Environmental and Food Justice :

real food 2WESPAC Foundation supports Environmental and Food Justice with a separate listserv used for promoting upcoming events and discussion. WESPAC opposes fracking and two of our members have produced a documentary that highlights Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives on fracking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdwCKzqVRdQ. We have cultivated an extensive cooperative network of food justice activists around the county who seek to expand access to fresh, local food. We also partner with the Wassaic Community Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture): http://wassaiccommunityfarm.com. To get involved or for more information, please contact the office at 914.449.6514 or by email at [email protected]

Maine’s food sovereignty law touted as nationwide first | Sun Journal

Source: Maine’s food sovereignty law touted as nationwide first | Sun Journal

Posted in Environmental and Food Justice

Westchester Social Forum!

Building the Movement for Social & Ecological Justice

 

Join community organizations in Westchester for a social forum on May 20 to exchange ideas and information, foster solidarity, and celebrate our work to create a more just and equal society. We live in a time of struggle as we witness growing threats to the well-being of our planet and communities, as profit is placed over people and land, and corporations, not citizens, control our democracy.

 

Yet, we, the people, have the collective power to organize a movement for change. The Westchester Social Forum will provide the space to learn from one another, strengthen our organizing skills, and connect as a community.

The day will include a people’s march, workshops on organizing for social and ecological justice, and a culminating cultural celebration! We hope you can join us!

Construyendo el Movimiento por la Justicia Social y Ecológica

 

Únase a organizaciones comunitarias en Westchester durante un foro social en mayo para intercambiar ideas e información, fomentar solidaridad y celebrar nuestra labor para crear una sociedad más justa e igualitaria. Estamos viviendo tiempos de lucha, mientras presenciamos crecientes amenazas al bienestar de nuestro planeta y nuestras comunidades, que anteponen la ganancia de dinero por sobre el pueblo y la tierra, y donde las corporaciones, no los ciudadanos, son los que controlan nuestra democracia.

 

Sin embargo, nosotros, el pueblo, tenemos el poder colectivo de organizar un movimiento por el cambio. El Foro Social de Westchester proveerá el espacio para aprender de unos y otros, fortalecer nuestras habilidades organizativas y conectarnos como una comunidad.

 

El día incluirá una marcha popular, talleres sobre organización social y justicia ecológica y culminará con una celebración cultural. ¡Esperamos que puedan unirse a nosotros!

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Criminal Justice, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Environmental and Food Justice, Frontpage, Movement Building, Racial Justice

Urge Senator Schumer to resist Trump Agenda

Urge Senator Schumer to
Resist Trump’s Anti-Environmental Agenda and Entire Agenda

Thursday, February 2, 2017
Noon – 1:00 pm

Office of Senator Schumer
1 Park St., Peekskill, NY

Donald Trump’s presidency represents nothing less than an all-out war on our climate, environment, and communities. Tell Senator Schumer that we won’t stand for this!

Trump’s administration of Big Business cronies would protect corporate interests while endangering our water, air, and food, threatening our civil rights and safety, and risking climate chaos.

As the nation’s top Democrat, Senator Chuck Schumer must stand strong against Trump’s catastrophic Cabinet appointments and his climate-destroying plans.

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Environmental and Food Justice

Indian Point to Close by 2021

Amazing news: Indian Point Power Plant to shut down by 2021!
 
We salute the founder of WESPAC, Connie Hogarth, for being instrumental in this movement and to all the members of IPSEC  the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (Marilyn Elie, Jeanne and Gary Shaw, and many others) who have worked for decades to shut down this aging, radioactive leaking nuclear power plant.
 
We thank you and love you: http://nyti.ms/2i0ZuC0
Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Environmental and Food Justice, Frontpage

Expansion of Farm-to-School Programs Depends on Innovation and Collaboration

                                                       DiNapoli: Expansion of Farm-to-School Programs Depends on Innovation and Collaboration

Hundreds of New York school districts are increasing children’s consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and helping students learn about food production through farm-to-school programs, but the growth of these programs may be limited by various challenges, according to a report issued today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

DiNapoli released his report when he toured the Gov. George Clinton Elementary School garden in Poughkeepsie. 

“Interest in farm-to-school programs is widespread, but it’s not always easy for school districts across New York to bring fresh, locally produced foods to their students,” DiNapoli said. “We’ve seen many successes on the local level across New York. Local communities and policymakers should consider steps outlined in my report to strengthen these programs to bring more food from local farms to school cafeterias.” 

