Starting a Mutual Aid Hub
The WNC Mutual Aid Network vision is grounded in a regional network of mutual aid hubs: physical community centers, mostly rural, which serve as multi-functional service and gathering places.
You might be in a position to develop a mutual aid hub through your existing community organizing efforts and infrastructure. Please read below and contact us if you think you might be interested in working with us to develop a hub.
Each hub is designed, owned and run co-operatively by local community members, with WNC Mutual Aid offering expertise and financing as requested to develop the hub and link it with the larger pattern of regional mutual aid.
We are in the process of identifying and developing relationships with individuals and organizations in different watersheds/counties in WNC who are already serving as various types of community hub. The intention is to ally with each of these existing efforts in order to understand the needs of their communities, then support them in expanding their services and physical infrastructure based on those needs, using the WNC Mutual Aid collaborative economic network.
For example, one of our collaborators is a rural holistic family doctor practice in Jackson County who already has over 2,000 clients visiting the property for primary care over the course of a year. The clinic is located on a 40-acre property composed of degraded pastures and mid-growth forests. Through a permaculture design and holistic management process, we developed a vision for expanding the services of the clinic to create a land-based community center. The property will be phased into a full-feature climate resilient permaculture system that includes silvopasture, agro-forestry, an integrated water system, greenhouses and additional buildings, and diverse production of nutrient-dense foods and medicines. This operation will expand to include health and well-being classes, community organizing events, and offerings of affordable high-quality food via a CSA of products grown onsite. Services like daytime childcare, community meals, and other types of collaborative activities will be integrated as involvement and infrastructure is increased. As the WNC Mutual Aid Network is established, phases of this project might be financed by a local savings pool in Jackson County, and/or by the WNC Mutual Aid Credit Union. Healthcare costs might be supported by the WNC Healthcare Co-op, which itself will also be financed through the credit union.
We envision many different hubs, each one developed by and for the needs of its local residents, yet linked together and supported by the regional network. We are in the process of developing training and support services for this network of hubs.
Interested in stewarding a Mutual Aid Hub in your corner of WNC?