On Friday, April 28th, RBAC hosted its second ever Food Policy Council session at the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands. If you didn’t already know, the Food Policy Council is an effort started by the food justice team to uplift BIPOC farmers and stakeholders, give them a platform to discuss issues in our current food system, and provide resources to help support their work. Right now we’re in year 1 of our 3-year approach, where we’re currently gathering folks to come together to collect insight about what the shared goals and visions of this council would look like.

After introductions, a land acknowledgement, and announcement from our Development Manager, we began our second session with a table talk where folx got to learn more about one another through a craftivity (someone add that to a dictionary ASAP!). The instructions for this craftivity were to write down answers to questions on flower sticky notes, and then put them onto a poster that had a beautifully hand-drawn garden bed on it. This was to symbolize one of the big questions we wanted to ask—what are you growing right now? We had a range of responses, from purple cabbage and potatoes to opportunity and career pathways. We followed up with a share out and then split into 2 groups for our stakeholder circles.

The purpose of these circles are to create smaller, intimate spaces where people can feel comfortable to openly share what’s on their minds. When it got to their turn, folx were allowed to share as little or as much as they wanted, or could skip the question entirely. These were some of the questions discussed:

  • You came back, why? If it’s your first time, why are you here?
  • How is this work rewarding and healing/draining and harmful?

The responses were insightful, educational, and heart-warming. Farmers and stakeholders shared the ways in which farming/food justice work has shaped their lives while acknowledging the challenges that come with it. All in all, it was clear that everyone in the circle agreed on one thing—that they wanted to grow together and continue developing community partnerships with one another.

To wrap things up, we ended the event with delicious Senegambian cuisine catered from Afella Jollof, located in Spice Bridge Global Food Hall. Moving forward, the Food Policy Council plans on holding these sessions in different settings to stay connected during harvest season, whether it’s through farm work parties or community dinners. Nonetheless, we are excited to see this council come to full fruition and pave the way for more BIPOC folx and youth to hold leadership positions.