National Black Food and Justice Alliance (NBFJA) is a coalition of Black-led organizations working towards cultivating and advancing Black leadership, building Black self-determination, Black institution building and organizing for food sovereignty, land and justice. The Alliance seeks to achieve this by engaging in broad based coalition organizing for black food and land, increasing visibility of Black led narratives and work, advancing Black led visions for just and sustainable communities, and building capacity for self-determination within our local, national, and international food systems and land rights work.
We focus our work on black food sovereignty, self-determining food economies, and land. We approach food sovereignty, land and self-determining food economies through the lens of healing, organizing & resistance against anti-Blackness.
National Organizer Dara Cooper (she/hers)
Based in Atlanta, GA; co-founder of the National Black Food and Justice Alliance. Dara has nearly 20 years of experience organizing, training, strategic thinking and planning, designing programs and providing thought leadership for transformative food systems work in Black communities throughout the U.S. Dara is the former director of the NYC Food and Fitness Partnership in Brooklyn, NY where she worked on creating and strengthening farmers markets for Black farmers, developing a community based local food hub design and creating a farm to headstart program in Brooklyn. Prior to this work, Dara led the launch and expansion of Fresh Moves (Chicago), an award winning mobile produce market with community health programming, which quickly became a nationally recognized model for healthy food distribution and community based self-determination and empowerment.
Regional Organizer, East/West randolph carr III (he/him)
randolph is a nomadic interloper. by day, he is an organizer, facilitator and grower, sowing seeds of discontent and cultivating a sense of imagination. by night, he's an unashamed dreamer, hopeful writer, and Lover of all things beautiful. he believes in the work of abolition and Black sovereignty. his experience includes supporting and developing the capacity of high school youth organizers; base-building and training communities around cop watch and alternatives to policing; and building organizational chapters, in new york and new orleans, for a national organization, BYP100. randolph is skilled in group facilitation, trained in conflict mediation, and in curriculum development. randolph leads the Alliance’s prison + food work and is integral in the land work as well.
Regional Organizer, Midwest paul
paul was born on wednesday (rum, spiders, djalis). paul’s people are from West Africa, Tennessee, Georgia, and Jamaica. and paul was born in Waawiyaataanong/Washtenong specifically (Detroit, MI). the first woman in his maternal line to struggle, fight, and survive on Turtle island was a Fula woman named Rala (iba rere, mo’juba). paul has organised for over 12 years, working for Black liberation as an educator, practicing youth-led learning and exploration, fighting against policing and state terror, and contributing to arts-based community-building . paul has served as a creative director & communications strategist in Black-led institutions for the past 7 years. paul provides support with strategic communications, policy and advocacy, and in the Alliance’s prison + food work.
Mama Dorathy Barker (she/hers)
Anchor: Operation Springplant, Inc. (NC)
Olusanya Farms LLC; HEAL Food Alliance; Rural Coalition, Board, Treasurer; Scott Mitchell Independent Living Facility, Board Treasurer; Stamp out Hunger; Youth in Today’s Agriculture; Women in Today’s Agriculture; North Central Growers Cooperative;
Operation Spring Plant Inc. is a grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting economic development programs and initiatives for historically underserved small farmers and producers. The mission of Operation Spring Plant Inc. is to provide technical and financial assistance to black family farmers who need to engage in timely seasonal planting activities, and who need marketing outlets for the sale of their crops to maintain their livelihood. Operation Spring Plant Inc. was organized in 1987 by Reverend Z.D. Harris, Phillip and Dorathy Barker and Dr. Benjamin Chavis in a effort to assist North Carolina's only two remaining black-owned dairy farms. OSP continues this tradition of providing educational training and financial assistance for African American, Native American, and other small-family farmers of North Carolina.The main mission is for the Black family farmer to remain on his land as the owner and operator. Dedicated to my husband of so many years ,family of five children, ten grands and four great grands, to my staff and board of directors and to next generation of Black family farmers. Ase, Ase, Ase
Baba Malik Yakini
Anchor: Detroit People’s Food Co-op ℅ Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
Malik Kenyatta Yakini is a founder and the executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, a co-founder of the Detroit People’s Food Co-op, and a member and former chair of the Detroit Food Policy Council. He views the “good food revolution” as part of the larger movement for freedom, justice, and equality. He has an intense interest in contributing to the development of an international food sovereignty movement that embraces black farmers in the Americas, the Caribbean, and Africa. He served as an Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Food and Community Fellow from 2012-13. He was a James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards winner in 2012.
