New to Food Justice Activism? pt. 2

Learn From, Connect With and Donate to These VOC Organizations Already Doing the Work (part 2)

Hi there, everyone!

This is part two of a continued series. Consider this the Black Feminist Vegan starter guide to vegan activism as a praxis for Black feminism.

I say this because not only do these organizations/collectives  provide essential vegan resources to Black and Brown communities while working to alleviate human and non-human oppression, but they also have informed so much of my vegan activism. From now on, I will probably send people here for resources on current topics within vegan food justice and vegan activism. Most importantly, I’ll send ’em here for the purpose of effective vegan transition resources that center Black and Brown experiences. 

So, if I sent you here….. heyyyyyy! Thanks for coming!

For each org/collective, I will highlight three resources that I feel particularly helped me on my journey to becoming, and evolving as, a very passionate Black vegan activist.


Sanctuary Publishers

“Sanctuary Publishers is a vegan book publisher that aims to create vegan books that inspire change for the betterment of our world for people, for non-humans, nature, and our world as a whole. Every book sold helps support marginalized communities.

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As vegans of color, we believe in inclusiveness and intersectionality in our fight against oppression. Because of this, sanctuary has taken an even deeper meaning as we continue to expand our work in an attempt to create safety and understanding for all non-humans and marginalized people. Our logo represents our humble beginnings and extends into a form whose branches represent strength and growth as we embark to use art illustration and the written word to speak for all.”

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Among the titles I recommend are: Veganism In An Oppressive World, A Southern Girl’s Guide to Plant-Based Eating, and Food Justice: A Primer. Each are available to be purchased.

Embracing an Inclusive Anti-Oppressive Feminism 

This article discusses how the concept of otherization is used to justify oppression under white supremacist systems, and how the otherization of enslaved Black women rendered the treatment that is currently exercised upon mother dairy cows.

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We are using the same white supremacist lens, or worldview, to justify nonhuman animal exploitation that is used to enslave, exploit and mutilate our Black/Brown AFAB (assigned female at birth) bodies. This is why we need to abandon the white cis hetero moral compass. By that, I mean we begin viewing the world beyond white supremacist viewpoint. Because from that perspective we will always find a reason to justify intentional exploitation of other beings to fulfill our “needs.

I recommend this resource because I believe it’s a foundation of understanding the concept of Conditional Humanity and how using human/nonhuman boundaries as a justification for exploitation only protects “the respectable” from being justifiably exploited by white supremacist systems… I have an article coming soon about this!

Vegan Bill of Consistent Anti-Oppression

31444924_1707894415967098_8287363899867529216_n.jpgThe purpose of this resource is to be on the same page in order to effectively achieve nonhuman liberation— decentering white saviorism from the moment as a literal the first step, with abandonment of celebrity veganism as a close follow-up. General values within veganism as a praxis of consistent anti-oppression — Important points being to work on root issues instead of targeting individuals, or ensuring accessibility at vegan events.


Veggie Mijas

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Veggie Mijas is a women of color collective, in which we highlight the importance of having a plant-based lifestyle while also intersecting race, gender identity, class, and sexuality; being brown, Latinx, non-binary, women, queer, genderqueer, coming from a working class background, and having other marginalized identities.FullSizeRender.jpg

We are very passionate about spreading awareness of the lack of resources we have to healthier options in the hood, animal liberation, environmental justice. This is a platform where womxn/folks have shared their families recipes, their own recipes, and have talked about why being vegan has connected them to their ancestral roots.”

Enseñanzas Con Mariah 

“This is a segment dedicated to explore various social, political, economic, and environmental dimensions of food production, distribution, and consumption. At the moment, Mariah, Food and Art Educator of Veggie Mijas, is majoring in Food Studies and History.”

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Two of the lessons that I especially appreciate are: The Food Chain and Where Does Your Food Come From?

