“If you want to be proud of yourself, you have got to do things you can be proud of.” ― Oseola McCarty
Earlier this month, Associate Director Josh Daly and Communications Manager Allison Montagnon visited Jackson, MS for a first-of-its-kind national gathering of food policy councils. In August 2021, RIFPC was selected to join a Community of Learning and Practice (COLP) facilitated by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. The two-year program aims to provide food policy councils with training and a learning community to confront systemic injustice. In Jackson, COLP members met in-person for the first time, shared cultural and learning experiences, explored methods for power-sharing and centering values within structure, strategized policy solutions, and reflected on the history of power, race, and organizing, and its influence on systems.
The primary meeting space was the historically profound Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center and included traditional locally-sourced southern-style meals each day. The trip also included a guided bus tour of Jackson centered on the Civil Rights movement, and a lively southern-style welcoming at Foot Print Farms, which included several performances and a moving ceremony to honor food systems stewards, Chef Enrika, Chef Sharon, and Dr. Cindy Ayers-Elliot. The Mississippi Food Policy Council also graciously provided attendees with a curated list of suggestions for attendees that encouraged exploration of historic and culturally significant sites, favorite food and drink spots, relaxation and self-care spaces, and museums.
The COLP will continue to meet virtually for the remainder of the program, leveraging the new relationships and more holistic understanding of state-level efforts across the US that are building more equitable and resilient food systems.