News from the PVGrows Race in the Food System Working Group

We are gathering on Thursday, December 15th, from 4:00-6:00pm, at the UCC of Holyoke, 300 Appleton Street (between Maple and High Streets). Please join us. We will provide soup, bread, and child-care. RSVP to let us know you’re coming:

We have heard from a number of you who, like us, are struggling to understand the implications of the national election. We want to make sense of the outcome of a campaign riddled with racist, misogynistic, anti-immigrant, Islamophobic and anti-LGBTQ sentiment and statement. We want to make sense out of that which seems senseless, impossible. Sadness, fear, and anger are filling our email inboxes, our bodies, and our minds.

It feels as though the ground shook and shifted without notice. But quietly, we know the ground has always been shaky; that knowledge is evidenced in our good sturdy shoes. As we digest the new leadership of our government, we must acknowledge that nothing really shifted: Our Country, our people are no different today than we were on Monday November 7th. The shift is in the story that we tell ourselves, about ourselves. Like a relationship that was never quite what we hoped, we aren’t really mourning its end but the end of the dream of what we thought we had, of what we hoped would be.

The truth is that many of us live in a bubble. We preach to the choir, and comfort each other. We’ve known that there are people who have different politics, different beliefs, different dreams for these United States, but our efforts have not been to engage in dialogue with those people, who we think of as the others.

Everyone living in this country has been taught a single story of individual effort and commensurate reward. Now, we have an obligation and an opportunity to help everyone understand how institutional racism is the foundation of our country and its economy, and that a country built on such a rocky foundation and mortared with policies of exclusion has never offered and will never offer the full promise of the Constitution.

We cannot be afraid. We are heartened by the young people around us who are standing up for justice. We have much work ahead to ensure that our country and communities offer young people of all races and orientations the opportunity to become leaders and innovators, to make beautiful, inclusive public policy that helps us realize our dreams. We have to ask ourselves “What does it really mean to be a change agent? How much do we really want to risk?” Our children call on us to be more brave than we have been, to make fear our target, no matter the cost.

We propose to convene a conversation with you, PVGROWS folk who have asked to be part of a Racial Equity in the Food System Working Group. We invite you to come together in a dialogue about white privilege and power, and about how to move forward our common goal for a just equitable food system.

This is a call to work together and to draw resilience and strength from each other — to create that dreamed-for country that lives in our heads, but not in communities across the nation.

Together, we will fight to ensure that our core nutrition programs stay intact, that we continue to expand the number of families on SNAP and to make healthy local food available to them through the incentive programs we’ve piloted. We’ll work to ensure that school food (essential meals for so many of our children) continues to improve and remain available to all children living in high poverty communities. We will secure the organizations and programs that fund access to healthy affordable food in our most vulnerable communities. We will expand urban agriculture, support farm to school legislation, and protect small family farms.

Again, join us on December 15th from 4:00-6:00pm at the UCC of Holyoke, 300 Appleton Street (between Maple and High Streets). We will provide soup, bread and child-care.


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