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Cultivating powerful participation: Food justice facilitation workshops
Cultivating powerful participation: food justice workshops across Minnesota
Minnesota and the nation are at a critical time where families are struggling to put food on their plates, farmers are struggling to pay their bills and these issues can only be addressed by skillfully bringing people together to make change. In order to create a better food system for everyone, we need leaders who are prepared to facilitate collaborative work for food justice.
The University of Minnesota Extension and food justice leaders around the state are working together to equip people with the skills and tools to cultivate meaningful dialogue that leads to action. This collaboration began in October 2019 when a team of leaders from outside the University came together with Extension staff for four days to strengthen their facilitation skills and co-create a curriculum to help others learn how to bring people together more effectively. Attendees walked away with practical tools and partnerships that would help them to pass these skills on to others through a series of workshops around the state.
The team is delighted to offer workshops around Minnesota to support other leaders who are working to create a more just food system. Team members will provide a unique experience to learn and share powerful ways of connecting with others to co-create a better food system for all. At these workshops you will:
Learn how to engage in and lead collaborative work in the food system.
Gain valuable methods and practical tools for facilitation.
Connect with others in powerful, action-oriented conversations.
Become a more effective agent of change in your organization and/or community.
This workshop is for anyone who is passionate about working with others to create a more just food system by cultivating dialogue that leads to action. Come ready to learn new skills, form new relationships and work with others to advance strategic efforts like the Minnesota Food Charter.
We invite people from all walks of life to attend the workshops. We believe equity and inclusion are more than just buzzwords. Our goal is to have balanced participation between those with lived experience of food injustice and food insecurity, with those who are engaged in this work as paid professionals. If you are in the paid professional category, please invite at least one more person from your organization to attend. Strength in numbers is key to organizational change!
Meet the team
This learning experience is hosted by the University of Minnesota Extension in partnership with a diverse team of food justice champions and seasoned coaches.
For more information you can reach out to the lead coordinator Jamie Bain.
Sook Jin Ong
Minneapolis, Minnesota & Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Sook Jin currently works at the Future Services Institute, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, on innovation and leadership development in the human services field. Food is deeply central to who she is as a person — she cares about food stories, food systems and what it means to each community locally and globally from an equity and justice lens. She practices facilitation from a place of abundance, thoughtfulness and deep listening.
Marcela Sotela Odor
San José, Costa Rica
Marcela (she/her) is an experienced facilitator focusing on participatory leadership practices and visual language. She has spent her career building bridges between perspectives and creating spaces that facilitate conversations around cross sector collaboration, conflict resolution, and community building. It is her firm belief that generative conversations and deep listening can have a profound impact on people and how we share the world.
Jen (she/her) is a systems thinker who strives to create the conditions for authentic engagement that centers equity, brings diversity of perspectives into critical conversations, fosters creativity and innovation, and grows the capacity of individuals and groups to do their best work. She believes having an open mind, an open heart and courage equip us to be more present for one another and enable shifts in complex systems through our collective work.
Jamie (she/her) works for University of Minnesota Extension and is the lead coordinator for this project. She believes in the power of connectivity and loves the magic that happens when people are given the space to find connection that leads to collaborative action. Please reach out to Jamie with any questions about this project.
Noelle (she/her) has worked on food systems change for the last seven years as an educator for University of Minnesota Extension, bringing an educational background in geography, agroecology and sustainable food production. She lives with her son Berry on an urban microfarm in Moorhead and is the owner of the Red River Valley Rabbitry.
Stephanie (she/her) works for University of Minnesota Extension and is deeply committed to Extension’s mission to leverage community wisdom with University resources to create a more equitable, healthy food system. She believes authentic relationships are transformational and tries to normalize discomfort, remain vulnerable, assume positive intent and manage her ego in her work.
Jose William Castellanos
William works as an independent consultant for community engagement, culturally competent and linguistically appropriate programs and services in health and health care, multicultural education, health promotion and prevention initiatives, and community-based participatory research and action plans. He is an expert at applying behavioral-oriented interdisciplinary theories to problem solving, system change, development and implementation of health equity policies.
