WNY Food Stories Project

The Western New York (WNY) Food Stories Project engages community storytellers in sharing their stories about food access and food justice in Western New York. In 2020, due to the limitations of in-person interaction because of COVID, stories were collected via interviews conducted on zoom.

Post-COVID, we look forward to inviting participating storytellers to come together with each other to share their stories and determine how their collective needs and experiences should be communicated to leaders and the public to promote food systems change.

Here is a compilation video of storytellers participating in 2020:

2020 | Buffalo Food Stories Project

New storytellers can join the project by recording their own stories and sending them to the Project Leadership Team by email to Rebekah (at) foodforthespirit.org. Finalized stories will be featured in the blog on this website and on the organization’s YouTube Channel at https://bit.ly/F4tSonYouTube.

Stories will be collected in a manner that considers and honors the Shared Principles developed by the Project Leadership Team. Read on for details about our Shared Principles.

OUR SHARED PRINCIPLES

In February 2020, a leadership team made up of members of the Buffalo Food Equity Network (BFEN) were awarded a storytelling grant from Nexus Community Partners, which led to the creation of the following shared principles for the WNY Food Stories Project. These shared principles were created to provide a guideline for all decisions made about the project.

In December 2020, the leadership team co-hosted a virtual visit with Nexus to share about the collective process the team went through to develop these shared principles. Here is a link to a video of that virtual visit.

Scroll down to the end of this page to learn who makes up the WNY Food Stories Project leadership team and for information about the Buffalo Food Equity Network (BFEN), visit http://bit.ly/bflofoodequity-faqs.

STATEMENT OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Note: This is the WNY Food Stories Project Leadership Team’s statement on our shared principles.

We are Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) committed to healing our communities from our collective histories of trauma. We created these shared principles to strengthen our community’s food systems by increasing access to food and land.

We know that the food system is built upon land theft and genocide of Indigenous people, the kidnapping and enslaving of Africans, and the exploitation of Black and Brown labor. We believe that it is time to heal from that history of oppression and reconnect our communities to land and food sovereignty.

To begin reversing the harms done, we are engaging with and mobilizing BIPOC communities in sharing our stories and ideas. We acknowledge and respect the leadership of BIPOC communities because we believe that practices rooted in African and Indigenous traditions are integral to our healing process.

SHARED PRINCIPLES

Self-Determination

  • We start with self-determination because it is essential that we speak for ourselves and maintain control of decisions that affect our families and communities.

Community Resilience

  • Healing from the trauma of oppression starts with healing from within, therefore we are committed to self-transformation and adaptation.
  • In order for our communities to heal from the trauma and oppression held in our bodies, minds, and spirits we need to reclaim and center BIPOC leadership, stories, and tools for community transformation and liberation.

Shared Leadership

  • We prioritize shared leadership that reflects our communities and decision-making that includes all voices in our communities.
  • Shared decision-making is an inclusive, democratic-process, that honors member participation and control.

PROJECT LEADERSHIP TEAM

Allison DeHonney, Urban Fruits & Veggies / Buffalo Go Green

Stephanie Morningstar, Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust

Dr. Jared Strohl, Buffalo Food Equity Network member

Gail V. Wells, Freedom Gardens and CopperTown Block Club

Rebekah Williams, Food for the Spirit