The Food Chain explains different elements of our food system, from production to waste, and allows us to consider the various institutions that impact the food we consume. It gives general understanding of what a food system looks like so that we can get a better idea of how to create and sustain local food systems. I recommend this resource because it also touches upon the consequences that relying upon industrial food systems may have on the health and livelihood of Black/Brown people. 42906870_330351614382214_5962292755861340160_n.jpg

Where Does Your Food Come From? defines a food system as the way food travels from farm to fork. To expand upon that definition, they highlight the five main steps of the food chain: production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste. What I especially love is the specific mention that people are at the center of each step within every food system. This allows us to consider how industrial food systems depend upon habitual exploitation Black and Brown bodies for the purpose of sustaining this system.

In addition, we’d benefit from realizing that animal exploitation is not a necessary element of food production for local food systems, but is definitely the core of an industrial food system. I personally believe that “processing” is an unnecessary step in the journey from farm to fork. This outlook also reminds me that a demand for processed foods adds another step at which Black and Brown workers are exploited for unlivable wages. This includes a demand for processed vegan foods…

42840307_330351701048872_4808905358972026880_n.jpgThe resources that I share tend to reflect movement toward creating relationships with local food systems. More importantly, I hope to provide steps and resources so that those with access & knowledge can begin divesting from industrial food systems. As Black and Brown activists, we realize that depending upon an industrial system to adopt humane practices is a lot less sustainable than creating slowly creating those systems ourselves.

Join the Collective 

What I appreciate the most about Veggie Mijas is that it is an ever-growing collective of passionate vegan food justice activists. This is an amazing way to connect with community of color that is empowering one another through decolonizing food, creating memories and challenging narratives.

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love how they center community building, in the name of health & compassion, as a method for active decolonization and generational healing.

Through segments such as #ComiendoCon, we are able to gain insight on where Black/Brown vegans to share local vegan options, favorite vegan spots, or however else they navigate being a vegan of color in their neighborhoods. By tuning into #CocinandoCon we can learn so many healthy, culturally-inspired recipes are shared from vegans of color all over the world.

Veggie Mijas has dedicated themselves to being a multifaceted, community-oriented resource that supports veganism as a way to reclaim our health, advocate for consistent anti-oppression and decolonize our minds.45661481_348215945929114_1518486190011973632_n.jpg

If you’re looking for a collective llena de amor, enseñanzas y comida rica- you’ve got to connect with these mijxs changing the world. They are probably already doing dope things in a city near you, and if not, I’m sure they are always down to expand!


I truly hope that this resource is helpful to you in some way on your vegan journey as a Black/Brown person! In my journey as a young Black vegan, I have definitely learned that it is most helpful to our end goal support activists that are alleviating the issues that we recognize prevent access to veganism in Black/Brown communities instead of working over ourselves, we can get in where we fit in to help the movement expand and progress in the direction of complete and collective liberation.

Thank you for sharing space with me today.

If you haven’t already seen Part One, go check it out! 

As always, keep up with me on Instagram: @BlackFeministVegan.
Peace!
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New to Vegan Food Justice Activism?

Learn From, Connect With and Donate to These VOC Organizations Already Doing the Work (part 1)

Hi there, everyone!

This is part one of a continued series. Consider this the Black Feminist Vegan starter guide to vegan activism as a praxis for Black feminism.

I say this because not only do these organizations/collectives  provide essential vegan resources to Black and Brown communities while working to alleviate human and non-human oppression, but they also have informed so much of my vegan activism. From now on, I will probably send people here for resources on current topics within vegan food justice and vegan activism. Most importantly, I’ll send ’em here for the purpose of effective vegan transition resources that center Black and Brown experiences. 

So, if I sent you here….. heyyyyyy! Thanks for coming!

For each org/collective, I will highlight three resources that I feel particularly helped me on my journey to becoming, and evolving as, a very passionate Black vegan activist.


