All year, we have been working behind the scenes to formally establish a youth division in our organization. While young people are always in the picture when it comes to our programming, we felt it necessary to give greater focus to cultivating their genius around food, farming and community. In addition to founding The Black Church Food Security Network, in 2012, our Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Heber Brown, III, also founded an African-centered youth program called Orita’s Cross Freedom School. Earlier this summer, he worked with the leadership of both organizations to officially bring Orita’s Cross under the umbrella of The Black Church Food Security Network to establish it as the youth division of our organization.
Soon after this development, we received a contract from The YMCA of Central Maryland to facilitate 8 workshops and 4 field trips for five Baltimore City Public Schools. We started these workshops in October 2022 and will conclude this December with a closing event where students share what they have learned with the community.
The workshops are focused on teaching these African American students about their heritage and ancestral relationship with land and food. We show them how our Ancestors used food sovereignty and land ownership as sources of resistance to oppression. We teach them how Black people continue to use food and farming to strive for freedom today.
In addition to teaching them about their history, we also are discussing our diet and the varying impacts of food on our health. We’re planning to conduct cooking demonstrations with them so they can learn how to prepare nutritious meals for themselves and their families.
Field trips to Black farms in the Baltimore metro area will also be a part of this experience. We are purposing to have these sessions engage their head, heart and hands!
If you would like the youth of your church or organization to be a part of experiences that will help them gain deeper reverence for history, land, farming and food, please contact us today at [email protected]
We are putting our 2023 calendar together now and would love to work with you! Please also consider making a donation to support our new youth division. We plan to roll our programming across our national network in the new year and need your partnership to help make this happen!