Becca (she/her) is a SNAP-Ed Educator in Kandiyohi County and the surrounding area. She has both a personal and professional background living and working overseas, namely Venezuela, Costa Rica and Mozambique, with experience in organizational strengthening and community development and has an educational background in psychology and Spanish. Becca has a three-year-old son and her family typically speaks Portuguese, English and a little Spanish at home in addition to pig Latin for super-secretive conversations.
Fun Fun Cheng
Fun Fun is an Agency Relations Specialist with The Food Group. She has a strong belief that everyone should have access to healthy food and that the sharing of food is a powerful way to build community.
Susan currently works at University of Minnesota Extension as the Southeast Regional Coordinator in health and nutrition SNAP-Ed programs. She is also actively involved in local food access issues in southeast Minnesota, is a farmers market manager, and serves on the board of the Minnesota Farmers Market Association.
Nate graduated from St. John's University in 2012 and has been working to serve his friends and neighbors since. He works full time with The Salvation Army as a program manager and is the co-founder of MNyou Inc.
Queen is the organizer and operator of Guardin’ Roots North Mpls, a private urban farm growing and selling produce in an effort to lower recidivism.
Kelsey is the manager of the Rutabaga Project, an initiative to make local, healthy food accessible to everyone on Minnesota’s Iron Range. She believes in creating connections and strengthening communities through effective, sustainable, and justice-based opportunities.
J. is a North Minneapolis resident, farmer, and the founder of The Diamond Project. When she’s not operating on her farm, she can be found in the metro area caring for her three children and serving residents of Camden at their local farmers market. Her professional skills include real estate, legal contracts, marketing and leadership.
Phillips, Minneapolis & Momostenango, Guatemala
Magdalena (they/she) learned a deep love for justice, plants, and cooking from both their parents. Magdalena currently works with PLANT-GROW-SHARE, a grassroots food justice project in the Central neighborhood of South Minneapolis. Magdalena celebrates the imagination-widening potential in stories, food, and art for healing and connecting across socially constructed borders.
Shirley works for University of Minnesota Extension as an Educator for the Leech Lake, Red Lake and White Earth Nations with a focus on preserving and increasing access to, and knowledge of traditional Ojibwe food system. Her educational focus is on Anishinaabe traditional ecological knowledge, the gifts of the individual and the collective actions and decisions of community.
Lives in Minneapolis and works statewide
Ren Olive (they/them), Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Program Associate for University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, uses an equity and sustainability framework while conducting research and leading projects with communities across Minnesota. When they aren’t working to identify and address food system challenges Ren enjoys painting, social justice work, biking, quilting, traveling, and video games.
Sharmyn is a SNAP-Ed regional coordinator with University of Minnesota Extension health and nutrition programs. Sharmyn enjoys connecting and learning with people through good food and good conversations that drive us to think deeper.
April is first and foremost a proud enrolled member at the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. April currently works as a SNAP-Ed educator for University of Minnesota Extension in the American Indian community. Since American Indians have the highest diabetes occurrence rates out of all ethnic groups in the country, April has made it her life’s work in serving her community in all aspects of life, especially in health and nutrition.
Michael began working with Extension as a community nutrition educator in 2015. He focuses his efforts on working in the urban community to help create healthy behavior changes in the lives of community members. He is a part of the Place Based Approach team in the Frogtown/Rondo area of St. Paul.
Judy is a community organizer and a long time resident of North Minneapolis. Her work in the community spans back to 2006 as a 16 year old youth advocating with her peers for violence prevention in North Minneapolis. Judy has seven years of experience facilitating group processes and has collaborated with organizations such as the YMCA, Minneapolis Public Schools, and the Children’s Defense fund. Judy received her Bachelors of Science in Youth Studies from the University of Minnesota. She is in her second year of her Masters of Social Work program.