Food Empowerment Project

2011marchalert1.jpgFood Empowerment Project seeks to create a more just and sustainable world by recognizing the power of one’s food choices. We encourage choices that reflect a more compassionate society by spotlighting the abuse of animals on farms, the depletion of natural resources, unfair working conditions for produce workers, the unavailability of healthy foods in communities of color and low-income areas, and the importance of not purchasing chocolate that comes from the worst forms of child labor. Check out this brochure.

F.E.P. Chocolate List 

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The purpose of the list is to inform consumers on how to buy ethically sourced chocolate that does not involve exploitation of humans or nonhuman animals, but also to inform us on where companies stand on the issue. As chocolate is not a necessity, this resource brought my attention to one way in which we unknowingly ascribe to systems of exploitation that can obviously, given the 100+ recommended brands, be avoided. This is an industry of exploitation that both vegans and non-vegans need to be more aware of.
For example, they have broken the list down into categories to distinguish between chocolates they feel comfortable recommending, given their sources and their stance on the issue, and companies who they cannot recommend. Reasons for not being able to recommend range from no response to failure to disclose supplier information. (Among the companies that are blatantly not recommended are, of course, the big name companies such as Hershey’s and Nestle.)
I recommend learning from this particular campaign because it speaks about exploitation of environment, animals and workers by dairy system as well as available alternatives.
Specifically, this campaign addresses the fact that cows in Sonoma County consume 31 gallons a day— which is a significant amount of water that could be allocated to low-income communities or garden crops especially considering the state is dealing with a drought. The state’s allocation of water to dairy farms is especially unjust considering the workers sometimes lack food and water for themselves.

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This campaign is a salient example of action that is being taken against environmental racism. In order to take action toward alleviating environmental racism, it is important to be aware of what it is and how it impacts our communities. Safeway stores have land contracts that deliberately prevent other grocery stores from moving in for up to 15 years. This prevents local grocers from occupying these spaces even when they are vacant.

Afro Vegan Society

36340030_1543929109068165_9075564504049254400_n.jpgAfro-Vegan Society is a non-profit organization based in Baltimore, Maryland. Through community engagement, event planning, providing vegan resources, and writing, AVS is working to make the vegan lifestyle accessible, affordable, and approachable in predominately black areas and neighborhoods. We focus our efforts on working exclusively with black people and communities, and embrace Afrocentric art, culture, and ideas.

Afro-Vegan Society is empowering our community by using veganism as a tool to overcome systemic race-based oppression shared among those who have a common African ancestry. 

I recommend this essay to every Black person who considers veganism for social justice, advocacy, decolonization and/or ethical reasons. This resource highlights the perceived competition between black liberation and animal liberation movements, while considering the common root of all systemic oppression.
When we consider systemic oppression to be structured, we realize that structures within this capitalist system that are used to exploit us as Black and Brown people are connected, in profit, to those that exploit nonhuman animals through the meat, dairy and egg industries. Through this lens, we can better understand how one way to work toward complete and collective liberation is to discontinue financial support from animal agribusiness.
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As we recognize the suffering caused by white supremacist structures, we must also consider how white supremacy exploits both our bodies and mother cows by way of dairy consumption and allegiance to the dairy industry.
I recommend this resource because it highlights three important elements to consider as we begin divesting from the dairy industry. The first being the impact dairy has on our bodies, especially as African American people. The second would be the exploitative practices of dairy industry on human and nonhuman bodies. Lastly, in response to what we’ve learned, guidance on how to eat and live a dairy-free lifestyle.
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Thrive Baltimore and The Greener Kitchen

In addition to those significant resources, Afro-Vegan Society actively improves vegan access, awareness and education through two amazing community venues.

The first being Thrive Baltimore which is a community resource center that is run by a collective of food, environmental and social justice activists, our mission is to provide education, resources and support to anyone interested in adopting a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.

