Promoting health and self-sufficiency with Black and African American youth, one seed at a time.
By: Aileen Balahadia, N2N Program Consultant
Supporting Black Dollar Days Task Force (BDDTF) this year feels poignant, as we, Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N), continue celebrating our 30th anniversary. BDDTF received a grant in 1991, the year N2N was launched, and is now a recipient again, 30 years later. A comment expressed at a recent N2N site visit made this full circle moment come to life and solidified our support of BDDTF and its Clean Greens Farm youth leadership project.
“Our kids have a deep aversion to the Earth, and we’re embarrassed to dig into it because of our history,” said Dr. Robert Lee Jeffrey, Sr., Executive Director, BDDTF. He continued to say, “Part of our job here is to create safe spaces for our African American youth to bring them back to the roots of our real history and restore pride in working with the soil.”
Reflecting on their longevity and three decades of service, Dr. Jeffrey couldn’t help but uplift the leadership and memory of Lottie Cross who helped to found Clean Green Farm in 2007 and was instrumental in Seattle’s Central Area neighborhood promotion of Black-owned businesses. The Farm is tended and harvested with the intention to provide organic produce to the Central Area. In addition to expanding healthy food access, the Farm also provides educational workshops and opportunities to train Black youth and other young people of color to harvest, compost, understand healthy eating, and ultimately become leaders in their community. “This is a start in acknowledging the impact of climate change and learning early about taking care of our Earth,” said Brione Scott, Director, Clean Green Farm.
This grant will be used to provide youth leadership stipends, supplies, field trips to the farm in Duvall, and visits with urban farms such as the YES Farm, run by fellow N2N grantee Black Farmers Collective. As a Black- led and serving organization, BDDTF believes there’s a great opportunity to teach Black youth about food justice education and advocacy. “Most children are not given opportunities to be engaged in the growing of their food. We have seen when we provide this unique and highly necessary experience for youth, it has been inspiring and enriching for all involved,” Scott said.
A pilot partnership with the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods allows N2N to invest in food equity projects located anywhere in the city, including BDDTF. “The partnership between Neighborhoods and N2N has been enlightening. The program truly centers community and it is evident in the site visits,” said Daniel Sims, Community Grants Supervisor, Department of Neighborhoods, and N2N Advisory Committee member. He shared that the growing relationship his organization has with N2N is providing a model of what it means to partner and work with community.
“We have had an opportunity to meet directly with a few organizations that are doing food justice and food security work throughout Seattle. You also get an opportunity to meaningfully engage with those who are doing the work.”
Doing the work means taking advantage of different community touchpoints, a behavior modeled by Clean Greens Farms through its “Cleans Greens” radio show. Production started in response to the need for trusted, community information. When people tune in, they get to learn about healthy living habits through conversations featuring Black-owned businesses, health experts, and practitioners in the health equity, meditation, and mindfulness industries.
All are encouraged to learn more about Clean Greens Farm and view this special video highlighting their work as part of N2N’s “30 Stories for 30 Years” anniversary.
N2N Summer 2021 grantees are listed below:
(Italicized organizations will receive funding provided in part by Facebook, as part of its ongoing commitment to support Black business, creators, and nonprofits. Learn more about our partner’s impact, here.)
*First time grantee of N2N
**Also, the first grant ever received by the organization
For more information about Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N), please contact Program Consultant Aileen Balahadia at 206-250-4299.
Image credit:Black Dollar Days Task Force