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]

Minutes of March 2018 WESPAC Food Justice Committee Meeting

A huge thank you to Tracy for submitting these minutes:

Minutes Food Justice Meeting WESPAC March 13, 2018


 In attendance: Nada, Angel, Christina, Tracy, Chloe, Delia, Natalie, Lydia, Louise and Brianne. 

— Angel began giving the latest information about the struggles of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and their allies to get Wendy’s to sign on to the Fair Food Program like all of its fast-food competitors have done. Today, Thursday, March 15, marks day 5 of a 5-day fast happening now in NYC led by the Coalition of Immokolee Workers to bring attention to Wendy’s refusal to sign on to the agreement which would ensure safe and clean working conditions for the farmworkers and a method to report sexual abuse. Instead, Wendy’s has chosen to exploit farmworkers in Mexico for their tomatoes instead of signing on. Join them if you can today at the Dag Hammarkjold Plaza, 245 East 47th Street at 5:00 pm for the concluding rally.

— Nada is exploring ways to make a green stretch of land that exists at Exit 5 of highway 287 into a White Plains/Greenburgh food forest with fruit and nut trees and other bee-friendly plantings. She is investigating with the NY Dept of Transportation and it was suggested to also contact Westchester Community College’s Native Plants department who has done a past program on roadside regeneration.

— Tracy and Bri shared information about a new venture that WESPAC is taking a lead role in – The Mobile Community Café Initiative. Under the umbrella of the Westchester Food Justice Collective, Nourish Food Truck will be hitting the road this summer offering up freshly prepared, healthy meals to low-income, food-insecure families. Making stops at community centers, senior centers and shelters in White Plains and Greenburg, the truck is on a mission to serve nutritious plant-based meals at no cost to under-served communities.

Unlike mobile food pantries, the truck is like a café on wheels that supports local farmers, functions as a platform for rising young chefs, educates the public, and reduces food waste. The truck’s owner, Brianne Brathwaite will be the main chef. WESPAC, the lead organization in the Collective, sees the non-profit work of the mobile community cafe to be a transformative shift toward more equitable communities where there is less hunger and greater social justice. We have submitted two grant proposals seeking start-up funding for this exciting initiative. 

Calling volunteers: we need help cleaning up the commercial kitchen at the Memorial United Methodist Church, which will function as the prep kitchen and storage kitchen for the food truck. Look for an email announcement coming soon for a date in late March.

Good Food Farmers

Hi Nada,

Thank you for helping to spread the word about Good Food Farmers – we really appreciate it!
Please feel free to be in touch with any questions!
Many thanks, 

Good Food Farmers Network is comprised of small-scale and beginning farmers anchored by more experienced growers committed to regenerative agriculture. We work hard to produce and deliver the best quality foods grown with the highest standards of care for the earth and all who inhabit it. We welcome your support and the opportunity to grow food for you!
A few Good Food Farmers highlights: 
  • We are farmer-owned and farmer-led – a farmer cooperative in essence but not quite structured that way yet – all purchases directly support our farms. 
  • Our commitment to producing and delivering good food is unwavering. All our foods are incredibly fresh, grown and harvested with great care, and produced without pesticideswithout synthetic fertilizerswithout genetically modified organisms, and with the highest degree of animal welfare and environmental stewardship
  • You pay by the week (there’s a $45 order minimum to help make sure we’re covering our delivery costs), and you can cancel if needed. 
  • You can put your delivery on hold anytime, whether you’re going out of town or simply feel overwhelmed by the bounty of the seasons. 
  • When you sign up, you pick a Farmer’s Choice default bag. Each week, we choose items for the default bags based on what’s looking good in the fields. We announce the items in the Weekly e-Newsletter sent out on Fridays each week. If you do nothing, you will receive the default bag. But, you can also log-in to your online account and completely customize your order if desired. We have 35+ items available each week during the winter months and 65+ items during the main growing season, so there’s lots of flexibility to build a bag that suits you. About half of our members choose to customize, and about half choose to get the default bag, often remarking that they like the mix of seasonal items and don’t want to bother customizing. Either way, it’s up to you! The order deadline for holds and customizing is Sunday nights at 11:59 pm.
  • We deliver to Mt. Kisco each week with pickup at the Khader Center available each Wednesday from 10 am to 6 pm. We also offer home and office delivery in some parts of lower Westchester from Pelham to White Plains and neighborhoods in between. 
  • For more details, feel free to visit our GFF website.
  • To join, you can go directly to the GFF online store.
  • You can also check out our Crop Plan (pdf) to get a sense for what we offer throughout the year, though crop plans are always subject to weather, pests, and other farming factors!
Thank you for your interest, and we are happy to answer any questions whether technical or simply to learn more about us and all of our farms. Please feel free to be in touch! 
– Hilary, on behalf of all your Good Food Farmers
Hilary Corsun
Dog Wood Farm 
& GFF Coordinator
518-821-4282 farm office
c/o Dog Wood Farm, 85 Hartigan Road, Old Chatham, NY 12136
Good Food Farmers is farmer-owned and works to support sustainable agriculture and small-scale and beginning farmers by delivering good food into the hands of more people. 

The Story on Soil


URGENT – Stop Dirty Energy Bill

Dear Friend –
We urge your group to sign a letter to stop a dangerous energy bill being rammed through Congress: http://bit.ly/StopDirtyEnergy
Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is attempting to rush this 891-page bill to a vote the week of July 10 without any public hearings, bypassing all committees, and flouting normal procedures.
The Trump-McConnell Dirty Energy Bill would be a disaster:
·        Speed approval of exports of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
·        Give FERC even more authority over decisions about pipelines for natural gas
·        Authorize millions of dollars for research into recovering methane hydrates, a dangerous new source of methane trapped under the ocean floor
·        The “Renewables” section doesn’t even mention solar and wind power
Please sign on to this letter by Monday, July 10 at 9:00 am: http://bit.ly/StopDirtyEnergy
Please share it widely with other grassroots groups, faith institutions, political clubs, nonprofit organizations, businesses, unions, and other institutions.
Please let us know if you’d like to get more involved in stopping this bill, or if you have any questions or need more information.
Thank you for your consideration.
Greta Zarro
New York Organizer
Food & Water Watch
347-774-4597 (office – no texting)
412-715-1314 (cell – no texting)
147 Prince Street, 4th Fl., No. 7 
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Rally for Westchester County Airport: Stop Privatization and Expansion

Date: Monday, July 17, 2017
Time: 5:30 p.m. 
Place: on the steps of the Westchester County Office Building 
148 Martine Ave. White Plains, NY 

Join us as we raise awareness about the negative financial and environmental impacts that would result from privatization of the county airport.

The bids from private companies to take over the Westchester Airport are due shortly before the rally. Speakers include: George Fuss, Legislator Parker (Dist.-7), Jonathan Wang, and a public health expert. After the rally, we will attend the Board of Legislators regular meeting in the 8th floor of the building, where representatives plan to speak during the public comment period. The rally is permited.

Sponsored by Citizens for a Responsible County Airport, Westchester for Change, WESPAC, Sierra Club, Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, Purchase Environmental Protective Association, Food & Water Watch, Grassroots Environmental Education, We Persist, and Indivisible Westchester.

Citizens for a Responsible County Airport is a nonpartisan grassroots group committed to sustainable, conscientious management and improvement of the airport by holding our government accountable. crcairport.org

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

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

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!

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.

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

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.

Albany Phone: (518) 474-4015 Fax: (518) 473-8940
NYC Phone: (212) 383-1388 Fax: (212) 681-7677 
Internet: www.osc.state.ny.us
E-Mail: [email protected]