Family Farm Defenders (Kansas Chapter)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Black Food and Health Sovereignty Gathering in KC, MO, February 6-8

Black Food and Health Sovereignty Gathering in KC, MO, February 6-8, 2013--Please come

please ask to join to be kept abreast of more information. 

Please Share Widely
Invitation to Gathering of Black Food and Health Sovereignty and Justice Activists February 6-8, Kansas City, MO. Contact for more info. We are planning two session where we Black Folks can get together (at a larger conference on sustainable growth, New Partner for Smart Growth):

 1. Wed Feb 6th at 7 pm (location tba) and
 2. Fri February 8 from 5 to 8 pm. (Location to be announced.)

There are 2 upcoming National Meetings in KC, MO an Environmental Justice Meeting hosted by the EPA on 2/6/2013 and New Partners for Smart Growth 2/7, 8 and 9. Three important Black Activists on food and health justice will be there, Charity Hicks, Malik Yakini, and Kolu Zigbi, and we are inviting the local Black Greater KC community to be there as well as the national and global Black Food and Health Justice Community to be there so that we can have our own meeting .  We are planning two session where we Black Folks can get together: 1. Wed Feb 6th at 7 pm (location tba) and 2. Fri February 8 from 5 to 8 pm. (Location to be announced.)  There is a diversity scholarship to support Black and people of color attendance at the conferences.

Here are the official announcements and links below.

Equitable Development Workshop - Feb. 6, Kansas City!
Registration (just $18) is now open for the equitable development workshop--Sustainable Neighborhoods, Thriving Residents: Strategies for Building Equitable Communities--on Feb. 6, 1:00-6:30, in Kansas City, Missouri. The workshop is part of the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.
Participants will explore how low-income, minority, tribal, and other overburdened communities are integrating land use and economic development strategies to revitalize their neighborhoods and build residents' skills and wealth. Leaders from community-based organizations, local and regional governments, economic development agencies, and businesses will share how they are knitting together planning, infrastructure investment, development policies, workforce training, business assistance, entrepreneurship, and other approaches to improve the physical environment, capitalize on local assets, create jobs, avoid displacement, and encourage inclusive and enduring economic growth.
The agenda includes two plenaries and three training sessions:

Opening Plenary - Neighborhood Revitalization and Economic Development from the Bottom Up
Training Session 1 - Supporting Small Businesses and Multicultural Commercial Districts
Training Session 2 - Using Regional Equity Indicators to Increase Opportunity for All Residents
Training Session 3 - Partnering with Industrial Neighbors to Create Healthy, Sustainable and Prosperous Communities
Closing Plenary - The Outlook for Equitable Development

Attendees are encouraged to stay for the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference (same location, Feb. 7-9), which will feature multiple sessions and tours with environmental justice themes. (For example, see tours #1, #5, #6, and #9.) A limited number of Diversity Scholarships are available to offset conference registration fees and provide travel assistance to leaders from low-income and minority communities and representatives from organizations whose work is primarily focused on social equity or environmental justice. Priority for scholarship funds will be given to those who are planning to attend the entire conference.

Register for the Equitable Development Workshop at The workshop and tours are listed toward the end of the page.
Learn more about registration and scholarships for the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference at

Copy the link below in your browser and it will take you to a diversity scholarship application for which I encourage you to apply if you a re interested in attending. You can also find more information about the conference there. Please apply asap as funds for scholarships are limited.

I would also like to take this opportunity to invite you to use this opportunity for us Black folks who are most affected by the lack of food sovereignty and food and health justice to meet and move forward our agenda of Black Food Sovereignty and Food and Health Justice: Organizing for Power, Dignity and decent lives for our people.

Kolu Zigbi has identified the evening of February 6th as a good time during the conference to meet and has agreed to make herself available at that time; Malik Yakini has agreed to stay on an extra day in Kansas City , Friday the 8th, to meet with local Black folks regarding their food and health justice struggle. Please consider joining us so we can move our work forward.

If anyone is interested in helping me further this agenda please let me know and please share the word.

I am also here and available to talk with anyone interested.

Bios of Malik Yakini and Kolu Zigbi

Malik Kenyatta Yakini is an activist and educator who is committed to freedom and justice for African people in particular and humanity in general. Yakini is a founder and the Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, which operates a seven acre farm in Detroit. DBCFSN also spearheaded efforts to establish the Detroit Food Policy Council, which Yakini chaired from December 2009 – May 2012. He served as a member of the Michigan Food Policy Council from 2008 - 2010. He serves on the steering committee of Undoing Racism in the Detroit Food System.

