To all NESAWG participants, funders, collaborators and advisors:
Thank you! NESAWG is a network organization, and that means NESAWG is you, plus more than 500 participating organizations throughout twelve states and DC. We can only do "it" with you! And the "it" is fostering and stewarding collaborations throughout the region, for food systems change.
The word "organic" packed a political, and negative, punch for the man, but a friendly conversation proved that we're all in this together.
The "you" is the tremendous talent, wisdom and entrepreneurial spirit exhibited by those folks who presented at our NESAWG 2014 Conference, Region-sizing: Making it Work! If you haven't done so already, please read the conference presenter bios and see for yourself.
The "you" is also the dozens and dozens of organizations that work together to develop a cohesive regional policy voice. While there were a lot of pros and cons in Congress this year, NESAWG and partners did get some bi-partisan support among our Northeast Congressional members for beginning farmer programs, and a step in the right direction -- reducing farm subsidies to millionaires.
The "you" is our colleagues seeking food systems change through their work on fisheries, land grant university reform, race and equity in the food system, support for independent media and journalists writing about farms and food, and even the biological scientists who are also advocates -- when they see something, they say something, and speak out on behalf of agro-ecological food systems.
The "you" is all the people around us, beyond our immediate choir, singing different tunes, sometimes out of key, sometimes in harmony with our work. At our conference, I had a conversation with a hotel worker who was helping me set up a meeting room. He asked about our NESAWG acronym, and what we mean by "sustainable." The word "organic" came up in the conversation, and the man said "Organic? Oh, I don't like that." My response: I cracked up, giggled. "What's not to like?" I said. We talked a little more; it turned out, the hotel worker's grandfather had farmed "organic" (non-certified) and he was proud of it. The word "organic" packed a political, and negative punch for the man, but a friendly conversation proved that we're all in this together. Let's have more of those conversations in 2015!
Please stay tuned via Potluck News, our new website and our NEFOOD listserv for updates and new resources. We're building on some of our newer relationships and explorations in 2015, and working to strengthen our current workgroups and collaborations. Please add NESAWG to your list of worthy causes, and send a donation via our new 501 (c) (3) fiscal sponsor, the Tides Center. You can make a check out to Tides Center / NESAWG and send it to: NESAWG, P.O. Box 334, Irvington, NY 10533.
Wishing you a good 2015, and looking forward to working together.