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Join 40 Food System Advocates at the “Undoing Racism” training May 4-6

“Undoing Racism” Workshop  -  May 4-6, 2014  -  Holyoke, MA

CLICK TO REGISTER  Limited to 40 participants.

  • Mar 27 – Registration Opens.
  • Apr 15 – Registration Closes.
  • Apr 22 – Workshop participants and scholarships confirmed.
  • May 4 – Payments due.

Workshop Dates:  Attendance during ALL THREE DAYS is critical.

  • May 4 (5:30 pm – 8:00 pm) Includes dinner.
  • May 5 (8:30 am – 4:00 pm) Includes breakfast, snacks, and lunch.
  • May 6 (8:30 am – 4:00 pm) Includes breakfast, snacks, and lunch.

Cost:  $300 fee includes workshop and meals.

  • PARTIAL SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR THOSE WITH LIMITED RESOURCES.
  • Payment plans are available.

Participants:  Anyone dedicated to creating a just and healthy food system is invited.

  • Food justice advocates & food system professionals
  • Food and farm workers
  • Farmers & food business owners
  • Educators & Students
  • Policy makers
  • Funders
  • And more…

Trainers:  The workshop will be led by trainers from the People’s Institute for Survival & Beyond, a national multiracial network of antiracist organizers and educators dedicated to building a movement for justice by ending racism and other forms of institutional oppression.  The People’s Institute Undoing Racism Workshop is an intensive 2 ½ day workshop designed to educate, challenge, and empower people to “undo” the racist structures that hinder effective social change. Their analysis moves beyond a focus on the symptoms of racism to an understanding of what it is, where it comes from, how it functions, why it persists and how it can be undone.  Read more.

HostUndoing Racism Organizing Collective has been hosting Undoing Racism Workshops in the Pioneer Valley for over a decade.

Partners:  Holyoke Food & Fitness Policy Council, Live Well Springfield, & PVGrows

Questions?

Background:  The reality of racial inequity in this country is especially apparent in the food system.  People of color are most disproportionately negatively impacted by: food insecurity, “food deserts,” obesity, wage and hour violations, lack of benefits, and more.   As we work together to build a healthy food system in the Pioneer Valley, how will we eliminate these racial inequities?

PVGrows is one of four organizations partnering on Undoing Racism, a two-and-a-half-day workshop in which over 500,000 people (including 40+ PVGrows members) have participated over the past 30 years. The goal of this workshop is to strengthen the anti-racist analysis and practice of sustainable food system and food justice work in the Pioneer Valley.  This is the first time Undoing Racism will be offered here specifically for people working on food system issues, so if you’ve been waiting to take the workshop, now is the time!

Liz O’Gilvie, Urban Green Pantry, PVGrows Steering Committee member:

I can tell you personally that going through Undoing Racism helped me to identify my own internalized oppression & biases. I believe that I am now able to show up more authentically in my personal and professional relationships. Racism is tough. Even in the midst of progress, I sometimes wonder if it will ever be gone.  Going through the undoing racism training, and the deeper connections that I have made because of it, gave me hope.  Read the rest of Liz’s post on why PVGrows is hosting this event…

Andrew Morehouse, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, former PVGrows Steering Committee member:

Recently, I had the good fortune of participating in a two-day intensive “Undoing Racism” workshop hosted by a local group of the same name – the Undoing Racism Organizing Collective (UROC).  I’d like to share with you some of my reflection on the workshop, and why this topic is important to The Food Bank and should be to everyone in Western Massachusetts.  Read the rest of Andrew’s post about his reflection on the Undoing Racism training…

CLICK TO REGISTER

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2014 Spring Forum: The Hands that Feed Us

Good Food and Good Jobs in the Pioneer Valley

How can we ensure that the development of our local food system provides farm and food workers with fair pay, quality working conditions and a voice in the workplace? Join us for PVGrows 2014 Spring Forum to learn what “good food jobs” are and what you can do to support their creation.realpicklesphoto

Thursday, April 10th from 9:00 am – 1:30 pm at Mill 1 in Open Square, 4 Open Square Way, Holyoke, MA 

REGISTER NOW

The food system accounts for 18 % of our Pioneer Valley jobs, employing nearly 38,000 people, and generating over $1 billion in local revenue. And it’s growing–  but the people who do the work of producing, manufacturing, processing, distributing, and selling our food see disproportionately less of the benefits of this growth.

At the PVGrows Spring Forum we will use both a local and a national lens to increase our understanding of the opportunities that scaling up our local food system could provide for increased justice and equity for food system workers.

We will:

  • Learn who are “the hands that feed us.” How many people work in what kinds of food jobs and what are their wages and future career prospects? We’ll focus especially on farm workers and restaurant workers.

  • Gain an understanding of working conditions that workers experience in growing, processing, cooking, and serving the food we eat.

  • Hear how employers navigate the challenge of providing workers fair pay while still running profitable businesses, and look at successful strategies that employers are using.

  • Think about the future: what kinds of jobs and careers lay ahead for our increasingly localized food system?

In addition, you will have a chance to meet with a number of local people taking varied approaches to building food system careers and who are taking action to ensure that Pioneer Valley food jobs are indeed good jobs.

As usual, the Forum includes interactive sessions, structured networking, opportunities for collaboration, and a locally grown lunch.

View the complete list of Forum Presenters

Read more here about the PVGrows Forum.

  • This event is open to anyone working for a healthy food system in the Pioneer Valley.

  • Space is limited to 120.

  • The Forum is free. ($12 lunch food donation suggested).

  • Registration Required.  Registration opens on Monday, Feb 17.

