How can we contribute to economic and social justice?
Many farmers have asked some version of this question before. We are, by nature of our work, invested in our communities. But as you know well, farming is hard, time-consuming work, often with limited financial rewards; aligning our social justice principles with the day-to-day grind of the farm is a constant struggle. This challenge is only greater in low wealth communities, where people are often without the means to afford and access healthy, sustainably grown food.
This workshop is geared towards farmers who want to engage in dialogue about how we, as part of this larger food system, can create change within our work that positively impacts your farm’s resiliency. Examples include social justice issues on the farm, creating community partnerships, and providing local food to low income customers–especially in light of the $8.3 million in SNAP dollars spent on local foods since the creation of HIP.
Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm with Maggie Cheney and D. Rooney of Rock Steady Farm & Flowers will draw from their experiences, research, and community connections including work from Soul Fire’s recently published manual “Sowing the Seeds of Food Justice”. They will discuss how they make their farms financially viable and socially responsible; we will dive into food distribution models, cooperative ownership, and methods of community collaboration. There will be small group discussion and attendees will walk away inspired by and ready to take steps towards implementing changes in their work.
Northampton Center for the Arts, 33 Hawley Street, Northampton, 4:30 – 7:30pm
Cost for the workshop is free. Food will be provided. Email or call Stevie (413-665-7100) if you have questions about the workshop or location accessibility.
About the Presenters:
Rock Steady Farm & Flowers is a for-profit farm located in Millerton, NY. “We use holistic farming practices that allow us to grow high quality vegetables, cut flowers, and herbs for a diverse array of market outlets. We manage a total of 12 acres: two in flowers, six in veggies, and over four acres of rotational cover crop. We have diversified customers including our 225 person CSA, floral designers, restaurants, food pantries, social justice non-profits, and design for special events in the Hudson Valley and New York City”
“Our farm is grounded in close partnerships with other land based projects, neighbors, and non-profits who are also working to build equity in our region and beyond. We are a growing cooperatively-owned farm, with opportunities for equity for staff members after a trial period. Our farm both shares land and feeds the kitchen of the The Watershed Center, a social justice retreat and resource center for change-makers. This partnership, as well as partnership with the Northeast Community Center in Millerton, provides job-training and volunteer opportunities for a diversity of youth and adults throughout the season. Additionally, we have a growing relationship with Callen-Lorde, an LGBTQ community health center in NYC as well as The LGBTQ Center.”
Soul Fire Farm ” is a BIPOC-centered community farm committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. We raise and distribute life-giving food as a means to end food apartheid. With deep reverence for the land and wisdom of our ancestors, we work to reclaim our collective right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system. We bring diverse communities together on this healing land to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health, and environmental justice. We are training the next generation of activist-farmers and strengthening the movements for food sovereignty and community self-determination.”
This workshop is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award 2016-70017-25423.