Cultivating Trust as an Organizing Strategy

Adaku Utah

Mycelium mushrooms have been one of my greatest teachers of trust. The word mycelium means “more than one.” The mycelium organism is a dynamic root system of mushrooms that utilizes trust as a mechanism to build and sustain a vast, reciprocal, underground network that connects the roots of trees and plants and skillfully shares nutrients and resources to support the health of the entire ecosystem with which it moves. This mycelial network cannot exist without trust. The mycelium communication highway recognizes and believes in the collective ability to channel and receive nutrients where needed, protect against parasites and expand roots into necessary sites of growth. The network process also fosters intergenerational relationships that welcome the myriad of ancient wisdom and connections that reside in older trees to benefit younger trees. These mushrooms affirm a commitment to building relationships of trust that encourage all life to bloom. One that I aspire to embody more and more in my organizing practice.


It takes courage to bring our trust forward and invite another person to meet us there. This sometimes sure, often shaky, surrender is an opportunity to discover something deeper than the confines of our individual experience. A catalyst to grow beyond ourselves. To find the places where love can exist even when we are unsure of the destination. To embrace a kind of faith brave enough to yield a wider focus often unseen with a singular lens.

Cultivating trust is an organizing strategy.

It illuminates the distinct potential to generate meaningful communication, yield collaboration grounded in sustenance, bolster collective commitment and acknowledge competence and worth. Trust intercepts blame and attack and invites care and compassion to take the lead. It takes the time to ensure that practices are aligned with values. In times of crisis, trust knows that you won’t be intentionally hurt by comrades. It relies on our imagination’s harvest and initiates possibility filled with hope and inspiration. It encourages us to delegate and share our work so imbalance dissolves and burnout fades. Trust invites us to come together for the sake of collective liberation.

from “Let the Choir Say Wow,” an Online Zine to Accompany Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by adrienne maree brown.