A panel discussion with some of New York City’s most innovative Food Justice activists and practitioners.
This panel discussion will bring together some of the most innovative advocates and practitioners from New York City’s food justice community. The food justice movement is premised on an understanding that a truly sustainable food system must be economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially just. As pioneers in this movement, the speakers will discuss their own work and the challenges that remain towards promoting a strong local food system, just access to healthy food, self-reliant communities, and a healthy environment in New York City.
Karen Washington Board Member, Just Food; Co-founder, Black Urban Growers (BUGS)
Karen Washington has lived in New York City all her life, and has been a resident of the Bronx for over 26 years. Since 1985 Karen has been a community activist, striving to make New York City a better place to live. As a community gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens, Karen has worked with Bronx neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens. As an advocate, she has stood up and spoken out for garden protection and preservation. As a member of the La Familia Verde Garden Coalition, she helped launched a City Farms Market, bringing garden fresh vegetables to her neighbors.Karen is a Just Food board member and Just Food Trainer, leading workshops on food growing and food justice for community gardeners all over the city. Karen is a board member and former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, a group that was founded to preserve community gardens. She also Co- Founded Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization of volunteers committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings. Professionally Karen has been a Physical Therapist for over 30 years, and she continues to balance her professional life with community service.
Ben Flanner is a trained Industrial Engineer with a background in business and marketing. In 2009 Ben co-founded Eagle Street Rooftop Farms, the first rooftop soil farm in New York, and is widely recognized as a leader in rooftop urban agriculture. He is currently developing sustainable energy technology fueled by friendly, mid-western charm and the elongated “A” in the Wisconsin accent.
Maggie Cheney is the Director of Farms and Education for EcoStation:NY. Her primary projects include managing programs for youth and adults at the Bushwick Campus Farm and working with Make the Road NY to start their first community farm and expand their food justice initiatives. She is also a teacher for Just Food's Farm School NYC as well as consultant to numerous schools across the NYC area who are trying to start or expand their school gardens.
Yonnette Fleming is an urban food justice farmer and longtime community food educator who is committed to advancing systems of knowledge which build healthy individuals, families and communities and provide community solutions to the issue of food insecurity, health disparities and social inequities.Fleming has worked to grow food and advance community resilience to the issue of food insecurity through educating and increasing access to fresh and local food in the Central Brooklyn community since 2003. Fleming’s holistic farming approach incorporates cultivating food, humans and health from the ground up. She founded the Hattie Carthan Community Farmers Market alongside the Hattie Carthan Community Garden in 2009. She also currently teaches Food justice at the NYC Farm school, an institution she helped to vision and currently serves on the Farm School advisory board/academic committee.