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Alt Space is a culture project in just and sustainable living by Lead Artist Reg Flowers, following his purchase of a stone house built in 1897. The project brings together neighbors, grassroots organizations and allies in the social justice community, providing an incubator space to develop sustainable independent community-controlled resources. The project promotes re-imagining how these resources can be shared to achieve fair access to power and the ways power is produced and reproduced. See also “But Really…What is Alt Space?”
The project centers around three areas:
- how we can take ownership of our food systems
- how we interact with the environment
- how we develop as a community
Alt Space collaborations will be measured according to this proposed rubric.
Some guiding principles of the space are solidarity (which is the basis for the gifting model employed in our interactions with the public), non-violence, anti-oppression in order to counter historical and present day systems of violence and oppression that are our dominant cultural mode (see Anti-oppression below), and good stewardship which accepts the idea that we don’t own the world, we are temporary and while we are here we owe to those who come after us to care deeply.
Veganism has become a crucial part of the alt space model because it is likely the single most effective way humans have to positively impact their own health, protect the environment and protect the lives of other species (ones eat and ones we don’t). Check out this simple infographic about the impact of animal agriculture on the environment.
Veganism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. We ask that when you are volunteering at Alt Space that you refrain from the use of products made from animals or animal suffering. As a vegan space the use of all animal products are discouraged.
The preparation and storage of animal food products are not allowed inside of the main facility, nor should food service items (plates, cups, utensils, etc.) be used for animal products. In special cases and for community gatherings and potlucks, individuals may bring their own food products that do not adhere to these principles provided they bring their own cooking and serving supplies.
We refrain from judgment; however, we ask that you embrace these principles on the premises, even if they are not your own.
The gifting economy
“We are born into a Gift Economy practiced by those who mother us, enabling us to survive. The economy of exchange, quid pro quo, separates us from each other and makes us adversarial, while gift giving and receiving creates mutuality and trust.”
Alt Space practices a gifting model where we do not ask any payment from our guests. Visits to alt space are only possible because of the generosity others have shown in the past. When guests “pay it forward” they are gifting the next visitor.
Alt Space takes an anti-oppression stance and embraces the following principals.
1. Power and privilege can play out in our group dynamics in destructive ways. We must challenge supremacist practices which marginalize, exclude or objectify others. Privilege, like power, can be used for positive purposes but should be used with awareness and care.
2. We can only identify how power and privilege play out when we are conscious and committed to understanding how white supremacy, patriarchy, classism, heterosexism, speciesim and all other systems of oppression affect each one of us. Each person who enjoys privileges granted by systems of prejudicial power (no matter how radical or revolutionary) must recognize the benefits and costs of their privileges. We must take responsibility for our prejudices and actions which perpetuate oppression.
3. Until we are clearly committed to anti-oppression practice, all forms of oppression will continue to divide our movements and weaken our power.
4. Developing anti-oppression practices is life-long work and requires a life-long commitment. No single workshop is sufficient for learning to change one’s behaviors. We are all vulnerable to being oppressive and we need to continuously struggle with these issues and behaviors.
5. Dialogue and discussion are necessary and we need to learn how to listen non-defensively and communicate respectfully if we are going to have effective anti-oppression practice.
*These principles were adapted from the 350CT.org statement written by Lisa Fithian based on the “Anti-Racism Principles and Practices” by RiseUp DAN-LA, Overcoming Masculine Oppression by Bill Moyers and the FEMMAFESTO by a women’s affinity group in Philadelphia.
How do I get more information?(FAQ)
If you’ve read down this far and still want to know more, start with this FAQ that answers some of the questions most often received.