The Rhizome Collective, based in Austin, is in danger of being evicted. They’ve done amazing work and are comprised of so many awesome non-profits in the Austin area, such as Bikes Across Borders, the Inside Books project, and Food Not Bombs.
via my friend Kara, who participated in the Austin RUST program:
For the past nine years the Rhizome Collective has strived towards its goal of being a living model of radical urban sustainability and as a central hub of community organizing. We have had many successes, and have learned in earnest from our mistakes.
The Rhizome has garnered a lot of attention over the years, including front page articles in the weekly Austin Chronicle, the Earth First! Journal to name a couple, won awards, including Austin’s Best Place to Survive the Apocalypse, and hosted hundreds of events and benefits which have helped keep countless other organizations afloat through difficult times. Even more, because the space was originally purchased by our friend and contemporary, Scott Kellogg, the Rhizome goes beyond an embodiment of our hopes and dreams, it is a real place that actually has the infrastructure to do the good work we all struggle to do against terrible odds elsewhere. Rhizome has become a point of pride in activist communities worldwide with folks looking to it as an example of how much positive influence we can have, and how much we can accomplish when we have a stable space to experiment, grow, love, and work in.
We have also earned some unwanted attention. Since the beginning we have been unendingly harassed by anonymous ill-wishers who apparently call Code Enforcement on us a couple times a year. The Code Enforcement system is set up such that anyone can call without divulging any information about themselves and file a complaint against anyone else at any time. Code Enforcement is then obliged to follow up on the complaint. We have heard firsthand reports of police officers suggesting to homeowners that they call Code Enforcement on neighbors they don’t like if the police cannot legally handle a complaint. Either the city is fed up with the calls, or fed up with left-brain thinkers in Austin as other organizations have been stressed by similar situations – in any case, we have recently been subjected to a battery of inspections which are poised to end what for nearly a decade we have struggled so hard to make.
We have received a list of 15 code violations ranging from “unsafe sewage systems” which we presume to mean our greywater treatment systems which filter our wash water and feed our fruit trees harmlessly, to “unsafe electrical conditions” which has been constantly improved upon since we originally acquired the buildings and was safe enough nine years ago to earn us a Certificate of Occupancy when it was in truly sorry shape. It is inconceivable that the city wants to continually turn people out onto the streets in these times, but for that Austin’s East Side is on the chopping block to be gentrified in its entirety. The Rhizome Collective doesn’t fit into a plan of Light Industrial Yuppyland.
We need help, desperately…..
The Rhizome is home to several organizations and community members who choose to make a difference.
Whether it’s feeding the homeless (Food Not Bombs), sending books to Texas prisoners (Inside Books Project), providing a space where people can be heard (KPWR) or just planting the seeds of revolution. The Rhizome is a beacon of hope and an answer to these struggles.
It is the hope with this letter that you and your groups can throw a benefit on our behalf in your city. In addition to funds we also need this story to percolate through the larger community. Though we may well lose the building we are currently housed in, we do still have options open to us. The Rhizome Collective is the sole owner of a ten acre former Brownfield across the river from where we are currently located, and as a registered 501c3 non-profit organization, it is both a tax-free property as well as a tax-deductible one. We can rebuild there if we cannot feasibly repair our current home.
Help us keep the Reality alive!
More information is available on request, as well as pictures, our press release, and links to more history of the Rhizome Collective and our current ongoing projects.
Mailed donations can be sent here:
Rhizome Collective Fund
c/o Rebecca Batchelder
2504 E. 11th
Austin TX 78702