Our Drop-In is beginning to partner with a new food collective for drop-in produce donations – The Toronto Black Farmers and Food Growers Collective! An awesome drop-in volunteer, Jenelle, connected us with the organization and has supplied our drop-in with fresh, organic vegetables!
Here is a brief look into this inspiring organization and the important work they do.
The Toronto Black Farmers and Food Growers Collective consists of farmers, growers, small food entrepreneurs, a holistic nutritionist, a lifestyle coach, food insecure individuals and food insecure families. The group arose out the first (ILFT) Intensive Leadership Facilitation Training from Growing Power at the Black Creek Community Farm in August 2013.They have since worked on collectively growing in Downsview Park on 2.5 acres of land.
Their mantra is “Let clean food be our medicine and our lifestyle be our therapy!”
The collective is now entering their fifth commercial growing season. Their mission is to grow “clean food”, create safe food spaces for food insecure people, broaden their food baskets of hot and culturally appropriate crops grown locally, share knowledge and training, ensure best practices and empower each other. They are working to create spaces of sovereignty for food insecure people through strategic and collaborative partnerships. They are grassroots, taking control of what they eat, how it’s grown and its nutritional value.
Their model focuses on dismantling racism as it pertains to the Afro community and other racialized people in the food system who wants to work with the organization. They are developing a model of communal farming where “no one is left behind” by ensuring an anti-oppressive framework for communal growing.
They have found that attitudes toward reconnecting to the land bolster participant’s confidence and inspire a positive space of sharing. They state that food oppression is different for the black community as it is directly linked to slavery and all its many ills that still plague society today. As the organization describes it, “We came back to the land used it for healing and empowerment for ourselves and the work we continue to do sharing with community. Our focus is to undo the negatives, get to know our food history and knowledge, take back the missing links and include them in the framework we strive toward creating our food justice.”