From 1990 – 2011 he served as Executive Director of Nsoroma Institute Public School Academy, one of Detroit’s leading African-centered schools. In 2006 he was honored as “Administrator of the Year” by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.

He is dedicated to working to identify and alleviate the impact of racism and white privilege on the food system. He has an intense interest in contributing to the development of an international food sovereignty movement that embraces Blacks farmers in the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa. He views the “good food revolution” as part of the larger movement for freedom, justice and equality.

Yakini has presented at numerous local community meetings and national conferences on food justice and implementing community food security practices. He is featured in the book "Blacks Living Green," and the movie “Urban Roots.” He is currently an Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy “Food and Community Fellow”. He recently received the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award. He is a vegan and an avid organic grower.

Kolu Zigbi joined the Noyes Foundation in 2000 and is responsible for managing grants to constituency-led non-profit organizations seeking to build the environmental sustainability and social equity of our food systems through leadership development, organizing and advocacy. She is responsible for evaluating grants, conducting site visits, facilitating networking amongst grantees, and supporting grantees with informal technical assistance and funding. In 2006, Kolu initiated an innovative partnership with W. K. Kellogg Foundation called Diversifying Leadership for Sustainable Food Policy Initiative, which supports capacity building for 10 diverse, people of color-led groups engaging in advocacy for more equitable food and agriculture policies.
Through her leadership within the New York Regional Association of Grantmakers, the Environmental Grantmakers Association and the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders Group, Kolu co-develops and coordinates conferences, work shops, issue briefings, and articles to encourage funders to increase the impact of their grantmaking through the incorporation of social justice values, analysis and practices into their work.
Her diverse non-profit background includes work as a group therapist, coordinator of peer-education programs for community organizers advocating for affordable housing, and designing training and grants programs for neighborhood-based organizations.
Kolu spent a year studying international environmental issues as well as urban planning as a Charles H. Revson Fellow at Columbia University.
Kolu received her Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University and has an undergraduate degree in Rural Development Studies with a focus on West Africa from Stanford University. Her formal education, work experience, and values have been greatly shaped by her grandfather, Leh Leh Crawford, an upland rice farmer and traditional town chief who organized clan members to take control of their local development process rather than allow outside investors to dictate land use decisions. Kolu grew up in the Bronx, and now resides in Central Harlem with her family.
She recently initiated the innovative Eat4Health Program described below.

Everybody at the Table for Health (EAT4Health) is a three-year national leadership development initiative of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation supported by multiple funding partners that aims to fill gaps in the existing food policy advocacy ecosystem in order to make it more inclusive of low-income and people of color communities, more responsive to grassroots needs and ideas, and more effective in terms of protecting the environment, promoting good health, and rebuilding strong local economies.
EAT4Health will support this goal by awarding three types of grants:

Support to community based organizations (CBO) to strengthen their advocacy capacity;
Fellowship grants to strong community leaders nominated by each CBO partner to afford them opportunities to spend time in Washington D.C. learning about the federal policy process and developing relationships they and their communities can use to influence thought leaders and policy makers;
Small grants to DC-area national advocacy organizations selected by CBOs to serve as host sites for Fellows.

By building and leveraging the strengths of community-based organizations alongside the expertise of DC-area national advocacy organizations, EAT4Health will bring the voices of people most underserved by the current food system into the policy making process – those from black, brown and low-income communities, urban and rural, where people have insufficient access to healthy food and suffer with nutrition-related illnesses, where family farmers and urban gardeners struggle to maintain production on the land, where farm workers and food laborers are exploited, and where communities are exposed to pesticides, diesel exhaust and other pollutants rampant in our broken food system.
EAT4Health will utilize the Farm Bill debate and, after its passage, the advocacy that occurs around its implementation, as a window of opportunity for hands-on training of grassroots advocates to learn about and engage in improving federal food policy. EAT4Health will also address other policy vehicles that shape the food environment, such as transportation, media advertising, and labeling. It will support the ability of Fellows to translate understanding about federal policy back to their home communities in order to organize and mobilize constituents around proposals, messages and programs.
The EAT4Health initiative recognizes that people from affected communities have helped create projects and policy changes at the local and state level that address factors such as promoting new retail food outlets, limiting access to unhealthy food, and improving school food. EAT4Health is premised on the belief that ideas germinating and taking root at the local level should be lifted up and replicated with federal support.

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