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Part of Thrive Baltimore’s mission is to provide free plant-based cooking demos, nutrition lectures, food tastings, film screenings and other fun, informational programming in an open, socially conscious environment that makes it a space where all are welcome. Thrive is dedicated to encouraging people to make healthier, kinder choices that will enable them to live more conscious lifestyles. Click here to check out their upcoming events!

Next, we have the Greener Kitchen– Baltimore’s first all-vegan deli and carry out. The Greener Kitchen describes their purpose as delivering on our promise to bring affordablesustainable, and healthier food to those who need it.

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As a plant-based cooperative kitchen, vegan food distributor, deli, and caterer, their mission is to completely transform Baltimore’s food landscape.

I love Afro-Vegan Society because they are actively closing the gap within their community that we as Black and Brown vegan activists are raising awareness for. Definitely connect with them in some way if you are ever in the DMV. Jamila and Brenda are both such amazing, beautiful Black vegan activists!


I truly hope that this resource is helpful to you in some way on your vegan journey as a Black/Brown person! In my journey as a young Black vegan, I have definitely learned that it is most helpful to our end goal support activists that are alleviating the issues that we recognize prevent access to veganism in Black/Brown communities instead of working over ourselves, we can get in where we fit in to help the movement expand and progress in the direction of complete and collective liberation.

Thank you for sharing space with me today.

Ready to learn more? Head over to Part Two!

As always, keep up with me on Instagram: @BlackFeministVegan.
Peace!

Black and Brown Owned/Operated Farms, Co-ops and Food Hubs Pioneering Local Food Systems

Black, Indigenous People of Color Community Farms and Food Co-ops that you should know about!

Here is a (growing) list of folks who you can buy from, learn from, and work with. If you have any submissions or additions to this list, please email them to blackfeministvegan@gmail.com.

Key:

Collectives (C)

Co-Operatives (CO)

Farms (F)

Environmental Education (ED)

California

Mandela Marketplace (CO)

Mandela MarketPlace is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with local residents, family farmers, and community-based businesses to improve health, create wealth, and build assets through local food enterprises in low-income communities.

Through community engagement, education, business cultivation, and financing, Mandela MarketPlace supports and resources the development and growth of locally owned economies and sustainable food systems.

City: Oakland, CA

Contact: info@mandelamarketplace.org

Semillas Wellness (CO)(ED)

“Our programming intersects various of aspects of health and well-being through education, advocacy and practice. We envision having workshops and classes that raises awareness of the environmental, nutritional and social health that a community garden can offer.

We are a community cooperative and want to open the doors to community members to participate and contribute in the garden. “

City: Los Angeles, CA

Contact: semillas_contact@gmail.com

Georgia

Grow Where You Are (C)

“Grow Where You Are a grower led collective committed to increasing local food sovereignty by assisting individuals and communities in creating sustainable, plant-based local food systems. Grow Where You Are has transformed numerous urban spaces in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Atlanta by establishing community food gardens & vegetable farms.We partner with organizations and individuals to bring food abundance to communities and those who value real food.  We have been training residents in this dynamic form of urban agriculture for over ten years.”

City: Atlanta, GA

Contact: Instagram.com/GrowWhereYouAre

Illinois

Catatumbo Cooperative Farm (CO)(F)(ED)

“Catatumbo Cooperative Farm is an emerging immigrant, queer, gender non conforming, workers’ cooperative farm located in South Chicago with cultivate produce and a younger generation of food justice activists. That’s the vision that Viviana Moreno, Nadia Sol Ireri Unzueta Carrasco and Jazmín Martinez, organizers and farmers based in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, are working to turn into reality. 44946555_1930517173696090_5942869560834129920_n.jpg

We’re approaching a worker-owned farm through an intersectional and holistic lens that understands that our community’s issues can be addressed in part by sustainable farming and food justice educational programs.” 

