Saturday Mid-morning Schedule
Saturday Mid-morning Schedule
Location: Beverly J. Martin School (room locations TBA).
Time: Saturday 10:30am – 12:00pm, discussions will take place simultaneously
Knowledge, Farming & Food: Community-Engaged Endeavors
Abstract: Ithaca has one of the most vibrant food systems in all of upstate NY with roots back to the 1970’s when locavore was not even a word in the dictionary and food justice and food access were not such a prominent concern as they have become. As an extension educator since 1980, I have been immersed in the transition that has take place in our local food system over the years. And I have conducted many studies that quantify it’s growth and impact. This session will provide a context for understanding local food systems what makes them work/thrive and why many struggle. Information on how to track local food system impacts will be shared along with the results of local studies. Recently, I have also compared Ithaca with other NY regional food systems to develop a tool for assessing the maturity of a local food system…how far has it come, is there room to grow or is it mature. Challenges and opportunities will be shared for Ithaca and beyond.
Seed to Supper is a comprehensive beginning gardening course that gives novice gardeners the tools they need to connect with others in community, grow in confidence, and successfully grow a portion of their own food on a limited budget. A joint effort of Oregon Food Bank and the Oregon State University Extension Master Gardener Program, Seed to Supper is offered in collaboration with community-based host agencies throughout the state of Oregon. Agencies affiliated with housing authorities, community centers, Head Start and other hunger‐relief agencies such as food pantries and hot meal sites host Seed to Supper gardening classes and workshops to aid participants in growing fresh produce, preparing nutritious foods and learning new life skills. The program is also available in Spanish to meet the needs of Oregon’s underserved Latino community. Seed to Supper relies on a successful multiplier approach in which facilitators lead classes at community host sites such as emergency food pantries, public libraries, affordable housing units, schools, churches, and prisons. Classes are taught indoors in the off-season in order to prepare participants for successful gardening. In New York state, we have engaged in ways to strengthen and adapt key facets for local use, including: identifying facilitators who reflect the diversity of the constituents with whom they are gardening; shifting from a ‘training’ approach to a leadership development model; employing approaches such as shorter meeting times and online components to minimize lengthy in-person meetings which may tend to favor predominantly upper-middle class Caucasian retired facilitators; and deeply engaging students in the process of developing and ultimately distance teaching facilitator preparation in three pilot sites, with the intent of fine tuning and continuing thereafter. Our two semester course sequence uses embedded assessment techniques such as robust reflective writing, critical incident questionnaires, small group reflection, a retreat model and other techniques to determine student learning throughout the process (not simply an evaluation at course’s end). Community partners are surveyed and interviewed at key points to ensure that the facilitation partnership is meeting their needs. Similar to student learners, those involved in facilitator preparation also respond to embedded assessment throughout their leadership development experience.
Food Movements Paper Session: Food Sovereignty and Food Justice
Abstract: The aim of food sovereignty is self-determination and empowerment at the level of communities. This suggests that food sovereignty is a dynamic sociocultural and ecological process rather than just an outcome or product. Although scholars often position food sovereignty and food security as alternative paradigms, food security is one important outcome of food sovereignty. Food sovereignty is achieved through interdependence between and engagement with a community’s phenomenological environment. The cornerstones of food sovereignty include: (1) use of place-based or indigenous knowledge; (2) facilitated by what is ecologically possible in a particular context; (3) grounded in the local cultural fabric; and (4) reached through effective institutional governance structures that adapt to changing sociocultural and environmental circumstances. While seemingly counter intuitive, at the heart of food sovereignty is difference, which is necessary to achieve the common outcomes of food security, empowerment, and self-determination. Differences among human communities and between their habitats is key to establishing secure food systems. Enduring food sovereignty, therefore, is a result of diversity in ways of knowing supported by a variety of cultures and multiplicity of ecological contexts.
Abstract: Urban agriculture (UA) has been one response to the growing problem of inadequate access to fresh affordable foods in urban communities. There are at least two basic challenges to UA initiatives: the degraded state of most urban soils, and the loss of agrarian values once largely defined by a community’s relationship with the soil. In order to achieve a long-term sustainable solution to the problem of food access in urban communities UA initiatives should focus primarily on rebuilding urban soil and rebuilding the relationship between soil and urban residents. It is my view that the best approach to bridging the gap between the life of the soil and urban life is through a specifically ecological urban agriculture (EUA). EUA looks to specifically rebuild the connection between home, shared work and well-being in urban communities by focusing on the role that access to soil can play in forging these connections. Just as ecological agriculture looks at the farm as an ecosystem EUA looks at the city as an ecosystem with potential resources flowing through it. In this way the goals of creating access to fresh healthy food and creating more sustainable cities intersect for EUA. Recognizing this intersection and responding to it can have implications for the way we understand urban food access and the on the ground practices of urban agriculture.
Abstract: Emerging in response to race- and class-based inequalities perpetuated by food movements in the United States, the food justice movement is being used by low-income communities of color to address their food needs. This movement relies on an emancipatory discourse, characterized by what I call intersectional agriculture. While a small number of scholars have drawn attention to the ways in which food justice attempts to counter inequalities, little is known about it in relation to the two dominant food movements in the United States: corporate agriculture and local food. The corporate agriculture movement is characterized by a marketization discourse, which relies on large farms practicing conventional agriculture, supported by the corporate-controlled, transnational U.S. food system. In contrast, the local food movement relies on a social protectionist discourse, led by small farmers and environmentally concerned consumers, supporting civic or sustainable agriculture. Each movement attempts to restructure the ways in which food is distributed, consumed, and produced, impacting the social, cultural, political, economic, and environmental dimensions of food. However, many studies of food justice tend to treat the movement in isolation, ignoring how it operates with and against the other two movements. Using the lens of Nancy Fraser’s triple movement theory, located at the nexus of Karl Polanyi’s double movement and fictitious commodities, this paper develops a conceptual framework to explore the role of food justice in the context of U.S. food movements.
Abstract: This brief is summarizes a paper about the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Nation’s eco village for 17,000 people created on the banks of the Missouri River in Cannonball, North Dakota. The paper would discuss the ceremonial prayerful resistance ecovillage village established by the Lakota and their allies to protect food, water, and tribal sovereignty and prevent an oil pipeline from being drilled next to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation under the Missouri River their drinking water source. The water protectors created a vibrant expanding community outreach program that developed a Local Food System, a Local Food Economy, community gardens, resiliency, food justice, farmer’s markets, community kitchens and a global supply chain.
Beginning in April of 2016, issues of food and water sovereignty, treaty rights, constitutional rights and climate change were confronted in a creative and unique way on the American Plains. For the first time in recent political and social memory, the word water protectors was promoted across all social and corporate media and live streamed daily. The water protectors were out on the front lines struggling to protect what every human and animal needs: fresh water. This is a first hand report of the eco village built, meals served to the 14,000 to 16,000 allies. This historic gathering of 386 Federally recognized tribes to protect water drew allies from nations all over the world. The outreach program to the United Nations, international environmental organizations, faith based asset managers, pension fund coalitions, and many non profit organizations make this moment of solidarity possible.
If the pipeline ever leaked or broke (high probability), it could spill into the Missouri River upstream of the tribe’s major population center. The Missouri River is the tribe’s only source of water. Because the Army Corps failed to involve the tribe in its permitting of an easement for the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners have violated the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act; the original pipeline was to be routed just north of Bismarck, North Dakota and was moved to the present route to protect the white residents of Bismarck, North Dakota’s and its drinking water. Remarkable news from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers occurred during and after the trip. The pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners began drilling when the Army Corps of Engineers granted them an easement needed for construction to continue on 8 February 2017. The easement had been denied just two months earlier when the Corps said that an Environmental Impact Statement would need to be completed. Now the fate of the fresh water supplies and the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers lies in the Federal Courts for the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and 17 million people who live and work downstream of the route of the Dakota Access pipeline.
Resilience, Community Empowerment, and Farming Paper Sessions
Abstract: This study explores the dynamics of local-level climate change adaptation strategies among smallholder farmers in Same District, northern Tanzania. Socio-political and ecological contexts for farmer adaptation exist at multiple scales, from the household to the global. Through the examination of mixed-methods fieldwork data, regional historical perspectives, and the broader discourse on community based adaptation and resilience, this paper develops a regional political ecological case study from what was a larger, eight-country research program and subsequent NGO community-based intervention, that promoted particular local agronomic strategies for increased “resilience.” It was found that the determinants of farmer adoption of these adaptation strategies were shaped not only by their household decision-making strategies, but also by their social networks, place-based traditional knowledge, and institutional support. Despite relatively high levels of farmer utilization of “adaptive” practices, technical challenges to smallholder rainfed crop production persist, in particular with regard to increasing rainfall variability, an aging farmer population, and widespread out-migration of youth and working-age men from the rural areas. These findings prompt a policy discussion on the efficacy of community based adaptation programs to help people increase their resilience “where they are,” and the need for multi-scaled and multi-regional planning for human migration as an adaptive strategy. This paper contributes to the growing debate on the feasibility and necessity of community-based adaptation, human migration, and climate change.
Abstract: Recent scholarship, debates and advocacy on agroecology have centered the ways in which it can and should be linked to issues of power. Terms such as political agroecologies have highlighted the importance of attention to political and economic factors which shape the possibilities for using agroecology to address control and rights to food and build food sovereignty. Discussions about praxis – how to teach agroecology – and how to differentiate it from terms such as sustainable intensification or regenerative agriculture, have largely focused on the ways in which agroecology can be de-politicized, co-opted and framed as primarily technical approaches to agriculture. These broader debates often fail to be embedded in critical examinations of the power dynamics within households and communities who are using agroecological approaches. In this paper a case study in Malawi with a long-term farmer-led agroecology project is used to examine whether agroecology can be effectively used to address food sovereignty, which includes improved nutrition. Three simple agroecological strategies – crop diversification, intercropping and incorporating organic material into the soil – were important strategies utilized by smallholder farmers in Malawi. These methods, however, are labor intensive, may require additional knowledge, and often require negotiation and addressing power dynamics within and beyond households in order to prove effective at addressing food sovereignty and improved nutrition. We find that the re-centering food production on relationships and using a feminist and participatory praxis which centered on experimentation, iterative dialogue, and intersectionality, were critical components for addressing food security and nutrition. Our focus on child nutrition improvements led to increased attention to inequalities in decision-making and labour at the household and community level, and we developed several innovative educational strategies to address these inequalities. Many of these strategies focused on dialogue and problem-solving and drew on local concepts of traditional leadership and knowledge to foster change. We also paid attention to particular inequalities such as those experienced by youth or people infected with HIV/AIDS. Advocates of agroecolology and food sovereignty need to ground the discussion in the daily lived realities of smallholder farming families, including the difficult and complex issues related to gender, nutrition and power dynamics. At the same time, the labor intensive nature of many agroecological practices, alongside unequal access to knowledge and resources such as land and organic material, means that some farmers are more likely to benefit from agroecology than others. We argue that the feminist concepts of intersectionality and participatory praxis are central to mobilizing agroecology to truly build food sovereignty and achieve food security and nutrition for all.
Abstract: Over the course of my research with black farmers and gardeners in Cleveland, Ohio, interview topics have often strayed from food or growing and the experience of race to themes including art, literature, poetry, yoga, exercise, safety (and violence), among others. The concept that poor and historically marginalized people are full, complex, and multi-faceted human beings with needs beyond food and shelter is not a hard sell. However, community development and social welfare programs often approach poor communities of color from a “”needs only”” perspective, addressing only what is necessary for survival. Food, housing, healthcare, and jobs. The arts, or culture more broadly, are implicitly understood to be unnecessary or even excessive. The unspoken assumption becomes, “”If you can’t afford to buy food at the end of the month, you couldn’t possibly want to participate in a poetry slam or take dance lessons.”” Notwithstanding, black growers in Cleveland are not solely focused on producing food, and they do not want to simply survive, they want to see their communities thrive. Residents are participating in urban gardening and farming as a way to create beautiful spaces, to produce urban natures in a way that shifts the perception of their neighborhoods (both internally and externally). Furthermore, they want to see a holistic approach to community building and urban development more broadly, which means addressing the whole human being: the physical, mental, emotional, and the spiritual.
This philosophy is partly what undergirds the FreshLo pilot grant program funded by the Kresge Foundation. FreshLo, or Fresh, Local, and Equitable, centers four main themes: creative placemaking, health, economic development, and equity. Kresge defines creative placemaking as “”any artistic or creative effort to make a particular community stronger””, essentially recognizing that arts and culture are central to a thriving community. In Garden Valley, an extremely impoverished, majority black neighborhood in Cleveland, the FreshLo project is constituted as a partnership between four black run and owned organizations and businesses, including an environmental and sustainability non-profit, a 7-acre urban farm, a music record label, and a food pantry that also serves as a community center. These partners work together to engage Garden Valley residents on “”History, Health, and Healing”” in the black community, education focusing on music and arts production, and a program designed to jumpstart a youth run café in the community, sourcing produce from community gardens and urban farms.
This paper analyzes the FreshLo pilot program in Cleveland, how arts, culture, food, and farming articulate together to effect change, as well as the tensions between community development as it has been historically practiced, and a more collaborative, resident-driven model. This alternative approach is not entirely unproblematic, nor does it completely eschew well-known tropes of hard work, self-reliance, and entrepreneurialism as a proxy for equitable investment in poor communities of color across the city. It does, however, provide insight into the strategies adopted by black Clevelanders and grassroots organizations, leveraging grant money to catalyze structural and sustainable change within their community.
Abstract: Farmers in the Central Finger Lakes Region of New York (USA) balance their production between principles of peasant farming and capitalist farming. They struggle to extend their sphere of autonomy and subsistence production, while extended commodity production is often a response to external forces of the state and capital. This struggle, together with a quantitative increase of small farms, can be described as an instance of repeasantization.
Based on inductive, empirical qualitative social research, in particular participant observation and semi-structured interviews, this thesis describes the economy and social organization of six farms in the area under investigation. Besides selling commodities to pay for many farming inputs and consumer goods, the farms produce for their subsistence and that of their community. They exchange products and services with other farms, they build networks of mutual provisioning, support and mentorship and try to take good care of the land.
This thesis shows that subsistence production and peasant culture are not restricted to the past or the Global South, but also exist in the United States of America, albeit subject to the globalized capitalist market economy. I suggest that these pockets of peasantness are an important source of inspiration for society at large, while the dominant capitalistic social order fails to deliver good living conditions for most people. It is therefore critical to support farmers in their struggle.
WORKSHOPS MID MORNING SATURDAY
Description: This workshop will describe participatory budgeting and the possibilities for Ithaca and region. The Youth Organizing Fellowship has been working on a campaign to implement participatory budgeting in Ithaca for a year, and will continue for another year. This included going to workshops on the subject, meeting with people who work with participatory budgeting and who have tried to implement it in Ithaca before, doing case studies, and overall getting to know the process and what it will take to implement in Ithaca and the surrounding region.
Facilitator Bios: Ahja Haedicke is a Youth Facilitator at the Youth Organizing Fellowship of the Multicultural Resource Center, Ithaca.
Practical Skills Building Workshops
Description: This workshop will engage participants in hands-on inoculation of mushrooms to take home. We will have some discussion of mushrooms and then spend most of the time inoculating logs with shiitake and straw with oysters. Come prepared to get a bit messy.
Facilitator: Steve Gabriel (Agroforestry Extension Specialist; Editor, Small Farm Quarterly; Cornell Small Farms Program)
Location: Kitchen workshop, Facilitator: Anna Dawson
Summary: A sustainable local food system needs cooks who will freeze the harvest. The objective of this workshop is to awaken interest in using freezing and vacuum packaging in community kitchens to build a resilient community where all ages work together to design, taste, make, market and eat healthy frozen local food with pride. The possibilities are endless. Freezing is faster and easier than canning. The product is also higher quality. If canning was so much better than freezing, the grocery store would not have six aisles of frozen meals compared to one aisle for canned vegetables and fruits. With freezing and vacuum packaging, new combinations can be put together than grandma could never have done. The facilitator has many years experience using these skills and will have samples of equipment and final products to share and discuss.
This will be an outdoor walk to identify local sources of medicinal plants. Facilitator: Amanda David, Rootwork Herbals / Bramble Community Herbalism
Description: My wife, Margaret and I have been farming since 2005. We have a 92 acre property that is our home in Hector New York. We raise Icelandic sheep, blueberries, hay and a 15 month old girl person. We presented this talk at this years NOFA New York winter Conference. And would like an opportunity to present to a “local” audience. The scope of our presentation is to, coached in our own context, convey how one might learn of past land use practices by historical account and reading legacy signs in the landscape to inform how one might proceed in their new ventures as land stewards. Stone walls, raised beds, vegetation etc tell us a lot about what was done in the past. Having a degree in Sociology myself from SUNY Binghamton I appreciate putting one into a larger historical context. Hector is rich with “history” ripe for a political economic critic. From the murderous campaign of General Sullivan, the displacement of Native peoples, the disjointed and sporadic settlement of New Englanders, The Military land track, the Bread basket nature of the Finger Lakes, to the impoverishment of farmers during the great depression and then big cooperate wine makers abandonment of growers to New of Liberal Globalism. We ask others to understand their own local history when they farm. Participation will be limited to questions and discussions but also a demonstration of how to use web resources to learn of your soil types and what watershed you are within.
Facilitator: Jeromy Biazzo (Wolftree Farm, and Biologist with the Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research Unit, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health)