For MESA and Planting Justice is a great joy to tell you that on Friday July 22 our first cohort of Bay Area Farmer Training Program began. In this program people from different backgrounds and life experiences gather to reflect about our personal realities and acquire new tools and arguments that enable us to produce food sustainably and create strategies that lead us to the construction of a more just food system.
“My dream is to have my own non-profit to teach people getting out of prison to build sustainable gardens in Richmond” one of the participants said. “I want to teach gardening to young people in schools” said another one. In the 24 scheduled sessions, our participants will have the opportunity to give shape and form to these ideas, writing a preliminary business plan and exploring with the guidance of experts in multiple areas the available options that they have to start their own productive projects.
In addition to technical training, participants are also encouraged to reflect about their own personal reality in terms of food justice: Why is healthy food so expensive and junk food so cheap? Why is access to land and resources to most vulnerable people so difficult? Why can food be a colonial tool? are some of the questions that stimulate conversation among participants.
Our participants also have the opportunity to interact with guest speaker, experts in multiple areas. In our second session we had the fortune to have the presence of Devonté Jackson, a staff at the “Black Alliance for Just Immigration” and also part of the #blacklivesmatter movement. He spoke with the group about the great challenges facing vulnerable populations in the Bay Area and how social organization and political education are powerful tools of resistance.
Now that our first cohort began our main objective is to contribute to build a strong learning community that uses sustainable agriculture as a tool for the analysis of structural inequalities and as an alternative to build alternative realities and strengthen our program to be increasingly solid in each of its 6 cohorts.