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Food for the Spirit is Hiring!

Food for the Spirit is pleased to announce our search for a Buffalo Food Equity Network (BFEN) Director!

Apply by October 24, 2022. Details at: bit.ly/2022_BFENJobOpp

Since 2019, Food for the Spirit has filled a niche in Buffalo and across New York State working alongside networks and people who share a commitment to addressing issues of race and racism in the food system. We work with community partners, organizers, and facilitators in 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.

First established in 2019, the BFEN now has over 200 members. BFEN members have built relationships and trust, and they are collaborating around a number of critical food systems initiatives including: Buffalo Freedom Gardens, the Igniting Hope Conference, the Juneteenth Agricultural Pavilion, the Seeding East Fellowship, and more. The BFEN has made a lot of progress in Buffalo and the network has grown to the point that having a Director is key.

The BFEN Director will work with the Food for the Spirit team and the BFEN membership to provide strategic direction and leadership around the development of a policy-advocacy platform and campaign. They will support program development for BFEN initiatives and project management for collaborative projects led by BFEN members. They will be a weaver, helping to grow the network, encouraging relationships, trust, and community-building amongst BFEN members and key partners. They will support fundraising and development to ensure sustainability for the BFEN in the years to come.

To apply, view the hiring announcement and details at: bit.ly/2022_BFENJobOpp

Please share this posting with your networks! Help us attract a candidate who can work in partnership with us to bring about a new food economy in Buffalo, led by communities of color, for communities of color. We are confident that with our combined effort, we will find a person with the passion, skills, sensitivity, and commitment needed to fill this crucial new role.

Join Buffalo Freedom Gardens at an annual plant sale and giveaway event

Join Buffalo Freedom Gardens at Groundwork Market Garden’s 2nd annual plant sale and giveaway event on May 14, 2022. The event will take place at 1698 Genesee Street, Buffalo, NY 14211 from 10am to 2pm. Two free plants per household, while supplies last!

See more details in the event flyer here. Contact Buffalo Freedom Gardens on Instagram and Facebook.

5 Free Gardening Classes with Buffalo Freedom Gardens!

Buffalo Freedom Gardens is partnering with Blegacy Farms and Urban Fruits & Veggies to host a series of five free classes on gardening!

“Feed Yourself, Free Yourself” series, a free and interactive gardening series on growing plants from seed. The classes will take place on Sundays from 3:30 to 4:30pm at Urban Fruits & Veggies, located at 324 Glenwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14208. Class supplies limited to 20 people. Instructors Gail V. Wells, Buffalo Freedom Gardens, and Allison DeHonney, Urban Fruits & Veggies.

  • May 7 – Let Food Be Thy Medicine (on zoom, details here)
  • May 14 – Preparing your garden for planting (at 324 Glenwood Ave)
  • May 21 – Planting your garden (at 324 Glenwood Ave)

For more details, contact yourfreedomgarden@gmail.com.

Support Black Farmers in the Genesee Valley of New York State

Western New York and Southern Tier Black farmers are looking for your support!

According to the 2017 USDA Agricultural Census there are only 139 Black farmers in NYS, compared to 57,000 white farmers statewide, and Black farmers make just $1 for every $5 a white farmer makes.

“Farming is big business in New York State — a $42 billion industry on which every other sector relies. Yet black farmers’ contributions in New York are often undercounted, overlooked, and undervalued, to the detriment of the health and prosperity of black communities statewide.”

– from Black Farmers United NYS

For these reasons and more, Food for the Spirit has been supporting Black farmers in New York State since 2019 through education, outreach, advocacy, and support for the development of networks and cooperative systems.

In 2021, we established the Genesee Valley Black Farmers Collective Marketing Project, a collective marketing project to serve Black farmers in the nine counties in the Genesee Valley of New York State. We engaged local farmers in the project and enlisted marketing and design support from Buffalo-based artist and food entrepreneur Alexa Joan Wajed of Eat Off Art.

Linked below are the Farmers Portraits created by Eat Off Art. Visit them to get to know each of the farmers and learn how you can support them:

Alison Espinosa of Rootworkers Croft

  • Allison is seeking venues (both virtual and in-person) with public school students and families in Rochester to share her expertise about farming and animal husbandry, as well as clients for farming, gardening, livestock husbandry, and herbalism.
  • Check out Alison’s Farmer Portrait at: bit.ly/GVBlackFarmer_AlisonEspinosa
  • Alison can be reached by email at rootworkerscroft (@) gmail.com.

Wil Moss, Jr. of Moss Fresh Fruits & Vegetables

  • Wil is seeking support with transportation and distribution to get their farm products to additional markets, and looking for support with equipment and labor to plant, cultivate, harvest, and take product to market.
  • Check out Wil’s Farmer Portrait at: bit.ly/GVBlackFarmer_MossFarm.
  • Email Wil Moss, Jr. at wemossjr (@) hotmail.com.

Pamela ReeseSmith of Harlem Brood Teas

  • Pamela is looking for venues (both virtual and in-person) to teach and educate underserved communities urban farming, growing herbs and vegetables, as well as clients who wish to consult with her around her expertise.
  • Check out Pamela’s Farmer Portrait at: bit.ly/GVBlackFarmer_PamelaReeseSmith.
  • You can reach Pamela on her business phone at: (585) 404-3885.

Through our collective efforts, we envision farmers of color coming together to learn from each other, share resources, and offer each other support in mutually-beneficial forums. We hope you will support us in bringing about this vision.

You can support our efforts through a donation or grant made to Food for the Spirit. To support the Genesee Valley Black Farmers Project and related efforts, contact Rebekah (@) foodforthespirit.org.

More ways to engage:

Learn about Eat Off Art at www.eatoffart.com.

This project was made possible through a grant from the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority and the NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets.