Black Lives Matter: An Open Letter to Our Fresh Roots Community

It’s with heavy hearts that we share our message of solidarity with the families who have lost loved ones unjustly, the protestors and all those raising their voices and demanding justice against racism in all forms, and in this moment specifically, Anti-Black racism.

“Racism, and specifically Anti-Black racism, is just as prevalent in Canada as in other countries. According to Statistics Canada, one percent of the population of B.C. and 3.5 percent of Canadians identify as Black. This population, as well as Indigenous populations, are often disproportionately targeted by police.

Black households are 3.6 times more likely to be food insecure than White households and 36.6% of Black children live in food insecure households. A ten year study released in 2019 found that overall, nearly half of First Nations families struggle to put food on the table”. [1]

Fresh Roots knows that the path to a just food system must involve the dismantling of systemic oppression and White Supremacy Culture. We cannot have a conversation about food security without also addressing racism, discrimination, and systemic barriers that disproportionately impact people of colour and indigenous populations.

The vision that guides our work is Good Food For All, where everyone has access to healthy food, land, and community. We work towards this by engaging diverse children, youth, and adults in experiential learning on the educational schoolyard farms we steward along with our partners and collaborators. We are acutely aware that racism manifests differently in place-specific ways and is often tied to land. We acknowledge that we grow food and are stewards of spaces that are unceded lands of the Kwikwetlem, Katzie, Sto:lo, Musqueam, Tsleil Waututh, and Squamish Coast Salish peoples.

While our hearts are heavy, we are also activated and see the most recent events as an opportunity for us to all work together. We know that words are not enough. We know as a settler organization we have work to do. We know that every conversation matters. We are committed to the journey to become better allies and stronger and louder advocates for anti-racism and justice.

Today, we share information about ways to support Anti-Black racism and the Black community. We are also amplifying voices in the arena of food justice, including resources that address the intersectionality of racism and environmental and food justice.

Please consider supporting the following organizations:

Black Lives Matter Vancouver
B.C. Black History Awareness Society
Afro Van Connect
Black in BC Community Support Fund for COVID-19
Black Youth Helpline
The Conscious Kid
Hogan’s Alley Society

Some learning resources that we find really useful are:

Anti-Racist Resource Guide from researcher Victoria Alexander
● How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism
There is No Food Justice without Racial Justice
Farming While Black by Leah Penniman
Why Canada’s unions are highlighting environmental racism during Black History Month
● Environmental racism in North America: a history and recommendations for the future
14 African American Women Leading Change in the U.S. Food System
Five Black farmers and researchers making the food system more inclusive
Hoovie Movie’s Black Lives Matter collection: Whose Streets?, Hale County This Morning, This Evening and Quest
Playlist of Anti-Racism Films (National Film Board of Canada)
Racism in Canada is ever-present, but we have a long history of denial, Remembering 27 Black, Indigenous, and racialized people killed by Canadian police
It’s long-past time to talk about policing of Black women in Canada
Sandy and Nora talk about how society could defund the police and create new services to keep people safe

In pursuit of joy and justice,

Alexa Pitoulis

Fresh Roots, Interim Executive Director

1.”There’s No Room for Racism in a Just Food System (or a Just Society)”