In late winter of 2021, CoFED began reviewing applications for the CoFUND in cooperation with an amazing selection committee. We learned so much about LGBTQIA+, BIPOC cooperators who are making food and land justice a priority.
The selection process was exciting and challenging. We are so proud to announce the winners of our first-ever regranting program, the CoFUND 2021 Cohort:
Pueblo Resurgents has been engaged in community-based research and workshopping in the areas of traditional architecture, food systems and farming, and traditional arts for over six years. In this time, we as an organization have cultivated networks and relationships pertinent to Indigenous resurgence and nationhood, and feel confident in implementing continued actionable steps for Food and Land Sovereignty through education.
Khao'na Kitchen (pronounced KAH-OWN-A), a fusion between Filipino and Indian culture, is cooperatively owned and offers wellness coaching, educational workshops & curriculum, and the catering of traditional Indian + Filipino meals with a healthy twist. Khao'na Kitchen is based in Brooklyn, NY and is a queer, gender non-conforming, woman and people of color-run cooperative. Khao'na Kitchen prides itself on delicious, unique, non-factory methods of creating sustainable food while decolonizing our minds and methods of what it means to create & eat food that has ridges, curves, & bumps yet never sacrificing flavor or integrity.
Heal With The Land
Heal with the Land is cultivating a nature sanctuary in the deep South for B/I/POC, LGTBTQIA+ in order to support our collective healing from the effects of patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism. Our land project will offer B/I/POC, LGBTQIA+ people a safe and nourishing environment for cooperative ownership and land stewardship. Through retreat, educational programming, and land tending, Heal with the Land will be a space for dreaming of and building a liberated world. It is our deepest belief that the land is our source and accomplice for radical healing.
Ka Hale Mahiku
Ka Hale Mahiku is a small ohana (family) based farm located in East Maui, Hawai’i. As recent recipients of the USDA farm grant the family was able to purchase several acres on the highly fertile and sacred lands in Hana, Maui to cultivate into a culinary focused farm. The ohana of 4 has deep roots in urban and rural farming at their places of residence as well as in ‘loi’s’ or taro patches that are harvested by the community. Over the past several years they have donated most of their “guerrilla” harvests to local families in need, especially in their low-income apartment complex and nonprofits that serve the unsheltered community. The USDA purchased farm will allow them to formalize their efforts and create a line of sustainability for the families ongoing work towards food security as well as the island food sovereignty movement.
Hope to Thrive
Hope to Thrive is a Black and Latinx-led non-profit organization based out of Winston Salem, NC, that works to inspire hope for all communities to thrive in health and wellbeing. We seek racial justice and work within different intersections of economics, food, faith, and health, to bring about good wellbeing for the environment and people. We currently are building a compassionate plant-based food system that both reduces animal suffering and helps economic development through our Holistic Produce Pantry in Winston Salem, NC which functions like a food co-op. We also have a small farm in which we work with a black woman farmer to help us grow food for our pantry. We serve blacks and Latinx underserved populations who are food insecure, 23.3 % of the population is determined to live in poverty, higher than the US national average of 13.1%.
Fresher Together is a collaborative food and farming project for healing, economic development, training and retreat. From soil to humans, we create nourishing food and spaces that are restorative and support well-being. Fresher Together envisions thriving land with accessible nourishing food, well-being, and community wealth.
Earthseed Land Cooperative
Earthseed is led by 7 Black and Brown co-founding members, who are farmers, teachers, artists and entrepreneurs, Our mission is to remember and reimagine our relationship to ourselves, each other and the land in pursuit and practice of collective liberation. We believe that creating intergenerational relationships and skill sharing promotes and increases resourcefulness, community `wellness, financial independence and self-determination for our current past and future generations. We believe that in cooperation and with analysis of systems of oppression we will create a center for economic liberation and environmental sustainability.
