This fictionalized historical thriller interwoven with Hindi cultural meaning is a tribute to the approximately 250,000 people who lost their lives in the world’s worst, man-made dam disaster in 1975 in China. The story of the collapse of the Banqiao dam was not revealed to the world for over 15 years. With a toll worse than that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this film tells that story with The message: The same thing could happen elsewhere in the near future. Dam999, a fact worth waiting for. Past Presentation
The experimental short film ANSAGE ENDE is an artistic reflection on being engaged with the world. Combining fiction and documentary, music and text, this hybrid film calls for a collective and activist approach to the climate crisis. The visually stunning ANSAGE ENDE opens with an imaginative journey through an empty landscape where water meets land. Two characters walk through the mud, away from the viewer, into an open yet unknown future. They fantasize about what our rapidly developing world might bring and question their personal participation in this possible future. Slowly the film moves away from the imaginary into the real. Climate destruction becomes ghastly visible: huge machines in a brown coal mine eat up the soil, searching for energy and profit. Policemen and women enable sawers to cut down the neighboring forest for the expansion of the mine. Young activists occupy the trees, trying to stop the destruction of this primeval forest. Now Playing
The film follows an old Cod stuck in a drying pool in the Darling River outback Australia. Past Presentation
A sister fights all odds to take care of her younger brother, until things fall apart and she is left with no option but to sell her dignity to save him. Past Presentation
The Age of Stupid is the new four-year epic from McLibel director Franny Armstrong. Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite stars as a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, looking at old footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance? Past Presentation
GSLV Mark3 is a two point of view narration told from a girl and also the ISRO team who wants to launch their GSLV mark 3 satellite into space. There is a beautiful connection between the girl and the rocket which is about to launch. Past Presentation
Thirst – Daaham (India-subtitled, 4 min). Water Award Directed by Siva Nageswara Rao – Water is a precious resource which humanity should use responsibly. Our relationship with Nature should always be guided by reciprocity. Nature protects us all and we in turn should protect natural resources and be sympathetic to the needs of fellow human beings. Now Playing
Set over one summer in the shadows of Disney World. Precocious 6-year-old Moonee courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother. A striking picture of modern American poverty, but Mary Kaye Schilling (Newsweek) notes it pulses with “joy, life, and natural beauty.” Past Presentation
A dramatic thriller set in the complex world of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The story is anchored by a working class single Mother who goes on a journey to uncover the cause of her son's mysterious illness. Interwoven are the stories of an Organic farmer in danger of losing his farm, the CEO of a biotechnology corporation trying to save the world, two Scientists on the verge of a major discovery, and an exCop caught in the middle of it all. Past Presentation
Zack is more interested in the small world of his smart phone than the larger world around him. His online request for a roommate is answered by Molly, a tech-savvy dumbo octopus on a mission to tell the world about the importance of the deep ocean. Molly wants to use Zack’s apartment for her global communications headquarters, but Zack is skeptical. To win Zack over, Molly takes him to her deep ocean home in the Gulf of Mexico to see its unique features and diverse marine life, and to help him understand how human activities threaten its health. Past Presentation
When a corporate mining giant moves into a small coastal town looking for gold and talking about trickle down wealth some folks just aren't convinced. Now Playing
Some teenagers kidnap a kid in the forest and take him to their boss in a cottage. Now Playing
Kalpataru: (A wish-fulfilling, divine tree in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.) The story highlights the importance of environment conservation. An ordinary laborer loses his young adult son. Doctors attribute his son's untimely death to medical conditions exacerbated by pollution. The man connects the importance of good health to clean, pure air and takes it upon himself to plant trees in hopes of saving others from the same fate his son suffered. Witness a determined man's decades-long journey, fraught with obstacles, drama, and hope for a better future. Past Presentation
In the near future, the climate crisis reaches an irreversible point. A nun and a priest meet to talk about the disappearance of insects. Now Playing
A charismatic radio DJ in Hiroshima, is so disillusioned he wants to quit his job. The years have drained all the passion he had for speaking into a microphone and it's all he can do to turn up for work every day without being drunk. One day, the radio DJ saves a young girl who is about to fall off a bridge. This girl pleads with him not to leave radio because the radio helps connect people. But he doesn't believe her. But then a series of strange events that revolve around even stranger characters occur, and he is forced to a realization. The radio DJ start opening to the invisible connection between the radio and the people of Hiroshima in a magical way. Past Presentation
In the aftermath of climate catastrophe, a lonely former environmental activist invites three strange guests over for dinner. Past Presentation
After his father's death, Yusuf goes back to his village, which he has not been to for years, and learns that a geothermal company wants to buy his father's agricultural lands and drill a well. He wants to solve problems without disrespecting his father's memory, but things don't go as he hoped. Now Playing
Jeanne's last cutting tree site has been destroyed by environmental activists. While she tries to save some equipment, she ends up stuck on the first branch of a 30 meters high, centuries-old tree. Her only hope: to climb higher to find some network and call for help. Now Playing
Two friends live in the Qubaibah village Northwest of Al-Quds (Jerusalem).Those young men are forced to leave their daily life concerns after the water was cut off from their area two weeks ago by the Israeli occupation closing the feeding line.Those two characters go on a dangerous journey to an area close to their village to try to reach the water spring captured by the Israeli military occupation as they took over the land, sky, and air in Palestine. On their journey, some things happen that change the course of events with an unexpected end. Now Playing
An old couple are living in an apartment, the man is sleeping and the woman is doing housework. The lady wants to change the fishbowl’s water but it slips out of her hand and falls on the ground. They've ran out of water and there’s no water for the fish. But with the help of the man they find water. Now Playing
The main character, Young-eun, lives with her mother, a haenyo diver, in a fishing village on Jeju Island. She learns eco-friendly photography from her friend Seung-hwan, who is a beachcomber. One day, her mother gets caught in a discarded net submerged in the sea and drowns. Young-eun moves away from Jeju and returns two years later for her mother’s death anniversary. She decides to begin taking pictures of sea debris on beaches, and Seung-hwan leaves the island to find a giant floating trash island in the Pacific Ocean on a boat made of recycled materials. Now Playing
...more pollutants seep into the water as it travels further into the city, and Loblolly Park is a perfect example. Oil from cars, discarded trash, and animal waste from the roads, businesses, and apartments surrounding the park are swept up in the surface runoff. The runoff flows into the creek and contaminates the water.
Green Acre Park is an important stop along the creek’s journey and another example of how a community exists side by side with the natural resources that sustain it. For the residents that live near the park, and for the city of Gainesville as a whole, the protection and preservation of Hogtown Creek is vital to ensuring that future generations will have clean drinking water for years to come.
The spirit of a movement that sometimes reminds us of our young revolutionary self, who still believed that he:she could change the world. This green filmed documentary mirrors the global situation and the diversity of climate change related activism.6 continents, 3 dozen filmmakers, countless activists and seasoned scientists. It is not about just one person but about many who stand up. TripleF*** is a documentary on the global climate movement, containing material from six continents (North - and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Antarctica), filmed green by cooperating film teams on site. The topic of climate activism itself as a protagonist takes us on a global journey to activists' lives and forms a dialogue within. Why did so many young people became activists? What is life as an activist like, how do they deal with political stagnation, harsh criticism and even threats and why do they still continue? Very personal but not private - to protect the activists' privacy, sensitive topics are woven in as a fictional part. This is the first of 5 Episodes. In this episode, which also stands for itself as a midlength film, the history of climate change related activism is highlighted. In its core spirit of a holistic approach, the project is been realized similarly to its topic of the climate activists' movement: independent, global, green. Now Playing
Winged wonders get the spotlight in these new environmental books covering our relationship with nature. The post These Books Are for the Birds (and Bugs) appeared first on The Revelator.
In her last years, homebound during the bleak reign of Covid and suffering various maladies, Barbara Ehrenreich did what she always did: she organized an activist collective. This one was a bi-weekly Zoom study group with assorted comrades, such as former writing partners like myself, other sisters from feminism, a bunch of labor organizers, as […]
The streams near the trail pass through wetlands, which play a vital role in filtering out pollution from the water. Despite the sanitary start, the creek collects pollutants as it leaves the wetlands and flows further into the city. Runoff carrying chemicals, animal waste, and even trash seep into the creek as it travels, and these pollutants eventually end up in the aquifer, which Gainesville relies on for its drinking water.
At this year's RE:WIRED Green event, food scientists and environmental justice activists mapped out how we can end world hunger and preserve our planet.
