Black Neighborhoods Matter

 Black Neighborhoods Matter Connecting Community Health, Vacant Land, and Racial Justice  We are experiencing a watershed moment in our country’s history. In the wake of a global pandemic, expanding financial insecurities, and continued police brutality and homicides, Black, Brown, and allied communities are rallying to demand constructive change within government and our institutions. Across the country, communities are crying #DefundPolice -- a critique of the abnormal sums of money cities and states invest in policing and surveillance, while other systems,…

Read More

Grounded Statement on Racial Violence

Grounded works to promote equitable access to quality greenspace within marginalized communities. We acknowledge that our work is not separate from the larger concerns of racial violence, stigmatization, and oppression. The context for our work, and the communities we work alongside, emerges from a long history of racial segregation, targeted divestment, redlining, and disenfranchisement of land from Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. We envision a region of thriving communities working together to sustain equitable change. The baseline for…

Read More

TRUSS: Masoud’s Takeaways

The second annual Three Rivers Urban Soils Symposium (TRUSS) was a wonderful event where soils experts from around the United States gathered to collectively discuss the unique characteristics and challenges of urban soils. An eclectic gathering of "dirt-worshippers" and "tree-huggers" all deeply concerned with revitalizing our urban environments through careful stewardship of soils, the presenters included individuals from academia, farmers, remediation specialists, and worm ranchers (among others). Even though the attendees and presenters came from such a diverse array of…

Read More

RVP Reflection Series: Ashley’s Experience

Author: Ashley Seiler Upon entering the RVP convention I was blown away by the number of people that were in attendance. After mingling and a quick look at the art exhibit displayed, I headed to one of the many sessions. The session that resonated with me the most was Community-Driven Visioning to Reclaim Vacant Properties in Fort Wayne and Philadelphia. The two presenters that stood out most to me during this session were Rena Bradley and Alexa Boss. I enjoyed…

Read More

RVP Reflection Series: Odera’s Takeaways

Author: Odera Igwe The Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference (RVP) was a national conference dedicated to creating community cohesion through new strategies to transform vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties into community assets. This conference was a great opportunity for me to meet people all over the US who specialize in different aspects regarding the revitalization of vacant land; law, youth engagement, community advocacy, architecture, and more. The first session I attended was Community-Driven Visioning: A design thinking approach, and was probably…

Read More

Planting Seeds for the Future

Pittsburgh, as the nation within which it resides, has a storied past awash with inequality. Both here and in the United States at large, a great deal of this inequity stems from the fact that the means of production (mainly land) are controlled by a small number of people relative to the total population. Historically, this has been the case for just about as long as this country has existed. As our worries mount in the face of climate instability,…

Read More

Brittany’s Goodbye

As my time at Grounded comes to an end I have found myself reflecting on my experience here. In May when I joined the Grounded team I was excited about the opportunity to be an intern, but I was also unsure- specifically of my abilities and knowledge in marketing. I know, it sounds crazy. I have spent the last four years studying and obtaining a degree in marketing, but I was not confident in my knowledge of the subject. As…

Read More

Grounded in The Art Trap

The Art Trap: Trap + Paint is a monthly event curated by our Project Associate Kuwame Kinsel. In July, with support from Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, he presented it to over 120 patrons at the seasonal Cultural Trust Gallery Crawl. The goal of Art Trap to bring individuals from various social, economic, and cultural backgrounds together to create a safe space powered by art, culture, and entertainment. While out in the field, Kuwame noticed a trend of communities lacking self-care or…

Read More

Kathy’s Farewell

In my ten weeks at Grounded Strategies, I have learned several important things and gone through many valuable experiences. Even my perception of what a job entails has changed. Interning at a non-profit has shown me how passionate a group of people can be in the office. This not only influenced the office atmosphere but also increased my motivation. My time at Grounded has made me a lot less afraid of what’s to come after college and incredibly excited to…

Read More

Permaculture Design: Ecological Solutions to Planetary Problems

For the purposes of sorting out the issues our world currently faces and quelling the fires which threaten to consume us there is one system of ethics that seems particularly well suited. This system, developed from the synthesis of indigenous wisdom about Earth systems and modern best practices in the management of human populations is called Permaculture. Coined by Bill Mollison, the term permaculture is a combination of the words permanent and agriculture (or culture). However, it is an approach…

Read More

The Connection Between Art and the Environment

When thinking about art and environmental issues such as climate change, the two subjects don’t seem to have much overlap. A deeper dive into art and its capabilities, however, prove that idea false and quite the opposite. With work like that of Agnes Denes, John Sabraw, David Maisel, and countless other artists, there are clear connections between art and the environmental concerns that we hold. These artists’ work forces the audience to confront the different ways in which humans have…

Read More

A Vacant Lot… and so much more

At the corner of Estella Avenue and Climax Street in Beltzhoover, there sits a vacant lot. In 2011, a group called Creative Visions decided to take some action and proceeded to clear the lot, create a few garden beds and plant some flowers. Already a significant improvement, that is not where this story ends. Enter Ms. Natalie Thomas, a self-proclaimed “nebby neighbor,” who happens to live just across Estella with a great view of the lot. She wanted more.   In…

Read More