Cooperativa Riquezas del campo
Visualizamos un lugar de trabajo digno, donde la toma de decisiones y la generación de ingresos sea basadas en la solidaridad, la democracia y la sostenibilidad ecológica. Nuestra finca cooperativa es en sí una alternativa económica que nos ofrece la oportunidad de ser dueños de un negocio propio y tener acceso a alimentos orgánicos de mayor valor nutritivo. Al mismo tiempo adquirimos nuevas habilidades en agricultura sostenible que nos ayude a mejorar nuestra calidad de vida. Riquezas es liderado por seis socios-dueños. Hemos establecido nuestra finca como un espacio comunitario donde podamos reunirnos e integrarnos con el objeto de cultivar y preservar nuestras tradiciones, mediante realización de talleres y otros eventos. La finca sirve como una plataforma para que personas de muchos diferentes orígenes puedan conectarse, aprender juntos y también organizar para un mundo más justo, en colaboración con nuestra organización hermana, el Centro Obrero de Valle Pionero. (PVWC)
Cooperative CRECE Huertos Urbanos
La Cooperativa CRECE cuenta con 3 agricultores miembros –Abel G Ruiz, Jaime Bautista, y Emmanuel Preciado—y dos miembrxs que apoyan en capacidad de asesorxs—Clara Leopo (Voz de Jovenes) y Ana Urzua (TA: desarrolladora de cooperativas). Juntos hemos gestionamos una parcela de aproximadamente 1/3 de acre desde el 2016. Nuestra misión es combatir la segregación alimentaria y construir un ecosistema alimentario regenerativo y controlado por miembros de nuestra comunidad en Santa Ana, CA.
Catatumbo Cooperative Farms
Catatumbo Cooperative Farm, LLC, is a worker-owned cooperative farm located in South Chicago operating since the Fall of 2018. We are three queer Women and gender non-conforming immigrants from Mexico and Venezuela; Jazmin Martinez, Ireri Unzueta-Carrasco and Vivi Moreno. We cultivate affordable, nutritious, sustainably grown and culturally relevant produce and medicinal herbs for Latinx, Immigrant, People of color, and low-income neighborhoods in Chicago and surrounding communities. We do this by incorporating and learning about our combined ancestral farming knowledge; working with natural cycles; as well as principles of worker cooperatives where the wellbeing of our ecosystems, our communities, our soils, and our worker-owners are our priorities.
Black Yield Institute
BYI is a Pan-African power institution based in South Baltimore that works towards Black land and food sovereignty. Black Yield Institute aims “to create a self-determined and self-reliant community of Black institutions, Black-owned businesses and people of African Descent in Baltimore’s poor and Black food environments.” Their five main initiatives involve two direct action projects and three programs that facilitate political education work, action network building, and community-based participatory action research.
Black Star Farmers
Black Star Farmers (BSF) mission is to be a Black and Indigenous lead foundry for the radical reclamation of land and food sovereignty for BIPOC through education, conversation, and volunteerism in a safe, joyful, and intentional community. We aim to challenge the white supremacist narrative surrounding agriculture and food security through regenerative agriculture, transformative, restorative and healing justice centering around BIPOC communities.
With all of our love and appreciation, we say congratulations to the 2020-2021 Racial Justice Fellow cohort.
These 3 leaders, not only created and developed their own food justice project to nourish their communities, but they also underwent a beautiful self-discovery process. Each of the fellows has offered CoFED so much by way of being authentic, vulnerable, curious, and generous.
Read more about the Fellows and their journeys in the CoFED Racial Justice Fellowship!
The work of cooperative economics, land, and food justice has deep roots. It is our honor at CoFED to tend to these roots by supporting the current cooperators. Join us in celebrating these amazing visionaries reclaiming, resisting, and building better food futures in the United States.
In bliss and gratitude, we are pleased to present this year’s Build Unlearn Decolonize Cohort and this year's Racial Justice Fellows. Meet the amazing cooperators:
Written by Kriss Mincey, 2019 CoFED Racial Justice Fellow
When I applied for the CoFED Racial Justice Fellowship, I wrote that racial justice is about making the case for belonging, and that belonging is about “who gets to imagine themselves here.” I proposed a Universal Design Sensory Food Garden™ (UDSFG) accessible to people using wheelchairs and with otherwise variant mobility. I think this work is incredibly important because it can heal the effects of gendered racial trauma, ableism, and other experiences that are symptomatic of being marginalized as “other” in proximity to whiteness (1).
But the lesson that meant the most over the course of this fellowship was being reminded, to no avail, frankly, that I could finally stop making the case for my belonging.
By indulging the reflex I think we all experience to get the go-ahead of approval from “allies,” potential funders--writing endlessly, emoting endlessly, explaining and defining and naming endlessly--we reinforce the notion that we have to exist in their imagination, not ours, in order to be real, valid and worth loving.
Who am I in my own mind? Do I belong yet? Can I stretch my imagination big enough to hold and accept myself when I have nothing to show [in terms of a product/deliverable]?