City: Chicago, IL

Contact: catatumbocoopfarm@gmail.com

Louisiana

Grow Dat Youth Farm (F)

“The mission of Grow Dat Youth Farm is to nurture a diverse group of young leaders through the meaningful work of growing food. At Grow Dat, people from different backgrounds come together to create a more just and sustainable food system. On our farm we work collaboratively to grow food, educate and inspire youth and adults, and build power to create personal, social and environmental change.

We envision a vibrant New Orleans where youth and adults transform their communities, their environment, and themselves by engaging in the meaningful work of growing healthy food.”

City: New Orleans, LA

Contact: info@growdatyouthfarm.org

Maryland

Glut Food Co-op (CO)

11051934_10152738353677291_4548591448859812993_n.jpg“Glut is a worker owned and operated natural food store which has been providing quality foods at reasonable prices for 40 years! We also offer environmentally friendly health and beauty products, food supplements, vitamins and sundries.

GLUT is a not-for-profit charitable trust, democratically managed by a collective. We support local and/or organic enterprises over conglomerates and agribusiness whenever possible. Glut has traditionally supported peace, environmental and social justice movements. This is rooted in our founding by conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War.”

City: Mount Rainer, MD

Contact: 301-779-1978

New York

 Soul Fire Farm (F)(ED)

“Soul Fire Farm is committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. We raise life-giving food and act in solidarity with people marginalized by food apartheid.”

City: Petersburg, NY

Contact: love@soulfirefarm.org

Green Worker Cooperatives (CO)

“Green Worker Cooperatives is based in the South Bronx and serves immigrants and communities of color.  We build, grow, and sustain worker-owned green businesses to create a strong, local, and democratic economy rooted in racial and gender equity.”

City: New York, NY

Contact: ileia@greenworker.coop

Interlocking Roots (C)

Interlocking Roots is a network of QT*BIPoC farmers, foodies, and earth stewards. We center food and earthwork as decolonization tools to combat isolation, trauma, and accountability within our movement, community, and work spaces. We connect with one another, share lessons, affirm queer and trans* identities through our plant ancestor and life stories, talk about queer ecology, strategize and eat together! We honor our multifaceted strategies for liberation as sacred rituals that will transcend volatile political times and nourish our collective spirit.

City: New York

Contact: interlockingroots2018@gmail.com

Rootwork Herbals (ED)

20170715-DSCF5093.jpg“Rootwork Herbals seeks to serve our community through herbal education, consultations and handcrafted remedies that are high quality and accessible to all. We strive to inspire and empower people to take back responsibility for their health utilizing plant medicine in a way that is bioregional, regenerative and joyful.”

Woke Foods (CO)

“Woke Foods is a women owned food service cooperative that taps into the healing traditions of Dominican and other Afro-Caribbean food to create recipes, host cooking classes, teach workshops and cater events.

What is WOKE? Woke is a state of consciousness that allows us to understand how politics influences our personal lives. Woke Foods believes mindful eating and ancestral foods is a way to keep our cultural traditions alive. Our food is influenced by the flavors of the Dominican Republic, and prepared with plant-based ingredients  in other words: no meat. We are a socially conscious, sustainable green food business. We use food as a tool to leverage our political and spiritual power.

City: New York, NY

Contact: connect@wokefoods.com

WILDSEED Community Farm and Healing Village (C)(F)

WILDSEED-Fall-Brunch-for-web.jpg“WILDSEED is an emerging Black and Brown-led, feminine-centered, queer-loving, earth-based intentional community, organic farm, healing sanctuary, and political and creative home forming on 181 acres in Millerton, NY, 2 hours north of NYC.

 We are a collective of people committed to stewarding this incredible resource as a permanent safe space for the sustenance and strength of Black, Indigenous and People Of Color, Queer and trans folks, those impacted by the criminal (in)justice system, and other communities on the frontlines of ecological disruption.”

City: Millerton, NY

Contact: love@wildseedcommunity.org

Pennsylvania

North Philly Peace Park (CO)

North Philly Peace Park’s primary objectives are to provide the Sharswood neighborhood with healthy food options, provide education for young people and to stimulate the microeconomy. It is their mission to see the potential in abandoned land and food deserts and to become productive sources of food supply and community building.

