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CLOSING SESSION – Elevating and Resourcing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Farmers and Producers
May 14, 2021 @ 9:00 am – 10:30 am PDT
Presented and Sponsored by 11th Hour Project
Thanks to Forum Platform Sponsors 11th Hour Project, Fair Food Network, GRACE Communications Foundation
All farmers and producers don’t have the same opportunities. For the sake of healing the earth and being in right relationship with each other, we are confronting the systems that have encouraged climate chaos, environmental injustices, land theft, and forced and exploited work, including the white supremacy that fueled the disparities we see today around who ‘owns’ land, who works the land, and what that means for racial wealth inequities.
During this session, we will continue the work of listening to each other, particularly to Black, Indigenous, and folks of color who work and steward the land in culturally relevant ways. Efforts from across the landmass are bringing together multi-ethnic farmers, farming groups, and allies to root our food and farming system in practices and policies that support BIPOC land stewards and help build health equity. What does equity look like in action? How do we coordinate around resourcing support for Black, Indigenous farmers and stewards of color?
Join us in community and solidarity as we close out the Forum by grappling with these critical questions and taking on the truth and reconciliation work of our time.
Paola Diaz – moderator, The 11th Hour Project; CA
Paola is the Food and Agriculture Program Coordinator at The 11th Hour Project. Her work focuses on co-creating healthy, regional food and farming system infrastructure, towards a just transition framework that centers racial, economic, and environmental justice, and community self-determination. She is a first-generation New Yorker with familial and ancestral roots in Colombia.
She graduated from SUNY Binghamton with a B.A. in sociology and psychology.
Janssen Hang, Hmong American Farmers Association; MN
Janssen Hang is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Hmong American Farmers Association. Janssen grew up growing, harvesting and selling vegetables for the local food economy and currently runs his family-owned value-added business making spring rolls and egg rolls at the downtown Saint Paul Farmers Market. A 2001 Saint Olaf graduate in Biology and Asian Studies, Janssen has over 20 years of experience in agriculture, 12 years in small business management, and 7 years as a licensed real estate agent. Janssen is also one among just a few certified Hmong Mekongs (cultural broker). Janssen likes to spend his free time with his family in the outdoors.
Josefina Lara Chavez, Community Alliance with Family Farmers; CA
Josefina Lara Chavez is CAFF’s Farm to Market Specialist and works largely with Latino growers in the same place where she grew up, the Salinas Valley. She has a graduate degree in Public Administration, from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Through her work and volunteerism, she has served communities locally and internationally with social justice, equity, and love being at the root of it all. She is passionate about creating stronger connections between people. Josefina recently launched her own farm, Big Beaner Ranch, a 1.5-acre agroecological operation in San Benito County, CA, where she grow specialty vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers.
Jason Lindsay, Southeastern African American Farmers’ Organic Network; NC
People and land stand at the center of Jason’s inspiration to collectively bring resolve for Black farmers across the southeast United States. With seven years of regenerative/carbon farming and four years of farm/farmer base organizing, community and collective input is his position in moving things forward. Jason is the first generation in his family born off the farm and now the only farmer in the family. He was the first to register a farm in the city limits his home- town, selling organic vegetables to local CSA’s, juicing companies, and a mobile food market. After years of cultivating community through the community garden network, Jason developed a youth agricultural training program – Cultivating Young Entrepreneurs and a farm school curriculum. Now as a rural new and beginning farmer Jason continues to be an educator, taking the practical and theoretical knowledge he has gained through his journey to reclaiming his agrarian identity and serves as a consultant to local farms and organizations on best practices, certification, market development, and operation management. With a clear calling for this work, Jason continues farming and building farmer-to-farmer relationships as a means to establish self-sustainable food systems throughout our communities.
Neely Snyder, Dream of Wild Health; MN
Neely Snyder is Executive Director of Dream of Wild Health, a Native-led nonprofit organization in Minneapolis, MN, whose mission is to restore health and well-being in the Native community by recovering knowledge of and access to healthy Indigenous food, medicine and lifeways. The organization has an office in Minneapolis and a 30-acre farm just 40 minutes north of the city. Neely is an enrolled member of St. Croix Chippewa and a direct descendent of Red Lake Nation and Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Throughout Neely’s career in the nonprofit sector, she has worked with multiple organizations including Native Americans in Philanthropy and American Indian Cancer Foundation, and also serves on The Family Partnership Board of Directors in Minneapolis. As an Ojibwe woman, her passion is building stronger and healthier Native communities. She enjoys watching her kids play sports and spending time with family and friends.