We can go on and on about the amazing work Tanya Fields has been doing in The Bronx since moving here 13 years ago but I’ll let you read her story below. After you read her story please do NOT forget to donate to this amazing project. Even if it’s $1.00 and you share this with your friends, we can easily help them reach their goal. That’s just $1.00 to help create change.
Who we Are
My name is Tanya Fields, I moved to the South Bronx by way of gentrified Harlem in 2002 with a small child working my way through college while also working in the corporate sector to put food on the table for my kid. In 2004 my second daughter developed chronic asthma and I noticed that my waistline was increasing. I realized I needed to make a change in our lifestyles. But what I quickly found out was it was difficult in a community with few resources and a crap load of disparities. I didn’t know what to do. Luckily, in 2006 I found Mothers on the Move and my life of activism and social justice began. Within the year I dropped my corporate job became an organizer with a local community organization and began to try to figure out the best way I could create a world for women like me. In my journey as a mom I realized that if you are low income or working class it seemed like the world wanted to penalize you for “not doing it the right way”. Social service centers left you with little dignity, child care was expensive, continuing your education and entering the career you wanted often seemed downright impossible. My experience and my growing analysis around systems of oppression lead me to want to explore the intersections between gender inequality, poverty and food access. In 2009 working with several reputable community organizations and recognizing the growing food access needs in the South Bronx I started the BLK Projek.
Strawberries at a local grocery store…no seriouslyThe BLK Projek is a radical women led organization that aims to create economic development opportunities for low-income women of color harnessing the local & good food movement and political education. In 2013 with funding from the Simon Bolivar, Jesse Noyes and Claneil Foundations and our first Indiegogo campaign we were able to rehab a bus for The South Bronx Mobile Market, we ran a pilot project including a buying club and we were able to secure a license to turn a city owned lot into an urban farm – the Libertad Urban Farm.
Our bus providing cage free, organic eggs to the folks of Mott HavenAnd for all intents and purposes 2014 was pretty epic. The bus acted as an impetus for community building with us conducting cooking demos, South Bronx Food Justice & Toxic tours and nutrition education. Our food access pilot program including a buying club serviced over 200 folks in the South Bronx and we have started the beginning phases of building our urban farm including registering it with GreenThumb. In February 2014 we were featured in the New York Times! And it is critical that people in the community see people from the community leading and stewarding these types of efforts.
What We Need & What You Get
This year’s Indiegogo will help us take the plans from last year and actually put them in place, gutting and renovating the inside of the bus. The bus would now include:
- Two refrigerators
- One deep freezer
- Two vitamixes
- A storage closet
- A small seating area
- About 40-45 custom made produce boxes
- Adequate shelving to hold those boxes
- A canopy
- And a lift in the back for loading and people with mobility issues
- A new gate
- Lumber for raised beds
- Materials to continue community outreach (fliers, food for meetings and stationary)
- Seeds and seedlings
- Help from small farm designers
- A stipend for an intern to manage the projects
- Some overhead such as web hosting, newsletter blasts and internet service, appropriate permits including the food handler’s license for our bus driver (a wonderful community resident named Iv who currently volunteers with us and whom we could PAY with your donations!)
A long time community resident volunteer who farms, educates and DRIVES the bus!
Your investment in this project will help our community, one that is continuing to face real challenges around food access and economic development gain the resources to help remedy those issues ourselves. It helps to send a message that people from their own communities can help to get access to the resources to change their community. It will help to get GOOD food on the table of hard working but under-resourced folks and help make the world a more equitable place one table at a time. On a more micro level it will help make the BLK Projek, a new organization with limited resources a more successful organization. We have already done so much with just a little bit imagine how much more we can do!
Other Ways You Can Help
If you can’t contribute there are other ways you can help:
- Get the word out and make some noise about our campaign. Tweet about it at least twice a day. Share it on Facebook! Email it to folks who believe in the power of kick ass women, gender equity, food justice or who just really like you!
- Get in touch with us regarding volunteer opportunities! We always need help distributing fliers, making calls, child care at meetings and getting the farm ready for next years growing season. Just let us know…we would love to have you!
And that’s all there is to it.
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