In a time where it is so critical to end the housing crisis, stop burning fossil fuels, end mass incarceration, and so much more, it’s easy to forget that we need to be building something completely new to replace our broken systems.

That’s why you’ll find us talking about a Just Transition. We’re not going to just completely stop burning fossil fuels and then say okay, what now? We’re going to build a new system that protects people and planet. And then we’re going to transition from the old ways of doing things to the new ones we’ve built together.

And in fact, those new systems are already in the works. From community-owned solar to housing cooperatives to real-time restorative justice practices, new ways of living are already being built while the old ones are being torn down.

Our new shared community kitchen is part of our work to build that new world.

For months, Neighbor to Neighbor has been scheming up a Community Land Trust in Holyoke with our partners at Wellspring Cooperative. We believe in community ownership of our land and resources – in contrast to profit-driven ownership of land and housing that leaves too many of us priced out of homes and neighborhoods.

So when we unexpectedly received an offer to buy out a community kitchen in Holyoke, we saw an opportunity to make our vision a reality.

The community kitchen is:

  • Around the corner from our Dwight Street Garden
  • On the same block where our members at Lyman Terrace are leading the local fight for tenants’ rights
  • Designed and outfitted as a commercial kitchen space for local food businesses (and cooperatives, we hope)
Leaders at Lyman Terrace are right around the corner from the new kitchen.

We see this as a place for us to begin the journey of a Community Land Trust in Holyoke – a seed we hope to nurture and grow. For Wellspring Cooperative, the community kitchen is a place where they can support several food-based co-ops they’ve incubated. For Neighbor to Neighbor, we see this as a place to organize community members, practice governing together and support food justice in our community – a mission we began with ownership of the Dwight Street Garden.

There are still many things we need to work out – for starters, a name for the shared kitchen. We’ll be organizing some community work days in the coming weeks to invite you in, get the kitchen up and running, and make this place feel like home.