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GrassRoots Institute Thriving With New Energy

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

Finally, after eight years of educating and organizing throughout Mendocino County, GrassRoots Institute (GRI) is producing its first newsletter, has a refurbished website, hired a Communications/Media Coordinator, and has a budget a hundred times the size of any previous year. Most importantly, its eight working groups are doing fantastic work to improve the Common Good in Mendocino County.

Actually, GRI has always done fantastic work. Active locally across Mendocino County in Fort Bragg, Ukiah, Willits and Mendocino between 2015-2020, GRI presented 14 courses, in 137 workshops, to 376 people discussing grassroots solutions to corporate power, building the commons, and creating the Economy for the Common Good In Mendocino County. We collaborated globally with the Alliance for Democracy, Move to Amend, The Solidarity Economy Network, Next system Project, New Economy Coalition, and many others.

Now we operate mainly on Zoom where anybody, anywhere can participate. We have moved from having participatory workshops to collaborative work groups taking on the most critical issues in Mendocino County. GRI works with elected officials, partners with community non-profits, and engages city, county and state agencies to achieve concrete results The effort is driven by over 100 volunteers in all eight work groups. You can check it all out online at

For the past year, the Noyo Headlands Work Group (NHWG) has been working to guarantee a sustainable future for the Noyo Headlands. Last Spring, when Mendocino Railway published plans to run rail tracks all over the headlands, NHWG instigated a petition to the California Coastal Commission that gathered over 600 signatures questioning MR’s Plan. That success seemingly led Mendocino Railway to withdraw its plans in the Coastal Zone. Then, in July GRI co-hosted a beautiful public reception for the California Coastal Commission in the Botanical Gardens, where representatives of all sides of the Noyo Headlands issue were present.

Meanwhile the Climate Crisis Group allied with County officials to move the County toward zero net energy. This included an allocation of two million dollars to place solar

panels on County buildings.

GRI’s Candidates and Election Working Group group held an educational forum with past Mayor Dave Turner and Supervisor Dan Gjerde for potential Fort Bragg City Council Candidates. Eleven candidates signed up to run in that election.

A couple of private investigators also volunteered their research on some of the pivotal matters in this City Council election.

This newsletter highlights the more in-depth work of several of our work groups. Everybody is welcome to join the GRI effort. Email us at to be part of our undertaking for the common good of Mendocino County.

Written by: Jim Tarbell

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