What started as a 1,500 square foot lawn in front of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland now annually produces over 1,000 pounds of fresh food for the community and has sparked a movement involving over fifty churches across the United States. “Black Churches can be powerful partners in the creation of food systems where justice, sovereignty, and holistic healing are core values. With all the land, property, economic resources, and physical assets that the Black Church community stewards, we can help provide an institutional base and systemic solution toward food and land sovereignty in the African American community,” says Reverend Doctor Heber Brown III, the Senior Pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore.
This idea gave birth to The Black Church Food Security Network (BCFSN), a grassroots organization working to create Black-led food systems anchored by Black churches in partnership with Black farmers across the United States. Currently they are working with farmers, churches, organizations, and seminaries to meet community food needs in Ohio, Maryland, Washington D.C, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee, and Texas.
Their approach is threefold:
- Help establish gardens and agricultural projects on Black Church-owned land,
- Link local farmers with congregations for farmer’s markets hosted at places of worship, and
- Provide technical and organizational support to Black churches and their neighborhoods to leverage their resources and build power.
To support their mission, BCFSN launched their Faith, Food, and Freedom Summer campaign—a summer-long action to raise funds and promote Black-led gardens, support Black Farmers, and provide emergency food storage education programs to communities across the country. BCFSN has raised nearly $77,000 since the campaign began and are still collecting donations.
Join the Black Church Food Security Network in promoting the sustainable, community-based food system they envision for the Black community. You can donate to their Faith, Food, and Freedom Summer campaign and attend their virtual Harvest Party on Sunday, September 27th at 6pm for an online celebration of their efforts this summer.
To learn more, visit blackchurchfoodsecurity.net.