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Buffalo Food Equity Network: Introduction & FAQ’s

What is the Buffalo Food Equity Network and who is it for?

Food for the Spirit faciliates the Buffalo Food Equity Network (BFEN), a movement for Western New York’s new food economy led by communities of color, for communities of color.

You can join the network if you identify as a person of color.

What is the new food economy?

That is a great question! And it is a question that we will be answering continually as we learn and grow together…

What we do know (though) is that a new food economy will provide economic benefit around food. Perhaps that economic benefit will take the form of accessing food or growing our own food, offering food-related jobs for our communities, ensuring access to fresh healthy food for all of our communities, building up neighborhood capital and resources around food and food access, and so much more.

We also know that the new food economy will be led by communities of color, directly benefitting our communities.

Who do we mean by “communities of color” and why do we use that language?

The term “communities of color” is sometimes used to describe communities made up of folks who identify as being from Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx, Pacific Islander ancestries, and more.

We have used the term “communities of color” to identify communities of people who make up our network because that is language that is being used by many communities across the country who identify in those ways, and across diverse ancestries.

Why should I join the network?

You should join the network if you identify as a person of color and you would like to connect with other people of color throughout Western New York who are engaged in and/or leading food justice projects in their communities. Again, “people of color” is the term we use to describe people of Black (African and African American), Indigenous (Native American), Asian, Middle Eastern, Latinx, and/or Pacific Islander ancestries.

The ways that you can connect with the network are:

  • Join and participate in our listserv.
  • Share information with the listserv.
  • Come to a BFEN potluck or event.
  • Host an event for BFEN.

How can I join the Buffalo Food Equity Network?

To join the network listserv, you can sign yourself up at https://groups.google.com/d/forum/buffalo-food-equity.

You can also request access to the listserv by sending a message to Rebekah (@) foodforthespirit.org with the Subject Line: “Request to join Buffalo Food Equity Network”.

Black Girls’ Retreat

WHEN: September 2020
WHERE: Rochester Folk Art Guild, Middlesex, NY
CONTACT: Rebekah (at) foodforthespirit.org

Food for the Spirit’s (F4tS) Black Girls’ Retreat offers us space to retreat on the land to self-care within a small community of like-minded individuals. Over the course of two days and two nights, in community with other Black women, we will nurture ourselves and deepen our relationships with ourselves, each other, and nature.

Our intentions are to create a space where we practice radical self-care, self-love, and liberation. The retreat will provide us time and space where we can slow down, quiet down, and build community with each other. To deepen our love for ourselves and to build community, we will weave in ritual and celebration in ways that are meaningful to us.

The retreat will be held at the Rochester Folk Art Guild’s East Hill Farm, a 50-year-old intentional community and craft center located on 350-acres in the Finger Lakes in central New York. Harriet Tubman’s homestead is just an hour drive away. There are many creeks and several beautiful natural lakes nearby, and at the East Hill Farm there is a pond and wooded areas with numerous walking trails.

Overnight accommodations are rustic and will include camping on the land and some beds. Six meals, snacks, and beverages will be provided throughout. If needed, there may also be reimbursement available for travel costs.

COVID-statement: We will have plenty of gloves, extra masks, and hand sanitizer available, and we will ask that each participant agrees to adhere to COVID safety guidelines including wearing masks when indoors.

Join us and take some time for yourself! To apply for our 2020 retreat, visit https://bit.ly/F4TS_OurRetreat.

Conversations in 2020 – Session 3

On Tuesday, July 28, we hosted our third and final session of Conversations on Race & Racism in 2020. Once again, we had nearly 50 people in attendance and a video recording of that session is embedded below.

This week, we were joined by a special guest, Danielle Ohlson of Newark Central Schools. Danielle is also a trainer with Wayne Action for Racial Equality. For further inquiry and action opportunities, several resources were offered at the close of Tuesday’s presentation. Those resources are included below.

In 2020, Conversations on Race & Racism are sponsored by 13 libraries in the Pioneer Library Systems. A list of the sponsoring libraries are below.

