food systems

food systems

Webinar Dismantling Racism and Oppression through the Food System with Erika Allen

3d ago
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Conversation with Erika Allen, National Projects Director for Growing Power, Inc hosted by the Food Justice Network, a partnership between FoodShare Toronto and Food Secure Canada. We talked about the importance of dismantling racism and oppression in our food systems in order to create a food system that is just and equitable for all. Growing Power is a US acclaimed non-profit organization and land trust providing equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe, and affordable food, especially in underserved communities, and also a leader in challenging systems of oppression in our food systems. Erika Allen is a social change artist, with a focus on dismantling racism and the related healing and understanding of how structural oppression impacts society. Her practice for the last 20 years has focused on community based transformation through the food system and integration of visual and installations of urban farms that integrate food, culture, spirit and the arts. Her art practice is multi-disciplinary and manifests outside of a traditional art world context, more akin to the practical arts of West Africa and folk artists who are earth and nature based. She integrates farms, spirit groves, edible landscapes, earth shaping and sporadic installations and small and large scale painted works, often integrating text rifts and recurring visual iconography as pattern and texture. As part of this work she is a student of IFA and collects/recovers Traditional Yoruba, Igbo, Benin, Akan, Congolese, Dagon and Haitian art as a key to her arts practice and recovery from historic oppression and displacement of ancestral memory and traditions. Allen earned her BFA from the School of the Art Institute in 1992 and MA in art psychotherapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2000. As Chicago and National Projects Director for Growing Power, Inc., Ms. Allen has integrated creative and therapeutic techniques with food security and community development enabling her to develop nine urban agriculture and food system projects and impact policy in Chicago. She also facilitates the planning and visioning of similar projects for clients from a broad spectrum of backgrounds and environments. She actively works to create healthy and diverse food options in urban-city and rural communities.