Food Policy & Action Planning


SATURDAY (11/5)  11:00-12:15 PM

Abolition Strategies: Deconstructing and Reconstructing Food Systems

Historically abolition has been a framework for deconstructing systems of oppression including chattel slavery, and prisons. Deconstructing oppressive systems that no longer serve communities, and instead cause further harm and trauma requires multilayer approaches that move along a spectrum of reform to radical to revolutionary. The strategies employed by abolitionist historically to deconstruct those systems and reconstruct new ones in the vision of those most harmed have a wealth of tactical knowledge to share with emerging movements. This workshop will provide a basic framework for abolition strategies specifically framed within the lens of resisting anti blackness. The workshop will also provide a dialectical space for inquiry and building collective understanding around the practical application of abolition strategies to our broken anti black food system. *This workshop is for individuals who are of African Descent or who Identify as racially Black.


  • Beatriz Beckford, National Black Food & Justice Alliance
  • Randolph Carr, National Black Food & Justice Alliance

Doing WITH instead of FOR

This interactive workshop will encourage an analysis of why developing programs and services “with” communities, instead of “for” is critical to creating a just food system. We’ll also explore tension that can arise when the community identifies issues that are beyond food. We’ll present ways our organizations respond to needs identified by the community and some of the strengths and challenges encountered along the way. We will consider questions like:

  • How can urban farming address/combat injustices in our food system?
  • How can urban farming open opportunities for affordability or act as a catalyst for gentrification/displacement?
  • How do we take steps towards to advocacy when it hasn’t been part of our organization’s identity?

Participants will explore their own questions, share experiences, and brainstorms ways of moving forward with their communities leading. Participants will leave the session with program planning tools to take back to their group. Our Experience:Hilltop Urban Gardens is a Black-­led grassroots organization based in the Hilltop Neighborhood, of Tacoma, WA. HUG's Black Mycelium project is planned and built by Black folks with intentionally developed solidarity from non­Black supporters. Dean is founder and ED at HUG, Imari is project Coordinator for the BLM Memorial Garden. Zenger Farm is a historical white-­led organization in one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in Oregon. Since joining Zenger, Rob and Krysta, have both been active in helping the organization develop an equity lens, as well as, shifting power back to the community through opening up the organization’s structure and decision­ making processes.


  • Rob Cato, Zenger Farm
  • Dean Jackson, Hilltop Urban Gardens
  • Imari Romeo, Hilltop Urban Gardens
  • Krysta Williams, Zenger Farm

Urban Agriculture's Struggle for Land and Dignity in the City

Roundtable: A) Learn about the use of the Public Trust Doctrine as a legal Instrument and related urban environmental legal strategies for "fighting the good fight" of the land "wars" in New York City and how this can be applied in other urban centers. B) Learn about the use of Metrics (i.e., measuring the benefits) of Urban Agriculture as a policy advocacy tool in New York City and how this can be applied in other urban centers. Time permitting: C) Learn about community organizing with groups outside of traditional Urban Agriculture circles in New York City and how this can be applied in other urban centers.


  • Raymond Figueroa, New York City Community Garden Coalition
  • Mara Gittleman, New York City Community Garden Coalition

SATURDAY (11/5)  1:30-2:45 PM

This Land is Our Land

As more and more communities of color are returning to their agricultural roots, urban farming is becoming an increasingly popular and viable low cost alternative for residents to feed themselves and their families with healthy locally grown produce. Once forgotten by city government, these decades long vacant lots have now become green oases improving the appearance and quality of life on the blocks that they occupy, but in NYC and cities across the country, they are now in the sights of gentrification fueled housing development as prime real estate to build. This panel discussion will take a look at how, through advocacy efforts, cultivating community support and coordinating with local officials, two Bed Stuy gardens were saved from slated sale to developers and conveyed to the NYC Parks Department and deemed "park" land. These gardens are now able to continue feeding their neighbors, supporting local food pantries, reducing food waste through composting and to offer a safe space for children and seniors. You will hear from the farmers themselves as well as an elected official, a community housing developer and a land access advocate who believe that the public should have a say in what happens with public land.


