Seeking Input: Designing Self-Sustaining, Supportive Nonprofit Agricultural Orgs Using Permaculture

Designing highly-functioning NPAO--or a larger, emergent pattern Peter and I called “Social Benefit Permaculture Enterprises”--is more about social permaculture design than physical. If the structure doesn’t support human dignity and equality, there’s no hope for the land. When implemented properly, I believe that NPAO will perform a major role balancing inequities in our highly dysfunctional and dangerous farm, food, and property ownership systems. Additionally, NPAO should be able to provide strategies to grow self-sustaining and resilient revenue streams, allowing for a larger number of organizations to drink from the funding pool. As of now, NPAO that I’m aware of have a long way to go before realizing this potential. Permaculture design seems the natural bridge to connect vision and reality.

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Philadelphia Vacant Land and Community Gardens 101

By Alicia Dorsey

Philadelphia is addressing blight and crime by revitalizing stressed communities with community gardens and green space. I have been learning the process of acquiring vacant land and hope to assist in building community with the knowledge I have acquired from The Public Interest Law Center, PHS, Soil Generation and other gardening groups.

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By Zoe Jeka

I am writing a follow-up to my June blog post, “Bringing Race, Racism, and Critical Compassion into Focus at Food Justice Events”, with more concrete steps individuals can take to disrupt and resist the systemic racism perpetuated at these kinds of events. For anyone who doesn’t know where to start (or feels stuck) in thinking or talking about race and racism at events like Food for Thought at the Schuylkill Center, I’ve made a list of some “code words” to watch out for. To me, these words are used as replacements for more obviously raced words (i.e. when people say “minorities” instead of “people of Color”) when people are uncomfortable or don’t know how to talk about race.

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Amy Laura Cahn Fights to Save City Gardens from the Mayor's Tax Lien Sale

On June 11, Amy Laura Cahn joined leaders of several organizations in sending a letter to Mayor Michael Nutter requesting that the City of Philadelphia postpone a tax lien auction scheduled for June 17, 2015. After scrutinizing some of the properties listed, these leaders found many discrepancies in the city's record regarding the liens. Though the auction has already started, The Law Center has taken extra steps to inform the city about gardens that would be affected by this process. In a letter to the Revenue Commissioner, Amy Laura Cahn writes...

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Bringing Race, Racism, and Critical Compassion into Focus at Food Justice Events

I am trying to point out here that what may have felt like a pleasant, comfortable, and fulfilling night for some of the folks who attended Food for Thought was actually an active perpetuation of a systemically racist structure. As long as explicit knowledge and conversations about race and racism remain absent from White gatherings such as Food for Thought, this systemic racism will continue to go unnoticed amongst White people in the food movement. Excessive amounts of resources will remain in the hands of wealthy, White communities, and the “food movement” that White people participate in will continue perpetuating injustice over liberation.

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It's Called Produce

Truly Living Well Farm

I have witnessed community gardens and farmers markets used as tools to begin the process of changing a community. The outcome of this transformation often depends on who are the stakeholders directing the change and where is the source of the support for the garden, mini farm or farmer’s market. What we see in Atlanta is that gardens and markets initiated and controlled by community members in the neglected communities in Southwest Atlanta receive very little support from funders and advocacy groups. While gardens and markets in the very same neighborhoods are funded, staffed and promoted when they are installed by outside foundations and management groups. In both cases local food is being grown and marketed to ‘underserved’ communities of color. But in the case of resident lead efforts there is little support and no protection when faced with eviction or ‘redevelopment’.

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Talking About “The Table Spread” with Andrew Huggins—Philadelphian, Former Black Panther, and Blind

Written by Pendle Marshall-Hallmark

Andrew observes that there is still a deep stigma in the black community associated with farming and agricultural work. Because of its connection to slavery, “many people see it as a sort of weakness”, he explains, “Something they’re above doing.” He worries that many poor people of color are not aware of the danger in consuming foods that contain GMO’s and other processed elements. Andrew believes, and preaches fervently, that there is power in deciding to grow your own food, and that the process of gardening is therapeutic. He wishes that more people in his community associated gardening with self-sufficiency and strength, rather than subjugation and vulnerability.

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