It's become a global model of urban food sustainability
Dr. Ashley Gripper joins the Agents of Change in Environmental Justice podcast to discuss how gardening and farming increase community healing and personal agency in Black communities and beyond.Gripper recently received her Ph.D. from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, and her new position is assistant professor at Drexel University’s Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements, and Population Health Equity. She is also the founding organizer of Land Based Jawns. She also talks about the historical roots of Black farming, and centering her Philadelphia community in all of her research and work.The Agents of Change in Environmental Justice podcast is a biweekly podcast featuring the stories and big ideas from past and present fellows, as well as others in the field. You can see all of the past episodes here.Listen below to our discussion with Gripper, and subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher.Agents of Change in Environmental Justice · Ashley Gripper on growing food to fight systemic oppressionTranscriptBrian BienkowskiToday's guest is Dr. Ashley Gripper who recently received her PhD from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health and in her new position as assistant professor at Drexel University's boon to center on racism, global movements and population health equity. She is also the founding organizer of Land-based Jawns. Ashley is also a senior Agents of Change fellow. And before you listen to this podcast, I highly recommend you read her timeless essay "We don't farm because it's trendy, we farm as resistance for healing and sovereignty." The essay was by far our most read, our most shared, our most talked about from this program. And in this podcast she touches on many of the issues she talked about in the essay –about growing food as a tool to fight systemic oppression, and how gardening and farming hold spiritual and mental health benefits, and increases community healing and personal agency. Enjoy. So I am super excited to be joined by Ashley Gripper. Ashley, how are you doing today?Ashley Gripper I am fantastic. So you know, in this season of life, I'm leaning into rest and part of my rest this week has been binge-watching Stranger Things. So I'm coming right off of an episode, or actually, I didn't even finish an episode. I was like, "I gotta pause it." But yeah, I'm feeling good. And I'm trying to replenish after being in grad school for the past seven years.Brian Bienkowski Excellent. And we're gonna get all into that. But first, where are you today? Where are you coming at us from?Ashley Gripper I am in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That's my hometown. I'm in West Philly to be specific. And yeah, this is where I'm born and raised where my family is. And that's where I'm calling in from.Brian Bienkowski So you were part of our first cohort. And your essay, "We don't farm because it's trendy, we farm as resistance for healing and sovereignty", has been by far, our most read, our most shared, and our most discussed essay, it's not even close, to be honest. So I was wondering if you could just describe the response you got to the essay? What were some of the highlights? And how, if at all, Did it impact your work your career, your perspective, as you move forward after that?Ashley Gripper Yeah, that essay, the whole process, you know, I had no idea what was going to how that article was going to be received, or, you know, what the aftermath would be. And the response was overwhelming. So as you know, I started writing that article, early, early 2020. And then we were all set to try and release it, I think sometime in March or April (it got pushed back a little bit) but then my dad passed away. So you know, that further delayed it. And then when I was finally ready to come back to it and add the final touches, it ended up getting released just before George Floyd was murdered. So I think what was happening in the country, in the world at the time, you know, the pandemic, also, all of those things that were happening at the same time really kind of, I think, amplified the response. Because the article, you know, we talked a lot about self-determination, about resistance, of various forms of oppression, I talked about healing, the healing that agriculture offers, not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually. And it seemed to resonate with way more people than I anticipated. I, you know, I must have received dozens and dozens of emails of people, you know, just really just saying like, "this is great work, thank you for doing it." And then also the response on social media was unimaginable. I had folks who are who I'm close with come up to me and who are also like in the agricultural black food space, be like, "I saw your article pop up on this page and this page and this page." It was, like I said, like it was it was unexpected for me. I couldn't have anticipated that that would have been the response. But I think part of that... that was the response because I poured so much of my heart and my spirit into it and drew on my experience, you know, my dad's experience the Philadelphia experience the black farming experience, I poured all of that into the article. And it really, when I look back, I feel like that was a catalyst in so many ways for where I am now and being able to like, have done like, I think, since that article released, I must have done 30 to 40 invited talks. I've done, you know, NPR podcasts, I've done. I don't know, I've just done a lot. And a lot of people, I think a lot of that is because the response to the article and folks really resonating with what I had to say.Brian Bienkowski Well, I'm so