As Minnesota is one of the states in which PAN does on-the-ground campaign work, we send out regular updates on PAN and partners’ work in Minnesota and beyond — from pesticide-related science to opportunities to take action. If you’d like to receive these updates via email, sign up here.
Hello from the PAN Minnesota team!
February and this winter-to-spring transition is such a devoted time. Maybe it’s the celebrating of love, or the celebrating of Black history and Black futures that makes me feel hopeful. This is a time of planning and organizing as farmers, and setting our intentions and fortifying our systems for the coming growing season. Those organizing to build community alliances and testifying at the Capitol are centering people and living beings in the politics of it all, and fighting for a just, equitable and sustainable future.
This month we’re lifting up examples of loving labors for justice:
Representative John Thompson (DFL) District: 67A has introduced the Philando Castile Omnibus Bill 2021 (HF784) to close racial equity gaps for African Americans & African Immigrants in Minnesota. This bill targets state appropriations ($357M) for African American and African Immigrant communities in areas including urban agriculture and food security, economic development, housing, health services, cultural and arts funding, and others to address socioeconomic disparities in the state. The bill also addresses the need to rectify poor administrative application and enforcement of state equal opportunity laws. See the full bill language here, and ask your state representative to coauthor HF784! You can find your representative and their contact information here.
The Midwest Farmers of Color Collective is hosting a BIPOC farmer mapping project that will feature a directory, geographical map, and farmer profiles! It will be a tool for social connectedness and political organizing. If you know a farmer of color who would like to get involved, connect them with Sophia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the Seed Keepers & Truth Tellers Video, produced with PAN’s food sovereignty partners in Hawaiʻi. This is a beautiful example of storytelling to lift up what’s happened to our food system and solutions BIPOC communities bring that need local and global support.
A new cohort of local leaders on an organizing fellowship with the HEAL Food Alliance’s School for Political Leadership has begun! Black Indian farmer and activist Vera Allen, Indigenous environmental justice activist with Toxic Taters Beverly St. John, and myself with PAN will explore political and narrative strategies in a campaign for public health, environmental justice and racial equity. Learn more about the fellowship and our cohort here.
For all you laborers of love and justice — “Your heart is a muscle the size of your fist, keep loving, keep fighting.” —Dalia Shevin
Zoe Hollomon, PAN Minnesota Organizer
The 18th Annual Great Lakes Indigenous Farmers Conference will be held March 5-7 hosted by White Earth Land Recovery Project and the Anishinaabe Agriculture Institute. This year includes a viewing of the Gather film and the Indigenous Hemp Conference, as well as some great workshops. Visit White Earth Land Recovery Project website for more info and to register.
Minnesota pollinator advocates are calling for support on a bill that would prevent neonicotinoid-treated seeds from being used in ethanol production. HF766, carried by Rep. Rick Hansen, and SF794, carried by Senator Erin Murphy, are timely and important given what is going on in Mead, Nebraska — residents are facing persistent health issues and environmental pollution in the wake of a local ethanol plant using neonic-treated seeds in production. HF766/SF794 includes proper disposal of excess corn or soybean seed treated with neonics, and stipulates those seeds cannot be used or sold as food, feed, oil, or ethanol feedstock.
Take Action: Contact House Ag Committee Chair Sundin and ask that HF766 be heard, and contact Senate Ag Committee Chair Torrey Westrom and ask that SF794 be heard. This is important for the health of our Minnesota communities.