“We are honored to partner with the Poughkeepsie Farm-to-School Project in this mission-critical, equity initiative focused on incorporating fresh, local, healthy foods into the daily diets of the scholars we serve in the district,” said Dr. Nicolé Williams, superintendent of the Poughkeepsie City School District. “The Poughkeepsie Farm-to-School project provides procurement assistance for local foods, professional development in a community of practice around healthy eating and nutrition, access to information and local support on how to start a school garden, and in-school taste testing of healthy fruits and vegetables. As a result of this robust partnership, scholars and families are making data-informed decisions about their food choices.”

“When Farm Project educators arrive at Poughkeepsie schools, the students exclaim with delight and ask what they will be tasting that day,” said Jamie Lovato, education director of Poughkeepsie Farm Project. “Our partnership with Poughkeepsie schools is really changing what kids eat. When students have the opportunities to see where their food comes from while exploring farm fields, cooking simple healthy dishes, and learning their academic curriculum in farm and garden settings, they are more interested in eating local food in their school cafeterias, growing their own food at home, and teaching their families new recipes with local produce.”

DiNapoli’s report, “Locally Grown: Farm-to-School Programs in New York State,” details hurdles school districts face when creating and sustaining such programs. For example, schools face constraints involving staffing and facilities and challenges in purchasing the food.

The report also outlines federal and state initiatives that are intended to encourage farm-to-school programs. New York state’s Farm-to-School Program, created in 2001, is run by the Department of Agriculture and Markets and the State Education Department. In 2015, Ag and Markets awarded close to $325,000 in grants to help build capacity for farm-to-school programs in six areas of the state. The 2016-17 enacted state budget included $550,000 in funding for such initiatives. Federal and state funds are key sources of support for school lunch and breakfast programs. This year’s state budget includes $1.1 billion in federal funding and $34.4 million in state funds for these programs.

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture national census of farm-to-school programs, 298 districts in New York, or 43 percent of state school districts, reported participating in farm-to-school activities. At least 292 districts maintained school gardens. In total, the 298 school districts with 1,336 schools and nearly 759,000 students reported spending $45,324,500 on local food in New York, with the average school district spending 11 percent of its food budget on local products. 

Over the years, the food industry has moved to a system that relies on transporting products long distances and may not track where foods come from. The programs described in the Comptroller’s report found ways to access foods from local producers including new procurement tools added in state and federal laws to assist schools in this effort.

The report describes how six school districts around New York are working to address challenges and bring these programs to their students. For example:

  • Poughkeepsie City School District provides locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables for families of children in their summer feeding program. 
  • Broome-Tioga BOCES has arranged for regional food bank trucks to pick up local apples that BOCES provides to its constituent schools; the food bank’s “fee” for this service is apples for its customers.
  • Rondout Valley Central School District volunteers glean local farm fields for broccoli and other produce, and then process and freeze the resulting harvest in school kitchens for students’ lunches.
  • Buffalo City School District emphasizes student engagement in its farm-to-school program, working with a local youth development organization to set program goals and implement its Farm-to-School grant. Buffalo also partners with a nearby college for program evaluation. 

DiNapoli’s report describes the challenges farmers can face in entering a farm-to-school market and competing in school food procurement. Farmers may not be aware of the publications in which schools post their request for bids, or may not be familiar with other aspects of the procurement process such as billing complexities. The expense of complying with food safety processes can also be a barrier, particularly for small vendors.

DiNapoli outlines a set of suggestions for districts and policy makers to consider in building on the statewide farm-to-school program infrastructure, including:

  • Looking to boards of cooperative educational services, which in some areas support farm-to-school programs, as a source of expert advice or an organizational home for efforts to emphasize local food purchases;
  • Providing training in planning and implementing successful farm-to-school programs to school district personnel; and
  • Supporting joint purchasing agreements among districts through the state Farm-to-School grant program and examining the role of farm-to-school as regional food hubs grow across the state.

Read the report “Locally Grown: Farm to School Programs in New York State,” or go to:http://www.osc.state.ny.us/reports/other/farm_to_school_2016.pdf

For access to state and local government spending and more than 50,000 state contracts, visit www.openbooknewyork.com. The easy-to-use website was created by DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Environmental and Food Justice

The birth of agro-resistance in Palestine

The birth of agro-resistance in Palestine

 
For decades Israel has been driving Palestinian farmers 
off their land by imposing restrictions on agriculture. 
But one company, Canaan Fair Trade, has found an innovative 
way to resist
 
 
Jonathan Cook
The Link (Americans for Middle East Understanding)
September – October 2016
 
Article pdf attached.

