At DC Greens, we believe that in order to develop effective solutions for food justice in our city, we must invest in building the power and leadership of people who are experiencing the brunt of the problems. We also recognize that there are many barriers that prevent people from participating in the decision-making process that shape their lives, their city, and their food.
The Community Advocates training program seeks to address some of those barriers by uplifting the importance of community voice in those decision-making spaces and equipping D.C. residents who experience food injustice with the tools, connections, skills, and information they need to build power in their communities and create the change they want to see.
The primary goal of the Community Advocates training program is to build the power of communities most impacted by food injustice to affect food policy at the city level. Each program cohort is open to 6-8 participants who have a lived experience of food insecurity in the District. The program runs for six months. Participants meet twice a week for two hours each session during the first half of the program, and once a week for the second half. All Community Advocate trainees are paid hourly for their time.
Program components include:
DC Budget training→ Community Advocate trainees learn about the annual budget calendar, city council and committee structure, DC Greens’ advocacy history, and short-term advocacy goals. This helps them better understand how to craft their own testimony and budget demands.
Food Justice curriculum→ Community Advocate trainees identify the world of food justice issues. Learn about the industrialized food system, sustainability, the grocery gap, food deserts, and food apartheid, among other topics.
Spokesperson training→ Community Advocate trainees build skills for speaking with people who are less knowledgeable about food justice issues.
Community Organizing training→ Community Advocate trainees learn power analysis and acquire tools for outreach to their community.
Testifying at city budget hearings→ Advocates were able to secure $1.2 million for Produce Plus in the FY18 city budget!
Participating in public meetings→ In 2017, Community Advocate trainees participated in meetings held by the DC Food Policy Council, Ward 7 Health Alliance, ANCs, a number of other bodies, evaluating, and giving feedback.
Outreach Support for a number of community events and trainings.
“Until this program, I always wanted to be involved, but I never knew where to go. Sometimes I would get to a meeting but I didn’t understand what everyone was talking about. Now I feel like I can speak for poor people in these spaces.” ~ Community Advocate, cohort 1
For more information, contact Asha Carter.
This program is funded in part by a grant from Voices for Healthy Kids a partnership between the American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.