  • Keith Carr
  • Ena K. McPherson, Tranquility Farm Alice Forbes Spear, 462 Halsey Community Garden
  • Paula Segal, 596 Acres
  • Councilman Robert Cornegy, Jr., 36th District

Gaining Ground-Writing More Competitive Grant Applications

One of the most consistent barriers to new and beginning farmers and the organizations that serve them is access to appropriate financial resources. The majority of funding to train new and beginning farmers, to do farm related research and to implement local food system projects is through a myriad of grants programs, mostly administered through the USDA. Accessing these resources is often problematic for people of color because they often don’t have the experience to successfully write winning proposals, even know these programs exist or can afford to pay grant writer. In this workshop, Brennan Washington will cover how to write more competitive grant applications. Mr. Washington has served as a grant reviewer for several USDA programs and has successfully written grants to secure funding for worthy projects such as the startup of the Georgia Farmers Market Association. Over the past 5 years, Mr. Washington has reviewed over $50 million in grant applications and will provide some keen insights on how to write more competitive proposals that have an increased chance of receiving funding. By attending this workshop, you will walk away with the knowledge to assess grant funding opportunities and effectively apply for them.


  • Brennan Washington Phoenix Gardens, Southern SARE

SATURDAY (11/5)  3:00-4:15 PM

National Black Food & Justice Alliance Caucus and Info Session

This caucus space will provide an introduction to the work of the National Black Food and Justice Alliance, its focus, strategies, and individual/organizatinal membership. The caucus space will also serve as a political education space for black people within the food movement who are interested in engaging in autonomous black spaces and working on strategies that center resisting anti blackness within the food system and food movement. National Black Food and Justice Alliance is a coalition of Black-led organizations and individuals working towards cultivating and advancing Black leadership, building Black self-determination, Black institution building and organizing for food sovereignty, land and justice. The Alliance seeks to achieve this by engaging in broad based coalition organizing for black food and land, increasing visibility of Black led narratives and work, advancing Black led visions for just and sustainable communities, and building capacity for self-determination within our local, national, and international food systems and land rights work. Our areas of focus include black food sovereignty, self-determining food economies, and land. We approach food sovereignty, land and self-determining food economies via the lens of healing, organizing and resistance against anti-Blackness. *This session s is open to conference attendees who are of African decent or who identify as racially Black.


  • National Black Food & Justice Alliance

Conducting Research on Food Security

Participants will draft a research statement that can be used to strengthen grant proposals and applications as well as improve existing projects and programs. They will be able to identify research problems pertaining to the organization of urban agricultural projects and the distribution locally-sourced foods. Using final reports from USDA awardees and examples drawn from their particular experiences, participants will learn three core elements of scientific research (questions, methods and objectives) and discuss how they might design a research project with these elements to explore food security problems in their communities. The resulting research statement can be used to help urban agriculture practitioners incorporate robust data collection and reporting functions into their overall work. The workshop supports our larger mission of helping small- and mid-sized producers with marketing opportunities through a combination of applied research and technical assistance. Participants will have an opportunity to gain feedback on prospective research proposals from an Agricultural Marketing Specialist whose work at the USDA encompasses performance evaluation of local food projects and programs, farmers market assistance and analysis, and consultation to urban agricultural practitioners. Toolkits and other resources will also be available for participants and conference attendees.


  • Carlos Coleman USDA BCC

What's Land Got to Do With It!?: Zoning Ordinances and Food Access

"What's Land Got to Do With It!?: Zoning Ordinances and Food Access What if we told you that the one policy that controls local food production, distribution, and consumption has nothing to do with food; but is driven by land development and the built environment? “What’s Land Got to Do With It?” Is an exploration of local land land-use and zoning policies and how they impact growing and distributing fresh fruits and vegetables. “What’s Land Got to Do With It?”, will be presented as hybrid workshop and roundtable that will incorporate a formal presentation, interactive demonstration, and a question and answer opportunity. Presenters will provide an explanation of Zoning and Land Use history and purpose; showcase an investigation of current policies that restrict or limit local food production systems; and facilitate a community brainstorm on potential policy changes and advocacy methods that can remedy land-use conflicts. Concluding the presentation participants should (1) have a fundamental knowledge zoning and land-use planning; (2) understand the impact of urban planning, land-use, and zoning on local food production systems; (3) have a general awareness of the public participation processes in local-use and development review process and (4) feel encouraged to get engaged in local land-use development projects to advocate for healthier foods in their community.


