This week’s organizer spotlight features Lauren and Caleb Langworthy, farmers and organizers in western Wisconsin (and participants in the 2021 virtual WiLD Academy):
1) What have you learned from “falling off the bike” as a leader?
We’ve learned the importance of developing leadership capacity and intentionally delegating areas of responsibility by “falling off the bike.” It is easy to hold on to the responsibility and burden of an organizing project with good intentions—thinking that you’re protecting the time of others. However, the independent mindset that is ultimately at the root of these behaviors is detrimental to the act of organizing and bringing more people into the community of the project. We have to be intentional about giving areas of responsibility and control away in order to create the leadership necessary to sustain a project.
2) What sustains you? Where do you get the energy to keep going?
I am energized by a vision of the future where healthy, happy, and fulfilled people are prioritized over profits and greed. I imagine a world in which the public good and care for our shared resources is our guiding principle. Every time I hear someone talking about—or see a policy step away from—the issues of corporate consolidation and the values of protecting public good (both environmental and civic), I find renewed energy to keep pushing toward that vision.
3) How will you be bold in your organizing work this year?
We have stopped being shy to talk to people who might not initially look like allies in the fight. We have realized that the issues of consolidation impact us all in different ways and can be understood through many different examples. Rather than worry someone won’t understand or share our perspective, we’ve been learning to use a wide range of value systems to frame the issue for different audiences. In this way, we have found allies in unlikely places and a much wider coalition than initially expected. It’s time to focus on solidarity wherever it exists and ignore the artificial divides that weaken our collective power.