Communities remaking food systems
At the core of the Food Dignity action research project is the work of five community-based organizations: Blue Mountain Associates, Dig Deep Farms, East New York Farms!, Feeding Laramie Valley, and Whole Community Project. Each site, as led by community leaders who agreed to be co-investigators in this project, includes dozens of community people who contribute dedication, time, experience, narratives and expertise on every conceivable aspect of sustainable food systems development for food security. The organizations share a commitment to addressing historical and present-day health disparities and economic and social oppression of all kinds. Each of them employs unique program strategies best suited to the various geographic and cultural environments in which they operate, and which served as the baseline source of information for the action research of the five-year Food Dignity project.
Graphic design by Monica Hargraves
Blue Mountain Associates
Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming
If I can do something to help my people, and to help other people understand Indian people better and to appreciate our culture, then I have done what my father asked me to do in 1969 when he asked me to come home to the reservation and help my people in whatever way I could. In the last 50 or 60 years of my life, with the assistance of other people, I have been able to make some changes.
— Dr. Virginia Sutter, Founder and Director
Blue Mountain Associates
Dig Deep Farms
We found a way to grow carrots, to look people straight in the eye and say, “That’s good community policing.”
— Marty Neideffer, Captain
Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and Deputy Sheriff’s Activities League
New York Farms!
Brooklyn, New York
While I don’t think we, or perhaps I, fully grasped the scope and benefits of the research component [of the Food Dignity project] at first, I believe we still saw value in getting support to capture and share our stories – with assurance that researchers would help us to answer the questions that mattered to us. We imagined these could help us in demonstrating the true value of our work to funders and potential funders, and in better understanding and articulating the impact of that work ourselves.
— Sarita Daftary-Steel
Former Director, East New York Farms!
Feeding Laramie Valley
When Feeding Laramie Valley signed on as one of the community partners in the Food Dignity project, I was catapulted into an entire world of activists investing the very best of who they are, in service to understanding the truth of the way in which equity, justice, and access are kept out of reach, and to help create the means to not only remove barriers but to change the landscape on which lives are built. I may not have known at the beginning that this was the gathering we were being invited to, but I’ll never lose sight of the honor it ended up bestowing on all of us as a result of being part of it.
— Gayle M. Woodsum
Founder, Feeding Laramie Valley
Whole Community Project
Ithaca, New York
I believe food dignity is reflected in one’s ability to experience respect and equal access to means of knowledge, resources, authority, and power in order to influence and make informed decisions on all food-related issues–including the foods available for us to put on our own plates, what’s served in schools, or how zoning affects small-scale farm development.
— E. Jemila Sequeira
Former Director, Whole Community Project