Green Heroes: Carol Manetta
UUCP member Carol Manetta is doing amazing things in the world of sustainability. The word “world,” in this case, actually means worldwide. She is Founder and Executive Director of Reap Goodness, an organization that has as its mission helping people around the world to be agriculturally self-sufficient while restoring Earth to healthy status. The fundamental unit in this plan is the worker-owned cooperative, assisted by plenty of training. She has received recognition for her work: 2017 Spirit of EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) award from Arizona State University; the 2020 Project Award by ISPI (International Society for Performance Improvement).
Coming from a background in developing corporate, government and nonprofit training, with an avocation in organic gardening, Carol is using her bent as a “research junkie” to develop a way to help people work together to restore and sustain a healthy Earth. This is by creating trios of worker-owned cooperatives that will use food forestry, water harvesting and water reclamation to provide food while saving the natural environment and wildlife.
The piece-parts of this plan deserve explanation: 1) Food Forestry: Creating forest-like communities of various edible plants that grow productively together. 2) Water Harvesting: Building collection areas on hills and roofs for storing water runoff. 3) Water Reclamation: Purifying polluted water.
How did this plan come about?
Carol founded her original nonprofit, REAP (Re-Entry And Preparedness) in 2009, helping prisoners in Arizona rejoin society after serving their time. Although she has moved on, her curriculum is still in use. Next, the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona asked her assistance for tribes looking into improved agriculture. This led to a system of growing fresh food on the Navajo Nation using modular hydroponics towers which require far less water than land agriculture.
The experience with the Navajo Nation and also association with ASU’s EPICS program, gave rise to the current Reap Goodness organization. It offers general E-book training on how to initiate and run worker-owned cooperatives including people-to-people skills and technical skills. Classroom and video conferencing sessions personalize the E-book information.
How will this evolve internationally?
In a trial in early 2020, ReapGoodness will use groups of students from major US universities to function as cooperatives in food forestry, water harvesting and water reclamation. These student cooperatives will work, on a trial basis, using donated land in southern Arizona. For each of the individual cooperatives there will be E-book training covering their specialized work activities. Training for the cooperatives will be done in a virtual reality format. Experience gained during the student trial will result in fine-tuning the educational materials. It will also provide initial (base) data and comparison data at the end of the trial for the students and their respective universities.
After the student trial, an additional phase will involve actual worker-owned cooperatives, followed by more editing, copyrighting and publication. The virtual reality training and E-books will be available in thirty languages. Finally, international cooperatives will operate on four continents: North America, South America, Europe and Asia, as the beginning of world-wide deployment of the program.
Reap Goodness is opening its arms to volunteers who are comfortable with writing/posting for social media and with fundraising. If a professional or retired professional is interested in serving on the board of directors, please let Carol know. The contact information is: https://www.reapgoodness.org/