Interview: CUNY Urban Food Policy Monitor

Food for the Spirit and members of the Buffalo Food Equity Network have been instrumental in the development of the Good Food Buffalo Coalition (GFBC), an advocacy organization committed to bringing the Good Food Purchasing Programs (GFPP) to Buffalo and Western New York.

As the CUNY Urban Food Policy Monitor says: “By emphasizing racial justice, elevating the role of Black farmers, and promoting values-based procurement to safeguard the well-being of Buffalo students, the GFBC demonstrates their dedication to inclusive decision-making processes that prioritize the voices and concerns of those most affected by racial injustice in the food system.”

In this interview with the CUNY Urban Food Policy Monitor, Food for the Spirit’s Co-Founding Director, Rebekah Williams, and GFBC Campaign Director, Jessica Gilbert-Overland, talk about the GFBC’s commitment to racial justice, community engagement, and sustainable food systems, and how Food for the Spirit and members of the BFEN have informed the coalition’s development.

Click here to read the article.

Click here to learn about the Good Food Buffalo Coalition.

Click here to access the full issue of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Monitor.

Farm to School Workshop Update

On March 25, the Buffalo Food Equity Network (BFEN) Farm to School team hosted a wonderful workshop with 27 adults interested in serving as adult mentors for youth in Buffalo schools. The workshop took place at public school number 309, East Community High School, located at 820 Northampton Street.

The BFEN Farm to School team hosted the workshop in partnership with Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) Child Nutrition Services as part of their Celebrating Cultural Diversity through Buffalo Farm to School, Erie County SNAP-Ed, and Say Yes Buffalo. By partnering with Say Yes Buffalo we were able to host our workshop as part of the school’s Saturday Academy, wherein the high-level of community engagement and phenomenal foot traffic ensured that we got to interact with many people.

As a part of our workshop, we offered a hands-on cooking demonstration, conducted by SNAP-Ed educator, Unique Brown. By using the school kitchen for the cooking demonstration, we got to know the food service staff who run that school kitchen.

During the workshop, we shared personal narratives and experiences with food and agriculture, and we led several interactive, popular education based activities, including: a “What is Food?” word web, a “Farm to Cafeteria” food system brainstorm, and a conversation on how to support positive youth development. We also handed out free crock pots to each workshop participant.

For many of our BFEN team members, hosting the workshop at a public school in Buffalo was a return to childhood. A couple of us were so excited when we even recognized one of the food service staff from our own school days; seeing her for the first time in many years brought up great memories!

At the end of the day, our team left the workshop with a feeling of excitement for many future possibilities.

The BFEN Farm to School Team Members who designed and facilitated the workshop were:

  • Allison DeHonney
  • Bryana Hassan James
  • Dennice Barr
  • Donna Latham-Edwards
  • Gwen Baxley
  • Hope Isom
  • Neena Hussey
  • Nnenna Ferguson
  • Pamela James
  • Rebekah Williams
  • Sheila A. Bass
  • Sherman Webb-Middlebrooks

Click here to learn about the Buffalo Public Schools Celebrating Cultural Diversity initiative.

Click here to learn about Erie County SNAP-Ed New York programming.

Click here to learn about Say Yes Buffalo’s Community Schools Programming.

2023 Farm to School Workshop

On March 25th, 2023, members of Food for the Spirit’s Buffalo Food Equity Network will host a Farm to School Workshop for adults interested in supporting positive youth development through food and farm systems education in Buffalo schools.


In this workshop, we will come together to celebrate Black culture, food, and local farms and share opportunities to get involved!

Here is what will happen:

  • Participate in a free cooking demonstration
  • Share a meal
  • Learn about Celebrating Cultural Diversity with Buffalo Farm to School
  • Explore why the Farm to School program is important for youth and the community
  • Connect with additional opportunities to get involved

You can also register by emailing or calling (585) 201-8190.