Atlanta: Episode #
1
Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Demetrius Milling: Collaborative Farming for A Livable Future

In this Episode
Demetrius Milling
he/him
Worker Owner
Matt Scott
he/him
Manager, Storytelling & Engagement
“When you are excited about the work you do, and you approach it in a way every day that you are like, I want to be the best at this, I want to learn more—it’s kinetic energy. And people want to be in an environment where they are creative, they feel like they are problem-solving, and you attract a positive brand.”
In this Episode
Demetrius Milling
he/him
Worker Owner
Matt Scott
he/him
Manager, Storytelling & Engagement

Demetrius’ Story

Demetrius is a part of a worker-owned community at Love is Love Cooperative Farm, located in Mansfield, Georgia. People are working together to cultivate Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) as a climate solution to help achieve drawdown. Through holistic approaches to implementing smart farming techniques and building community ownership and power, they are not only working towards a carbon-neutral farm system but also providing living wages and quality-of-life benefits to the worker-owners and employees of the cooperative. Demetrius’ work at Love is Love Cooperative Farm propels a vision for a just, healthy, and sustainable world powered by local community collaboration—a model to be replicated as we build the future.

Discussion Questions

One of the most important things you can do regarding climate change is talk about it.

  • Atlanta is known for its rich history in the Civil Rights Movement and as a cultural catalyst for racial equity. More than 60% of the city’s population is comprised of people of color. When thinking about his community in Atlanta, where he was born and raised, it is this history and diversity that Demetrius loves most. Demetrius identifies as biracial, both Black and White, and is proud of his lineage of Black ancestors, which helped to build this country. What do you love most about your community? How do your heritage and identity play a role in how you see yourself as part of your community?
  • Demetrius' grandfather worked at the steel mill in Atlantic Station, as did his great-grandfather. Behind the steel mill was a lead plant, which Demetrius feels contributed to his grandfather's cancer. Atlanta's successful emergence as an international city was built from the hard work and dedication of the working class. Demetrius feels pride in his family's legacy, whose lives and livelihoods were dedicated to the city's growth. Demetrius explains that this legacy "shapes the way I approach jobs to embrace being part of a hard-working middle class." Why is it important to understand the history of the place you live? As we look to create a better climate future, what lessons can we learn from the past, and from the people who helped build, shape, and care for the community we are now a part of? Is there a responsibility to continue this care in your generation?
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a model in which members buy shares of a farm's harvest in advance and receive produce regularly throughout the growing season. CSA focuses on community members supporting one other by sharing the rewards and the risks of growing food. Demetrius credits Dr. Booker T. Whatley as part of his inspiration to get involved in this sustainable farming model and to create a Black farming middle class. Dr. Whatley is known for his work regenerative agriculture, in which food is grown through holistic land stewardship practices that build soil health while sequestering carbon. In addition, the CSA model invites the community to support the farm's success while the farm in turn improves the community's health and well-being. How is the CSA model a climate solution that benefits everyone involved? What is carbon sequestration, and how is it a vital climate solution to draw down emissions?
  • One of the most powerful questions Demetrius asks himself is "why"—especially when trying to problem solve. "If you understand the root of the problem, why someone is doing something, then you can take that knowledge and address it," he explains. When we ask why solutions are necessary, it is essential to lead with the frame of climate change because it will help to normalize the "why"—and we can then make smarter decisions when addressing climate challenges. What questions do you have about climate change, and how can asking "why" propel your learning and motivation to be part of climate solutions? 
  • Demetrius paints a simple and powerful visual to reveal how he thinks about climate grief. "It is as if someone made a huge meal, and afterward you have all these dirty dishes, and then they just walk out of the kitchen and say ‘have fun with the dishes.’” Demetrius shares that moments of climate anxiety can help people make lifestyle changes that keep climate considerations in focus. What are the feelings that Demetrius' visual example evokes in you? Can intense feelings about climate change help to create more focus, as Demetrius suggests? Do you have ideas for taking the emotion you named and focusing it on something that might inspire positive change?

Learn More

Learn about the solutions in this story.

Explore Climate Solutions 101, the world's first major educational effort focused solely on climate solutions. This video series combines Project Drawdown’s trusted resources with the expertise of inspiring, scientifically knowledgeable voices from around the world: drawdown.org/climate-solutions-101.

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