  
Jonathan Cook won the 2011 Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. 
His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan 
to Remake the Middle East 
(Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s 
Experiments in Human Despair 
(Zed Books). You can read all of Jonathan’s 
recent reports and commentaries on his website, the View from Nazareth: 
www.Jonathan-Cook.net and on his blog: www.Jonathan-Cook.net/blog/

 
 
Article sources:
Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Environmental and Food Justice, Militarism and Foreign Policy, Movement Building

Solidarity Vigil with Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance

dakota-acces-pipeline

What: Solidarity Vigil with Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance

WhenWednesday, September 14, 2016, 12pm to 1:30pm

Where: The Fountain in Downtown White Plains (Intersection of Main Street and Mamaroneck Ave), White Plains, NY 10601

Solidarity Vigil with Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance. We will also link to the resistance locally working to STOP the Spectra Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (AIM), which is planned to run next to the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Spectra AIM Pipeline is being built by the same company as the Dakota Access Pipeline.  We will have a few signs but please also bring signs.

Speakers: Ms. Betty Lyons (Onondaga Nation), President of the American Indian Law Alliance and Ms. Karenna Gore, Director for the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, as well as local Westchester County residents who recently traveled to the Sacred Stone Camp in Lakota Territory [North Dakota].

Sponsors: WESPAC Foundation, American Indian Law Alliance, Center for Earth Ethics, Resist Spectra Pipeline, Friends of Turtle Island Committee-WESPAC. 

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Environmental and Food Justice, Friends of Turtle Island, Frontpage, Movement Building

WESPAC Plot at Bethel Baptist Community Gardens

Bethel Baptist

A big thanks to Sadie’s initiative at the Bethel Baptist Community Gardens in White Plains.  The WESPAC plot has produced dozens of pounds of fresh produce for the Open Arms Men’s Shelter in downtown White Plains.  Thank you, Sadie, and to all who have volunteered!

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Community Gardening, Director's Blog, Environmental and Food Justice, Frontpage

The Birth of Agro-Resistance in Palestine

The birth of agro-resistance in Palestine
 
For decades Israel has been driving Palestinian farmers 
off their land by imposing restrictions on agriculture. 
But one company, Canaan Fair Trade, has found an innovative 
way to resist
 
 
Jonathan Cook
The Link (Americans for Middle East Understanding)
September – October 2016
 
Article pdf attached.

  
Jonathan Cook won the 2011 Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. 
His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan 
to Remake the Middle East 
(Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s 
Experiments in Human Despair 
(Zed Books). You can read all of Jonathan’s 
recent reports and commentaries on his website, the View from Nazareth: 
www.Jonathan-Cook.net and on his blog: www.Jonathan-Cook.net/blog/

 
 
Article sources:
Posted in Communities & Focus Areas, Environmental and Food Justice, Militarism and Foreign Policy, Racial Justice

March for a Clean Energy Revolution – Sunday, July 24th

To Change Everything, We Need EveryoneCERLogo_FINAL-resized

This was the call to action for the historic People’s Climate March in September, 2014.  Over 400,000 people marched in NYC.  Imagine a moment of silence held by over 400,000 people–  a shared moment of solidarity, hope, and the knowledge that the time is now; we CAN change everything—keep fossil fuels in the ground, create a renewable energy future, ensure our most vulnerable are empowered, and transition to a green jobs economy.

The Time for Action is Now

To Reserve your Bus Ticket from the North White Plains Train Station, go to http://www.cleanenergymarch.org/transportation/.

 

Be a part of the historic March for a Clean Energy Revolution on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.  During the Convention, the Democratic party will solidify its political platform.  We’ll make sure they can’t miss the masses who are calling for a Clean Energy Revolution. Many of the Democratic leaders and delegates understand the necessity, but we need to create the political will that comes only from tens of thousands of engaged citizens demanding what is needed, what is right and just.

Who do you identify with?  Join a contingent!

Join Us on the Bus from North White Plains to Philly!

 

Whether you choose to join the Faith Contingent, another group, or just stay with your local community of travelers, please join us on the bus.   All peace-loving change-makers welcome!  

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Environmental and Food Justice, Frontpage, Movement Building