After seeing their flier in a local store, I was intrigued by this group of folks willing to take on odd jobs and projects around the Vermillion area, and I set about trying to make contact and setting up a time for an interview.
This morning, I was finally able to sit down with Morgan, Phil, and Sam from the PGC to ask them how it came about, what they do, and how they organized themselves.
The Prairie Grass Collective came about from the reaction of a number of young residents (mostly in their twenties) to a lack of good jobs and an inability to have input or control over their work environment–what they were paid and the hours they worked.
“I didn’t want to have a boss,” Sam said, and the others agreed. “I wanted to be my own boss,” Phil echoed, “and I had read about a number of people who had basically taken control of their own lives–their own work.”
The Collective started as an idea without definitive shape in March of this year, and became more concrete in April, when the group (which has from 5-10 members at any given point) started advertising and taking on projects.
All three of the members I spoke with said they liked working outside–and many of the jobs they’ve taken on thusfar are exterior projects–mowing and landscaping, weeding, hedge-trimming, and transplanting. But the group is also available for inside jobs–cleaning and painting were two indoor tasks they expressed willingness to tackle.
Jobs are allocated based on who is free during the requested work period and who is in most need of work. Many of the Collective’s members also have other part-time jobs, and some have been looking for work and have not been able to find it.
The “collective” part of the Prairie Grass Collective is not only in how jobs are allocated, but also in the tools they have on hand (they have a “tool library” for members to use for projects), and in how their money is spent–10% of the members’ $10/hour labor charge goes into a joint fund for advertising and purchase of needed equipment and supplies.
You can contact the Prairie Grass Collective at (510) 708-0871 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. In my experience, calling is a quicker way to reach them.