FINYS Statement of Solidarity
The Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS) team would like to express our collective outrage and grief over the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Oluwatoyin Salau, as well as the thousands of Black lives taken in our country as part of a legacy of racial injustice. We actively stand against racism of any kind, especially the anti-Black racism that is the historical foundation of our nation.
We understand that racism is deeply embedded in both the agricultural and educational systems that FINYS works within. Despite having a long history of agricultural knowledge and expertise, only .5% of farmland in the United States is owned by Black farmers, and many Black and Brown communities face daily inequities in access to healthy, nutritious, and local foods. We also acknowledge that many schools within Black and Brown communities continue to be underfunded, under-resourced, and especially in the state of New York, zoned based on the state’s former segregation laws, which were never properly dismantled.
Given these troubling realities, and the FINYS mission to support the economic viability of ALL farmers, including BIPOC farmers, as well as strengthen the health of New Yorkers through empowering institutions to purchase local, nutritious food, we remain dedicated to increasing access and equity through our programming. We commit to undoing racism in our work and organization, we will work with leaders of color in this field, and we will advocate to make Farm to School in New York representative of our state’s incredible racial diversity.
We commit to listening and remaining open to feedback from all stakeholders, especially our BIPOC-centered partner organizations and thought leaders, as we take action against dismantling the current system of white supremacy. Our hearts go out to the families, friends, and loved ones of the numerous victims who have lost their lives at the hands of racism. We stand with the millions of people who have been traumatized by a long history of racism and condemn all perpetrators of anti-Black violence. We stand in solidarity in dismantling the historic white privilege and supremacy within our country.
To this end, FINYS is committed to helping to remedy these injustices in the work we do and bring intention to who we do it for. Our program is actively taking steps to ensure our programs, including the NYS Farm to School Institute, is both equitable and accessible for all school districts in the state. This year, we are developing training tools to guide schools in using their Farm to School programs to address racial equity and food justice in their own communities. We have been, and continue to be, dedicated to expanding representation on our Leadership Team and collaborating with BIPOC organizations and experts in our programming efforts. Internally, the FINYS team recognizes that learning and challenging our own biases is an ongoing process, and we have resolved to engage in education that focuses on the Black experience in America. We are sharing this resource list with you in hopes of inspiring advocacy, allyship, and collective improvement for our Black communities.
Books for Students: