In May, we are asking UUCP members and friends to Share the Plate with the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee, a grassroots organization that has been organizing and mobilizing people of African descent towards change and self-determination since 2015. Their goal is to build a global community that is socially connected, economically strong, politically independent, and culturally unified at every level of society.
PHXLOC representative Mika Maharaj (she/they) provided this description of the organization and its goals and needs:
“The Phoenix Local Organizing Committee is a grassroots organization that has worked to eliminate poverty, inequity and injustice for our Black Community since 2015. One way in which we do this is through promoting food sovereignty. We seek to eliminate food insecurity by 1) empowering and training our community to grow their own food; 2) distributing food harvested to those most vulnerable to food insecurity; and 3) providing resources for community members to start and maintain their own agricultural businesses.
“We lead a Community Grow Day twice a month at Spaces of Opportunity where we now hold almost half an acre of farmland. Currently, we have very few tools. The tools that we do have are stored in the spare rooms and garages of various leaders/members of the organization, who are housed throughout the Phoenix valley. Not having tools centrally located on the grounds makes it challenging to ensure that we will have what our community needs to effectively participate. Tillers, broad forks and wheelbarrows would allow us to do less work by hand so that we can accomplish more in the space together. This would also ensure that our community members can practice with the proper tools that we teach about as a part of their farming education experience.
“The work that we do in the community is critical. According to the City of Phoenix Office of Sustainability, “there are 43 food deserts in the city which are more than 75% of the total number of food deserts in Maricopa County”. Even with doing a large part of the work by hand,we have been able to grow and distribute over a 1000 pounds of fresh, healthy produce in the past year. We have educated and trained hundreds of community members to grow their own food regardless of how little land they have. More resources and tools would not only ensure that we continue this work, but also improve how we do the work. We could provide hands-on training to more community members. We could a grow more food to help feed more community members impacted by food deserts. The more efficient we are in our grow space, the more we can produce to support our community. This year we hope to raise enough funds to expand our efforts towards ending food insecurity.”