Anchor: Black Dirt Farm Collective
Soil Generation, Philly Urban Creators, Mill Creek Farm, CoFed, HEAL Food Alliance, Women in Today’s Agriculture, North Central Growers Cooperative
Kirtrina M. Baxter, M.A. is a dedicated mother, drummer, and afroecologist. She is committed to making sure Black and Brown growers get access to land to grow food and community, nationally, and in Philadelphia where she also co-organizes Soil Generation (SG). SG is a Black and Brown-led coalition of food justice activists that work within a racial and economic justice framework to help inform policy, provide community education and support growers in the city. An educator and trainer of afroecology with Black Dirt Farm Collective, she loves getting her hands dirty and meeting kindred spirits. Kirtrina is a board member of Urban Creators, Mill Creek Farm and CoFed, as well, she sits on the leadership team of the HEAL Food Alliance. In 2008, she received her M.A. from Union Institute and University in Cultural Studies.
Anchor: CTWO: Seeding Resistance-RIOT (Atlanta, GA)
M4BL; The Majority
Karissa Lewis is a Black Radical Farmer from Oakland California and the Executive Director of the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO). With extensive experience in organizing and activist training, she works to build leadership in communities of color and is dedicated to creating a movement for social justice that is led by the people most affected. She has organized around issues ranging from gentrification to environmental racism, gang injunctions, and police brutality. Karissa is an active leader in the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) and The Majority, M4BL’s multi-racial, Black-led, coalition-building formation.
Mark Winston-Griffith (he/him)
Anchor: Brooklyn Movement Center (Brooklyn, NY)
New York City Environmental Justice Alliance;
Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City;
Communities United for Police Reform;
Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union;
A Central Brooklyn native, Mark Winston Griffith is the Executive Director of the Brooklyn Movement Center. Formerly, he was Executive Director and Senior Fellow for Economic Justice at the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, and the former co-director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project. In the early nineties he co-founded the Central Brooklyn Partnership and Central Brooklyn Federal Credit Union. He currently serves on the boards of the Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Center for an Urban Future, the Center for Working Families, Little Sun People and Free Speech TV. Mark was on the Faculty of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and was most recently the field organizer for the MOVE NY campaign.
Other Alignments: Semente Farm
Whitney Jaye is a farmer and organizer, who finds deep purpose and power in being in service to the land and community that supports her. Despite living in the Atlanta area for the past six years, she calls Wilmington, North Carolina - and Coastal Carolina - her home. She has done a variety of organizing within food systems work - her collaborators and affiliations have included the Southwest Atlanta Growers Cooperative, Patchwork City Farms, Greening Youth Foundation, Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference, and Ashoka Changemakers. In addition to farming at Semente Farm, she works as the Strategic Initiatives Coordinator for the Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network (SAAFON), a 13 year old network of rural, black, ecologically sustainable farmers. When she is not in the field, you can find her dancing, quilting, preserving food, fermenting wild style, or community archiving.
Dean Jackson (they/them)
Anchor: Hilltop Urban Gardens (HUG) (Tacoma, WA)
Black Mycelium Project
Dean Jackson is a Black, non-binary, genderqueer farmer living in Tacoma, WA. They are founder and director of Hilltop Urban Gardens (HUG) - a social justice organization working to develop systems of food sovereignty and create racial and economic justice. HUG's work centers the leadership and vision of Black and Queer People of Color and works towards freedom and self determination for people of the African diaspora. Dean has a long organizing history that ranges from early childhood education, to creating space and voice for queer people of color, to working to build a neighborhood food system. Qualities Dean strives for: heart-led leadership, honesty, compassion, and love.