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March Newsletter
March 31st, 2022
"– and all we can do is mitigate that tragedy with dignity."
Dear Farmstand Friends,

I wish that my position as a food access coordinator did not have to exist. I wish that food access work in general did not have to exist, because that would mean that every individual could obtain their basic human right: an adequate amount of nourishing food. Instead, more than one in ten people living in King County are currently experiencing food insecurity.

When I reflect on the various ways that our organization is involved in food access work, it feels paradoxically rewarding and upsetting. It’s rewarding to know that the highest quality product from an amazing network of producers is getting to such deserving individuals, and it’s rewarding to work alongside many committed partners. Yet it’s upsetting to confront the disproportional impacts of food insecurity on communities of color, women, and children, and to grapple with the structural and societal barriers that cause food insecurity in the first place.

I frequently turn to leaders in our region and across the U.S. (and world) who confront work that can be heartbreaking, infuriating, and challenging with unmatched joy, passion, and drive for true Community liberation. Today, I get to share the work of a few of these leaders.
Alimentando al Pueblo
Roxana Pardo Garcia (pictured above) is the project lead and co-founder of Alimentando al Pueblo, an organization in South King County that promotes healing through community, food, and celebration. Roxana graciously shared some important insights and reflections on her work:
How would you describe your leadership style? What makes a good community leader?
My leadership style is intuitive, intentional and purposeful. I am guided by the knowledge of my Community, family, and Ancestors – and what is at the root of my work is heart and humanity. I think what makes a good leader is the capacity and ability to hold nuance and be accountable when we make mistakes.
What inspires you to do this work?
My anger for the injustices that my Community faces inspires me to do this work – I know often times we are not inspired by anger because anger has been othered as an emotion we shouldn’t honor and I have learned to honor my anger with creativity, innovation and a deep love for my Community.
What is a challenge you face while engaging in food access work? What barriers in our food system (and/or society) are contributing to food insecurity in the first place?
Since we are so new to this realm of work, a challenge is securing recurring, long term funding for our food pantry – especially funds that sustain our ability to purchase food wholesale from local Latinx owned grocery stores and farmers. The legacies of colonialism – white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy and human supremacy – all contribute to food insecurity. As an elder shared with me, the fact that we need food banks / food support in one of the most well-resourced countries on the planet, is an absolute tragedy – and all we can do is mitigate that tragedy with dignity.
Above: Photos from box packing and pick-up featuring another AAP co-founder, Sandra Simarra. 
With input from Roxana and her Community, we curate, source, portion, and pack weekly food boxes for Alimentando al Pueblo. Roxana ensures that the items in the boxes are foods specific and relevant to Latinx cultures-- foods that will be known, used, and enjoyed by box recipients. In turn, we've been able to support small Latinx-owned businesses and farmers, like Gonzalez Farm and Milpa Masa (pictured bottom-left, Perla delivers her stone-ground corn tortillas so fresh, they are still warm)!
Here are ways to get connected/involved with Alimentando al Pueblo:
Donate     Take Action     Learn More     Instagram     Facebook
Log In Here to Shop!
Plant Based Food Share
Ariel Bangs (pictured above) is the founder and executive director of Plant Based Food Share. She is also a dedicated mama, chef, small business owner, cultural anthropologist, and community activist. Ariel started Plant Based Food Share (PBFS)-- a free weekly fresh food distribution org-- during the beginning of the pandemic. She saw how food insecurity was increasing disproportionately among individuals in her community and decided to do something about it.
Ariel describes her leadership style as "a mixture between a coach, a visionary, and transformational leadership." She encourages others to be community leaders, too, and highly values the role of communication, asking questions, and empathy in good leadership.
Some of the big challenges associated with her work with PBFS is the unpredictability of funding and ensuring they have consistent volunteers to support their demand. The seasonality of local farming is also a challenge, as PBFS works hard to intentionally support local farmers year-round.
Ariel is inspired by a desire to create widespread community health through food. She is inspired by the variety of foods that are available here, and by the ways that food connects people to safety, to belonging within their community, and to healing of the body and soul.
Above: Photos from PBFS box packing and operations. PBFS team member photos from their Instagram.

Similar to Alimentando al Pueblo, we work with Ariel on a weekly basis to curate and pack food boxes that are incorporated into their ongoing distribution, which operates from our warehouse on Sundays and Mondays. Plant Based Food Share serves residents all over Seattle, with a focus on African American, African, Latinx, and Indigenous communities. PBFS also provides home deliveries, recipes, and plant starts to their box recipients, among other aspects of holistic food access work.

Here are ways to get connected/involved with Plant Based Food Share:
Donate     Volunteer     Learn More     Instagram     Facebook  
The Biggest Thanks to We Feed WA
Weekly food box curation and distribution to the above community partners has been made possible thanks to a pilot program through the WSDA called We Feed WAThis program acknowledges the gaps in the current federal emergency food assistance programs, and seeks to provide resources directly to community partners who have the ability to address and fill those gaps. It also has an objective of increasing the economic viability of food producers in Washington State. We Feed WA is led by another incredible leader: Jessica Hernandez. Below are some reflections from Jessica:
“As a small farmer of Latinx descent myself, the We Feed WA pilot food program is especially close to my heart. It’s truly an honor to be a part of weaving equity throughout this state-wide pilot. Together, we do this by working to make fresh, Washington-grown produce more readily available not only for underserved and underrepresented communities, but also by supporting underrepresented farmers and producers by prioritizing them where possible as the vendors for this body of work.”
We're so thankful to Jessica for all of her work on making this program possible, and to community leaders like Roxana and Ariel for their commitment to providing dignified, culturally-specific, nourishing food for all. Our world needs more leaders like this!
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