Building a Community for Change: STOP Cargill from Forest Destruction!

posted by Rainforest Action Network

Fall is glorious in the Twin Cities! Leaves of brilliant reds, oranges and yellows hang in the streets showing off the changing seasons like a painting depicting a powerful symbol of community change.  As the cold of winter creeps in, local Twin Cities folks are both preparing to hibernate for the cold of winter and getting ready to take advantage of several months indoors to let small ideas flourish into big picture change.  We are here to facilitate this movement!

We’re working with the local Twin Cities RAN Chapter crafting ideas, strategies and tactics to get the largest privately held company in the US, Cargill, to adopt a global forest policy to stop destroying rainforests, family farmers and the climate for palm oil expansion!

I met much of the local Minnesota community envisioning such an environmental shift this past weekend at the Northland Bioneers Conference, which exists to help us “connect, learn, focus, and shift.”  We talked about our visions and hopes for the future of a more sustainable and just world, including practical ways to achieve them.  This type of big picture thinking coupled with local level action is exactly how I engaged hundreds of people at my RAN Exhibitor table talking about Cargill, forests, climate change and loss of biodiversity.

Local Twin Cities Chapter Head Carrie Anne and me at Bioneers Table

The communities surrounding Cargill, from St. Cloud, MN to Woodvill, WI, are fired up about Cargill’s lack of accountability for their practices here as well as abroad.  So many wanted to take action, in fact, that almost every other exhibitor signed onto our newly forming coalition! We now have eight local business and organizations supporting our campaign and helping to raise awareness in the community, such as Friends of Coldwater; several more such as IATP (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy) and Network for Spiritual Progressives are in the works.

Over 200 people signed our petition, I signed up new RAN members, and I distributed about a thousand newly printed campaign materials to spread awareness about Cargill’s egregious behavior in the US and abroad.

Building a Community for Change! Stop Cargill from Forest Destruction!

It was incredibly inspiring to meet many of the big movers and shakers in the Minnesota environmental and social change community. We are laying a great foundation to win this campaign in the next year by building a solid network in this community, one that is not afraid to hold Cargill accountable! Cargill can’t continue fooling us to think they are actually “making a substantial contribution to local community development,” as they purport on their website.

Finally Finished the Banner!

Close to 11pm last night after the last Bioneers volunteer crew loaded up the final tables and chairs to head home, we made the final touches on our banner for today’s action at Cargill’s downtown office in the Grain Exchange.

Check out Hillary’s blog post about today’s Cargill protest with over a dozen activists, three orangutans, and our delivery of demands to Cargill staff!

Displaced Orangutans on the Street in Downtown Minneapolis!