Networking Towards Just Food

Posted by on Mar 27, 2019 | Comments Off on Networking Towards Just Food

by Shantell Bingham

On February 14th, the Charlottesville Food Justice Network held our first in person large group meeting of the year. The gathering allowed for 28 organizational representatives to reflect on the intersections of programming, equity, and collaboration as it relates to our local food system. Here’s what happened in case you missed it.

Richard Morris, Director of Food and Farmroots at UACC, opened up the meeting with a “word of the moment” icebreaker. It was refreshing to hear the words that motivate us. Fellowship, equity, change, transforming, student-leadership, are all words that sprang to mind across organizational leaders. Maria Neichwiadowicz, Program Coordinator at Trinity Bread & Roses, lead the group through our Equity Framework activity. This allowed CFJN organizations to reflect on the work we’re already doing to build equity, as well as visually take in where there may be overlap. Once grounded in our intentions of the day and programming activities. Jeanette Abi-Nader, Executive Director of City Schoolyard Garden, and Shantell Bingham, Program Director of CFJN, lead an introductory session to the Food Equity Initiative with the City. This provided time for network members to understand the critical role we’re all playing in working with city departments to cultivate a more food secure city. The meeting closed with a deeper reflection on tracking program impacts and collaborative partnerships lead by Equity and Environmental Fellows, Jessie Duska, Alexandra Barkly-Cook, and Sydney Mathis. The fellows are now working to synthesize the robust information given by network partners as piece of a Food Equity Report to the city!

A huge thanks to the City of Charlottesville’s Office of Human Rights for hosting us at City Space. The network will host its next large group meeting on April 24th 10:30am at Trinity Episcopal Church. This meeting will focus on CFJN’s most recent success in being selected as the 2019 Cohort for Local Food, Local Places. We will receive technical assistance from the EPA to plan equitable food access in our City. The two-day workshop will bring together 50 participants and inform recommendations in the Food Equity Report to City Council.  A huge thanks to CFJN members from Thomas Jefferson Health District, City Schoolyard Garden, Local Food Hub, Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville, International Rescue Committee New Roots, Piedmont Environmental Council, Piedmont Housing Alliance, City of Charlottesville Department of Human Services, and City of Charlottesville Public Works for their support in the Local Food, Local Places application.

Please Register if you will attend the next Large Group Meeting!