Soul Fire Farm of Grafton, NY has been named the inaugural winner of the Community Food Funders Champions Award!
Eight funders in the CFF network comprised the selection committee, and ultimately chose Soul Fire Farm in recognition of their commitment to equity, ecology, and economy; a triple bottom line approach to food systems change. The work of Soul Fire will be presented at the 2017 CFF Annual Gathering.
Soul Fire Farm is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system. They began their work in 2011 to further regional food sovereignty through education and organizing on sustainable agriculture, spiritual activism, leadership, and justice for people from marginalized groups. Soul Fire was started by a mixed Black-Jewish family from inner city Albany, NY who found that is was easier to acquire weapons and drugs in their neighborhood than healthy food. Committed to providing good food for their neighbors, they purchased land and started to farm.
In addition to growing and delivering food to 80 families who otherwise lack easy access to fresh food, Soul Fire’s other programs include food justice training for youth, sustainable farming training for Black, Latinx, and First Nations growers, strategic development support for grassroots activists, and public education and organizing on food justice.
Soul Fire will be represented at the 2017 CFF Annual Gathering by Leah Penniman, co-founder, educator, activist, writer, and farmer extraordinaire.
Leah will present about the work of Soul Fire, and the historical and cultural context upon which this work was conceived. She is committed to dismantling the oppressive structures that misguide our food system, reconnecting marginalized communities to land, and upholding our responsibility to steward the land that nourishes us.
Leah joyfully and reverently connects learners to the intricate miracle that is this living planet and to their own power as agents of positive change in the community. She holds an MA in Science Education and BA in Environmental Science and International Development from Clark University. She has been farming since 1996 and teaching since 2002. Leah’s work as a farmer and educator has been recognized nationally by the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program, Presidential Award for Science Teaching, YES! Magazine, the Teaching Channel, Food First, New Technology Network, College Board, National Science Teachers Association, Edutopia, Center for Whole Communities, and Rethinking Schools.
More about Soul Fire Farm
Soul Fire Farm is committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. We raise life-giving food and act in solidarity with people marginalized by food apartheid. With deep reverence for the land and wisdom of our ancestors, we work to reclaim our collective right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system. We bring diverse communities together on this healing land to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health and environmental justice. We are training the next generation of activist-farmers and strengthening the movements for food sovereignty and community self-determination.
Our food justice and sustainable farmer training programs are by and for communities historically most marginalized – people of color, low-income people, women, religious minorities, and those in the criminal justice system.
More about the CFF Champions Award
The Community Food Funders steering committee created the CFF Champions Award to recognize the leaders empowering food system change in our region. The award aims to promote the work of an outstanding leader or organization that is working towards the transition of our food system to one that pursues a true triple bottom line: a system that honors and values people, the environment, and sustainable economic models.
Thank you to all the funders who submitted nominations. We were in awe of the amazing groups doing important work in our region.