happy to hear that. And we do hold it up as kind of a model example of "if you're going to talk about your research, and weave in your personal experience, and you threw in a whole bunch of history and historical perspective." It was just it was beautiful. And we really debated. I don't know if you remember this. I mean, we debated on timing. And as you said, I think it was ironically, given all the pain that was going on, it was kind of the perfect storm of the perfect timing to have, have it be released.Ashley Gripper Yeah. And I think a lot of what happened was people kind of felt themselves represented in a piece. And also it gave hope that like, hey, there is this, there's a way to like work through this. There's a way to hold each other. There's a way for us to care for ourselves and our community in the midst of, you know, so much tragedy. And here it here it is represented in this scientific, you know, blog or journal, what do you call it? What is EHN?, and I always get confused.Brian Bienkowski We're journalism.Ashley Gripper Yeah, you know, and I think that was... some of the responses that I saw that I really appreciated were like, just like, "yeah, that's what it is for us. You know, it's not about being trendy, is about what the power that comes from growing food." And I just think people saw themselves in this mainstream news media, and they, they felt a little bit of hope, maybe.Brian Bienkowski for sure. And the community you mentioned, so you are proudly from Philadelphia. I was wondering if you could tell me about when and how you became interested in this intersection of growing food there as a tool to fight systemic oppression? And what does that look like on the ground?Ashley Gripper Yeah. So the interest really started when I first finished undergrad. I ended up working at this small nonprofit called the Urban Nutrition Initiative in Philadelphia. And that was really my introduction to food justice work. And, you know, I'm learning more, I'm absorbing everything all of the materials that the organization has put together, but then the opportunity presented itself to attend the Black Farmers Conference. So I attended that conference, I believe, in 2013. And that year, the keynote speaker, I think I talked about this in my article, the keynote speaker was Dr. Monica White, who is the author of Freedom Farmers, and also a professor of environmental justice at University of Wisconsin-Madison. And that was, as she spoke, and kind of brought in the history of Black farming, particularly in the South, she weaved all of these concepts together for me, and it was really the first time that I saw growing food as power, growing food as freedom growing food as community. And that's kind of where – I think the seeds haD been planted years ago, I didn't know – But I think that's where the seeds, like were really watered And you know, the sun started to come out. And from then on, I kind of really, really dove into the work. And then even decided that, oh, I could go back to school for this and like, use my quantitative skills and research skills in a way that supports food justice movement work. Did I answer all of your question?Brian Bienkowski Well, I was wondering what it looks like, what does that look like on the ground? Talk about using using farming, using growing food as a tool to fight systemic oppression, which I I've seen you mentioned that before. So when you're out there, what what does that look like?Ashley Gripper Yeah, so my journey has been, it's been a diverse journey. So I started in the nonprofit kind of grassroots-ish space, transition into the academy. And while I was in grad school, throughout my time, I was always connecting with grassroots organizations, farming organizations, I was volunteering, trying to figure out how I can support this food council or how I can support you know, the agriculture plan for the city. So that's what it looked like while in the academy. But in 2020, there was also some, there was a lot that was happening in the world, but for me internally, so that is the year that I actually began to like, honestly kind of move full time into grassroots work and organizing and community building. And for me right now, what that looks like And what that's grown into is running this organization called Land-based Jawns that is a Philly-based organization that offers education and training to Black women and Black, non-binary and trans folks around gardening, safety and self defense, we do workshops on building and carpentry, so you know how to work with power tools, and also land-based living. So the whole focus of that work is around self and community healing, but also developing these real tactile skills that not only help us survive, but help us to thrive living in connection with the land. So for me, that's what the work looks like on the ground. There's also also do a good bit of policy and advocacy work with the city. We are just about to release the first urban agriculture plan for Philadelphia, there's a team of about six or seven of us that have been working on that for about three years now. And that, you know, that on the groundwork looks like making recommendations for how land gets distributed to growers, and how, you know, those growers are supportive once they have land and different things the city can implement in order to sustain the agricultural movement in the city. So that's just a little bit of what the on the ground work looks like, for me.Brian Bienkowski Can you explain what Land-based Jawns is? what does that name mean for us non-Philly folks?Ashley Gripper Yeah. So, you know, it's kind of, I mean, it's hard and easy to explain at the same time. Joawns is a word that has been around infinity for as long as I can