“The challenge is that you’re not going to solve the affordability problem on the backs of farmers. Not if we’re talking about our local, regional farmers, who do grow sustainably. It’s not a price issue that we’re talking about so much as an income issue. And it’s not an easy answer to the question but that’s part of why this work is so exciting is because it is very systemic and I think that a lot of the challenges that we’re trying to address really require up-stream solutions.”
-Tammy Morales, Mother & Urban Food Link Principle
A total of 68 community members from the South Seattle area came together over the last month for our four dynamic workshops centered on local food justice issues. Women of color, women living on low-income budgets and our allies convened over home cooked meals and our shared desire to change the food system towards a more equitable environment.
In the first Women’s Leadership Institute, Tammy Nguyen, Women in the green Economy’s Project Coordinator, kicked off the series by discussing the stereotypes, myths and truths about using the SNAP program and how these perceptions influence our day to day lives.
The second workshop was facilitated by Got Green’s own director, Jill Mangaliman, who led the group through the conception, growth and impactful successes of the Women in the Green Economy’s Food Access team. As a larger group we discussed how their campaigns for greater access to healthy foods for women and families in South Seattle could be applied to other facets in local food justice issues.
At the third workshop, the charismatic Lillie Brinker provided a comprehensive overview of what Genetically Modified Foods (GMO’s) are, the political context surrounding labeling legislation and how the Initiative 522 campaign still affects our community.
Concluding the series, the final workshop was lead by Tara Villaba of Community to Community. The theme of the night was food cooperatives, like the PCC that is currently being built in Columbia City. We learned about the 7 guiding cooperative principles that are supposed to govern all food cooperatives, including the need for cooperatives to work for the sustainable development of their communities.
Among the diverse and passionate group of participants, many of the women who brought their voices and experiences to the institute work what is considered the “triple shift” – women who take care of their children and families, have jobs and are also activists in their communities. Some of the most important voices in our communities are of those who are regularly denied access to spaces of power and social movement. One of the aims of the Women’s Leadership Institute was to provide the space for women of color and women living on low-income budgets to learn, grow and begin to strategize the next steps in the Food Access Team’s fight towards a more equitable food system in our community.
“This country has made sure to say ‘we’re going to strip the land, use the people we want to use, for the select few to live in leisure while you work’. That structure of privilege and oppression – we’re all living in it. It’s your choice to say I may be living in it but I will not perpetuate it. That’s going to change your health.”
– Liz Davis, Mother, Activist and Blogger
The Food Access Team and women of color and women living on low-income budgets who were active and involved in the Women’s Leadership Institute will reconvene for two final leadership and skill building seminars in May and June. Bringing the new knowledge, shared passion and lived experiences to the group, the newly expanded team will apply what they have gathered over the last month and decide on their next food justice campaign.
Saturday, May 31st – “Sharing Our Strengths”
12:00-2:00 (Lunch @ 11:30)
Location: Hillman City Collaboratory
Saturday, June 7th – “Addressing the Food Security Gap”
12:00 – 2:00 (Lunch @ 11:30)
Location: Hillman City Collaboratory
The group is building momentum as we move forward, empowered with new information and a more robust pool of strengths and experiences. Stay tuned for the exciting changes the Food Access Team will champion in the coming months!
“I’ve known about Got Green for a while. They’re doing great work as an organization, as far as all the great work they’re doing in the community. Specifically their work with food justice and helping people that have food insecurities through the Fresh Bucks program – I think it’s an excellent program. I look forward to getting more involved with the organization.”
– Jennifer Stockton, Got Green Volunteer & Activist
Want to get involved or RSVP for the last two workshops?
Email Tammy Nguyen, Women in the Green Economy’s Project Organizer at email@example.com or call 206-290-5136