Find below a pumped up introduction to the cooperative fundraiser from future worker-owner, Danton Valenzuela — a former Summer of Solutions participant who is, like all of us at LETS GO Chicago, doing the work to build the Green Economy!:


Hi! If you’re reading this you’ve come across my blog post and are probably a good stable person with lots of friends who are doing great things. I applaud you for being born… Now onto the topic of this particular post, LETS GO Chicago! Is currently on day 4 of our campaign to raise money to feed the children, oh wait I mean to start our Co-Op sister/brother group Grassroots ecology which has just been launched by the good people who brought you the Summer of Solutions.  As you may know, a business is not easy to start, especially a worker-owned green co-operative in the middle of Chicago winter.  So what were basically asking for is the startup loot so that we can buy the tools and pay for the man-hours of planning that we need to get us up and going and make ourselves self-sufficient to the point where you’re coming to us for discounts on rain gardens, snow plowing troops, and other green programs that people pay for and receive a service that they know is good for the environment and goes to people that live in your community who have only your best interest at heart.  What more could you ask for this Christmas? Helping the green economy, promoting sustainability and knowing that you contributed to local people who are working to make your community better! Did I mention that we will be donating some of our profits to the Summer of Solutions program?! Well we are, this means that we will have the resources to train young people to do the work that we do, it’s like a summer camp for green super heroes.  Golly gee all it takes are a couple minutes of your time and a tad bit of money and you can know in your heart that you’re not just sitting back letting big business and global warming win.  Times are difficult and we understand if you truly can’t, but if you can (I’m looking at you string bean) than please help a brother out and donate to LETS GO Chicago’s Grassroots Ecology Co-operative.

The top five craziest things I’ve learned in the first two weeks of Summer of Solutions Chicago

by Anthony Betori

You learn a lot in this program, about food systems, climate change, harvesting techniques and how to resist oppression. But let me break down the top five craziest things I’ve learned with my friends in this years Summer of Solutions in Chicago.


1) Hugelkultur is next-level, serious composting.

Hugelkultur, or the burial of branches in a big hole underground, allows for the quick breakdown of sturdy branches into beautiful, loving soil that will nourish our plants. We used this in part of our property reclamation project at the nursing home we partner with, cutting down tree branches to expand our growing area and recycling them to make a closed-circle system where nothing was wasted. And not only will it be delicious soil! Oh no my friend! It will also capture storm water, helping to handle water runoff that is becoming a major problem here in post-climate change Chicago.



Wow!!! A truly inspiring hole.

2) Dumpster diving is the dream.

Two of our program leaders decided to go dumpster diving this weekend to try to pick up some wasted food to help feed our huge program this summer. The result was the biggest and most beautiful dumpster find I’ve ever seen. Candy, juice, pounds and pounds of produce, sunscreen, cereal, and even a trash bag full of roses! We used the roses to turn our house into a Downton Abbey level bourgeois paradise, we did several workshops on cannings (I can make a damn good peach jam now, if I do say so myself!), and we use the sunscreen in our gardens (on us, not the plants) to keep our skin healthy in the sun. We watched Dive as a program to help get deeper into why dumpster diving is not only fun, but important to the revolution and safe in terms of health issues, and the result of that and the major dig this weekend is the founding of a Dumpster Dive Team, committed to finding ‘waste’ and repurposing it!



Joe, Ellie and I found amazing books, a bucket, and a lot of salvageable wood in this one!

3) Barack Obama thinks natural gas is clean energy.

We watched Barack Obama’s disastrous speech on climate ‘solutions’ on Tuesday as a program together. In this speech he referred to natural gas as clean energy, apparently forgetting that 1) it is not clean energy and 2) it is not *%&^#@ clean energy. I personally hold that Barack Obama is the worst president in history for not being a strong leader on climate issues at the time that leadership is most needed, and was happy to have a safe space to talk about these feelings after being so infuriated by his corporate, nonsense, band-aid speech. Guys, Barack Obama literally thinks natural gas is clean energy. Summer of Solutions is even more important than we thought.

4) Seed libraries are sexy.

We are in talks with Chicago seed librarian/activists (yes they exist and yes they are as sexy as they sound) to gain support for our own seed library here in Rogers Park. Seed libraries are a radical gesture for two major reasons. First, we reject the corporate-genetic war-mongering of Monsanto and its affiliated, evil companies. You cannot patent the Earth, she is our Mother! She is not yours! Second, by developing seed cultures in local regions, our seeds will be more resistant on an ORGANIC GENETIC level (WHAT!) to climate shifts as they happen in our area–drought, deluge, etc. The seeds will literally get used to droughts and rain storms as they happen in Chicago if we keep saving them from year to year and replanting with our own stock. I KNOW I AM FREAKING OUT TOO.

5) The revolution is now!

With the collapse of capitalism and the federal government less than three years away (my own opinion, does not reflect Grand Aspirations, LETS GO Chicago, or anyone else’s opinion), it is beautiful to be a part of the grassroots solutionary action that will make our neighborhoods not only resilient, but places of healing and community. We are expanding rapidly and with compassion. We are being noticed! We are making friends! And I can feel the reverberations in the earth of the love we are putting into this work, our gardens, ourselves, and each other. I am proud to be here, working with these people, harvesting these kale and raspberries. I am happy to be an urban forager. I am part of the revolution, and so are all of you! The revolution is nonviolent, anti-capitalist, interdependent, intersectional, a garden, and NOW!