Afrofuturism—a reimagining of arts, technology and history through a black lens—played an integral part in the design process for North Philly Peace Park. Read more about the history behind North Philly Peace Park here.

City: Philadelphia, PA

Contact: phillypeacepark@gmail.com

Washington, DC

Dreaming Out Loud (ED)

“Dreaming Out Loud is rebuilding urban, community-based food systems through social enterprise, helping to increase access to healthy food and improve community health, develop low-income entrepreneurs and cooperatives, and train at-risk adult residents for sustainable, family-supporting wages.

Dreaming Out Loud’s mission is to create economic opportunities for the DC metro region’s marginalized community members through building a healthy, equitable food system. We envision resilient communities with equitable economic opportunity, family supporting wages, high quality education for all, and a healthy environment.”

City: Washington, DC

Contact: info@dreamingoutloud.org

Three Part Harmony Farm (F)

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Three Part Harmony Farm is a small-scale agroecological farm, located on a 2-acre parcel in northeast Washington, DC. They grow mostly vegetables as well as herbs, cut-flowers and we have a greenhouse nursery operation that supplies local community and school gardens as well as two locally owned hardware stores.

They are using sustainable practices, without chemical pesticides or herbicides.

City: Washington, DC

Contact: info@threepartharmonyfarm.com

 

 

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Concept of Compassion

I understand how it is difficult to learn lessons of compassion through the lens of white supremacy.

And even so, compassion itself is never to be mocked or taken lightly.

I am vegan because I know that my liberation does not require the oppression of any other living being, but also because my oppression does not make me numb to the oppression of any other living being. Through the program that pursued colonization of land and all of its “lesser” beings.

As we choose compassion, we continue to reclaim our humanity and our spirituality as we recognize the thread of oneness that runs through us all.

Today practice compassion.

For yourself. For your parents. For your friends.

For children. For your enemies. For non-human animals.

We all need it.

It is the one thing we all are fighting for.

It’s Time.

Where Black Meets Green

This summer, Fuel the People would like to bring a Black vegan resource fair for our community that non-vegans, transitioning vegans/vegetarians, and vegans will all enjoy! It will be educational, delicious and fun.

Where Black Meets Green will be held on Sunday, June 17th

at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Alexandria, VA!

Open to ALL!

The purpose of this event is to increase awareness and create a relationship between Black people and Black vegan resources (especially Black-owned vegan businesses), to create and foster a sense of vegan/vegan-interested community within our own Black community, and to encourage veganism within the Black community!!!



Follow Us!

Instagram | @FuelthePeople

Facebook | Fuel the People

Email | info.fuelthepeople@gmail.com

Karen Washington: It’s Not A Food Desert, It’s Food Apartheid by Anna Brones

Karen Washington: It’s Not A Food Desert, It’s Food Apartheid by Anna Brones

Insightful article written by Anna Brones featuring Karen Washington- community activist, black farmer and cofounder of Black Urban Growers based in Bronx, NY.

“Washington is opposed to using the expression ‘food desert,’ which she calls ‘an outsider term’ that calls desolate places, rather than places with enormous potential, to mind. She prefers ‘food apartheid,’ which ‘brings us to the more important question: What are some of the social inequalities that you see, and what are you doing to erase some of the injustices?’”

In the article, the two discuss food apartheid, food sovereignty, the black farmer’s experience navigating a subsidized food system and the process of detangling whiteness from food justice efforts, scholarship and terminology.

Why a BFV Must Read? This article addresses: How “food desert” is an outsider term, Why community food movements need to be for us by us, why the intersection of class and race is a central topic food justice, and the indigenous roots/history of “food sovereignty” movement

Karen Washington: It’s Not a Food Desert, It’s Food Apartheid