~~Portland Cross-Pollination Project!~~

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January 22, 1978

[JourneydeJenny email 1/22/08] "The Journey Continues..."

* January 22, 2008 *

Hello friends!

Lots of news and ideas to share. First, regarding the lapse in these emails: in November I suddenly found myself on the East Coast for a month helping my grandmother with her transition from life to the spirit world (during her last breaths, I sang for her the same life cycle songs that I sang as my niece took her first breaths three months earlier). And then, as I was about to send this email two weeks ago, I received word that my other grandmother was also about to enter the same end-of-life phase. She passed away last Wednesday.

Today is my 30th birthday in both the solar and lunar calendars, and along with the full moon, the vibrant spirits of my grandmothers are filling me with crone-like perspective and spunk for living life to the fullest. That means I am diving into humanity’s work more voraciously and meditatively than ever.

With fuel to my fire and gumption to my gait, I am announcing the next phase of my life path. Over the last year or so, I have received a lot of affirmation and encouragement about my exploration and practice of cross-pollination among grassroots changemakers. It’s time now to bring that experience back to Portland, and I am excited about the “Cross-Pollination Project” that some of us have been cooking up (read below).

Also, after my exploration of the “layers and players of social change”, including non-profits, governments, private entities, informal organizations and social movements, I am offering myself as a “Community Supported Activist”. The Community Supported Activist (CSA) Program is an opportunity to support my projects in the spirit of the work I do: abundance is generated through community relationships, keeping the decision making to those involved and affected, allowing more people to be engaged in diverse ways, and providing a living example of enacting the localized, collaborative world. By supporting me as a CSA, you will be putting energy into our community; fueling one is fueling the other.

I am a cross-pollinator and grassroots organizer in my work, lifestyle and support mechanisms, and I hope my example opens doors for others. More info will be coming soon about the CSA; please read on for the details of how and why I am taking my next steps.

*!* My 3-5 year plan: layers of cross-pollination *!*

My last year and a half of embodying the position of “cross-pollinator” among grassroots movements, organizations and people has instilled in me two ideas: First, that we are truly an emerging network of creatively intertwined social change efforts; and second, that there is a yet-to-be-fully-recognized formal role for “cross-pollinators” who create critical links for improving our collective changemaking work.

Almost every changemaker I have met has felt intuitively that there are a lot of us—even in seemingly unrelated issues—experiencing similar realities in changing policy, improving business practices, educating the public, finding and sustaining volunteers, maintaining a working computer, securing funding and keeping ourselves centered on our passions and not burnt out by the overwhelming nature of today’s dire problems.

But, we have been successfully compartmentalized; it’s hard to know how to reach out, or gain understandings of “other” issues when we are already too busy with “our own”. However, if we put effort into the individuals that form collaborative linkages than many more communities could communicate without everyone having to be directly involved. It’s about strategically increasing modes of connection, thus supporting each other but not adding new programs or formal coalitions to our busy lives.

I have identified about a dozen patterns/roles for cross-pollinators, and I have much to share about the practicalities of this work. Now I am asking: with Portland’s critical mass of activists (which, for me, includes non-profits, schools, social scenes, informal organizations, social movements, city bureaus, businesses, and anywhere else where people are trying to improve the quality of life for humans and/or the earth), what if we experimented with conscious cross-pollination here?

The “Cross-Pollination Project”

The “Cross-Pollination Project” has been evolving for months over many conversations with organizers citywide. Essentially, it is about inviting Portlanders to put on the cross-pollinator hat and then explore and train each other to practice the art of cross-pollinating, first among ourselves and then through Portland’s networks. We will use that practice to identify and work with points of collaboration and approaches to the root issues among the social justice and environmental worlds in Portland and beyond.

With key organizers in a wide array of issue-areas around town, we have been developing a detailed yearlong plan. More info will be coming soon, but if you are intrigued, let me know now!

The City Repair Project

I have long seen the potential for City Repair to develop its Placemaking Program in order to offer more support and tools for communities and neighborhoods that want to address a wide variety of local issues on their own (localized cross-pollination!). Over the next few months, a group of us (let me know if you want to help!) will be assessing and evolving City Repair’s Placemaking Program, including Intersection Repair, Placemaking education, outreach and consulting, and expanded approaches for a diversity of contexts, both here and nationwide. I also joined just the Board of Directors!

Tryon Life Community Farm

TLC Farm is a very unique example of sustainable culture, both with the physical integration of residences, agriculture, building and native wild habitat as well as the forum to cross-pollinate the many pressing issues of our day and strategies/sectors for change. My support of TLC Farm is in facilitating outreach/networking and fundraising/development. My first goal is to finalize a major piece of the land acquisition by paying back our bridge loans. We still have $50,000 in philanthropic bridge loans (to friends who believed in us in that critical moment two years ago), so we are still inviting folks to be part of our historic “Save the Farm” campaign!! That’s just ten people donating $5,000 each—and we already have three pledged! (Yes, this is a plug: would you consider a gift to TLC Farm’s land acquisition?! Any amount will help.)

National and Global Cross-Pollinating

I have fun ideas for how to bring the cross-pollination nationwide… starting with Tucson and Boston—the two cities that began my yearlong cross-pollinating journey! In the meantime while I am focusing on Portland, I am starting to do slideshows at any opportunity, like in Boulder in February and perhaps the Bay Area this spring.

On the global scale, I have linked TLC Farm with a global network of “learning centers”—place-based communities that creatively use their programs for local/regional social change. Through the Berkana Institute (www.berkana.org), there is a network of 13 learning centers and TLC Farm is possibly going to be the 14th! I visited two of the learning centers on my trip: Kufunda in Zimbabwe and the GreenHouse Project in South Africa. This network will be a great way for us to practice “trans-local learning”—learning from each other but keeping the work focused locally.

The Whole

I think about my work with the metaphor of a body. My two legs are rooted in my two main foundations here in Portland (TLC Farm and The City Repair Project); my body core and arms are focused on this new “Cross-Pollination Project”; my head is weaving itself with national and global efforts, and my heart is grounded in the center, merging it all together and remaining an open channel to the community and world around me.


So, there’s a sense of what I’m up to, and I look forward to sharing more details in the coming weeks. And as always, if you know of a group or person who I might want to meet, please let me know.

Thank you all for all of the affirmation and support along this journey. As I sit and contemplate my 20s, I feel both humbled and eager to see what magic awaits me in my 30s. Here I go!

With gratitude,


p.s. Update about my slideshows:

I have been itching to host big slideshows about my journey, and between my grandmothers’ passings and slow return times for venue confirmation, the specifics are TBD. But, I am ready to do a series of three shows—one general overview and two about specific tools and ideas:

1. Journey de Jenny: a year of cross-pollination in grassroots social change

2. Ideas for Organizers: diving deep into grassroots movement building and cross-pollination

3. Tools for the Trades: Appropriate Technology, Permaculture, Natural Building, etc… and cool ideas for Education!

I plan to share this series at least twice around Portland, plus go to other groups, meetings, coffeehouses, house parties, etc. I will let you know as soon as I confirm the venues. If you know of a good gathering place for 20-50 people, please let me know.

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