Efforts for the future

Work to keep the Alliance moving forward, rather than standing still, have always been unfolding. They have led us to Washington DC to talk with the USDA. They’ve sent some of us to Portland, OR to talk with academics about how we do what we do and why it matters. They have kept us talking to one another through a global pandemic, planning new ways to connect and have fun together while we work to feed our neighborhoods. Now, they look toward the changes in our environment, weather, and climate. How can we, with our hands in the dirt, make a difference in this global phenomenon?

Strawberries at work

Well, it isn’t easy. It isn’t easy to feed entire neighborhoods, to gather communities with the promise of fresh veggies, or to get adults in power to hush and listen to teens who know what they’re talking about. We have done hard things well for years. Now, we can lean on some help to do other, equally important, hard things.

Our state has a variety of conservation offices. The structure of conservation in CT is more challenging to follow than in other states because we don’t rely on county government structures, so we don’t have the level of leadership that usually managed conservation in other states. Despite this added layer of challenge, our conservation offices are apparently all staffed and managed by Really Good People with a deep drive to make this world a better one for young folks and their eventual children, even several generations beyond what we can imagine today. I mention the conservation offices because they are working to partner with the Alliance to make our work that much stronger, and that much easier for others to do in their cities.

The mural in Grow Hartford’s old space

In the Colonial era, George Washington called Connecticut “the provision state”. Our cities are built on soil that experiences rising rivers, which bring rich silty soil onto land for us to grow healthy, vibrant crops (source can be found here). Today, those cities play host to Alliance programs where urban agriculture offers experiences and our programs offer knowledge about systems that tie participants’ lives to the future, to possibility, and to power to make changes. Conservation offices are keen to learn about how we do what we do, and how we can utilize practices that will make urban agriculture even more sustainable than it already is. How can we manage pests that we’ve never encountered until it started getting warmer here, without damaging our crops, land, customers, or neighbors? How can we manage water so we don’t rinse away our topsoil? How can we maximize our growing season without using fossil fuels to heat our hoop houses? Conservation offices will help us to find answers to these and other, related questions in the next few years.

To make sure that we’re moving in the direction we want to move, accomplishing the goals we want to accomplish and not spinning our metaphorical wheels, we’ll have some surveys and interviews to manage. Your voices, Alliance participants, will tell us if we’re making the right connections, or if there are things we are failing at. Have the difficult conversations when they need to be had. Your wisdom and expertise is key to making this work the way we all want it to. You know more than you think!

Published by ctyouthfoodalliance

The youth contingent leading CT's quest for justice in the food systems of our state.

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