CSA; commUNITY Supported Agriculture
The CSA was a creation of Ancestor Booker T. Whatley and all of his work and wisdom bestowed upon us to continue a legacy of small and regenerative farming, soil regeneration, biodiversity and more.
“...The clientele membership club is the lifeblood of the [farm]. It enables the farmer to plan production, anticipate demand, and, of course, have a guaranteed market. The farmer has to seek out people—city folks, mostly—to be members of the club. The annual membership fee, $25 per household, gives each of those families the privilege of coming to the farm and harvesting produce at approximately 60 percent of the supermarket price...one of these 25-acre farms should be able to support 1,000 member families, or around 5,000 people…[The farm] should be located within 40 miles of some metropolitan center; that's pretty much a prerequisite for setting up one of these farms…”
-Booker T. Whatley
"There's nothing that heals the soul more than a home-cooked meal made with ingredients you are familiar with , and prepared by the hands of people who look like you."
-Paul O. Mims
Box of Resilience Program
For 21 weeks BIPOC families in Southern Vermont receive a free box of organically grown, culturally relevant veggies, medicinal herbs and other goodies from local VT businesses. You will also have access to free cooking, harvesting, medicine making classes and commUNITY gardening rituals.
These boxes are no cost to you...but this isn't a gift or some charity. This is your birthright. We believe that food and housing should be considered birth rights and not something that you work for. Your ability to work or not work should not impact your access to life giving food. This is something that the earth provides abundantly for each and everyone of us in exchange for a loving and caring relationship with earth.
Our hope is that this year we will be able to provide 26 boxes to BIPOC families in the Brattleboro area and surrounding towns including (Dummerston, Guilford, Vernon, Newfane, and Putney...and VT towns within a 20 mile radius to Brattleboro). We have volunteer drivers who drop food off each week and we also have the option of picking your food up at the farm.
For our first year, we will be piloting this project at the Retreat Farm in Brattleboro until we have a land based location. All of our cooking classes and earth based rituals will take place here.
Reverence to our elders
The Box of Resilience program is one way we honor our ancestors and elders while continuing to center their legacies, wisdoms, and the ways they have always cared for each other despite all odds and intentional systematic state sanctioned violence.
In January of 1969 The Black Panther Party launched afree breakfast for school children program at an Episcopal Church in Oakland, CA. Within weeks the program went from feeding a few kids to hundreds of children. The schools these children went to shared great reports of children being more present and engaged in school. There was no more falling asleep, crying, and experiencing cramps and other pains as this was the first time many of these children were able to have access to breakfast.
Though this program had great health outcomes and built positive change for people of color, the FBI did not support or condone the idea of Black people healing from state sanctioned violence, police brutality, and systematic oppression via the love, reverence, and deep care of Black and Brown people.
FBI head J. Edgar Hoover hated this effort and the Black Panther Party and declared war on them. He called the program "potentially the greatest threat to efforts by authorities, and to neutralize the BPP and destroy what it stands for". He then gave the green light to law enforcement to destroy it. FBI agent's went door to door telling parents that the BPP would teach their children racism, that the food was filled with venereal diseases, he sanctioned law enforcement to go into the churches these programs were happening in places like Baltimore and Oakland where police officers broke into the churches, mashed up the food, and urinated on it. The WIC program and many other white led initiatives also came to be as strategic efforts to dismantle BPP and make sure that credit for free breakfast programs would be attributed to white led organizations.
Because of the radical actions of The Black Panther Party over 14.57 million children are able to access free school breakfast programs. We are deeply grateful for the incredible programs and offerings that have been created by Black and Brown people and we feel honored to be able to continue these legacies and highlight what this means for us and our people. Our Box of Resilience program is one of the ways that we center BIPOC joy, safety, nourishment, and resist these same systems of oppression that continue to perpetuate violence and harm on our people through food, police brutality, housing, and many other ways. This program is inspired by the work of many of our ancestors and is a culmination of the wisdoms and teachings passed down to us from ancestors like Booker T. Whatley, George Washington Carver, Huey P. Newton, Fannie Lou Hamer, and more.