In the phenomenal closing session of the 2018 NESAWG “It Takes a Region” Conference, an annual gathering of people working to repair, reset and transform the food system in the Northeastern U.S., NESAWG board member Rev. Heber Brown led a deep discussion with Brandy Brooks, Ingabire Adam, and Neftali Duran that challenged us to convert the education, emotion, and energy from the conference into action. The work of dismantling systemic oppression and creating equity and justice at every level of the food system is hard, uncomfortable, and necessary.
As an author, in my book, The Chesapeake Table: Your Guide to Eating Local, my goal is to spur eaters not only to eat local for their own enjoyment, but to support those working to transform our local food system so we can all eat better, live better and leave a better environment for our kids. So my outcome from the conference is to launch a year-end campaign, Chesapeake Eaters for Change, to show how we can make a difference by contributing financially to the nonprofit organizations working on various food system issues.
The list of organizations below is curated from my own knowledge and from organizations that have told their stories and shared their expertise at farming and food systems conferences over the past couple of years. Contributions from individuals help connect the work of these groups to their communities and helps lessen their reliance on grant funding, creating a broader funding base that builds resilience.
We are on the threshhold of November, when both election season and holiday season are opportunities to think about something larger than ourselves, to do something that will benefit others as well as ourselves. This year more than ever, we really need to put our money where our values are.
I’ve only included nonprofits that offer a way for you to donate online, so it couldn’t be easier. I also focused on DC, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, and it is not by any means comprehensive, but it’s a good representative start. Choose one or more groups whose work you already know and have always meant to support, or check out some groups you’ve never heard of and see if you can support the work they are doing in your community. You can also take a look at this list of Chesapeake-region food policy councils, some of which are nonprofits and could also be candidates for your financial support.