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Three leaders who are implementing innovations in food justice and sovereignty explore the connections between food, wellbeing, equity, social justice, community and more.
Alicia McAvay is the Executive Director of FRESH New London, a community farm and educational hub dedicated to building a just food system through community-based agriculture and youth empowerment. With a background in community organizing, Alicia spent two years coordinating FRESH’s Farm to School program before coming into leadership. As Executive Director, Alicia is responsible for every aspect of FRESH – from the big grants to the tiny worms. She wishes she could get into urban farm work more often, but enjoys the work of connecting families, community partners, and civic groups, to build momentum for food system change.
Delberta Frazier is a Native American Outdoor Classroom teacher at Umóⁿhoⁿ Nation Public School, located on the Omaha Indian Reservation of Nebraska. “We native people say we have to learn to walk in two worlds,” says Delberta. “The world of the non-natives and our traditional native custom life.” As an educator and change agent, Delberta teaches a nature-based education where the two worlds are combined to reclaim Indigenous wisdom and teach students skills to address community problems.
From the Santee Sioux Dakota tribe, Delberta has spent the majority of her life on federally recognized reservations. Delberta’s college degrees and success were achieved through education programs on Indian reservations, and her greatest teachings and wisdoms in the classroom come from her parents, grandparents and tribal medicine people. The native populations on reservations have experienced the highest rates of poverty, suicide, homicide and health risks in the country, all of which are physical manifestations of the historical trauma from genocide and colonization inflicted by the United States federal government. Delberta identifies as a survivor, an educator, a change agent, a Dakota woman and more.
Julie Garay considers herself as having grown up in the food justice movement. She started at FRESH New London as a Crew member at 14 years old during her freshman year of high school, worked her way up to Assistant Farmer, then Youth Organizer, and is now Senior Program Manager. She says: “By supporting the voices of youth and helping to grow the food put on families’ dinner tables, I am proud to say I am a part of growing (pun intended) a better sustainable future for New London.”