Wild Path Collective
Who we are
Wild Path Collective is an intergenerational, multicultural, and interfaith community and commons where Black, Indigenous, People of Culture, Women, Queer, Trans, Poor, and all other people who experience systemic and oppressive challenges to land access may reconnect with land that is held collectively, in a commons. Wild Path engages in the following activities to rejuvenate right relationship between land and people:
- We educate our communities about how practices of regenerative agriculture, forestry, and community building allow us to be in mutually restorative relationship with the land.
- We hold cultural, ceremonial, and counselling spaces on the land, so that visitors and members may find healing alongside land that has been harmed by extractive practices of farming and living.
- We provide land, organizational development, and incubation space for BIPOC, LGBTQ, Women, and Immigrant entrepreneurs to launch agricultural, educational, and counselling businesses on the land.
- We operate as an organization based on cooperative culture and practices, creating an environment that encourages our members, visitors, and communities to engage in discussion and activities that reimagine practices of land ownership, personal wealth, progress, and development from a lens informed by Black, Indigenous, and Collectivist ways of living in the world.
Wild Path recently received our 501c3 status from the IRS and now operate as a Member Self-Directed Non-Profit Organization to cooperatively care for and access lands to which we are given title. Our long-term goal is to “open up” more land that is privately held into a larger land commons and trust to be accessed by those pushed off the land. We are currently 14 members strong and growing.
- Solidarity – We practice inter-generational, multicultural, interfaith solidarity that furthers the leadership of those who have survived and resisted oppression, marginalization, and dispossession.
- Healing – We believe that we need to engage in ongoing healing alongside the land and with each other, because of the histories of oppression and exploitation that traumatizes our populations and the lands sustaining us.
- 100-year Vision – We are building together mindful of the 7 generations ahead of us and behind us.We are working to create something that doesn’t exist now, and which grows out of our relations to the land and each other. We are working to form new ways of being (in community with each other, in relationship with the land) that we can pass on to future generations so that they can survive and thrive.
- Fully-fed communities – We are creating ways for our communities to be locally self-sufficient in feeding ourselves, keeping ourselves well, and being in solidarity with rural communities and farmers across the globe.
Wild Path Collective came together in the summer of 2020 around our shared vision. Our original plan was to crowdfund money to put a down payment on a parcel of land, then slowly start moving members of our collective out to the farm and create projects and enterprises on the land, while collectively paying the mortgage on the land. We looked at a few different places, but had not yet been able to successfully buy land. In the fall of 2020, Baba Louis had a conversation with Nina Utne about our group and our vision, and it turned out she had been thinking of turning her family cabin land (known as Lily Springs Farm) over to a collective.
After several exploratory conversations, it became clear that Wild Path Collective was just the kind of group Nina had been hoping to give the land to, and we began the journey together of transferring Lily Springs Farm to Wild Path Collective. The Collective will begin stewarding the land starting in 2022 and Nina will transfer the deed to WPC once we are granted tax-exempt status by the IRS.
The land is approximately 90 acres, located in Osceola, Wisconsin, about an hour from the Twin Cities metro area. It includes forest, lake, and agricultural land. We have lots of visions for what we want to take place on the land – education, healing workshops, retreats and respite stays for artists and organizers, research on ecological farming methods, growing food to feed our community. We know that these visions will unfold over the next several years and decades as more people join our community and spend time on the land. During 2021, we have continued to add members to our Collective.
2022 will be a rooting and listening year for WPC. We will be stewarding the land at Lily Springs Farm, caring for the established perennial ecosystems, and creating as many opportunities as possible for members of our Collective and broader community to deepen our relationship with the land and understand what she needs. We want to ground ourselves firmly and listen before we begin starting to give life to the many visions we have for the land.