remember. And it pretty much means everything and anything. So, you know, like, let's say you're sitting on a couch with your, your family, and the remote is across the room, you could be like, "Yo, throw me that jawn," you know, so, but also, there have been, you know, when I was in high school, and growing up, there have been so many, like, different uses of jawns, I remember that it was like the trend to refer to people as jawns, um, you know, or you be like, I'm a jawn, and that's the part that's a little bit hard to explain. But, you know, putting it together, I kind of first heard, you know... we were when I was at the annual retreat with National Black Food and Justice Alliance. I remember folks saying like, "Oh, we land-based people, land-based this, land-based that." And then, you know, that's kind of when I was like, Oh, what about land-based jawns? like, you know, to represent the Philly folks. So that's kind of how the name came to be.Brian Bienkowski Thank you for that. So since you have just finished up your PhD, I was wondering, so you, obviously have been doing this community-centered research approach for a while. And I was wondering if it created any challenges along the way, since this has not always been the case in traditional academia to to foster this kind of approach?Ashley Gripper Absolutely. The challenges were numerous. And most of my my biggest challenges were on the institutional side, not on the community side. I think since I already have such deep rootedness in my community, and trust there that there wasn't a whole lot of there weren't a whole lot of challenges on that side. But along the way, there were there were people who just didn't understand the vision didn't understand the approach or didn't necessarily agree with the approach or think the approach was necessary to do the research, particularly in public health. I think there's this hyper focus on like quantitative methods. And you know, is like study design controlling for, like, we need to control for all of the things so that we can isolate this particular exposure. And that way of thinking is really, like antithetical to the work that I do in the community and also academically. I think that... I think that there's an issue, there's a... how do I say this? So I know that that approach, you need to do research in that way for certain things – like let's say we're talking about diseases, infectious diseases, things like that – But for understanding health and understanding health holistically, I think that we need to be careful with how we try to parse out exposures. So what I really was trying to do was push my school, my department to be able to look at what's happening holistically: Okay, so urban agriculture is not just farming, it's not just the physical act of farming. It's also the the building of community, it's also skills building and job training, it's having your hands literally in the soil and the potential microbes that you're being exposed to. There's so many things that are related to agriculture, that can impact health. And I, my goal was not to like, figure out what, you know, what is the most impactful thing? Or what's one thing? How does one specific thing impact, you know, your outcome for this thing. So there was a lot of, I had, what I had to do is like, bring my school, bring my department along to understand what it is I was trying to do, and why I was not focusing necessarily on physical health, but instead mental health, spirituality, and agency, you know, in a public health program, there are some sometimes they're like, well, agency, what does that have to do with health? And then for me, I'm like, what doesn't agency have to do with health?Brian Bienkowski So can you expand about that a little bit. So both in your research and on the ground, it ties in more than just the nutritional aspects. So it's the spiritual to mental health, it's, as you mentioned, community healing, personal agency. Can you talk about how these are connected to food growing? you mentioned this a little bit. And perhaps some examples of how you've seen this in the communities you worked in, or maybe for yourself.Ashley Gripper Yeah, so. So what I did, I'll just, I'll talk to you a little bit through my dissertation, because I think that the speaks to how I looked at these things. So in my first paper, I did a spatial analysis, looking at where community gardens and urban farms in Philadelphia are located in relationship to neighborhood demographics. So that paper, or that article, also involves a lot of historical analysis and historical review of what's happened in the country with Black farmers, what's happened in the city with urban growers and Black growers, and what's happened in the city with gentrification. So what I was what I saw, and what I found is that neighborhoods, that will black neighborhoods tend to have higher concentrations of community gardens, poor neighborhoods in the city tend to have concentrations of community gardens. And when you look at neighborhoods that are both Black and have higher concentrations of low-food access, they tend to have more community gardens as well. And this analysis was non-causal and non-temporal, but it seems to align with what community members have said, and that is that, you know, as neighborhoods are extracted from, as the resources are pulled out, community members come together to provide food for themselves, to care for themselves and to heal themselves. And I think what that first paper showed was that hmm, you know, even though this is non-causal, this does seem to affirm what folks have already said. So, in that paper, I was trying to start to build a case for collective agency and like how this is such an impactful, a big, I guess, product