The Story and the People
The idea for H2H Cooperative was conceived by Janelle Orsi and Hank Herrera in 2015, after Sustainable Economies Law Center did some research and hosted a workshop on the law as it applies to the emerging grassroots funeral industry. Hank was needing capital to buy land for his goat/sheep farm. Janelle was researching economics of the funeral industry. They put two and two together: Why not finance the purchase of pastureland through the sale of natural burial plots on the land? In 2016, Linda Novick volunteered to research cemetery permitting, and the three have met regularly since. Countless others have given input and the vision for H2H Cooperative has evolved and expanded. Our hope is to grow the team and build a broad membership that will determine the future of the Cooperative. The goal is to create affordable land access for communities historically dispossessed of land. Cemetery development is not essential to the model, but it is a highly promising pathway to achieving the goal.
Hank is President & CEO of the Center for Popular Research, Education & Policy, founder of New Hope Farms, co-founder and Director of the Sacred Community Land Trust, a non-profit organization devoted to conserving farmland for farming by low-income farmers and ranchers. Together these organizations provide the foundation for building equitable local food systems owned by and serving communities lacking access to fresh, healthy food. Hank is a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar and a Kellogg National Fellow.
Janelle Orsi is a lawyer, advocate, writer, and cartoonist focused on cooperatives, the sharing economy, urban agriculture, shared housing, local currencies, and rebuilding the commons. She is Co-founder and Executive Director of the Sustainable Economies Law Center and author of Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy. Janelle believes that everyone should have the opportunity to develop a caring and long-term relationship with land, and is fascinated by the potential to re-envision the funeral industry as a pathway to land access for all.
Linda is a geographer and planner, project developer, and regulatory specialist. Her work experience includes organizing community gardens and farmers’ markets in neighborhoods needing better access to good food, investigating innovative connections to transit, and developing composting and anaerobic digestion facilities in California. She is passionate about connecting land and people, by saving and improving soil and our climate.