At this year's CFCC Food Summit, we introduced a new event: a keynote featuring four inspiring social change-makers from Canada and the U.S.: Joanna Kerr Executive Director of Greenpeace Canada, Jessica Bolduc, Executive Director of the 4Rs Youth Movement, Celeste Licorish, creator and coordinator of Speak Now Hamilton Speakers Bureau, and Beatriz Beckford, Director of the Grassroots Action Network for WhyHunger. More than 200 people turned up to hear stories from their experiences on the frontlines of community mobilization and discuss what the food movement could learn from their experiences. Here are some of the key learnings that the presenters shared with the audience:
Presenting an alternative vision is a critical component of organizing. "As organizers, we can't only be about what we're against. We have to be about what we're for," said Joanna Kerr.
"Establishing a foundation for relationships is so critical for cross cultural work but is so often missing," urged Jessica Bolduc. "Engaging in the process of relationship-building is difficult, necessary, and lifelong work."
“Experiences can be transformational and not just transactional. For the participants of the Speakers Bureau, a lot of what became dignity began as shame,” Celeste Licorish explained.
"We have to tell our stories. Storytelling is a reclamation of our history. Storytelling is resistance," declared Beatriz Beckford while showing how she and WhyHunger are building the beloved community.
Watch our video of the event:
+ Beatriz Beckford on grassroots activism and building the beloved community
+ Joanna Kerr on stopping the bad, building the good, and changing the story
+ Jessical Bolduc on reconciliation for youth and Aboriginal communities
+ Celeste Licorish on the power and dignity of storytelling for low-income communities
+ Fantastic panel discussion of how to deal with funders, burnout, and keeping the North Star in mind while celebrating smaller wins. Audience Q&A follows.