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  • Maudy Hendriks

Connected Communities

Updated: May 2, 2023

4/10 - The Circle of Soil, The Care Revolution issue #2

This article is written by Moonatic Agency

One of the key lessons we learn within Mustardseed Trust from our partners is that interconnectedness is at the core of our relationship with the soil. We can trace this idea back to our ancient roots. According to John D. Liu, all living things on earth function as a single meta-organism. “We carry reptilian DNA and photosynthetic material in our bodies. We completely depend on gut bacteria and fungi to digest our food and they completely depend on us, for all of us to stay alive. We’re symbiotic life forms. I have seen the same symbiotic benefits when communities of people work together. A diverse group of people, bringing together different skills and ideas for the benefit of all, can create the most wonderful things and have a wonderful life.”

Will Ruddick points out how a strong community built on trust can be key to sustaining a healthy agroforestry ecosystem. “When we go into a community and help them create their own credit system, trade is not the main goal. Because they also create credits towards

a project that they will do together and benefits them all. So next to trading, they invest in food forests together by using credit vouchers to pay for labour and seeds. And they are paid back in fruits and vegetables that come out of the forest. So it is also about building a thriving and healthy community, working together to create a healthy environment.” Together with Mustardseed Trust, they tested that idea with 50 communities. “Communities that did very well were communities that already had established a basis of trust to build and accelerate on.

"The bootstrap for us is trust."

Will Ruddick compares their community currency approach to a natural phenomenon. “If you look at the network of different villages and currencies that we built, it is quite similar to mycorrhiza fungi trading nutrients with each other. We want to mimic this underground system of exchange for the benefit of all in our communities. Connective commons spreading over the whole planet like a root system.” When we ask Boudewijn Tooren about his view on these ideas, he says: “Just go to a big supermarket chain for shopping. Everyone seems hasty or stressed. There are coffee machines, but no one pauses to have a chat, connect to exchange ideas, leave alone to create something together!” A very different experience from food shopping at the Herenboeren farm.

The healthier our soils, the healthier our food, and the healthier our guts. Read the next column!

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