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Interview: Red Dirt Collective

Originally published in The Equity Star monthly newsletter for our August edition. Sign up for our email list to get more stories, recipes, new announcements, and other fun things sent straight to your inbox!

Equity Brewing Company's first nonprofit collaboration was with Red Dirt Collective. We released our first version of Mutual Ale as a Rosemary Raisin Red Ale in September of 2021. We have since brewed two additional versions of Mutual Ale - STEAM On and the Black Currant Irish Red. We reached out to RDC as soon as we opened in the summer of 2021 as we wanted to highlight and support their work. Soon after, we organized a food pantry at Equity and have been raising funds and supplies for the organization for nearly two years. We are so grateful for RDC - for the work they do and for their willingness to collaborate! Here are some highlights about RDC. Please follow and support them - they are doing amazing things! Tell us about the beginning of Red Dirt Collective - when did you organize and why? In 2019 we were the Norman Working Group, a reading/working group that practiced doing and learning as a reciprocal process: actions both resulting from and guiding our readings. Two of those actions in 2019, transformed NWG into RDC: extensive canvassing for Sanders in the the 2019-2020 Primary, and the delivery of 700 covid care packages to low income apartments. What is your purpose? While we knew the importance of meeting people's direct needs, we also knew it was vital to come up with solutions to systemic problems to make lasting change. So along with food, mask kits, and cleaning supplies, we also put flyers in the packages trying to get people to meet together and talk about what they were dealing with and also coming up with ways to solve these issues. What are some of your activities? We believe organizing and movement building is the key to lasting and systemic change and in order for people to have the capacity to think about these larger issues they have to have trust in each other and built in mutual aid networks. We actively: - Organize tenants into tenant associations - Organize workers into unions - Organize mutual aid networks between these institutions - Organize a political movement along side the poor and working class We have continued our work under this ideology with our ongoing projects. For the Mutual Aid part we have multiple pantries we fill daily, a community garden where we have 2 weekly work days, and quarterly Mutual Aid Fairs where we give out free groceries, clothing, cleaning supplies, haircuts, bike repairs, lunches and have around 15 other organizations come out and give out resources. We also have a weekly labor reading group where we try to help train people to know how to organize and offer support for unions and unionizing work places. We are also working with tenants to learn to work together and to know their rights against landlords. On the municipal level we support and/or endorse candidates and policies we think will fight for the poor and working class of Norman. What are your organization's hopes and dreams? We hope to see a much more equitable Norman, state, and beyond in which workers have more say, money, and power for the labor they produce and tenants will have more say and ownership over the property they are paying rent for. Why collaborate with Equity Brewing? We want to thank Equity for everything they have done for us! The drop off spot for pantries has been huge for getting food to the outdoor pantries. We appreciate the beer collabs so much. They are a fun and creative way to raise money. Equity is a beautiful, safe space and a wonderful part of Norman. How can people get involved? If you'd like to help us continue our projects, please Venmo or PayPal us at @reddirtcollective. We also have a Patreon if you would like to become a monthly contributor. Volunteers are always welcome and appreciated! Join us any Wednesday evening at 7 or Saturday morning at 9 at Colonial Commons Park for gardening and our next Mutual Aid Fair is on August 19th from 12-3 at Irving Rec Center. We are proud of the safe and inclusive community we have built and would love to meet you! You can follow Red Dirt Collective on Instagram: @_red_dirt_collective_


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