The Fly-Over INFOSHOP in Carbondale, Illinois is a space dedicated to culture, radical organizing, community building and cooperative education. This campaign supports our goal to become a hub for building cooperative and self-reliant practices through the development and extension of a series of social and ecological projects. These include a Community (city-sized) Compost Bank and Garden, constructing a fleet of bicycle carts and the rehabilitation of our physical Infoshop and meeting space.
What is an Infoshop? An infoshop is a space where people involved in radical movements and countercultures can share, meet and network with others from their own area, and more distant cities, and even countries. It's a space for meetings and cultural events like music, poetry, seminars, art exhibitions and free workshops and classes.
Infoshops began in Europe during the Spanish Revolution, eventually leading North Americans to begin their own infoshops during the 1980s. The aftermath of the Cold War in 1991 inspired a growing movement of radical infoshops in America, as people felt the need to create spaces for organizing around various issues.
The Fly-Over Infoshop aims to generate projects that promote regional subsistence. We hope to produce research by conducting collective experimentation into ecologically restorative, regionally self-sufficient, and non-monetary autonomous practices. Fly-Over hopes to inject a more radical political discourse into our small community, while cultivating a social and ecological infrastructure that is based on principles of mutual aid, food security and resourcefulness.
Our aim is to work together to learn, grow and build whatever people need, in order to have more power and leverage over their lives. And despite hating money, we could use some help in getting some projects off the ground.
FLY-OVER GROWING GROUNDS: Community Soil Bank & Garden
Composting is an important skill to have, and to practice, as topsoil throughout the world continues disappearing at alarming rates. Soil is a living organism essential to our life (humans) and all life on Earth. We must preserve it, and rebuild it. This project includes the identification and negotiation of organic wastes generated by residential homes, the collection of these wastes by bicycle, and establishment of a community Soil Center.
By trialling these community-based projects the Fly-Over Info Shop hopes to reinvigorate the dialogue of the Urbanscape as habitat, healthy soil as an element of healthy infrastructure and ourselves as contributors and instigators towards more inspired action. By involving people over a commitment of two years’ time, the project builds habits that move toward an alternative use for organic waste on a larger scale, inspires other decentralized efforts as well as uses this ‘on-the-ground’ model to approach policy makers about local soil issues.
The Fly-Over Community Soil Bank and Garden will be an educational site for people to learn composting and gardening skills. Soil and compost produced through this endeavor will be used in the garden or will be given to the community members to start, or enhance their own gardens.
The "compost bank" will collect 50-100 gallons of "compostable" materials a week, keeping this waste out of landfill while producing compost for distribution, particularly to areas where existing soil is contaminated. The harvest from the Fly-Over Community Garden will supply fresh veggies, fruits, herbs, and mushrooms to families facing economic difficulties.
Do you want details? We are currently in the stage of publicizing our project through the city of Carbondale, Illinois. Residents will be informed about it through leaflets and can sign up for a weekly food waste pick-up from our team. Organic materials will be transported with with bike carts to the soil-banks, which will be located in two different neighborhoods in Carbondale. This Spring we will plant two gardens, each about a quarter-of-an-acre, and distribute the harvests, again by bike, to low-income community members. All composting and gardening work will be conducted through community workshops, so that these skills- gardening by permacultural methods, and composting, are shared throughout the city of Carbondale. The skills of composting and gardening are empowering to ones body and mind––it's a blessed power to have and to share.
FLY-OVER INFOSHOP: The physical infoshop’s space
The infoshop has been renovated at low cost by recycling discarded materials such as pallets. While the space itself has been donated by a community member, there are things we need that only money can buy. These include assistance with utility bills and internet, workshop supplies and updated kitchen equipment, so we can serve food and offer cooking lessons. We also expect to bring in guest speakers, and sponsor ecological fellowships through Southern Illinois University. As an example of the work we hope to do, last week, the Infoshop hosted a prison abolition workshop, led by Dr. Kim Wilson (Temple- Philadelphia)
SUBSISTENCE RESEARCH CENTER: Learning about the local
Fly-Over is also home to the Subsistence Research Center. Inspired by Maria Mies and Veronica Bennhold-Thomson’s book The Subsistence Perspective: Beyond the Globalized Economy (2000), the SRC seeks to rehabilitate and re-legitimize subsistence production as directly connected to fostering life in the regional context. Currently, in the petroleum economy, the way we eat, travel, drink, smoke, “stay connected,” entertain, and care for ourselves and others is entirely dependent upon fossil fuels and the notion of an artificially constructed economy whose single imperative is to grow. The SRC supports scholarship and practices that articulate subsistence as a field of knowledge and practices that offer positive approaches for organizing a society.
GARDENSCAPING: Mutual aid and entrepreneurialism
Some of us are permaculture specialists with years of experience. And as far as our philosophy goes—we think that a sustainable and resilient food system will involve networks of home gardens and sharing among neighbors (in addition to farms located outside of town). Put another way, we want to transform our relationships to lawns! We are working with residents and homeowners to build and maintain beautiful, landscape-quality, edible gardens. And we already have several “clients.”
Our neighbors who want “food not lawns” will receive as much produce as they need, and what they can’t use will go directly to low-income families. We will handle distribution and are currently creating the distribution network. It’s all really pretty simple. Create more local produce, get that produce in the hands of people who otherwise would not have access to it, and build new connections throughout the community. We want to act together and develop solidarity with people we meet everyday, who we work and live together with in the neighborhood. The aim of the project is to create new forms of cooperation throughout the city. If enough residents participate, then we can grow different groups of plants on different properties and create grocery boxes for our clients with a wide variety of foods grown all over town.
Your support will go towards building bike carts, garden tools, wood, plants, printing, liability insurance, and soil to start the garden. The infoshop as an operable space could also use funding for basic utility bills, internet, and future projects/workshop supplies. We also plan on using the money to bring in guest speakers, and possibly sponsor ecological fellowships through Southern Illinois University.
Risks and challenges
It is a challenge to bring people who are accustomed to their trash disappearing when they put it on the curb to think about separating and saving their organic wastes for pick up. For both good and bad reasons, compositing can make people uncomfortable. We see it as our work to challenge conditioned assumptions about food waste, using publicity and face to face dialogue and pedagogy.
We have had a lot of support from the community members and have been working with after school groups, and have been encouraged about getting kids involved. This presents a new obstacle - as we will either need means to transport "after-school" program students, or we will create mobile composting units to further our mission.
We have another garden project called "Full-Moon GardenScaping," which is a project that involves turning resident's lawns into edible gardens. We design, install, and maintain the gardens for residents and the harvest that they do not use––we give to low-income families. This project affords ways to counter our obstacles, as it extends our network into different communities.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)