Why did Open Collective Inc. donate 10k to Iron Path Farms, a 2Spirit Haudenosaunee-led Food Sovereignty Project?
We are an unconventional tech company striving to usher in a world where collectivity, transparency, and good livelihoods are the norm. We work to be an example of the world we want to create. Part of this effort includes offsetting our carbon emissions by supporting the sovereignty of the Native-led land projects within our Collectives.
At Open Collective, we support 15,000 unincorporated groups (which we call Collectives) to raise money and spend it with transparent budgets. We connect Collectives to nonprofits and other organizations called Fiscal Hosts that lend their legal status and bank accounts to these groups. In 2020, after 5 years of searching for a business model that aligned with our values and vision of the world, we started to be financially sustainable. We hired many additional people to build our platform to better support our hosts and collectives.
We are widening our approach to sustainability this year by asking ourselves: How might we better practice ecological sustainability and solidarity as a company?
- We acknowledge that, although we are an international company, we are formally incorporated on stolen Native land, home to over 500 Native nations and the ongoing occupation currently called the United States.
- Is a best practice to add our support to an existing grassroots campaign rather than randomly adding our support when we decide is best for OC Inc. Learn more about Social Movement Investing in this report by the Center for Economic Democracy and attend this event with Justice Funders on February 8th, 2023.
- We acknowledge that travel is both important to the relationships we build and that it also has a carbon footprint that impacts the health of the lands, water, and air all over the globe. We are a remote-first company, and were founded this way in 2015. Our team is international, and we work with values-aligned folks wherever they are; many are based in the Global South / Majority World. In order to do the work we do, we need our team to build trust together and collaborate. To weave these relationships, we encourage everyone on the team to travel to meet each other, meet the collectives on our platform and to travel once a year for a global retreat where we all get to connect in person. The carbon emissions from this annual retreat – with our team flying from their homes in New Zealand / Aotearoa, Brazil / Pindorama, India, Mexico / MesoAmerica, France, the United States / Turtle Island and Germany to our retreat this year – had a large footprint.
- We don’t have an advertising budget. We communicate about our work by meeting folks, speaking at conferences, organizing events, and more. It’s a conscious choice we make, and like every choice it has trade-offs. We have decided that a limited amount of travel is necessary at this time.
- This year we decided to consider ecological sustainability practices by paying for a gift of hardwood native trees planted on Haudenosaunee-led projects across the Haudenosaunee Confederacy to ensure that the trees will be cared for in generations to come. We know that tree-planting is so much more than a transaction for carbon offsets. In many native traditions, a tree is planted when someone passes on, and that trees are visited and cared for as living ancestors. We know there is so much that we do not know, and that we are committed to doing the work to keep (un)learning. This includes work with our Tauiwi Tautoko Collective and with offerings on indigenous sovereignty in Open Collective Foundation’s Solidarity School in 2023.
To support the long term well being of Native lands and waters from which we benefit in New York State, where some of our OC Inc team members live and work, we are supporting Iron Path Farms with $10k for their rematriation work.
Iron Path Farms is fiscally sponsored by one of the nonprofits that OC Inc. started, Open Collective Foundation (OCF). Iron Path Farms is a Haudenosaunee Two-Spirit led project whose mission is to support Indigenous Sovereignty by growing, saving and cultivating Ancestral Seeds and Foods, to share with Haudenosaunee Communities through a mutual aid network, as well as to further provide life affirming and enriching experiences on the land through arts and education programming.
We know that this is a drop in the bucket of what’s required to mitigate climate change. We are hoping to support Iron Path Farms as they gain the momentum they need on their campaign to restore Indigenous lands to Indigenous hands, and we encourage others to join in now. We humbly ask for your feedback and dialogue about our thinking, as we know that we are very early on our learning journey in this area. To understand where we are coming from, you can learn more about what we do and consider supporting a Native-led project. A few are listed below.
Open Collective Inc.
To start, here are a few Native-led projects that we encourage you to learn about and support: