|Since Groundswell’s founding, a large part of our mission has revolved around the creation of an equitable local food system– one rooted in justice and fairness for all people, animals and the land. This year, we decided to articulate our commitment more deeply through the creation of an organizational Equity Statement. As we begin 2018, it feels more important than ever to be clear in our historical understanding of racism in the food system and bold in our steps to address how it continues to play out today, whether that’s right here in our own organization or in the food system at large.
An Equity Statement is a starting point to keep us on track in this work and accountable to our mission. As people who love food, farming, land, and healthy communities, we believe deeply that a fundamental shift needs to happen in order for all of us to take part equitably in the joy and well-being they bring. And we believe that we need powerful, diverse organizations that center the voices of those most impacted to help move this shift forward. Our evolving work for equity is one small part of that process, and we’re excited to share it with you today.
Thank you for your ongoing support of Groundswell, and your own ways of creating a more just and joyful world in the year ahead!
You can read the Equity Statement below, or via this link: http://groundswellcenter.org/equity-statement/
Groundswell Center Organizational Equity Statement:
At Groundswell Center we are committed to the creation of an equitable local food system– one that truly works for all of us.
We know that many of the current injustices that exist within our food system, such as land theft, lack of access to land, food apartheid neighborhoods, diet related health problems, and farmworker exploitation are rooted in race and class disparities, and that all too often the voices of people of color and poor or low-income people are excluded from the mainstream food movement.
The Groundswell staff and board are committed to listening to those most impacted by food injustice, to being honest about how white supremacy and exploitation have fundamentally shaped the agricultural history of the U.S., to furthering our own education on how to build a just and equitable food system and supporting our community to do the same, to honoring local knowledge, and to taking appropriate action to support, deepen or create local food justice.
We are committed to incorporating the needs, assets and perspectives of people and communities of color into the design and implementation of inclusive programming, organizational culture and policies.
We believe that it is essential to encourage a diverse range of perspectives and experiences on our Advisory Board, staff and within our organization as a whole so that we are making decisions that best reflect the varied needs of our community, with traditionally marginalized voices at the center. We recognize this document as a work in progress, and that the process of creating a just and equitable organization and local food system is never finished.
To move toward the goals outlined above, Groundswell will strive to:
- Create an anti-racist environment where all staff, board members and volunteers are seen, respected, and supported to participate fully.
- Support food justice education and racial justice awareness not only within Groundswell, but within our wider community as well.
- Develop collaborative and supportive relationships with people of color and organizations led by people of color, and extend and deepen support for local farmers, gardeners and growers of color and immigrant and refugee farmers.
- Act to challenge racism in the food and farming community and beyond.
- Implement a hiring protocol that holds us accountable to creating accessible position descriptions that value lived experiences as well as ‘traditional’ experiences, publicizes these positions near and far both online and in person, offers alternative forms of interviewing methods, and requires a team of diverse reviewers who make the final hiring choice.
- Continuously review our website, promotional materials and course descriptions for language and images that highlight racial/social justice and inclusive, appropriate language.
- Work with staff and board members to ensure our meetings and events are accessible, including but not limited to providing childcare, transportation and interpretation as needed.
- Commit ourselves to this ongoing work by regularly evaluating the composition and organizational culture of our staff, board and board committees through quarterly self-assessment and quarterly engagement with the Equity and Accountability Committee.
- Eventually move from being a majority white organization to an anti-racist multicultural organization, with people of color occupying at least 50% of staff and board positions. We hope that the steps outlined above will make this a more likely makeup for Groundswell Center.
A comprehensive version of this statement including concrete action stepsoutlined for the points above guides our work. If you would like to see this longer version, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Equity Statement was written by Groundswell staff and advisory members with significant input from the Equity and Accountability Committee.
Comments? Reflections? Feedback? We welcome your thoughts, reflections and questions about this Equity Statement, and we value your feedback on Groundswell’s efforts to demonstrate these commitments in our community. Please share your comments below (leave name and email blank if you wish to comment anonymously).
Last updated: 11/8/2017
*image credit: justseeds.org – “Food Justice” by Meredith Clark