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.

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.

Public Narrative Training Update

On February 20 and 21, Food for the Spirit co-hosted a two-day, in-person Public Narrative Training in Albany NY for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and other farmers, gardeners, and food systems actors of color in New York State. The purpose of the training was to engage participants in advocacy around the 2023 Farm Bill Campaign, and it was hosted in collaboration with our partners: Black Farmers United NYS, Equity Advocates, and the Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust.

More than 20 participants attended the training to learn how to strategically construct a narrative focusing on one or more urgent food issues impacting them and their communities. They developed narratives that merged their personal food story with the story of the communities / organizations they belong to, and by the end of the training, each participant had a narrative they crafted to use when speaking with politicians or other Farm Bill decision-makers.

Attendees said:

I learned how to better narrate my story by being concise and how to ‘draw a picture’ when telling it. Making it short and to the point but drawing in the audience leaves a greater impression.

“I had not been to a public narrative training, so the entire curriculum was new to me. It helped me think through the best way to approach a personal story that connects to broader groups / communities I’m connected to, and urgent issues that are most pressing at the current moment.”

“I want to bring this to our Buffalo network, and think through how this kind of approach can be used to build solidarity as well as consensus about important initiatives to focus on together.”

“The Public Narrative Training was very informative and supportive of everyone’s needs and accommodations. We left with a wealth of knowledge to take back to our communities and make a change.”

“I really appreciated not just the chance to develop a framework and language to tell my own story, but to hear from others and feel in community with folks with similar values. It makes me feel hopeful to know this network is being created.”

“I really felt like I built a lot of camaraderie with the other Public Narrative Training attendees in a way I have never experienced before at an event or training. It made it so meaningful for me.”

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