At Roots, we do a lot of hands-on work in our gardens, our kitchens, at our farmers markets, and even in our offices. But it's also important to pause every once in a while to share what we're doing, and hear about the efforts of others to achieve more healing, sustainable foodscapes in communities all over the world. Here are some of the wonderful opportunities we've had recently to expand our networks and re-energize our work through sharing of knowledge with like-minded organizations.
In July, Food Hub Operations Manager Sarah Kunkel was able to visit the Intervale Food Hub in Burlington, Vermont for a site visit organized by the dedicated folks at the Wallace Center. Since 1988, the Intervale Center has reclaimed over 350 acres of historic agricultural land for vegetable, flower, herb and other food production. The Center leases land to nine small to medium-sized local organic farms that operate independently of the non-profit. This amazing community of farmers, made up of both mentor farms and incubator farms, provides Burlington area residents with around $1.4 million worth of local products every year. The knowledge Ms. Kunkel gained by visiting this elder statesman of food hubs is helping to shape strategic visioning as the Roots Food Hub moves into 2018.
In September, several Roots staff members were privileged to attend the Seeds of Native Change Conference in Prior Lake, Minnesota. Hosted by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, this conference brings together tribal and native leaders, researchers, and practitioners from throughout North America and the Pacific to discuss the current state of Native knowledge on nutrition and food science, and identify new areas of work. Speakers held sessions on community gardening interventions, food as medicine, decolonizing diets, native frameworks for evaluation, and more. Roots staff returned inspired to broaden and deepen connections to native knowledge within our own community.
Also in September, two-term Roots Program VISTA volunteer Bernice Musrasrik joined KKV Super Aunty Innocenta Sound-Kikku for the 2017 Voices Conference in Washington, DC. Organized by the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, this national conference brings together Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders to advance the conversation about AA/NH/PI health equity. Ms. Musrasrik was thrilled to increase her leadership capacity and bring what she learned back to the Kalihi community.