By Alexis M
NESAWG WorkshopsThis past fall I took a trip to Connecticut with MAP in order to attend a NESAWG gathering. Although I had never heard of NESAWG, before I truly enjoyed the workshops. In the beginning of the trip MAP and I sat in on a people of color safe space. I learned a lot by gathering with other people of color working in food justice. One of the main things I learned was how food connects to social justice. Although, I was aware of the connection before I saw more parallels through food in the prison system and the Flint water crisis.
The first official workshop I attended was for youth, and it was nice to see and learn about all the other young people involved in food justice all over the country. I also attended a workshop in which we discussed white privilege. This workshop was centered for white people, however, people of color could also join. The person leading the workshop explained how he got involved with social justice, and how more white people could also get involved. However, before explaining different ways of helping, he explained exactly what white privilege, how white people can deal with it, and how it overall hinders white people. This workshop was very intense and emotional, but I learned so much from it. I was aware of white privilege before, but I understood it much better afterwards.
I also attention a workshop specifically for millennials, and we discussed Trump’s election win. At the time, Trump was elected about two days before, so the room was intense. People were angry, and it was great as well as heartbreaking to hear people’s perspective on him being our new President. It was also nice to hear from more rural farmers in this workshop, as I never hear their perspective in general.
Finally, I attended a workshop in which the more technical parts of the food system was explained. But, it was nice to hear professionals’ view on food stamps and other government aid for food. I often hear people complain about the fact that people get help from the government, so it was nice to hear a professional or two explain that the help is much needed.
New York Food Justice Network VisitI had a great time when visiting NYFJN in New York City. MAP and I met up with people from NYFJN in order to plan our participation in the Climate March in D.C. which happened this past April. We all sat at a big round table and thought about: how food justice connected to climate justice, why the connection is needed, and how we can help to do that work. Afterwards we explored The High Line to learn about how the park started and the work that goes into maintaining it.
In New York we also did a separate task of meeting with a funder of MAP. In the meeting some MAP youth and I explained the work that we do and how we feel about it. The funder was very helpful and told of us another organization that MAP could possibly partner with. We also discussed our random political views, which he was pretty happy to know about. Overall, I thought the meeting was fun, it felt very professional to have a meeting in high rise building.