Since it’s winter, now is the time for farmers and the communities who support them to organize. If you live in New York City and are thinking about joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), Just Food is hosting a wonderful (I went last year) conference on Saturday, March 5, from 8:30am – 6:30pm at the Food and Finace High School, 525 West 50th Street (between 10th & 11th Avenues), NYC. You can register for the conference at Just Food.
Walking out to the farm the other day, I wanted to take a picture of the herb garden in the snow. This quiet time at the farm represents all of the possibilities soon to come! A few of the medicinal herbs already in the ground waiting for spring are: bee balm (one of my favorites), mint, lavender, echinacea, astragalus . . . a few that we will be replanting this season are: chamomile, spilanthes, lemon balm (another one of my favorites for tea). Can’t wait for February, for starting seeds in the greenhouse, for our garden growing again.
Farming events on the horizon: NOFA-NY Winter Conference 2011 Diggin’ Diversity taking place January 21st-23rd in Saratoga Springs, New York. The conference offers a variety of workshops & the ones (at first glance) that I’m most excited about are: Getting Healthy Food into the Hands of Low Income Eaters: Nutrition Programs and Farmers Markets, Institutional Markets: Setting Up Relationships with Schools, and Alternative Pricing Structures & Strategies.
If you want to kick off the conference with a little socializing, The Greenhorns are throwing a Beginning Farmer Mixer Thursday, January 20th from 7-11pm.
Feeding Democracy While Serving Dinner
by Gina Giazzoni
Food Sovereignty is a burgeoning movement transferring food production and distribution to those who are now literally starved for lack of control. Food should be grown with the primary purpose of eating – not sold as a commodity. Processing of food should allow people to store it in their homes – not ship in trucks or boats, or store it in a warehouse or on a grocery shelf for years. Distribution should ensure that hungry people get good food in their bellies. And the food that people consume should be connected to culture: to our grandparents’ food secrets and recipes.
Over the past few months, staff and members of Weaver’s Way Food Co-op, staff and students from Martin Luther King High School’s Seeds for Learning Farm met to form the Northwest Philadelphia Food Justice Alliance and organize food justice in West Oak Lane where the need is urgent. When grumblings of belly hunger become a chronic roar, a hamburger and a milkshake satisfy faster than a salad. Fast food industrial profits mushroom by relieving chronic hunger pangs with cheap fat and sugar. Yum Brands Inc., parent of the Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC predicts $1.54 billion dollars in profits this year. After saturating low-income neighborhoods across this country, they began gobbling poor people worldwide—expanding first to China and now to India. The hidden health cost to chronically hungry people is more than $1 for a satisfying value meal. This is the food that eats people. Low-income people disproportionately suffer from diet-related diseases such as diabetes, resulting from obesity.
By contrast, Food Sovereignty builds a colorful and fragrant vision outside the industrial food system, challenging inequities that depress, sicken, and ultimately kill people and communities. More food is grown within regions and neighborhoods, reducing dependence on remote boardrooms. Seeds are saved to ensure vitality of small farms, and biodiversity. Scraps are recycled to build soil for organic cropping. Farmers and farm workers are honored and rewarded for civilization’s most essential labor.
The Food Justice movement recognizes that hunger is profitable to those few who buy our politicians, but hurts the rest of us. Though income is the widely accepted source of this disparity, Food Justice asserts that structural inequalities and power imbalances of our food systems underlie the racial inequities of hunger. According to The Food Trust, one in three poor adults in Philadelphia reports fair or poor quality of groceries in their neighborhood. Only 11 percent of white adults report having fair or poor quality groceries, compared to 31 percent of African-American adults, 24 percent of Latinos and 15 percent of Asians. Broader than food security and public health, Food Justice regards class, race, and gender equity as core principles behind food access and linked to both environmental and health justice.
The Northwest Philadelphia Food Justice Alliance is partnering with West Oak Lane Senior Center, and Einstein Healthcare Network to plan a West Oak Lane Good Food Fest on February 20. The event will feature cooking demonstrations guided by senior citizens, who will pass their skills and cooking expertise to community members seeking community-led alternatives to fast food. Recognizing the influence that teens have among youngsters in the community, students who work at Seeds for Learning Farm will guide youngsters in preparing wholesome snacks and planting seedlings for their homes.
There is no magic pill, no Food Justice Headquarters, no single leader or perfect organization that will rise to create food democracy. Instead, the answers sprout from the rich cultures and traditions that already exist in our communities. Recognizing this, Food Sovereignty challenges not only the corporate profit motives that sicken and hunger people, but also the structural hierarchies, including an undemocratic government that has well-fed, wealthy leaders, legislating policies on behalf of hungry people. By collectively organizing in our communities we can demand the right to food justice and promote food sovereignty through projects that support people’s control of our food systems.
Wassaic Community Farm!
Wassaic Community Farm located in Wassaic, New York is a third year small farm project with a mission to address food justice issues in the South Bronx and locally in Wassaic. We have a quarter acre raised bed garden and a 3 acre plot within walking distance of a train line to NYC. We grown mixed vegetables and herbs using organic and permaculture techniques. We run a farmers market out of Padre Plaza, a community garden in the Bronx. This year, we are offering a Weekly Share CSA program, as well as developing an educational program for youth. You may contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to learn more about all of our programs.
In 2002, most community gardens were saved by a legal agreement which expires in September, 2010. Will community gardens be safe after the agreement expires?
The New York City Community Gardens Coalition 2010 is happening:
When: Saturday, February 6, 2010 from 9:00am – 4:30pm
Where: The New School, 66 West 12th Street, NYC
Keynote speaker: Livia Marques; US Department of Agriculture People’s Garden Initiative
Join East New York Farms!, Jin’s Journey, Food Security Roundtable and Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Brooklyn Food Coalition, and United Community Centers for a potluck Grub dinner on February 5th, 2010 at 8:00pm Bring your dish, your own plate, cup, and utensils, and write your recipe on an index card!