of urban agriculture, Black urban agriculture, too. And then the second paper, I was like, I need to ask people, I need to go directly to the people who are growing food and understand what they think the impacts are, instead of trying to say, these are the impacts based on like the literature that I've read. So that involves a series of focus groups with Black and white urban farmers in the city asking about the impacts like what they thought the impacts were on their health, holistically, spiritually, mentally, physically, and also what they thought the impacts were on community. And there were four major themes that emerged across those six focus groups. And that was that agriculture, urban agriculture, helps facilitate body and mind wellness, urban agriculture helps to deepen spirituality and spiritual relationships in the land. Urban agriculture is a demonstration of agency and power. And the last and biggest theme that appeared across the focus groups was urban agriculture is a demonstration of care and relationship building. So you know, though, as those themes started to emerge, I was like, "Oh, this all makes sense to me as somebody who who is a grower in the city." Then I started to transition that into a final paper and research project. And my goal with that project was to develop a scale that measures all of these things for urban Ag. Community. So through that work, and drawing on the themes from the focus group, drawing on Monica White's theoretical framework, and drawing from my own experience in interpersonal conversations, I was able to develop a scale that measures something called agricultural community power. So that's kind of like how an agricultural community power. And it encompasses land-based spirituality, it encompasses health and well-being, it encompasses community care and relationship building, as well, as well as a concept called Ubuntu, which means "I am because we are" and it's about the interdependence of humanity. So that scale and the focus group and the first paper honestly, is how I attempted to really understand the impacts of urban ag on spirituality, mental health and collective agency.Brian Bienkowski Just curious, when you talk to people that that spoke to you for this, was this something that they had consciously thought about? Or did you kind of spur this thinking like, oh, yeah, this this activity does make me feel good. It does connect me to my neighbors? Or was that something you think was already kind of top of mind?Ashley Gripper I think it was a mix. So there were some people who, who came in, like, you know, and had really beautiful answers about how agriculture, like growing food was the first time that they like, for instance – I talked about this in the paper – there was one person who said that they never felt more, I guess more resilient, more confident, more grounded, in terms of their mental health, than they did when until they were growing food. And they compared, they were like, "oh, you know, I've been on medications, I've been in therapy. But growing food, by far has been the most impactful thing for my mental health." And that person had a very, like, clear answer. So you could tell like, this person had been thinking about these things. And then there were some people who were like, you know, I've never participated, or I've never... like younger folks, for instance, there was one person who I think maybe it was like, 20. It was like, "Yeah, I just love it. And I don't always think about it in these ways. But as I'm hearing these, like other people in the focus groups share, it's making me realize that it does these things for me as well." And I think that's part of the beauty of the focus group is that you, you know, sometimes we don't always have the words to articulate what it is we're feeling, thinking, or experiencing. And then in the focus group setting, sometimes people can, like offer an articulation of a concept that we are familiar with. Yeah, so that's, uh, it was, it was definitely a mix. There were some people, there were a lot of people who are like, "Yeah, we think about these things all the time." You know, there were like analogies of like, "when I see dragonflies that reminds me of my mother" or "when dragonflies come to me, that is my mother literally coming to me and speaking to me." So there were like, there was definitely a range of like how in depth people had engaged with these questions and ideas before the focus groups.Brian Bienkowski So to blow this up a little bit in your essay, you mentioned how discriminatory and predatory practices led to Black farmers and families losing I believe it was over 12 million acres in the US since 1920 over the last century. So can you kind of briefly outline the ways – I know this is a big question – but the ways in which this could and should be reversed or remedied, and if you're seeing any movement on that front?Ashley Gripper Yeah, that is a big question. Um, yeah, reverse. I mean, whole this a whole thing... This is such a such a complex question, I think. So the first thing that comes to mind is supporting Black farmers and Black folks who currently have land to maintain and retain that land. So you know, I'm going through a situation in my family where I recently discovered that we have a lot of acreage of land. And it's, it's, you know, once it falls in the heirs property, it gets so much more complicated on how to keep the land what to do with it. So, you know, it's programs and support available to folks who are trying to hold on to their land and keep it and though some of those programs exist, not enough of them do. One program or legislation, I guess, that was brought up to help with that is the Justice for Black Farmers act. And the Justice for