For our second episode, we visited the small city of Carbondale, Illinois. Carbondale is a shrinking college town at the southern edge of the state, with a long history of racist segregation.  Since winter 2019, though, a broad range of residents has made a wager on a different future.  Grasping climate change and white supremacy by the horns, they’ve laid out a plan for municipal-level transformation, calling for police funds to be redirected to local structures of care and sustainability, with the aim of rendering irrelevant the economic system which has failed them.  Their food autonomy plan is at the core of their proposal, and has led to the growth of a constellation of gardens and food distribution structures aimed at empowering communities and addressing long standing inequities.

To prepare this introduction to their wager, we visited a number of their gardens, inspected their chicken coops, spoke with neighbors, bakers, and board members, and asked about next steps.  We’re excited to invite you on this journey through a Midwestern town that’s been turned upside down amid the pandemic.  When we were there, it was clear that Carbondale Spring has re-enchanted this small world in southern Illinois, as they propagate herbariums, orchards, community kitchens, and neighborhood collaborations.

You can find out more about their work here.