    PVGrows Fall Forum 2012 - Springfield

The following reports have informed and inspired the title and content of this forum including:

  1. The Hands that Feed Us by the Food Chain Workers Alliance
  2. Good Food and Good Jobs for All by Yvonne Yen Liu, Applied Research Center
  3. The 25% Shift by Michael Shuman
  4. Backbone of Sustainable Food by the Vermont Fair Food Campaign

 

Sponsors

 

A special thanks to our caterers

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Reflections on Diversity and Inclusion in Western Massachusetts

Recently, I had the good fortune of participating in a two-day intensive “Undoing Racism” workshop hosted by a local gUROCroup of the same name – the Undoing Racism Organizing Collective (UROC).  I’d like to share with you some of my reflection on the workshop, and why this topic is important to The Food Bank and should be to everyone in Western Massachusetts.

UROC is a little-known unsung hero in our region that has been working on this intractable societal issue for about two decades.  With support from Bay State Health, they invited the nationally-renowned People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB) to lead the workshPISABop for more than forty local individuals mainly from non-profit businesses, but also some representatives from government and for-profit businesses, including a couple of farmers.

Andrew Morehouse, The Food Bank of Western MassachusettsWill Szal

Andrew Morehouse, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, at the PVGrows Forum.

Since its founding in 1980, PISAB has impacted the lives of more than 500,000 people to “help individuals, communities, organizations and institutions move beyond addressing the symptoms of racism to undoing the causes of racism so as to create a more just and equitable society.”  I felt that they facilitated the workshop in a sensitive and nurturing, yet direct and unapologetic manner, emphasizing that every participant came with a different life experience and perspective that warranted tolerance and respect.

While it would take a long time for me to explain everything I experienced and learned in the workshop, I would like to share the most meaningful benefit I got out of it.   I was able to meet so many interesting and committed individuals who are doing important work to provide resources to, and create opportunities for, vulnerable individuals and families in our region.   Going into the workshop, I knew that racism endures in our society even if we — individuals of all skin colors — personally reject it and even work to reverse it in our own way.  The workshop discussion unpacked the reality that “mainstream” American society affords privileges and opportunities (if not power) to white people like myself whether we are comfortable admitting and accepting it or not.   Conversely, people of color routinely experience disadvantages in our schools, the workplace, in our economy and even our political system even when there are laws, rules and efforts to prevent this from happening.  We simply haven’t achieved equal opportunity in this country regardless of skin color.

This is certainly true when it comes to access to nutritious food.  People of color are disproportionately at risk of hunger and/or food insecurity– not knowing where your next meal will come from– in Western Massachusetts and across the country.  (That said, the majority of people who experience both are still white given the larger size of the white population regionally and nationally.) There are many reasons why people of color are more likely to go hungry than white people. One reason that we hear a lot about these days is the preponderance of “food deserts” in communities of color where costlier and less healthy food is abundant relative to more nutritious and often less costly food.   Other reasons include the lack of equal opportunity generally in our society and higher rates of poverty and working poverty in communities of color.

When I think about Western Massachusetts and, specifically, the communities that we work with at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, I am struck by the diversity across our region.   Of course, we can define diversity in many ways… not only race, but also ethnicity, country of origin, income, gender, age, sexual orientation, religious background, etc.

All of these aspects of diversity are important to us at The Food Bank because we work closely with so many diverse individuals from the more than 300 member agencies in cities and town across all four counties of our region.  We make emergency food available to more than 44,000 people every month through an elaborate network of local, non-profit feeding programs who are members of The Food Bank.  We also work with thousands of food and fund donors, and volunteers to carry out our mission to feed our neighbors in need and lead the community to end hunger.

For this reason, we undertook a year-long diversity assessment at The Food Bank about a year ago.  Since then, we’ve gone through a strategic planning process in which, among other things, we re-affirmed our organizational values, including diversity and inclusiveness:

  • We strive to have the diversity of our community and the people we serve reflected in our staff and board directors
  • We believe that an understanding of the inequalities in access to food is essential to conducting our work
  • We are committed to increasing cultural competence and inclusion in our organization.

Along with me, two other staff has participated in the UROC workshop.  We will share some of our learning with our colleagues as we continuously deepen our understanding of diversity and consciously take steps to live our organizational values.  I challenge you to do the same.  The UROC workshop is a great place to start.

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Slow Money Pioneer Valley hosts first “Entrepreneur Showcase”

The Slow Money PV Chapter  was pleased to host its first Entrepreneur Showcase on  January 28, 2014.  Six local food system entrepreneurs told their story to interested investors.  Over 80 PVGrows members attended this event, designed to provide investors with concrete opportunities to align their dollars with their values.  Plans are underway to replicate this successful event in the coming year.

For investors, the Entrepreneur Showcase provides access to sustainable food and farming enterprises at different stages of development, from the start-up phase to the expansion of existing businesses. Participating businesses are seeking different levels of financing— from small loans to major capital, as well as donations. The Slow Money PV Chapter encourages investors of all resource levels to attend these Showcases, including institutional, individual, accredited, and unaccredited investors.

Slow Money Pioneer Valley Entrepreneur Showcase

Tuesday, January 28, 4:00 – 7:00 pm

The Red Barn at Hampshire College

Agenda:

4:00 – Arrival and Networking

4:30 – Entrepreneur Showcase

  • Introduction to Slow Money

6:00 – Informal Networking For Investors and Entrepreneurs

7:00 – End

 

If you didn’t attend, but are interested in engaging with the leadership team or attending future Slow Money events, please join the working group by becoming a member of PVGrows here, and clicking the “Slow Money” box.

Check out some Entrepreneur Pitches from the 2013 Slow Money National Gathering in Boulder, CO below.  Learn more about Slow Money.

The Slow Money PV Chapter Leadership Team is:

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