Introducing Malaika Gilpin

What you do:

I am  the conference manager for NESAWG's 2018 It Takes a Region conference. This year our annual conference will be held in Philadelphia, my hometown. I will assist in bringing together dynamic individuals and organizations, presenters, participants, and practitioners who have a desire to share knowledge of food systems and come together to work towards equity and food justice. 

What is your motivation for doing this work:

I ended up doing this work because I have always felt a strong connection with the earth. I focused on botany and  environmental science for my undergraduate work and later got a master's in multicultural education as I began to understand the importance of education in creating true change.  I am the co-founder and co-director of  the One Art Community Center in Philadelphia. The mission of One Art is to provide space and programming to guide people and communities towards healing.  My husband and I found that one of the most powerful forms of healing occurs through one's connection with the earth, thus the One Art Oasis was born. One Art oasis  has a bustling farm, orchard as well as several sustainability projects.

What are three tips you’d recommend to anyone who wanted to do food system work:

I would recommend that anyone who wanted to do this work take time to develop their connection with the earth by spending time in nature, observing the changes of the earth, and growing food.

What has been the hardest lesson or challenge in your work:

I found that one of the most challenging parts of growing in urban environments is getting access to the land. However, I am pleased that laws in Philadelphia are changing and vacant land is slowly becoming more accessible. 

How do you want to be remembered:

I want to be remembered as the visionary who could manifest dreams into reality.