Where & when?
613 New Lots Avenue @ corner of Schenck Avenue
Take 3 train to Van Siclen Avenue
We invite the urban farmers, gardeners, cooks, chefs, food activists, food bloggers & foodies of Brooklyn to come grub with us. Meet fellow food enthusiasts, build new relationships and learn about the food related initiatives taking place in Brooklyn.
Sponsors: East New York Farms!, Jins’ Journey, Food Security Roundtable, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, United Community Centers, Brooklyn Food Coalition.
It’s a potluck bring a dish/dessert or beverage to share!
What is a Grub party? An event where community, groups and organizations gather to eat good food and have good conversation. The food will center around local and seasonal food brought by the guests.
Questions Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I think the question is: where do you the eater want your food to come from? A farm or a factory?
If the answer is farm, put down your fork and ask this question aloud:
Where did my food come from?
Then, go to an urban farm, community garden, working farm, or farmers’ market and ask the growers the following:
How do I either grow the food that I eat or how can I help you grow the food that we eat?
This is the beginning. This is the beginning of the food justice movement started by the people. The people that eat and grow the food. Join together and stop shopping, stop eating factory food, and start farming together. Start growing our food. Find out who your community organizers are and then help them get better organized. Demand farmers’ markets in every neighborhood. Ask for what you and your community need. Not tomorrow but today. Start fighting and fight hard and don’t stop until everyone, and I mean everyone is given, or has asked for, or demanded the freshest, healthiest local food that our bodies, all of our bodies, and minds, and spirits deserve and need in order to function and survive and thrive.
This is where the movement begins . The movement begins with the people. With our people. With us.
Brooklyn Grange comes to Manhattan!
Join Brooklyn Grange and a slew of NYC chefs, restauranteurs, food enthusiasts, and farmers for cocktails and dinner next Monday at bobo restaurant (www.bobonyc.com).
Come sip on drinks and snack on canape, talk about food and farms, and enjoy some live bluegrass music by Free Advice. And it’s all in support of Brooklyn Grange, our one-acre rooftop farm slated to open this spring.
Monday, December 14
7pm – 10pm
180 West 10th St. at 7th Ave
Tickets are limited so order in advance at
About Brooklyn Grange:
Brooklyn Grange is planning to build the country’s first sustainable soil rooftop farm in New York City in the Spring of 2010.
The Grange consists of an ambitious crew from Roberta’s Restaurant in Bushwick, teaming up with Ben Flanner, a founder and farmer of Rooftop Farms in Greenpoint. The farm will sell its vegetables directly to the community, localizing the economy, and bringing people closer to a sustainable food source.
Brooklyn Grange’s principles will set an example to the nation and community at many levels:
- Making use of under-utilized urban rooftops to grow nutritious organic produce to be consumed in New York City
- Reducing carbon emissions on food transportation
- Increasing availability of healthy produce in communities with limited access to nutritious organic produce
- Educating school groups, volunteers, and aspiring urban farmers on nutrition and farming
- Creating green roofs to reduce energy usage in heating and cooling, and to catch rainwater, reducing the strain on New York City’s expensive sewage system.
All proceeds from the party at bobo will go towards the new rooftop farm, Brooklyn Grange.
THE BROOKLYN FARMERS BALL
Tuesday, October 27, 2009 7:00 pm – 12:00 am
Brooklyn Lyceum, 227 4th Avenue at President Street, Brooklyn, New York
Eat, drink, and celebrate Brooklyn’s Urban Agriculture and Food Justice Community with the Food Security Roundtable. All proceeds support the New York Delegation to the Growing Food and Justice Initiative gathering in Milwaukee, WI.
Tickets are $12-$25 at the door, and include a local, seasonal dinner and live music.
The Rude Mechanical Orchestra
Brooklyn’s Finest Radical Marching Band
The only band in NYC recreating the sounds of El Barrio circa 1968: Latin soul and bugalu.
Apocalypse Five & Dime
A little bit brassy, a little bit folky
Beautiful, soulful indy-folk music featuring piano and acoustic guitar
Organizations and individuals from throughout NYC are working together to send a delegation to the Growing Food and Justice Initiative gathering in Milwaukee at the end of October. This year GFJI is not just an event, it’s the beginning of a national coaliton dedicated to building leadership, growing food justice, dismantling racism, and empowering communities. The New York delegation and their northeastern colleagues will be in attendance in Milwaukee this year learning how to bring that movement home. The delegation is a diverse collection of folks ranging from organizers with Mothers On the Move in the South Bronx to Just Food staff and volunteers working for (you guessed it) food justice all around NYC. From the farmers who grew organic vegetables for MOM in Vermont this year to New York City farmers and community food justice organizers, the bus will be packed with grassroots food people, eager to return home and share the Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative with their community. More at http://www.growingfoodandjustice.org
Growing Food and Justice for All has offered a partial scholarship for the thirty or so delegates, who must raise an additional $5,000 to pay the remaining costs and travel. This event is an opportunity for Brooklyn and New York City to show their will to have a better food system and their support for those hard working people who are making it happen.
Sponsoring Organizations include:
Community Vision Council
Mothers on the Move
Vehicles for Radical Organizing and Other Madness (VROOM)
The Food Security Roundtable
Those who cannot attend the Farmers Ball but would still like to support this work can do so easily at the Food Security Roundtable Website – http://www.foodpower.org.
Jen Datka, BK Farmers’ Ball coordinator email@example.com cell: 646.498.4682
Henry Harris, GFJI Delegation Co-organizer firstname.lastname@example.org cell: 917.922.5430