ROOTS Week 2022 – Southern Soil: Nourishing Our ROOTS

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Nourishing Our ROOTS starts with the seeds. We are thrilled to share ROOTS: Seeds, a poetic short film conceived and co-directed by Melisa Cardona along with Jason Foster (Co-Director), Sunni Patterson (Poet), Ace Harney (Cinematographer and Editor), and Talamieka Brice (Visual Effects).


ROOTS Week 2022

Southern Soil: Nourishing Our ROOTS
Friday, August 5 – Sunday, August 7


Three ways to join – more details coming soon!


      • Attend one of three regional gatherings in Norfolk, VA, Atlanta, GA, and Houston, TX
      • Log in to virtual ROOTS Week, from the comfort of your home
      • Host your own local Rhizome with area ROOTers
      • Alternate ROOTS Annual Business Meeting, will take place online in early August, exact dates and time to be announced soon.

ROOTS Week 2022 – Southern Soil: Nourishing Our ROOTS 

When seeds sprout, their roots push through their shells to reach water and nutrients in the soil. Some plants have mycelium – tiny threads that wrap around roots, connecting individual plants to a network where they share what they need to survive. As we close out our 45th anniversary and look to our 50th, we are hearing the call to revive and nourish our ROOTS network, our community’s mycelium.

Since 2020, we have endured loss of loved ones, work, and – so vital to ROOTS – our ability to gather. We’ve also created ways to do what we Southern folk are so good at: mobilizing in a crisis. As we moved into emergency response mode, connecting Southern artists to some of the resources they needed to survive, we also saw ourselves grow from our grassroots beginnings to a more expansive ROOTS, one that’s larger and reaches further than we have before.

As we grow, we know we need to nourish our ROOTS. What we’ve heard from our membership is gratitude for the support and feeling the loss of our connective tissue. For 45 years, ROOTS has been this connection for artists who are committed to making work in, with, by, for, and about their communities, whose work strives for social justice. How do we reconnect after all we’ve been through over the past two years? How do we reconnect in the midst of continued challenges – an ongoing pandemic, worsening climate crisis, persistent and intersectional injustices – and rapid organizational growth?

This year’s theme, Southern Soil: Nourishing Our ROOTS, is about tending our ecosystem in ways that make us strong and healthy for the long haul. It’s   about cultivating channels that help our resources flow more smoothly and fully among the entire network, so that we grow from surviving to thriving. It’s about shifting to a place where we “stay ready, so we don’t have to get ready.”

ROOTS Week 2015. Photo by Melisa Cardona.

Some questions that are guiding us include: 

  • How are we building on and sharing what we currently do well?
  • How are we using our art practices to connect, challenge, and thrive?
  • What resources do we need to grow to support ROOTS’ membership in the midst of the climate crisis?
  • How are we supporting membership development for healthy and sustainable organizations?

As always, this theme is permeating our work beyond ROOTS Week. Our Membership Team is on the ROOTS Rhizome listening tour, YOOTS Summer Sparks series has just kicked off, Partners in Action has relaunched, and our member work groups are actively engaged.

As we announced in early April, this ROOTS Week, we will finally be able to gather again in our ROOTS Week regional pods and local Rhizomes, alongside a virtual event. This cross-regional, hybrid gathering will include many of the things that we love about ROOTS Week: art sharing and making, critical and engaging conversations, singing, dancing, and for the first time since 2019 – sharing meals and consensual hugs together, face-to-face.

We hope ROOTS Week 2022 will start us on the path to strengthening our collective soil, reconnecting our mycelium, and nourishing our greatest resource – each other.

More ROOTS Week information – including registration –  coming in early June! 

Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in communities of place, tradition or spirit. We are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together. As Alternate ROOTS, we call for social and economic justice and are working to dismantle all forms of oppression—everywhere.