Black Farmers Act, as far as I know, was about helping Black farmers keep land, helping new farmers get land and there's like a third bucket that I'm forgetting. So you know, I'm not sure where that is. But I know that... I think there was some judge somewhere who maybe shot it down there. I don't know where that is. But I know there has been some controversy around the Justice for Black Farmers Act for sure. On the more local level, which I think is, you know, sometimes the easier way to affect change. And what we've been doing in Philadelphia is really... Sorry, let me slow down. We've been working on the urban agriculture plan. And there's a lot of language in there about helping people to get land. And we've also been doing organizing around sheriff sale and US Bank liens. So there are a lot of active community gardens in the city that are run by Black and Brown folks that are on lots that were neglected and overgrown and uses dump sites. And these farmers and growers transform those lots. But what ens up happening is that since those properties and many times were tax delinquent, they got sold, and were a part of the US.... Now they have US Bank liens on them. And the US Bank lien or the US, I'm not sure of the who who is doing what, but I know a lot of those lots are being threatened right now. So there is concern that the people who have maintained those lots for 5, 10, 15, 20 years, may lose them because they don't have the deeds or the property rights. So we're doing a lot of organizing around that, we're working with several City Council folks. And when I say we're, I'm part of a Food Policy Advisory Council in the city, and also Soil Generation. And Soil Generation is a coalition of Black and Brown growers doing advocacy and policy work, among other things around farming and agriculture. So that's kind of a little bit of what's happening on the local level. And, you know, in terms of like, how to reverse, you know, land loss and land theft truthfully, that's a big question. And it's one that I don't think, you know, I don't think anybody has a complete answer to. But, uh, you know, there's also talk of reparations and how reparations can support folks to get land, or hold onto land. And I think what it requires is, is more like collective organizing, and community organizing around these issues, and also political education around these issues. And a lot of people just don't even know, you know, or don't understand the importance and the power, and the self-determination that comes from being able to have land and grow food on on your own land.Brian Bienkowski So in keeping with this theme of the big questions, I neglected to ask you something, I've been asking everybody on the podcast, to this point, which is what is a moment or event that shaped your identity, it can be personal, professional.Ashley Gripper Yeah, shaped identity, the first one that comes to mind is kind of, like, two events. But both related is, you know, I think about the passing of my mom, when I was in college, my senior year of college, that definitely shaped a lot of who I am, and the ways that I think about grief and relationships. And the second is the passing of my dad, which happened, you know, two years ago. And I, you know, this now, I feel like almost a completely different person, because of what I've had to learn, what I had to experience and the ways that I had... the ways that I was grown, that I was stretched and, you know, had to, I think to work through both of those deaths because my, my dad's death brought up a lot of grief that I didn't deal with from my mom's stuff. I had to go inward, and I had to go through a lot of therapy and go to the land honestly, the big part of how I ended up as an actual grower was because after my dad passed, a good friend of mine was like you need to come be on the farm with us. And there were so many lessons that I learned from the land, and the bees and the you know, the earthworms and all of the light that is within the farm that has transformed who I am and changed the way I think about you know, my relationship with other people, to change the way I think about interdependence and Ubuntu, and also change the way I think about our connection and responsibility to the Earth.Brian Bienkowski Thank you so much for that. It's really, really beautiful. So you have grown in more ways than just that you are, Congratulations on your new position at Drexel.Ashley Gripper Thank you.Brian Bienkowski And what does it mean to you to continue your work in your hometown of Philadelphia? And what do you hope to do there?Ashley Gripper Yeah, so for those who don't know, I was recently appointed as a tenure track assistant professor at Drexel School of Public Health, specifically with the Ubuntu center on racism, global movements and population health equity. And my appointment is primary in the community health and prevention department and secondary appointment and environmental and occupational health. I'm excited to span two departments and centers because I think my work is so interdisciplinary that it touches on so many different things. And I talked to you earlier about how I don't like the silos, I don't like how we're like, we got to isolate this exposure. And, you know, my work really is like, drawing on sociology, is drawing on epidemiology, environmental health is all of these things. And I think that honestly, Drexel feels like the perfect place to continue to do the work the way that I want to do it, the way that I think is most impactful for communities. And the fact that it's in Philadelphia, you know, that's just the icing on the cake. And the truth be told, I didn't look, I wasn't applying to positions outside of Philadelphia, like this is where I wanted