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GRASS ROOTS LEADERSHIP TRAININGS:
Food justice for All Course
Facilitator: Yonnette Fleming; Urban Farmer, Food Justice and Sovereignty Educator, Founder of Programs for Resilience (2007)
Place: Magnolia Tree and Earth Center, 677 Lafayette Ave Brooklyn NY 11216
This course critically examines the contemporary food system by providing a grassroots framework for understanding and addressing issues of food justice. The course addresses how racism and policies crafted by elite and corporate interests have created a food system which funnels healthy nutritious food to white, elite and privileged populations while simultaneously creating opportunities for these same corporate interests to generate funding streams which purport to resolve the lack of access to fresh food in poor communities through dependency social work models. The course examines economic, political and social disparities, how failed policies impact community health and discusses innovative organizing strategies to foster community resilience. Using the discipline of critical race theory, we observe where the heaviest burdens of agricultural practices fall, including the effects of socio-economics on community health and examine the ways that urban agriculture, community gardening and community based farmers markets can be viable tools for achieving food justice. Participants gain practical knowledge of the U.S food system, global food history, and receive tools for community organizing and advocacy which gives them a sound food justice foundation to build on in their food movement work.
Defining food justice, food security, food sovereignty, current food system analysis: (production to consumption/ local to global) industrial to post industrial, Food Justice movement history, Critical Race theory, Structural racism in the Food system, disparities, food systems analysis including food access.
Current food system analysis, from seed to seed, from local to global
Global and national Food Sovereignty movement history from food security to food justice
Racial realism. How racism impacts the current food system
Health disparities, community health, community resilience, oppression
Rebalancing power grassroots community organizing
Sustainability, community resilience, participatory democracy, living democracy, cultural capital
Local responses to food access/justice issues: urban agriculture as a tool for food justice, making the case for community gardens and farmers markets as viable tools for achieving food justice.
Basic Advocacy Training for community residents to gain the skills necessary to educate and engage neighborhood stakeholders in local advocacy around food. We are also hoping to create valuable relationships with community residents of Bedford Stuyvesant to help evolve the work of advocacy in this area.
Over the duration of the course, residents will learn the key steps of advocacy. Participants will explore strategies and policies that promote food justice and public safety and develop a group proposal which includes new initiatives. Community residents/participants will learn the general skills and steps necessary to organize for change in the community.
Participants who complete the 5 session course will receive a certificate in basic Community Advocacy 101. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend ongoing changemaking sessions at the Hattie Carthan garden/market.
We are indebted to the following resources in helping us organize the training and plan our activities: Networking for Policy Change: An Advocacy Training Manual by the Policy Project, Just Food Advocacy ToolKit, An Introduction to Advocacy: Training Guide by Ritu R. Sharma, Manual for Facilitators of Advocacy Training Sessions from WOLA, the Grassroots Advocacy Training Exchange.
Community members will learn why citizen advocacy is crucial
Community members will learn what kinds of issues can be addressed through policy and how to identify them
Community members will examine effective proposals and learn to create a proposal
Community members will learn how policy works in NYC and NYS
Community members will be able to identify resources that keep them informed about issues pending legislation
Expectations for all the participants:
Develop basic advocacy skills
Be able to create effective advocacy goals and objectives
Be able to identify different steps in advocacy process and understand how the city and state works.
Gather statistics for an advocacy campaign.
Help support campaigns by gathering petitions from community members, write and call politicians to voice your support for Hattie Carthan community campaigns.
Yonnette Fleming; Brooklyn, NY
Yonnette Fleming is a lifelong musician, social change advocate and urban farmer who is committed to advancing systems of knowledge which build healthy individuals, families and communities and provide community solutions to the issue of food insecurity, health disparities and social inequities.
Fleming has worked to advance community resilience to the issue of food insecurity through educating and increasing access to fresh and local food in the Central Brooklyn community since 2003. Flemings holistic farming approach incorporates growing food and nurturing humans while revitalizing community spaces.
Fleming grows her communitys health and cultural wealth through engaging community members in sustainable building projects, by engaging youth in urban agriculture work and advocacy, offering disparity, gardening , nutrition and ecology workshops, intergenerational community talking councils, percussion circles and cultural festivals. The garden currently serves 50 low income families who subsidize their food budget at home by growing food and indirectly serves thousands of people who visit the garden and farm space and attend the programs each year.
In 2009 Fleming visioned and created a new childrens' garden from an abandoned lot with the children, teachers and parents of a neighbourhood elementary school. In addition, she created educational programs for elementary school kids to facilitate outdoor learning in their impressionable years and the Hattie Carthan Urban agriculture corps for teenagers. The elementary school garden program offers young children the opportunity to learn about gardening and health, while the teenage youth corps offers hands-on training to youth in growing food, livestock management and the mechanics of owning and operating a community venture. Teenagers enrolled in the youth corps also receive a stipend to work in the market. In 2011, Fleming established jurisdiction and signed a license with the city to revitalize another abandoned lot. The new herb farm is home to over eighty varies of herbs and is a fine example of an urban farm model that factors in the needs of the Environment and people. The neat rows and cornucopia of food spilling from growbags is the vision and design of urban farmer Yonnette Fleming who was instrumental in organizing community residents to revitalize the space for urban farming. The new farm has a hoophouse, large three bin composting system and runs a Sunday market to increase access to fresh food and educate community residents about the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables to the human.
Fleming's educational programs reflect the unique needs of the garden population and are at the hallmark of the Hattie Carthan community garden/herban farm and two community based markets where Fleming serves as Vice President, visionary and founder of the two community farmers market. Fleming currently teaches Food Justice at the NYC Farm School and has been a keynote speaker at higher education institutions, cutural institutions and food forums.