COVID-19 has been devastating for poor people and people of color. Systemic racism and economic inequality have resulted in higher death rates for Black and Hispanic people. Food insecurity is twice as likely to affect Black and Hispanic households as White households and the Maryland Food Bank estimates that one in seven of our state’s children suffers from food insecurity.
As individuals we can volunteer for community kitchens and food banks, donate produce from our gardens, support local farmers, and learn about the root causes of these problems and disparities. We can also support the awesome groups that are educating, organizing, and growing food to address food apartheid and food insecurity. Here are a few outstanding examples with Baltimore roots:
Black Church Food Security Network – blackchurchfoodsecurity.net/
Our mission: The Black Church Food Security Network (BCFSN) utilizes an asset-based approach in organizing and linking the vast resources of historically African American congregations in rural and urban communities to advance food and land sovereignty.
The Black Farmer Directory was created by BCFSN to connect Black Farmers to African American churches, other faith-based institutions, and all who wish to support them.
Black Farmers’ Resilience Fund – farmalliancebaltimore.org
This fund is a special project of the Farm Alliance of Baltimore and supports 10 Black-owned farms and Black-led food and farming organizations in Baltimore.
Denzel Mitchell, Deputy Director for the Alliance, says “2020 has been stressful but work has ramped up. On top of organizing and assisting farmers we’re dealing with racial tensions and pandemic issues. How do we help farms succeed and how do we move as an organization in this current climate of fear and anxiety?”
He noted that the City has provided support for the Alliance and donors helped get the Resilience Fund started mid-year. Farmers in need receive cash assistance, tools, and equipment.
Great Kids Farm – friendsgkf.org/
Great Kids Farm is a 33-acre educational farm operated by Baltimore City Public Schools’ Office of Food and Nutrition Services. The farm is home to goats, chickens, turkeys, sheep and a lot of veggies and fruit.
In the 2020/2021 school year, we are offering virtual field trips for any Baltimore City Public Schools’ class (http://Bit.ly/GKFfacetime ), a pre-recorded virtual program for 2nd grade students (http://Bit.ly/virtualGKF), and agriculture-based activity kits for students to gain hands on experience in their own homes. Great Kids Farm also offers youth employment to high school students, and we are looking forward to hosting our 2nd annual African American Foodways Summit for high school students this February (a virtual event). For more on our programs, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have gardening supplies and tools to donate or would you like to become a volunteer? Contact email@example.com
Let’s all pledge to do more in 2021 to learn from one another, feed one another, and work for a more healthy, equitable, and just food system.
Best wishes for a safe and peaceful holiday season!
By Jon Traunfeld, Extension Specialist. Read more posts by Jon.