For those of you who were unable to attend last Tuesday’s program, here it is on YouTube:

Here are the resources for inquiry and action:

Here is a list of the libraries that sponsored this event:

  • Naples Library
  • Newark Public Library
  • Wadsworth Library
  • Marion Public Library
  • Palmyra Community Library
  • Lyons Public Library
  • Geneva Public Library
  • Livonia Public Library
  • Victor Farmington Library
  • Sodus Community Library
  • Clyde-Savannah Public Library
  • Gorham Free Library
  • Macedon Public Library

Conversations in 2020 – Session 2

On Tuesday, July 21, we hosted the second 2020 session of Conversations on Race & Racism with over fifty people in attendance. A video recording of the second session is embedded below.

Two special guests were invited: Alison Espinoza of Rootworker’s Croft in West Bloomfield NY; and Jessica Gilbert from Rushville NY, who is also a PhD Candidate at the SUNY University at Buffalo and a food justice activist.

In 2020, Conversations on Race & Racism are sponsored by 13 libraries in the Pioneer Library Systems. A list of the sponsoring libraries are below.

For further inquiry, participants are encouraged to view a presentation by Chris Bolden-Newsome, an urban farmer and youth educator from Sankofa Community Farm, which is a part of Bartram’s Gardens in Philadelphia, PA.  A link to the presentation and some questions to ponder are below.

For those of you who were unable to attend last Tuesday’s program, here it is on YouTube:

The link to the homework presentation is here: “Chris Bolden-Newsome” and here are some questions to consider while viewing or afterwards:

  • How has your personal discomfort or hopelessness regarding the suffering of others led to apathy in your life?  In what ways do you tune out to the suffering of others?  In what ways might you tune in more to the suffering of others in a way that is productive and leads to action?
  • What might be some opportunities that can emerge from this current racial and social crisis that we are in?
  • What might it look like to willingly and intentionally engage in suffering or struggle together with those that are different then ourselves?

Here is a list of the libraries that sponsored this event:

  • Naples Library
  • Newark Public Library
  • Wadsworth Library
  • Marion Public Library
  • Palmyra Community Library
  • Lyons Public Library
  • Geneva Public Library
  • Livonia Public Library
  • Victor Farmington Library
  • Sodus Community Library
  • Clyde-Savannah Public Library
  • Gorham Free Library
  • Macedon Public Library

Conversations in 2020 – Session 1

This past Tuesday, July 14, over 60 people joined us for the first session of Conversations on Race & Racism in 2020, co-facilitated by Food for the Spirit co-founder Rebekah Williams and our friend and partner, Petra Page-Mann of Fruition Seeds. A video recording of that first session is embedded below.

As you will see in the below video, this past week’s program also featured two special guests, Jim Wood and Earl Greene of Wayne Action for Racial Equality.

Conversations on Race & Racism are sponsored by 13 libraries in the Pioneer Library Systems. A list of those libraries sponsors are below.

To conclude this past week’s session, participants were invited to engage in further inquiry by viewing a presentation by Jeffery Robinson, the ACLU’s top racial justice expert, between this week’s session and next. A link to Mr. Robinson’s presentation and some questions to ponder are below.

For those of you who were unable to attend last Tuesday’s program, here it is on YouTube:

The link to the presentation by Jeffery Robinson is here: “The Truth About the Confederacy in the United States” and some questions to consider while viewing or afterwards are:

  • What is the role of educational institutions in teaching our shared history?
  • Why might it be important to examine what we (as a nation) have memorialized and created monuments of?
  • What is the role of the media in shaping our collective consciousness?

Here is a list of the libraries that sponsored this event:

  • Naples Library
  • Newark Public Library
  • Wadsworth Library
  • Marion Public Library
  • Palmyra Community Library
  • Lyons Public Library
  • Geneva Public Library
  • Livonia Public Library
  • Victor Farmington Library
  • Sodus Community Library
  • Clyde-Savannah Public Library
  • Gorham Free Library
  • Macedon Public Library