Written by Dallas Robinson, 2019 CoFED Racial Justice Fellow
The past six months as a CoFED Racial Justice Fellow have been one of my favorite experiences in this hectic, exciting year. In 2019, I completed a 12-month farm school program, worked several jobs, completed two years of farm apprenticeship work, and began my own farm business while working on my Racial Justice Fellowship project. This year has been tiring, trying, and often upsetting. The fellowship amplified valuable lessons that I will not forget. My understanding has grown in the areas of cooperative economics as well as soft skills like honoring rest. Self-doubt and an adherence to “deadlines” do not impede my growth anymore. Coming on the close of this fellowship, I am closer to some amazing people dreaming up a new economy and world, and I trust myself even more deeply.
Our 2019 Summer Co-op Academy centered and amplified the leadership and wisdom of young BIPOC solutionaries from Canada and the US. We gathered at Earthseed Land Cooperative in Durham, NC -- on land that was once stewarded by the Occaneechi band of the Saponi nation-- to remember how cooperation is truly about who we are and how we can be. This year’s select cohort of 13 magic-makers, representing 8 different co-ops and food justice projects, built deep connections with the earth and each other that continue to thrive.
While white tech bros continue to receive billions of dollars in venture capital to build apps we don't need, Black visionaries are systematically denied the resources to build the community-owned, regenerative food economies we do need. CoFED's Racial Justice Fellowship offers a meaningful stipend, leadership coaching, political education and technical assistance for Black and other cooperators of color doing the work that matters most: growing food, feeding our communities, and keeping us in harmony with the Earth.
Meet Dallas and Kriss, this year's Racial Justice Fellows! Here's who they are and how they're transforming systemic injustice to feed their communities in their own words.
For far too long, co-ops have been coopted by (mostly white and wealthier) folx who champion cooperatives as a better business strategy within capitalism, with little regard for racial or economic equity. Our first ever all-POC Summer Co-op Academy cohort is telling a better story -- one where cooperation is who we are and how we work together to meet all our communities' needs.
Last year, CoFED announced our new mission to center young folx of color as the cooperative leaders we need to grow a cooperative food economy. This year, for the first time ever, every extraordinary person selected to join our Summer Co-op Academy is a person of color (POC) advancing food, land, and racial justice! Expanding beyond traditional food co-ops, they are innovating a range of cooperative solutions to meet broad community needs for health and healing, joy and justice, wealth and well-being. Let the beauty of that fact sink in...
Meet the cooperators from this year's cohort who are telling a new story about the future of co-ops.
In June of this year, we announced our 2018 Racial Justice Fellows with tremendous hope for the cooperative visions of food and land justice about to born. We were excited for the dreams created, the seeds planted, and the growth that would result. We began with three Fellows: Merelis, Jazmin, and avery. We ended with two after parting ways with avery and the Gangstas to Growers project; their work is incredible, and we wish them the best. Now that the Fellowships have wrapped up, we invite y’all to reflect with us and harvest our lessons learned. Here are our top 5 stories/lessons from our 2018 Racial Justice Fellowship:
1. Connect in person. Your spirit will thank you.
The world we live in is deeply unjust. If you feel like you’re alone in moving towards love and liberation, reach out! You are not alone. This Fellowship brings together young cooperators of color across the U.S. who might not otherwise have the chance to connect with one another. As Fellows, not only did Merelis and Jazmin connection with their communities - as well as to each other and to us - but also with folks who were interested in building relationships based on showing up, committing to the process, and visioning together. There were some beautiful results, and some difficult trials. But as we leveraged our resources towards local community impact and coalition-building, our journey of solidarity with Merelis and Jazmin continued to encourage and feed us.
Happy Indigenous People’s Day! Today, we celebrate as resistance.
We have much to resist: Brett Kavanaugh, a white man and attempted rapist who has a track record of gutting indigenous rights, environmental protections, and voting rights for people of color, was recently sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice . Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the only Republican to not vote yes on his confirmation, comes from a state with the highest number of reported rapes in the U.S., where just last month a white man was given a free pass after pleading guilty to kidnapping, strangling, and sexually assaulting a Native Alaskan woman . And Columbus Day is still a federally recognized holiday that honors another white man who did not “discover” America and whose atrocious legacy instead includes colonization, enslaving, raping, and killing hundreds of thousands of indigenous people (namely the Taíno) and initiating the African slave trade [3, 4].
We have even more to celebrate. This 9th installment of our #UnlearningWithCoFED series is about Indigenous People’s Day — a holiday that honors Indigenous peoples and cultures and was created to replace Columbus Day.