Dismantling White Supremacy
Boulder Food Rescue is an antiracist organization that is dedicated to looking at how white dominant culture shows up in our work, in our internal systems and dynamics, and in ourselves. We collectively work on learning and unlearning these norms, systems, principles and impacts that have been internalized through our lives. We aim to be accountable to one another and our community, constantly reshaping ourselves as people and as an organization.
Whiteness shows up in the food system in a myriad of ways. Unfortunately, it also shows up in charitable food systems. Food charities have power over communities, they hold an essential resource that people need to survive. They set up systems of control that people have to navigate to meet these basic needs: paperwork qualifications, dehumanizing rules, limitations on choice. Institutions provide resources on their own terms with is situated in the belief that communities cannot take care of themselves.
What we know about people: communities already have the experience, skills, and knowledge to take care of themselves, and have been doing so forever. Our goal as a nonprofit is to resource this practice.
We work to get food to people, but the food is a tool for communities to build connections and autonomy. We are building relationships, and food is our language. The “what” is the food. The “how” is the relationships, and creating a sense of belonging.
When we create a sense of belonging in communities, people realize their own power. This is the power we harness to make systems-level change with the communities we work with.
In order to move towards a more just food system, we are constantly working to build more equitable systems in our day to day and throughout our programs. Equity means we work towards the just and fair treatment of all people and acknowledge that individuals have vastly different access to opportunities and thus have vastly different needs. We try to be intentional in our design and execution of our policies, practices, programs, language access, and more.
Here are a few ways we advance equity in our food distribution program.
- We organize communities around distribution of produce, focused on affirming, safe, resonant, and respectful distribution.
- We provide training and ongoing staff reflections around white supremacy culture, trauma-informed care, self care in care work. We provide couriers with anti-oppression, de-escalation, and trauma-informed practice trainings.
- We center community voice, needs, and power by:
- Situating community members as on-the-ground leaders of food distribution programs.
- Establishing strong relationships with community leaders and participants to generate candid feedback and responsive communication.
- Engaging program participants at all levels of our organization, from board members, to strategic planning participants, staff, program coordinators, and couriers.
- Facilitating workshops to engage participants in meaningful input around programmatic direction, modification and creation.
- Work to build a culture of care within and between communities by creating and supporting community leaders and teams, creating community networks who share food and tactics, hosting community convenings.
- We distribute fresh fruits and vegetables, frequently in short supply in food banks, directly from food donors to communities.