Michele’s Granola established the Give One Fund in 2022 to make annual grants to organizations working to improve access to fresh, healthy foods. We’ve been giving in this space for over a decade, and one thing has become undeniably clear: Poverty and food insecurity disproportionately impact BIPOC families and communities. As such, we endeavor to support locally-led organizations that meaningfully include BIPOC voices and leadership to cultivate sustainable solutions of self-sufficiency, or as Soul Fire Farm refers to it, “seeding sovereignty.”
Soul Fire Farm is an incredibly impressive organization and one of our 2022 Give One grantees. Founded in 2010, their mission is to “reclaim our inherent right to belong to the earth and have agency in the food system as Black and Brown people.” They undertake this work in a sacred manner that preserves the legacy of the land and its people by practicing Native American and West African agricultural rituals and growing a long list of edible native plants including bellwort, nettle and staghorn sumac. Their team, including over 500 volunteers, is diverse, well-organized, and prolific, installing 13 new community vegetable gardens just last month.
Despite a very specific mission, they are broad and inclusive in their approach. Soul Fire Farm advocates for reparations and land return initiatives for Black and Brown farmers and engages in policy education for public decision-makers. They freely share what they know through Community Work & Learn Days, skill shares, farm tours and a podcast called "Ask a Sista Farmer." And when you support their work, you are invited into their “beloved community” of activism to end racism and injustice in our food system.
Soul Fire Farm’s programs focus on the South End, West Hill, and Arbor Hill neighborhoods of Albany as well as North Troy, New York, which are classified as “food deserts” by the USDA. They support people impacted by food apartheid, mass incarceration, unemployment and COVID related challenges, refugees and immigrants, people with disabilities or chronic illness, elders, and families with children.
Their $15,000 Give One Grant will be used to share many tons of naturally-grown farm products with community members living under food apartheid, install dozens of new urban gardens and support a large network of existing gardens, and train hundreds of BIPOC farmer-activists to work as growers, rural land stewards, and/or food system changemakers. The outcome will be improved community health and household economies, and increased agency in food access.
To stay tuned-in to Soul Fire Farm’s important work and perspective, sign up for their newsletter "Love Notes" here.