  • Brittney Drakeford, The M-NCPPC; Prince George's County Planning Department
  • Cedric Southerland, BCC

Grow Free: Developing Garden Programs in Juvenile Detention and Alternative Settings

This presentation is designed to inspire anyone involved in food justice to develop programs inside juvenile detention or alternative (JDA) settings. We will explore various programs that could be facilitated in JDA settings, the benefits of such programming, and best practices when facilitating garden programs in a detention setting. The presentation will also briefly delve in the social and political forces behind youth incarceration, and utilize a critical analysis approach towards all subjects explored in the areas of race and patriarchy. Developing gardening programs in JDA settings benefits our communities and our most vulnerable young people, especially during a time when the earth’s healing qualities and support from their community is most needed in their lives. This presentation will explore several potential programs that could be implemented in a JDA setting, such as in production, therapy, academia, cooking, health, entrepreneurship, workforce development, and more. All programs will be examined with a culturally appropriate and liberatory lens. I created, developed, and led a youth prison garden program for four years in DC. The garden space was used for several purposes, including academia, producing value-added products, conduct trainings, holding cooking competitions, donating food to shelters, workforce development, and horticultural therapy. I have also consulted several detention centers in developing JDA programs, as well as held trainings for detention center staff at multiple conferences. Through activities, participants will assess the feasibility of their organization or farm in engaging in such an endeavor, and will gain practical insight towards developing JDA garden programs. Participants will also be provided resources towards initiating JDA garden programs.


  • Mark Bowen Rethink New Orleans


SUNDAY (11/6)  9:30 - 10:45 AM

Faith and Food: African Descent Faith Communities Address Food Sovereignty in New York Agriculture

awareness is essential in the lives of African descent communities in the ways in which we actively engage in the knowledge and wisdom of healing practices that leads to overall health and wellness of our minds and bodies. The effects of colonization, forced conversion to Christianity, and consumerism in the Western ideological health and food systems has affected the physical, psychological, and spirituality of African descent peoples—ultimately contributing to the genocide of African descent people worldwide. This panel will take an interdisciplinary approach in the ways in which Faith & Food can collaboratively contribute towards reparations by repairing the relationship between faith and food practices within the African Diaspora. Participants will learn Cultural Dietary Diversity & Inclusivity, African Indigenous Relationship with food, Women’s Role in Food and Faith, Reconnecting African Based Religions in America for Food Justice, and new twist Soul vegetarianism and veganism for Conscious Millennials.


Valencia Howard, Operations Manager/Dir. Faith & Food Initiative at Corbin Hill Food Project and Health Minister at AME Zion Church on the Hill in Harlem, NY.

  • Presenters:

    Manbo Dowoti Desir​, High Priestess in the Vodun Tradition, Founder & CEO of Afro-Atlantic Theologies & Treaties, Chair of the NGO Committee for the Elimination of Racism, Afrophobia, and Colorism.


    Sharon Herbert- Hayes​, Christian Lay Leader and Educator, Board Member at Faith in New York, and Director of Social Justice Ministry at Christ Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith


    Rev. Addie Banks,​ Health & Wellness Ministry Consultant with the Groundswell Group


     David Lee,​ Eastern Religious Practice (Hinduism & Buddhism), Ayurvedic Chef


    Brother Rojo​, Ancient Kemetic Spirituality, Co-Founder of Powerful Pioneers, and Alkaline & Vegan Chef


Representation of People of Color in Food Justice Organizations in the USA

"Using survey methods, I researched Food Justice Organizations (FJOs) in the USA with a focus on unveiling the representation of people of color within these organizations. The common perception within the movement is that there is a lack of representation of people of color and people from the communities FJOs aim to serve. In addition to representation, my research looked at the ways in which FJOs were choosing to (or not to) address issues of discrimination and inequality within their organizations themselves. We will explore the findings of this research and then dive into a deeper discussion about representation more generally within the Food Justice Movement. In particular we will cover: - The praxis of food justice; how organizations define the term differently and how this relates to the work being done on the ground - How representation impacts the distribution of resources (funding, jobs, land, etc.) to both organizations and non-incorporated entities which consider themselves to be working towards a more just food system in the USA. - Experiences we have had on addressing discrimination or inequality within food justice organizations - Exemplary groups/organizations with a clear focus on addressing inequality as part of their mission both within and outside of their organization and the policies they have enacted to ensure representation of people of color and people from the communities they aim to serve within their organizations - Resources to help folks address intra-organizational inequality and talking about systematic and interpersonal oppression within their organizations - Coalition-building within and among people of color within the food justice movement and existing efforts to advance, broaden and deepen this important work.


