They will encourage signups for the Spencer-Okoboji Time Bank and have a potluck to connect people in it, offering a free time credit for attending the Fest. To support this project, contact Amy.

St Louis, MO, USA - Participatory Budgeting: Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, after a very successful trial year of Participatory Budgeting, will be expanding into two additional wards. In the first year there was a 58% Participation rate, the highest per capita participation of any other PB district year, in a very diverse area. The process allows residents to democratically control the budgeting process in their ward from start to finish while employing a three step process of Neighborhood Assemblies, Budget Delegates and Voting. Donate to this project.

St. Louis, MO, USA - Solidarity Economy Launch and Book Swap: Solidarity Economy St. Louis launch event and book swap of activist, sharing economy and black history/power titles with a coalition of social justice organizations, small businesses, and individuals striving to build and grow a “solidarity economy;” that embodies the values of social justice, ecological sustainability, mutualism, cooperation, democracy, and innovation. Donate to this project.

Tacloban, PhilippinesCommunity Resource Center, Tool Library and Makerspace: Communitiere is creating a tool lending library, training and workshop hall, and makerspace (the first one in the Philippines) for community members affected by typhoon Yolanda. This project is modeled after a community center, created in Haiti post 2010 earthquake, that made a big impact for the local community. Donate to this project.

Communitiere organizes in Tacloban after Yolanda

Toronto, ON, CANKitchen Library: The Kitchen Library hosts a non-profit lending library of small to medium sized kitchen appliances, the first of its kind in Canada, and serving a densely populated multicultural community. Essentially, it's just like a traditional library, but lends stand mixers, juicers, dehydrators, pasta makers and more. By providing access to otherwise costly and space-consuming appliances they are building a more shareable healthy city for the future. To donate kitchen equipment, contact Dayna@thekitchenlibrary.ca.

Washington, DC, USA DC New Economy SummitImpact Hub DC will organize an event to help change the narrative about the local economy, connect existing new economy efforts (timebanking, credit union democracy, public banking, organizing around affordable housing), catalyze energy around additional new economy efforts (community land trusts, worker cooperative incubation, participatory budgeting), engage more people in organizing and build community. The DC New Economy summit will include: new economy popular education workshops, visioning sessions, action groups, worker coop assistance, and a timebank wellness day. To support this project, contact Allison.

Wichita, KS, USA Reweaving the Fabric of Our Community Fall Harvest ShareFest: Community Operations Recovery Empowerment is organizing an event in a recently created community garden that will include a potluck and an introduction to the new timebank, Our Village Circle of Sharing, hosted by the African American Council of Elders. Participants will set up tables for their services and bring books for a book swap and a Little Free Library. It will be an introduction of the “Village” and an opportunity to see exchanges in action. A canning/preserving workshop will be offered to learn about preserving garden produce, healthy eating, and food security. Donate to this project.

Youngstown, OH, USA - Really Really Free Market: Timebank Mahoning Watershed by popular demand from a participant survey decided to host an RRFM after their super successful ShareFest. The RRFM is a decentralized worldwide event practicing radical abundance, created by its participants who share gifts, skills, services, and help find new loving homes for stuff that would otherwise be trash. Donate to this project.

 

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