Dear friend,

As a NAMA staff and board, for several years we’ve been deepening our commitment to our core values, especially when it comes to ‘dignity for all people’ and our commitment to racial equity. We know that understanding how systems of inequity show up in our fishing communities and our seafood supply chain ultimately start by understanding ourselves. Here is an introduction about racial equity from Jennifer Halstead, NAMA's Program Assistant:

I love going to candy stores because it reminds me of being a kid again. There’s a candy store at a local beach we used to go to when I was younger and it was always exciting because it was a once-a-year kind of treat. My brother and I would get all the usual goodies and pick out a ton of Maine Saltwater Taffy, but there were also some quirky ones that you could only get at a candy store. One of my favorites was “chocolate babies;” little bite-size fudgy chocolates that were shaped like babies -- a perfect candy for a kid. 

Over a decade after our last trip to that store as a family, I went back with my husband on our wedding day, saw them, put some in a bag with other candies and moved on. A week later, I popped one in my mouth and thought “who thought it was a good idea to make a candy that was molded into the (very realistic) shape of a baby?” I pulled out my smartphone to Google it, thinking I might not find anything, or it would be a weird story, but instead, I was confronted with a horror story: 

White slave owners used to take the babies and young children of slaves and use them as alligator bait. Our white ancestors thought that was so fun, they made a candy about it. 

I thought about not sharing this story with you all for two main reasons: 1) I still carry some guilt about carelessly popping candy into my mouth without thought and 2) it’s an uncomfortable reality. 

But, that’s just it. My privilege allowed me to eat a profoundly racist candy without question and my privilege allows me to be comfortable most of the time and to change and challenge that privilege I have to step out of my comfort zone. 

This is one of many experiences I’ve had in recent years that have taught me lesson after lesson about white privilege and racism. None of those experiences were comfortable and I will continue to embrace uncomfortable and challenging experiences because that is what I need to do to be better. 

As El said last month, “I am lucky to have been educated by my community in the ways that I have been. But I need to do better. I need to do my own research. I need to listen more. I need to constantly be putting myself in spaces that challenge me. I know I have a lot of room for growth. All white people do.”

An opportunity for all of us to learn and grow together is coming up! Join us during Food Solution New England’s 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge

In solidarity, 
Jennifer Halstead (she/her)
NAMA Program Assistant

Big news! NAMA has worked with indigenous fishing communities and community partners including Community Alliance for Global Justice, and Uprooted & Rising’s Block Corporate Salmon Campaign to combat GE salmon. After a digital campaign launched on Instagram and negotiations with Aramark, one of the largest food service providers in the world, the company released the following statement: 

“Reiterating our previously stated opposition to genetically engineered (GE) salmon, we will not purchase it should it come to market. Avoiding potential impacts to wild salmon populations and indigenous communities, whose livelihoods are deeply connected to and often dependent upon this vital resource, is core to our company’s commitment to making a positive impact on people and the planet.”

Aramark now joins Sodexo, Compass, Trader Joes and more corporate buyers in announcing they will not buy GE salmon, bringing us closer to stopping the introduction of genetically modified salmon to our plates and ensuring that the salmon we eat is caught by indigenous groups and other values-based fishing operations. Use the Local Catch Network’s seafood finder to find a place near you. Here are places that provide us with sustainable salmon that we specifically want to uplift:

Indigenous-owned Salmon sources:  

Other salmon sources: 

Hurry up and mark your calendars for Slow Fish: March 18-20 and March 25-27.

We’re psyched for this. NAMA and dozens of collaborators within the Slow Fish network have been rolling up our sleeves over the past several months to organize the Slow Fish 2021 Virtual Gathering, an online collective of folks in and around the seafood supply chain from around the world working to create more direct and equitable seafood systems. We’ll have six days of interactive programming, including Deep Dive discussions, World Cafe round tables, Marketplace of Ideas and of course the music, and poetry of fish harvesters. Check out the agenda and get your tickets here and help spread the word!

We love Fisher Poets! For those who don’t know, the Fisher Poets Gathering is a celebration of the commercial fishing industry in poetry, prose and song, that has attracted fisherpoets and their many fans to Astoria, Oregon the last weekend of February since 1998. This year the fisher poets hosted a wonderful virtual gathering that included art, and poetry by several folks in our network. You can check out all the Fisher Poet performances here and learn more about the event on their website. 

NAMA is super honored to join the Sankofa Series in March to highlight our work and community-based fisheries. The monthly webinar series is organized by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) and centers around stories that spark meaningful change in the food system. As we iron out the details and timing, please check out more about the series here.  

As a member of our Fish Locally Collaborative network, we want to uplift Tony Charles’s new book that “focuses on the role of local communities, around the world, in conserving their environment while sustaining their local economies and livelihoods. It explores the conservation initiatives of communities, what motivates them and what outcomes can be achieved for biodiversity, and for livelihoods. The book looks at how decision-making works, how power is handled, and how Indigenous realities arise around the globe.” Read more about the book and download your free copy here

This month fishers got a nod in a post from HEAL about Kickbacks.

"The practice of Kickbacks began as a way to ‘sweeten the deal’ for big business — but today, Kickbacks account for as much as half of the Big 3’s (@aramark@compassgroupusa@sodexogroup) profits."

To view the full post go to @healfoodalliance's instagram page.

In addition to checking out @healfoodalliance here are some other accounts that are sharing content related to fisheries issues and beyond that we are excited to share with you. Check out @seedingsovereignty, and @indigenousrising on instagram. Also check out the Indigenous Environmental Network on Facebook.
NAMA is a fishermen-led organization building a broad movement toward healthy fisheries, and fishing communities.

We build deep, and trusting relationships with community based fisherman, crew, fishworkers, and allies to create effective policy, and market strategies.