to be. And the, you know, the center itself, very focuses on the interdependence of people, it's on Ubuntu, it's on, you know, how is your humanity wrapped up in my humanity, and by extension, your well-being wrapped up in my well-being. So I really appreciate the community center and collective approaches the Ubuntu Center has, and I think it's the perfect place to allow me to, to, I don't know, I'm like, I'm in this stage of like, brainstorming and visioning. But I have this vision of, you know, trying to do academic community partnerships differently. They, you know, institutions in Philadelphia, specifically, but other places have been really harmful to communities. And I am like, okay, how can we leverage the resources that the university has to do what the community wants and the community's needs. And not only that, not what we think the community needs, but what community members say they need. So I'm like envisioning the center, I'm like, what that looks like, I'm talking to my friends and comrades about how the work I do at the university can be impactful and align with what they're doing on the ground, and then also holding the truth that I'm both in the university and on the ground, right. So yeah, just like doing a lot of brainstorming about that. And I think that, I think that where I'm going to be is strategically the best place to do that kind of work in the way that I want to do it.Brian Bienkowski Excellent. You've spoken so beautifully today about the power of growing food and digging in the dirt. What would you, what would you tell somebody in a city or otherwise, but maybe especially in a city, who has never grown a thing? Who was interested in this and just maybe wants to get started in some way? What would what would you tell them?Ashley Gripper That's a great question. And I don't even know if you know that I did this thing. But I would tell them to go to Coursera. And type in Black agricultural solutions to food apartheid, I did this extensive teach out as an introductory level for people who want to learn more about growing food particular in the city. I talked about the history, I talked about some of the research, but then at the end is really hands on, like, here's how you actually grow a thing, and here's how you don't just grow a thing for the sake of growing a thing, but actually build a relationship with the plants and the soil. So I would definitely recommend if you're interested in like just getting started, check that out. Because I also talk about how to do it in a city and how to reclaim a vacant lot and you know, use that for the purposes of supporting your community. So yeah, that is called again, it's on Coursera that's c o u r s e r a, I think that .com or .org. And the Teach-out itself is called Black Agricultural Solutions to Food Apartheid.Brian Bienkowski perfect, I did not know that.Y ou had a ready made answer. The materials are out there. So actually, this has been so much fun. And now I have some I have some light-hearted questions. So before my last question, I have three rapid-fire questions where you can just answer with one word, or a quick phrase just quick in-and-out. So the first one is an album or artist I've been listening to lately isAshley Gripper Ah, I'll give you one song: Jamila Wood's "Holy."Brian Bienkowski The best vegetable to eat right after picking it isAshley Gripper Sungold cherry tomatoesBrian Bienkowski Cats or dogs?Ashley Gripper Actively create trying to build a home that is will support a dog. Yeah, so my partner and I are planning to get a dog in a couple of months. So we're like trying to figure that out.Brian Bienkowski Yes, it's a commitment. We have a new pup from the shelter who's being very, very sweet today, but they can be a challenge. They can definitely be a challenge. So Ashley, what is the last book that you read for fun?Ashley Gripper For fun? Come on. Now, you know, I just finished a PhD. Um, for fun, I'm still working my way through "Children of Virtue and Vengeance," is the second book in the Children of Blood and Bones series. That's my kind of like fiction book. And the last book I opened. That I opened for like free-time fun is called "Of Water and Spirit," I believe, and it's by Malidoma Patrice Somé, who is, uh, I think – I might get this wrong– I think he might be from the Congo. But the book is about like spiritual practices connecting to land and how that has African origins despite... how that is inherently African, despite kind of like, you know, more Western religious trying to encourage people to separate from those traditional practices.Brian Bienkowski Awesome. So Ashley, this has been so much fun. You were you were the last fellow I had to track you down. And you were frankly, one of the ones I was most excited, excited to speak to. So thank you so much for doing this today.Ashley Gripper Absolutely. Brian, this was awesome. Thank you.Brian Bienkowski All right. That's all for this week, folks. I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Ashley. I know I did.
Many Coca-Cola products across the U.S. now proudly display their 100 percent recycled content labels and ask consumers to recycle them again. In the past months, two beverage behemoths have been showered with media attention for their big announcements about plastic bottle recycling. Sprite, a Coca-Cola brand, dominated food and beverage news and social media for […] The post Op-ed: Is There Plastic in Your Soda? Beverage Companies Must Go Beyond Recycling appeared first on Civil Eats.
To maintain our role as a global food bowl, Australia has to keep innovating in agricultural technology.
Our team is always growing.
Become a partner, volunteer, sponsor, or intern today.
Let us know how you would like to get involved!