  • Rasheed Hislop GreenThumb NYC Parks & Recreation

Gaining Power and a Seat at the Table through Policy/Agribusiness

Michelle will dissect elements of our food supply chain and how we can gain power and access within that system as minority farmers. Showcasing successful models, such as Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s farm to business delivery system, Market Mobile, we will explore how to work with different distribution models, accessing infrastructure through wholesale and distribution channels. Working smarter through technology, how do we market and brand and ourselves to gain access to niche customers and have more of a voice in regards to food sourcing? How do we partner with like-minded people in the food system like food incubators? How can we add resiliency to your crop by producing more Value added products and allow B-Grade Produce to work in your favor to reduce waste and bring you profits? Michelle will discuss all of this and more in this agribusiness and marketing session. After viewing state wide food plans and policies being drafted and yet again minorities not being represented at the table, whether through access programs being put into place for “Low income” African American and Latinos or community gardens propping up in those very same communities without any notice or input from minority residents, Georgina strived to focus her work on how to engage our communities through the notion that policy and investment equals power. As Access Chair of the RI Food Policy Council and sitting at the table to observe, Sarpong will showcase ways to add your voice to the local food access conversation, provide actions steps and innovative success models from her years of access work in the local food community."


  • Michelle Cruz, Farm Fresh RI and co-founder of Urban FACTs (Food Agriculture Collaborative Talk Sessions)
  • Georgina Sarong, Farm Fresh RI and co-founder of Urban FACTs (Food Agriculture Collaborative Talk Sessions)

Data Matters: Measuring the Good Things in your Garden or Farm

Join us for an interactive workshop on goal-setting and record-keeping with Farming Concrete. Hear from gardeners and farmers about their experiences and lessons learned with data collection and sample a workshop you can bring back to facilitate with your own garden or farm. By the end of this workshop, participants will have: planned to set clear objectives for the season with their fellow gardeners; selected methods for measuring their progress toward achieving their goals; and practiced using the Farming Concrete website.


  • Sheryll Durrant Farming Concrete
  • Rosalba Lopez Ramirez Farming Concrete

What's Next for Food Hubs?

To create racially just communities, we need responsive food and farm policy and practice. Policies, in particular, must support small and medium size Black farmers in urban and rural places as well as people of color across the entire food system, from farm to fork. Policies that support people of color food hub ownership, development and maintenance are a critical part of this equation. Join National Black Food and Justice Alliance (NBFJA) and the Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) in a rich dialogue about the current food hub policy landscape, our collective vision for the future of food hubs, and a generative conversation about the robust policy platform that will be needed to ensure this vision can be met. By the end of the session, we will strive to develop draft of policy priorities for BUGS members to review and give feedback on.


  • Simran Noor, Center for Social Inclusion
  • Dara Cooper, National Black Food and Justice Alliance

Completing Food Waste Cycling Through Soil Building, Composting and Permaculture

The earth's microherds living underground process hundreds of tons of detritus daily. These subterranean machines are attracted to the basic recipe of brown (carbon) plus green (nitrogen) plus air, water and time, all which equal GOLD! Dr. Carver taught us that there is “no such thing as waste” and that soil structure is imperative to healthy plant (and planet) propagation.  Learn permaculture based principles regarding soil regeneration and rejuvenation. From simple pallet bins and vermicomposting to anaerobic digesters and windrow heaps, we will see the importance and ease of composting.  As Black people, we have a special affinity with the earth that courses through our veins. We have lost, by force, this love for the land and are regaining this relationship. Since we all eat, we all create food "waste" and can contribute to either helping or hurting our environment.


  • Sizwe Herring, EarthMatters Tennessee

What's Going On, the Real Truth "Join us for a screening of the documentary Manchester Growing Together

Manchester Growing Together Farm is recognized as a model throughout the City of Pittsburgh. The garden/farm is highly acclaimed and has been celebrated for its best practices in environmental stewardship, educational pioneering, juvenile justice remediation, and community service involvement. It has been featured in The Buhl Foundation’s One Northside showcase of “quality of space.” The self-actualization that occurs everyday at our Farm is profound. We are making a difference, academically, socially, physically AND spiritually. From planting to harvesting, food preparation and nutrition, growing healthy food and building a community – in the most unconventionally ways possible. Join us won’t you?"


  • Lisa Freeman, Manchester Growing Together Garden

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