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.

Announcing Our Guest Speaker for April 18th…

Dãnia Davy, Director of Land Retention and Advocacy, Federation of Southern Cooperatives

Food for the Spirit, Black Farmers United NYS, and Equity Advocates are hosting monthly “Y’All Come Meetings” to invite everyone to get involved with our 2023 Farm Bill Campaign.

Each month, we will have a special guest speaker for our Y’All Come Meeting for Farm Bill Advocacy. On April 18, our guest speaker was…

Dãnia Davy, Director of Land Retention and Advocacy at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives!

Did you miss this meeting?! Don’t worry! YOU CAN VIEW DÃNIA’S PRESENTATION HERE.

Dãnia serves as Director of Land Retention and Advocacy at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund the largest and oldest cooperatively-owned organization whose membership includes black farmers, landowners and cooperatives. After double concentrating in Community Health and Africana Studies at Brown University, she earned her J.D. at University of Virginia School of Law.

Dãnia began her legal career as a Skadden Fellow at the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers’ Land Loss Prevention Project ​implementing a project she designed ​which provided community education and estate planning services to improve Black farmers and heir property landowners’ access to legal services in the rural South. ​She developed the documentary – “Our Land, Our Lives: The North Carolina Black Farmers’ Experience” and served on the inaugural North Carolina Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council.

Dãnia is also the Director of the Federation’s Regional Heirs Property & Mediation Center, manages the State Agricultural Mediation Programs in Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Georgia, and Louisiana, leads the Heir Property Relending Program Technical Assistance and Outreach Project, hosts the Federation Conversation Podcast, supervises the Federation Fellowship and Summer Law Student Internship, and leads the Federation’s Advocacy Institute. Dãnia currently serves on the boards of the Farmers Legal Action Group and Southern Rural Development Center.

Click here to learn more about our Y’All Come Meetings.

Y’All Come Meetings ~ Join in Farm Bill Advocacy!

Building on our Farm Bill Campaign, co-led with Equity Advocates and Black Farmers United NYS, we are launching monthly “Y’All Come Meetings” to invite everyone to get involved with our Farm Bill Campaign. Our “Y’All Come Meetings” will take place on the third Tuesday of each month from 5-6:15 PM.

Click here to register for our second meeting on June 20, 2023 at 5 PM!

Our guest speaker for our first meeting was: Dãnia Davy, Director of Land Retention & Advocacy, Federation of Southern Cooperatives!

Stay in the know by joining these monthly check-in meetings.

Here is a list of our past and upcoming gatherings:

  • April 18th, 2023 | 5pm-6:15pm
  • June 20th, 2023 | 5pm – 6pm
  • July 18th, 2023 | 5pm – 6pm
  • August 15th, 2023| 5pm – 6pm

If you miss a meeting, you can also view the meeting recording at a later date.

Click here to learn about our New York State 2023 Farm Bill Campaign.