Portraits of Black Farmers

On March 23rd, 2022, Food for the Spirit hosted a virtual event Portraits of Black Farmers; Creating Space & Encouraging Support for Black Farmers in the Genesee Valley.

CLICK HERE to get to know the participating farmers.

Watch our event video below to learn about Food for the Spirit’s Genesee Valley Black Farmers Marketing Project and meet the participating farmers from the western Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

The Genesee Valley Black Farmers Marketing Project was carried out in collaboration with Eat Off Art, and was made possible with the support of the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority and the New York State Department of Ag & Markets.

Soil Builders | Intercambio de Historias // Story-Sharing Event

This event was interpreted simultaneously from English to Spanish / Este evento fue interpretado simultáneamente del inglés al español.

The event was hosted virtually on Zoom on February 24th, 2022, from 6-7:30pm // El evento se celebró virtualmente en Zoom el 24 de febrero de 2022, de 6-7:30pm.

Are you a BIPOC grower or farmer? // ¿Eres cultivadore o agricultore negre, indigena o de raza marginada?

Do you have a story to tell about your growing experience? // ¿Tienes una historia que contar sobre tu experiencia de cultivo?

Soil Builders was a virtual evening of story sharing about your experiences as land-stewards, growers, gardeners, and farmers. // Soil Builders fue una noche virtual para compartir historias sobre tu experiencia como guardián de la tierra, cultivadore, jardinere y agricultore.

This event included time to:

  1. Workshop and share a personal story in a majority BIPOC space;
  2. Gain skills to help craft stories that can be used in legislative testimony; and
  3. Learn how personal narrative can shape the future of NY State and Federal policy.

Este evento incluyó tiempo para:

  1. Desarrollar y compartir una historia personal en un espacio donde la mayoría de personas son gente negra, indigena y de raza marginada;
  2. Aprender habilidades para ayudar a elaborar historias que puedan ser utilizadas en el testimonio legislativo; y
  3. Aprender cómo la narrativa personal puede dar forma al futuro de la política estatal de Nueva York y al nivel federal.

For more information or to learn more about Soil Builders, email Rebekah (@) foodforthespirit.org // Para más información o para saber más sobre Soil Builders, envíe un correo electrónico Rebekah (@) foodforthespirit.org.

The event was hosted by a collective of individuals working in the agricultural field in New York State who are committed to supporting Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) farmers seeking access to institutional markets through the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) // El evento fue organizado por un colectivo de personas que trabajan en el campo de la agricultura en el Estado de Nueva York y que están comprometidos con el apoyo a los agricultores negros, indígenas y personas de color (BIPOC) que buscan acceso a los mercados institucionales a través del Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP).

Learn about the collective who hosted the event at: https://bit.ly/NYSBIPOCFarmerSupport_AboutUs

Conozca el colectivo que acogió el evento en: https://bit.ly/NYSBIPOCFarmerSupport_Nosotres

Buffalo Food Sovereignty Weeks | Harvest Season Food Bag Giveaway

Since 2019, Food for the Spirit has coordinated Buffalo Food Sovereignty Weeks’ events each year during harvest season, to coordinate efforts of local Buffalo organizations to improve the health and economy for communities of color in Buffalo. With an emphasis on Black and Indigenous growers and food systems leaders, associated events bring Buffalo communities together to learn with and from each other.

As part of Buffalo Food Sovereignty Weeks events this year, Food for the Spirit is coordinating with Lincoln Memorial UMC First Fruits Food Pantry, Urban Fruits & Veggies, African Heritage Food Co-op, and Impacted Families Project on a Harvest Season Food Bag Giveaway.

The Harvest Season Food Bag Giveaway will take place on Saturday, October 23rd in three Buffalo neighborhoods: Hamlin Park, the Fruit Belt, and Broadway-Fillmore. The groups are not pushing out information about the neighborhood distributions because they each have regular patrons who depend on the limited supply of bags provided in their neighborhoods.

But what makes this event different from regularly occurring food distribution events in Buffalo neighborhoods, is that the Buffalo Food Sovereignty Weeks’ Harvest Season Food Bag Giveaway event connects Black food systems activists with Black farmers, food distributors, and transportation systems to strengthen Buffalo’s Black food system.

According to the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance:

“Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.”

– Declaration of Nyéléni, the first global forum on food sovereignty, Mali, 2007

It is important that Black folks know that we can be more than simply food consumers, we can be owners in the food and agriculture system, and that is what this event is about.

The participating organizations form a food and agriculture system supported by two Black-owned farms producing healthy and culturally appropriate food for the community (Urban Fruits & Veggies and Moss Family Fruit & Veggies), organizations that operate refrigerated box trucks that transport fresh food throughout the city (African Heritage Food Co-op and Urban Fruits & Veggies), and several distribution organizations that host food giveaways in neighborhoods hardest hit by food apartheid (Lincoln Memorial UMC and Impacted Families Project).

If you have questions about the Harvest Season Food Bag Giveaway or Buffalo Food Sovereignty Weeks, contact Rebekah (@) foodforthespirit.org.

This event is made possible through the support from Seeding Resilience and the WNY COVID Response Fund.

2021 Food Bag Giveaway Flyer

Seeding Resilience; A Coordinated Response to Food Security During COVID-19

“Seeding Resilience’s rapid yet deliberate response is made possible due to pre-existing networks in the community, such as the Buffalo Food Equity Network (BFEN), a movement of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).” – Dr. Samina Raja, PhD

In 2020, a coalition of over 160 individuals and organizations came together through weekly meetings and coordinated action to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in Buffalo. The coalition was called Seeding Resilience and it included growers, emergency food providers, bicycle couriers, food system planners, food justice advocates, researchers, and others.

Dr. Samina Raja, University at Buffalo’s Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab founder and Buffalo Food Equity Network member, wrote an article about the coalition. In the article, she outlines Seeding Resilience’s three-pronged strategy to: (1) rapidly redistribute food to neighborhoods in need; (2) increase food production in the city; and (3) increase employment opportunities.

Raja wrote: “To address the acute crisis, food is being procured from local and/or minority-owned wholesalers and/or farmers. Food is being distributed by Feed Buffalo, an emergency food pantry that intentionally serves healthy and halal food with dignity. Food is being transported by bicycle couriers and volunteer drivers to anyone who requests it, while offering vegan, organic, and halal food. For a more equitable recovery, the coalition is increasing food production city-wide through a network of backyard/frontyard Freedom Gardens, a term coined by Gail Wells, a longtime food justice advocate. Led by a partnership of Food for the Spirit, an emerging organization committed to cultivating spaces for racial healing, ecological justice, and equitable food systems, and Grassroots Gardens of Western New York, a not-for profit organization that supports community gardens, the new Freedom Gardens both respond to the present crisis and seed a more equitable future by giving city residents greater control over their own means of food production.”

She continued: “Seeding Resilience’s rapid yet deliberate response is made possible due to pre-existing networks in the community, such as the Buffalo Food Equity Network (BFEN), a movement of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).”

Throughout 2020 and 2021, a group of BFEN members and allies served as the Seeding Resilience facilitation and organizing team. That group included: Bethany Ortquist, Bianca Davis, Cameron Herman, Della Miller, Donna Latham-Edwards, Gail Wells, Hope Isom, Jared Strohl, Kelsey Gosch, Kyliel Thompson, Rebekah Williams, Samina Raja, Sashti Balasundaram, Silver Light, and William Gonzalez.

To read the entire article, click here to read it online or click here to download it as a pdf document.