Our world is distressed and this morning I’d like to riff about a few less talked about needs. There’s a principle of addressing causes rather than effects so some searching is warranted. We’ll return w some new understanding, maybe recover some new motivation. Ready? 1/
Why do we need to think about needs? Some of the things are obvious but we can get lost in the fog of coping. Also changing framing & perspective from problem to need can sometimes open up some thinking. What we really need is clarity and purpose. 2/
Let’s flip a few things on their head:
🤒🔬🦠 Looking for causes inside of symptoms
⏳🤔 Not solving problems yet
👩🏻‍🔬✨ Remaining curious
🔁💭Thinking systemically
😓🤯Not needing every thought to be everything
👨🏻‍🎨🤹🏽🤾🏾‍♂️Remaining playing during high stakes situations 3/
Specificly needs that are driving the effort to plant one million edible chestnuts. I have no intention of pitting these needs against any others. My hope is that I can draw the connections between this project and others. 4/
With this all in mind, Let’s go...
We can start with the personal. Every human being has needs. Community, other people, healthy food, clean water, a sense of purpose, creative expression, freedom from pursecution, restful sleep, healthy, dignity, good relationship with birth & death, exercise, free time, peace 5/
When i think about climate change it is a great welling up of need. A great upsetting of balances. But look inside it and I see the great history of soil loss. First the last 10k of accelerating agriculture then industrialization and the mass loss of topsoil. carbon unlocked. 6/
I see a food system which is so spread out that it can only be run through fossil fuels. Requires fertilizers, kills land and water, needs transport, drives costs & forces oppressive labor. It turns ecology & people into return of capital but can’t feed people in food deserts 6/
We need local, uncommodified, low-input, community-driven, perennial, de-alienating, festive, delicious, nutritious, replicitable food sources. 🌰🌰🌰🌰🌰🌰🌰🌰🌰🌰🌰🌰 7/
Another need is that currently the cost of other needs is rising. Rent, food, medicine, etc. means we need time. creative urban activists communities of the 60s-90s were in part there because people had time. When your rent is only $200/month you can afford to go to meetings. 8/
Meetings are always better attended when there are potlucks. It takes actual calories to protest. You still gotta eat during a general strike.
Collapse happens in societies that grow in complexity and over specialize to the point they have abandoned fundamental support systems. As soon as you depend on global food system w no alternatives you lose the ability to step back and you drop in resilience to change. 11/
Community preparedness is lacking. We know that this society has been unable/willing to support Puerto Rico, Flint, houseless people, New Orleans. Who is next? We need staple food, saw dust, woodchips, firewood for heat and cooking. 10/
We need this separate from economics so it isn’t just lifeboats for the privalleged. We lack the basis of human thriving & ecological stability that doesn’t get fixed w more gadgets like the ones i’m talking on. We must use tech to reassert things tech replaced too quickly 11/
We are also unpracticed in deciding things together, organizing across difference, planning w neighbors who might vote differently than you, consensus, cooperative design, coordinating events & actions, staying healthy during a prolonged struggle. 12/
Things take work. a lot of campaigns might make the world better but they ultimately take from the people who make them happen. In order to be sustained other actions need to be taken that produce more then they take to start up. 🌳 🌳 🌏 12/
So what are our needs? We need to get CO2 out of the air, we need to build soil, we need to restructure agriculture, we need to provide non commodity food systems, we need to work together, to end food deserts & bake chestnut desserts, have coppice materials, fuel lives 12/
we can recognize that there are deeper needs that led to this. Deeper causes. Europe lost its mind was colonized first by the institutions of the Middle Ages, lost knowledge, restructured itself on colonizing the world, spread trauma genocide, broke the world.
Set up heirarchies of race, class, gender, life ways, power, resource production, ownership, slavery, exploitation, ecocide. Much of this isn’t directly fixed by planting chestnuts. What it can do is provide an example for dismantling & replacing some ways power is maintained.
A world where food is brought in from distant soil-eroding private landscapes locked up for only those who can pay is one where no one is at home.

A world where we can see and touch the trees that grow our food is a step. Where we can collect solar energy in the most direct way
I’m not going to pretend that this solves those big problems. But I’ve noticed people planning other things while working in the garden.
So blessed by these trees that make human habitat what do we take back? We can plant these nuts. We can work hard to put down nurseries, grow thousands of trees have parties teach each other. We plant a tree per each of our friends and more. find places where they can be planted
We get these trees in the ground and do what we have to: legalize them as street trees, get them in parks, get them in friends yards, plant two or more at our neighborhood school. Fundraise, organize, plot, plan, act.
We take care of them as we expand our efforts. In 3-5 years we start harvesting and doing taste tests and planting our favorites. Learning to cook. They start showing up at potlucks. Co-op harvesting mills and bakeries pop up.
We feed each other. Earthquakes storms fire conflict: we have bread. People are fighting in struggle and have muffins, we plant a tree per person in our town and countries. We breed varieties with diverse ancestry and local adaptation.
We plant under and around them. Grapes & hops climb them. hazelnuts under them for food, mass fuel from the shells, oil, building materials. Berries and greens and other foods and medicine and fuel and shade.
In ten years the first trees are in full production nearing a full humans grain needs per 4-5 trees. They will keep accelerating. We plant the best and keep going.

This is the plan. We can expand to more and more collaboration, mutual support, community resilience and justice.
There is nothing we can’t tackle together if we tend the roots.

As always thanks for your time and attention.
You can follow @BuildSoil.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled:

By continuing to use the site, you are consenting to the use of cookies as explained in our Cookie Policy to improve your experience.