2011 Gathering

4th Annual Gathering
Sacred Soil: Cultivating the Seeds of Community Transformation
September 9th – 11th 2011
Tommy Thompson Youth Center
Wisconsin State Fair Park Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Food, Culture and Spirituality has been tied together ever since man began to search for and cultivate food. Aboriginal peoples have: created tools and artifacts (culture) to eat, cook and store food; appealed to the elements, nature, of higher powers, meditated and prayed (spirituality) over the seed, fields, plants, weather, soil, harvest, and meals (food). The Culture, Food and Spirituality subcommittee examined the many ways that the human spirit recognizes food throughout the production process, across cultures in planning the following activities.

The gathering has several key goals:

  • To build networks and alliances between GFJI members and affiliates
  • To strengthen and support leadership prowess and confidence
  • To facilitate anti-racism, dismantling racism and multicultural alliance – building workshops and trainings geared toward all levels of experience
  • To share stories, engage in dialogues and build community

Pre-Gathering Training

Intensive Leadership Facilitation Training (ILFT) Designed to build a community of leaders and provide intensive training and dialogue for participants to facilitate anti-racist food justice trainings in their own regions/communities. The goal of this component of the conference is to build regional GFJI ‘network chapters’ that specifically address food justice and institutional racism.

Day 1 at Growing Power’s Urban Farm
Please come prepared to get your hands dirty! Leave your dress shoes at home and wear your farmer duds. Bring work shoes and layers of clothing – the greenhouses are very warm and it could be cool outside.

Day 2 at Tommy Thompson Youth Center

Gathering Overview

Building and supporting a community of practice, purpose and action! Starting in November 2008, the GFJI Community Calls took on the form of a community dialogue initiated by a “seed germinator.” These calls have started some very interesting, heartfelt, and motivating discussions on the complexity of addressing racism and oppression in our food system and communities. They also inspired the format for the gathering workshops.

Change Makers Workshops are group conversations around an important question, theme or practical experience. Built on the format of our monthly GFJI Community Calls, Change Maker workshops will utilize dialogue as the tool for communicating. Dialogue provides an opportunity for each member in the group to contribute their ideas and perspectives while others listen openly. Most great ideas and many strong relationships begin with a conversation.

Open Space Dialogues

There will be space for participants to gather together and engage in dialogues about how racism affects our communities, food systems work and ourselves. These sessions are open ended and can be used to continue conversations that are sparked in workshops or by attendees wanting to informally lead a workshop. There will be space from morning through the evening for open space dialogue.

Group art project

As part of the open space, a group art making project that embodies the spirit of the gathering will be created. At the first gathering we painted a mural that is installed at Growing Power’s facility.

Social Marketplace Exchange

The Marketplace provides space at this Gathering for networking and time to learn further about the efforts of our colleagues across the country. The Marketplace will be an informal Exhibit Hall and Poster Session. Participants are welcome to bring small displays, goods to sell or trade – or just flyers – or just themselves. We will provide tables, chairs, and signs for everyone. This will be a time for everyone to promote their organization, project, or vision and learn about others. Please inquire if you would like to have a more comprehensive set-up for the duration of the gathering, a small fee will be charged.

Workshops

Change Makers Workshops are group conversations around an important question, theme or practical experience. Built on the format of our monthly GFJI Community Calls, Change Maker workshops will utilize dialogue as the tool for communicating. Dialogue provides an opportunity for each member in the
group to contribute their ideas and perspectives while others listen openly. Most great ideas and many strong relationships begin with a conversation.

Each Change Maker workshop has a “facilitator” or host, to make sure all group members are heard and to promote dialogue; a “germinator” /topic setter to introduce the topic and set the tone for the discussion; and a “harvester” – note taker/documenter to record and capture the insights shared during
the workshop for future learning and movement building. All sessions are discussion based and signify a shift from the conventional ‘expert’ approach.  Please come ready to participate!

Tour to Growing Power Farms
Tour Growing Power’s Community Food Center! This two-acre farm is a training and production facility where people learn sustainable practices to grow, process, market and distribute food. This two-hour tour will feature an overview of a wide variety of active demonstrations including animal husbandry, aquaponics, beekeeping, living biological worm systems, vermiculture, composting, and year-round greenhouse production.

Locally Sourced Food
Locally sourced food will be featured during all the meals and breaks at the conference. We will have vegetarian selections at each meal.