New from Chicago and a Question: Where Should I Visit in the Midwest?

I am back in Chicago after taking a break from the road to attend a YES! Magazine board meeting.


And I got engaged! My partner of seven years, Dee Axelrod, and I decided to make it official. Thanks to the state of Washington and the U.S. Supreme Court, we can so legally! Hurrah!

Meanwhile, here is what I’m doing back in the Midwest: As the manufacturing economy collapsed in the United States, and as policies that had supported the poor and middle class eroded, the Midwest has been hit especially hard.

I’m here to explore how people in rust belt cities are laying the foundation for a new economy. I’m especially interested in how people are building wealth (and local power) in poor communities and communities of color, and in ways this new economy is building food and energy systems that are healthy, just, and ecologically sustainable.

In Chicago, I’m excited to be attending the Growing Food and Justice for All conference, produced in conjunction with Growing Power. The conference features the practical and visionary work of some extraordinary people who are building solutions at the intersection of race, sustainability, health, and community.

I’m also planning to visit Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Buffalo — and probably other places.

I’ve gotten super helpful suggestions from old and new friends and many readers on this blog, at the main YES! Magazine site, and on Facebook (so grateful!). I welcome additional ideas.

More soon!

4 thoughts on “New from Chicago and a Question: Where Should I Visit in the Midwest?

  1. I realize this was posted a while ago, but if you still can, visit Cleveland Ohio. Yes! has covered the Evergreen Cooperatives here, but there is a lot more going on here than that. My suggestions:

    The Vineyards and Biocellar at Chateau Hough. Hough is a Cleveland neighborhood that was devastated by redlining and a riot in the 1960s. There is now an operating urban vineyard and winery which was started by local activist Mansfield Frazier. He also built an experimental year-round greenhouse called a biocellar which uses the basement foundation of a demolished house as an energy efficient greenhouse.

    You can also visit Ohio City Farm, a 6-acre urban farm in the Ohio City neighborhood which is farmed, in part, by Bhutanese refugees.

    You can also visit nearby Kent, Ohio where there is a thriving time bank that is part of the Crooked River Alliance of Timebanks. There are well over 300 members of the time bank in this small university city. One woman was able to pay for her entire wedding with time credits. The administrator of the time bank, Abby Greer, is hoping that someday she can convince Kent State University to accept time credits for tuition.

    Liked by 1 person

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