|Food System Transformation||Nutrient Dense Food||Food Justice, Equity, and Sovereignty||Redesigned Local/Regional Food Systems|
Learn from indigenous foodways
- Follow the work of the Nolumbeka Project to propogate gardens based on traditional crops and cultivation methods, currently practiced in the Heritage Three Sisters Circle Garden in Northfield.
- Read Braiding Sweetgrass: indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer (2020 and earlier editions available from CWMARS libraries) or Leah Penniman’s sidebars about African traditions in Farming While Black.
- Watch Gather (2020) “Gather is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide.”
- See what Survival International says in “Why the New Deal for Nature is a disaster for people and planet,” an analysis of how industrial agriculture decimates subsistence living for traditional communities.
Find spaces to make a difference
Unpack the racism in the food system
Food Insecurity rate in Hampshire County: 10%
- Nonwhite people scored 52% higher on food insecurity than white people
- Hispanic/Latino people scored 46% higher on food insecurity than non-Hispanic/Latino people
- Most cited barriers were price, food not being available where people normally shop, travel time, and lack of transportation (Healthy Hampshire, 2017)
Check out the Food First series “Dismantling Racism in the food system” with the article Food—Systems—Racism: From Mistreatment to Transformation By Eric Holt-Giménez and Breeze Harpe (2016)
Provide Material Resources
Support reparations of land and resources for Black-Indigenous Farmers through the work of Soul Fire Farm, the Northeast Farmers of Color Network and the National Black Food and Justice Alliance. See the project map.
A Guardian newspaper piece “‘Not what it was sold to be’: why promised debt relief will affect hardly any Black farmers” (8/20/21), Summer Sewell lays out the problems farmers of color are having with the current effort to redress past USDA practice.
Many black farmers won’t qualify because they don’t have loans to forgive. They gave up on that route a decade ago. As a result, “Native Americans make up half of farmers eligible for USDA loan forgiveness while only a few thousand Black farmers are. But it’s likely no one will get relief soon.”
Support Area Food Justice Organizations
Nuestras Raices (Our Roots) is an urban agriculture organization based in Holyoke with a mission to create healthy environments, celebrate “agri-culture,” and harness our collective energy to advance our vision towards a just and sustainable future. Sobre Nosotros…
Holyoke Food and Equity Collective is working to “build a food system in Holyoke that is equitable and accessible for all” by focusing on food sovereignty through policy change and practical activities like gleaning.
Home City Housing Gardening Youth Leader Program is a grouping of low income housing units nestled in Springfield’s Mason Square Neighborhoods where there are no supermarkets and could be labeled a food desert. NOFA/Mass has partnered with this housing development to work with youth ages 14 to 21 to manage their community garden, teach organic soil health and organic gardening techniques and grow food for their local food pantry. NOFA is working to assist in bringing healthy produce to the Mason Square Area.
AgricOrganics is an urban CSA bringing organic food to Springfield and other communities from neighboring Wilbraham.
Gardening The Community is a Springfield food justice organization engaged in youth development, urban agriculture and sustainable living to build healthy and equitable communities.
The Pioneer Valley Workers Center Coop Farm was formed with seven founding members who bring decades of experience working as farmers throughout Central America and New England. Last year they began with 4 acres of beautiful farmland, right at the edge of Hatfield and Northampton. They plan big to grow a diversity of crops for the community and for markets.
Promote agricultural worker autonomy
“The Agricultural Justice Project (AJP) works to transform the existing agricultural and food system into one based on empowerment, justice and fairness for all who labor from farm to retail.”
- Farmers & all food system workers’ rights to freedom of association
- Fair wages and benefits for workers
- Fair and equitable contracts for farmers and buyers
- Fair pricing for farmers
- Clear conflict resolution policies for farmers, workers, and buyers
- The rights of indigenous peoples (under development)
- Workplace health and safety and decent farmworker housing
- High quality training for farm interns and apprentices
- The rights and protection of children on farms
- Protection of the environment (organic and sustainable farming practices)