Alternative Agrifood Projects in Communities of Color: A Civic Engagement Perspective
Keywords:Alternative Agrifood Movement, Civic Engagement, Race, Farming
AbstractIn this commentary we very briefly highlight farming- and land-related historical injustices impacting African Americans, and outline useful ways for racially diverse food justice organizations, activists, and academics to collaborate on place-based interventions in an equitable and inclusive way. Place-based strategies to address inequity in the food system must begin with an equitable and inclusive environment within which residents can engage in developing solutions. Equitable and inclusive civic engagement can build capacity, trust, and empowerment in marginalized communities, creating an environment where communities can enact transformative local food system change using their own resources. Transformative change is change that occurs at the very core of ourselves as individuals and in our communities. Such change requires us to reexamine our long-standing customs, assumptions, beliefs, and institutional practices, moving community conversations towards those that build relationships, foster mutual accountability, and strive for respectful understanding among neighbors and neighborhoods. Transformative change doesn't come easily. However, practicing equitable engagement can help build capacity for sustaining change. Alternative food movement scholars and activists can lift up and build on community assets, but to do so requires historical understanding, recognition of individual and community strengths, and work to build long-term relationships of trust.
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