Your Voice, Resources, & Upcoming Meetings
July 7, 2020
Dear Readers,

As FBEN Coordinator, I have many questions about how the Network can support racial justice on every farm. Last week, over 50 people attended two meetings to explore White Fragility and how the FBEN can support you in your work as an anti-racist farm-based educator. Since many people can't or don't want to attend virtual meetings, we invite your comments in other spaces, too:

In what ways is white supremacy culture embedded in FBEN and what is our roadmap for addressing that?

How can FBEN best support members in identifying and dismantling systems of oppression on their farms?

 What does it look like for the FBEN to amplify BIPOC voices authentically, and invest in BIPOC communities? 

As I contemplate the balance of action and learning, I also recognize the importance of "pace" in our work , and appreciate more than ever the wisdom in Emergent Strategy , where Adrienne Maree Brown outlines the principles of Emergent Strategy, drawing from the Earthseed verses in Octavia Butler’s Parables series, (as well as Bruce Lee, Lao Tzu, and Rihanna):

Small is good, small is all. (The large is a reflection of the small.)

Change is constant. (Be like water.)

There is always enough time for the right work.

There is a conversation in the room that only these people at this moment can have. Find it.

Never a failure, always a lesson.

Trust the People. (If you trust the people, they become trustworthy.)

Move at the speed of trust. Focus on critical connections more than critical mass—build the resilience by building the relationships.

Less prep, more presence.

What you pay attention to grows.


Vera Simon-Nobes

With support from our resource review committee: Ashley Davenport, Retreat Farm in Brattleboro, VT; Hallie Sykes, Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center , Carnation, WA; Meredith Rivlin, Cedar Circle Farm and Education Center , East Thetford, VT and new this week, "L" Laura Menyuk, Great Kids Farm, Baltimore, MD. Let us know if you're interested in joining this group!
Highlighted Resources

Alison Park of Blink Diversity - a DEI consultant to schools based in the Bay area - regularly posts about how the language we use as leaders to national events is defining. When I’m looking for the right questions to ask myself as to how I did, could or will respond to an issue of race, gender, sexulaity, ability and more, I turn to her work for always-useful framing which is both not-overly complicated but also doesn’t turn complicated and heavy societal questions into platitudes.

The management center helps non-profits do project management and people management at the highest level and provides certain resources for free. The tool called “How to Scenario Plan for Covid -19” (formerly known as how to scenario plan for uncertain times) has helped our team start a process of creating a 6-month plan that is bigger than throwing ideas at a wall to see what sticks. Special highlight: At each part of the process, you are asked to consider equity among your considerations. 

- Laura

Latino Outdoors writes, "While sheltering-in-place, we can still practice radical self-love, expand our capacity to foster social inclusion, exercise personal power, and enjoy the growth that comes from stepping outside of our comfort zone, all by engaging in the varied practice of lifelong learning." These are wonderful, timely resources that are updated weekly.

While I would absolutely recommend the National Museum of African American History & Culture' s interactive website and resources for talking about race, the article, Children Are Not Colorblind was especially revealing for me, and explains a lot about how racism becomes systemic. One of my main takeaways is that children are perceptive and notice patterns. With those patterns, they pick up on what skin colors, hair styles, face shapes are associated with positions of power, careers, and how those people are being treated. This makes a strong case for talking with children about race, because although they are not taught to exhibit racism, those prejudices are still learned.

Upcoming FBEN Calls

July 16 | 1 pm ET

It's camp season! How are things going? Join this conversation to share, listen, and plan for the future.

Photo: Eden Village Camp

July 22 |
10:30 am ET

On 7/21 the Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust is hosting a Webinar: The Black Farmer Fund . This FBEN meeting invites farm-based educators who attended the webinar to gather and share reflections and implications for your work.

July 22 | 4 pm ET

This 1 hour workshop will look at white privilege, guided by Teaching Tolerance's Whiteness Project Activity. We'll watch their video clips of young, white people talking about how their race affects the way they move through the world. The questions that follow will help fortify our understanding of white privilege and inform ways we can talk about whiteness with colleagues and students.

Other Resources

July 8 | 12 - 2:30 PM

Join environmental and outdoor educators from Maine, New Mexico, and Colorado in an interactive virtual summit exploring the shifts occurring in environmental and outdoor learning at home, at school, and in our communities as a result of COVID-19.

Recorded Webinar

A panel of community organizers from across the US will discuss what abolition offers a path for our past, present and future.

A Youtube talk with Brother Eric Jackson, of the Black Yield Institute, Baltimore, MD

July 21 | 2:30 - 4:30 EST (registration opens July 7)

Host: Stephanie Morningstar, Coordinator, NEFOC Land Trust with guests: Karen Washington, Rise & Root Farm; Dennis Derryck, Corbin Hill Food Project. (On July 22, FBEN will host a reflection conversation for anyone who attended this webinar, to discuss implications for your work as a farm-based educator. Registration. )

A 2018 resource from Canada's National Collaborative Centre for Determinants of Health

From Canada's National Collaborative Centre for Determinants of Health

The resources below outline the potential for outdoor classrooms to provide much-needed, extra “classroom” space; allow for social distancing between students; and provide strategic and cost-effective tools for improving academic, mental and physical wellbeing as schools reopen.

Activity collection for the home or garden.

A valentine to generations of black farmers in the United States from the enslavement period to the present, whose intense love of the land and dedication to community enabled them to survive against overwhelming odds.

Published in Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly. Robin Huntley, a teacher at Juniper Hill School for Place-based Education in Maine, and David Sobel describe how a surging tick population inspired a class of third-graders to engage in a study of ticks!

Collection of 2500+ tools, research, tips, and designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve  racial equity.

Tools for exploring equity in the classroom.

Their 49th Annual Conference and Research Symposium will be held online, bringing an even broader diversity of participants from around the world than could have participated in person.

Offered through Sterling College, this online program recognizes that educational farms and gardens are complex entities to manage, regardless of mission, setting, or scale.
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