Near the end of 2019, five Metro-based organizations came together with a shared vision: to carry the torch of the Metro Food Access Network by co-creating a collaborative food-justice space with a dependable, facilitative backbone, community-led action, and above all, a shared leadership model. The goal: to intentionally move towards a more racially equitable food (justice) system.
Due to the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, the Metro Food Justice Network (MFJN) would not come together for nearly two and a half years – but the urgency for a space like this became even more apparent after the killing of George Floyd, grocery store closures and the emergence of more community-led hunger relief efforts. The need to collaborate and build a more just food system has never been greater.
At long last, in late June of 2022, MFJN’s first Plenum took place virtually, facilitated by leaders and backbone supporters at Appetite for Change, The Good Acre, M Health Fairview, Pillsbury United Communities, and Hunger Solutions. Over 80 community members, food advocacy organization leaders, farmers, and more came together to move towards action. The group used Open Space Technology (over Zoom!) to connect in virtual breakout rooms. Topics included policy action, organizing youth, using research to build power, urban farming and more. Experts in their fields invigorated discussion, and all participants were encouraged to move across conversations freely for their personal enrichment.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about collaborative food systems change or engaging in the work of the Metro Food Justice Network, please sign up for our MFJN newsletter, email firstname.lastname@example.org and stay tuned for our next meeting!