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Rooted Resources Festival: press release

For Immediate Release:

April 26, 2022

GWI Press Contact: Terri Hall


Rooted Resources takes a festival approach to themes of democratizing wealth and localizing economic power 

KINGSTON, NY – Good Work Institute has always been about creating spaces to learn and connect, but with the pandemic, larger gatherings had been put on hold. Now, at last, GWI is hosting Rooted Resources, a festival that shines a light on localizing economic power to nurture solidarity, awareness, and action in our region. This weekend-long series of events takes place on May 12th-15th, designed as a high-spirited, accessible way to tackle big, complex issues of economic inequity and community resilience.

The focus of the Rooted Resources festival is “Democratizing Wealth, Communities, and Work” which is one of the principles of Just Transition that GWI stands for. This festival offers an interactive platform to connect with ideas and initiatives, to meet each other face to face, and to facilitate the powerful conversations that come with looking at how we might better share resources to shift from individual survival to collective thriving.

“This festival represents a radical opportunity to gather citizens and community leaders together, to learn from each other, and inspire a sense of shared purpose as we create community-led solutions for a Just Transition in the Hudson Valley,” says Vonda Brunsting, GWI board member and equitable investment advocate.

“Our society is at a point where everyone is experiencing trauma around money and that is expressed in so many ways where folks are either openly aware of it, or not,” added Erica Brown, chair of the GWI board and Community Engagement Coordinator at Radio Kingston. “Rooted Resources is an invaluable moment for the community to come together and learn about how we can take care of one another, and ourselves, by learning about the different ways that democratizing wealth benefits the whole.”

“We’re energized to be bringing so many different perspectives and projects together under this one umbrella theme. During the festival, we have sessions on cooperatives, community funds, storytelling for change, dealing with the trauma of money, property as wealth, indigineous land stewardship, cultural practices of sharing resources, and more,” explains Hélène Lesterlin, one of GWI’s Worker Trustees. “We’re so looking forward to what happens when people actually share space again while sharing ideas, potentially seeding new collaborations or initiatives.”

Weaving together different types of events, from presentations to panel discussions, from interactive workshops to brainstorming sessions, the festival runs Thursday evening through Sunday midday:

  • It begins with a virtual gathering on Thursday evening that provides an orientation to the weekend’s happenings and an opportunity for participants to connect with each other. 
  • Friday’s in-person kick-off event in Bethany Hall at the Old Dutch Church features keynotes from two community leaders from outside the Hudson Valley who both have forged new pathways to democratizing wealth in their communities: Omar Freilla, a serial trailblazer, social entrepreneur, and movement builder with a passion for building structures for community self-determination, and Betty Francisco, CEO of the Boston Impact Initiative, impact investor and business executive. 
  • Saturday, the events move outdoors, with a spring festival atmosphere under tents set up in midtown Kingston, the parking lot between Big Bubble Laundromat and the future Kingston Food Co-op. Festival participants will select from a menu of overlapping sessions. Additionally, a pop-up “Health is Wealth” clinic, food, art, and music will round out the day. GWI will end the day with a reception at the Greenhouse, their hub in Kingston.
  • On Sunday, the festival concludes with an interactive workshop called “Stories of the Future: Envisioning Pathways to Local Economic Power” where participants reflect on the weekend’s experiences and set in motion next steps for themselves.

The Rooted Resources Festival is free to all, but registration is required. Donations to support the work of GWI are also welcomed. 

For more information and registration, visit:

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About GWI:

The Good Work Institute exists to build and amplify the collective power of people to reject systems of oppression and extraction and create regenerative, just, and life-affirming communities. 

Our work is guided by these five principles of Just Transition:

  • Driving racial justice and social equity
  • Advancing ecological restoration
  • Relocalizing most production and consumption
  • Democratizing wealth, communities and the workplace
  • Retaining and restoring cultures and traditions

Founded in 2015, the Good Work Institute is a worker self-directed nonprofit organization. Our 6-member shared leadership team is half-BIPOC and half-white. We believe in the transformative potential of being deeply connected to our places, so we focus regionally, in and around the Mahicantuck Valley, also known as the Hudson Valley of NY. 

To learn more, visit the website or follow GWI on Facebook and Instagram.

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