Program will help shape urban agriculture for sustainable foodRen Encinas, organizing steward at Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA), said their campaign for the program will build a base of BIPOC growers. It will also build an additional base of residents to shape the work and policy of Chicago’s Food Equity Council and its urban agriculture subgroup. “By participating in the SoPL program, that’s helping me as an organizing steward to develop a political education program,” stated Encinas. “The program gets its foundation in ancestral relationships and ongoing legacies of land- and food-based resistance across Chicago.”
Chicago has untapped agricultural potentialBea Fry, development steward at AUA, said Chicago has untapped agricultural potential, especially in its vacant land. Fry argues the city’s abandoned land is a government-created, systemic issue. Meanwhile, urban agriculture is a community creation. “It’s ancestral knowledge that’s being passed on from generation to generation,” Fry explained. “It’s community building between youth and elders, it’s nurturing one another.”
Program will help refine other campaignsMarla Larrave, political education director for the HEAL Food Alliance, oversees the SoPL program. She said the three cohort teams, which includes another group in California, will continually refine their campaigns and initiatives as they progress. “So that’s been interesting, to see what folks come in with and then what they leave with, in terms of their campaign,” Larrave observed. The 2022 class is the fourth overall cohort to pass through the HEAL’s School of Political Leadership. Reporting by Jonah Chester
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