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EcoFarmers as change agents

What will we do in 2021 to make our communities more equitable?
At EcoFarm Conference 2021, long-time organizational and social justice consultant Alfredo Vergara-Lobo invited us to be change agents in a discussion-based plenary that asked us to reimagine a more equitable world and to come up with ways to increase equity at EcoFarm, in the food/farm movement, and in our own communities.
We have compiled these beautiful visions and commitments as a follow-up and reminder to those who participated. Equity was framed to include race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, abilities, and other categories. If you did not participate, it’s not too late! We invite you to share your ideas here by Friday, May 14th to be included in EcoFarm's strategic planning discussions this summer.

Big picture: What If...

  • Black, Indigenous and People of color (BIPOC) had access to all needed food, land, and funds? 
  • Someone who has land and makes more than $150,000 a year, gives some land away to BIPOC?
  • Safety was ensured for BIPOC, as well as LGBTQAI+ farmers and communities?
  • What if indigenous land stewards were able to access, do ceremony, and tend all the land that they have been displaced from?
  • The demographics of farmers represented those of the communities they feed?
  • Nobody goes hungry, and there is a way that anyone who needs food can get it at no cost? 
  • Urban agriculture becomes a priority?
  • Farm employees / laborers are respected and paid a living wage, and overcome the hierarchical structure of “dueno/duena”?
  • All farm workers and employees who had access to land and credit to build their own farms?
  • We rebuild local farming and food systems (for example local slaughterhouses)?
  • We removed or changed subsidies to grow ecological farming, healthy food, and food systems?
  • Grow cooperation and connection to increase community and power, building more bridges instead of division that we’re seeing?
  • We develop localized food access, community and medicine, and botanical gardens so that everyone can touch the earth?
  • We develop worldwide training and resource centers?
  • California loosens its zoning laws so that mid scale composting operations can function to meet goals and make entrepreneurs in urban spaces?
  • We remedy houselessness and food access issues?
  • We created more sustainable connections between suppliers and consumers?
  • We get regenerative farms to supply food deserts / counter food apartheid?
  • We promote worker owned collaboratives?
  • We promote language flexibility and willingness to open up development of materials into other languages? 
  • People, especially White folks, become OK being called out for their mistakes, so that with hard communication and sacrifice we could make a better future together.

At EcoFarm: What if we...

  • Create separate BIPOC committee at EcoFarm?
  • Cross-pollinate EcoFarm Conference to other events and regions with this diversity, equity and inclusion content?
  • Grow EcoFarm Spanish content/impact/marketing, as well as integration with English language program, so that it is not marginalized?
  • Had the diversity of EcoFarm participants and speakers representing those in the community, in terms of racial identity, ethnic identity, languages, abilities, and lgbtq+ representation? 
  • Had POC folks not just leading equity workshops at EcoFarm, but also the technical farm sessions? 
  • Create welcoming space at EcoFarm for Queer people?
  • Create more full scholarships for BIPOC folks?.
  • Democratize how people meet at EcoFarm?
  • Talk about how capitalism grows inequities and the possibilities for moving beyond it?
  • Create more peer-to-peer opportunities?
  • Had events throughout the year, distributed throughout California and on the Internet?
  • Make it easier to network locally?
  • Give a payment/donation (land tax) to Rumsen Ohlone for use of Asilomar honoring their original stewardship and connection to the land?
  • Have one hour every day for safe space for POC?
  • Grow diversity on the Board?
  • Keep an online format for accessibility, even after conference returns to Asilomar?
  • Expand the land back movement into EcoFarm—make connections to agriculture?

Actions in your local community

  • Donate food, and link to people who don’t have access to food by farmers
  • Create safe space for LGBTQ+ community by farmers
  • Get California Native representative on [our] board
  • Start discussion groups in my community
  • Get this information and DEI training to more farmers/land owners 
  • Figure out ways to bring the conference or similar events to places in our country that really need it and don't have anything like it.
  • Honor and respect the Hispanic, Chicano, and Latinx community for their contribution to agriculture.
  • Grow diversity of farm employees 
  • Pay workers a living-wage. 
  • Eliminate the culture of shame and guilt, and embrace Companerismo - the spirit of engaging with each other for survival. 
  • Cultivate connection in my community
  • Cultivate spiritual connection and my own ancestral wisdom to grow my power in harmony with this movement
  • Invite people to visit the farm where I grow seed 
  • Grow food to eliminate hunger in my community
  • At Sacred Heart Community Center, get knowledge and resources to the community. Getting artists involved, raising funds. Root down in my community.
  • Create a land sharing app
  • Trying to be open about my disability. Helping with awareness in community, destigmatizing autism.
  • Use the Hawaiian sovereignty movement as an example for change.