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Katal Connecticut Update — June 27, 2024

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Organizing, Food, and Justice

Lorenzo Jones (fourth from left) led the Katal BLOC training in Middletown on June 15, 2024.

Last Thursday, our co-president and chief organizer, Lorenzo Jones, wrote a new piece titled “Organizing, Food, and Justice,” which discusses community organizing, growing food, and building power . He wrote about developing a new generation of organizers who understand how to change the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the same way they know how to influence sentencing reform, housing, and public safety. Here’s an excerpt from this timely piece:

“Food Justice is on the table, literally, to build the power we need to address food security the same way we have taken on sentencing reform, housing, and public safety. We need to revamp our door knocking and reincorporate food and housing questions alongside the interests in criminal justice reform. We need to do this in parallel to our work with the local political machine, the town committees, commissions and task forces.

Do not have faith in the local politicians – instead have well-thought-out demands with timelines. Hold people accountable for the jobs they are supposed to do and build the power necessary to make them do it when they don’t. Remember wherever you find people directly impacted by the failed food system you will find people who are probably impacted by all the other systems that make up the social safety net.”

Check out the full piece here

To get involved in Katal’s Cultivating Justice project, please contact Diana Martinez at diana@katalcenter.org

Building Leadership and Organizing Capacity (BLOC) Training Recap

BLOC training at Katal Center in Middletown, June 15, 2024.

On Thursday, June 15, we hosted a daylong training about organizing – Building Leadership and Organizing Capacity (BLOC) training in Middletown. More than 35 community members, students, and children participated, both in person and virtually. The event took place at the Katal office and the Miller Street Community Farm. 

The training began with a focus on farming as a business, a discussion that evolved into a deeper conversation about the concept of the Abolitionist Farmer—combining food justice organizing with farming services. Emphasizing the critical role of the USDA in regulating essential resources like air, water, and food, the session highlighted the need for food security to rebuild the social safety net. Participants were called to action to increase BILPOC (Black, Indigenous, Latinx, People of Color) farmers in Connecticut.

Participants break for lunch at the Miller Street Community Farm on June 15, 2024.

The morning’s discussions influenced the afternoon sessions. Participants explored six organizing rules, engaged in role-playing exercises, and discussed the practical applications of these principles in their farming projects. This hands-on approach helped people understand how to build relationships and become successful farmers in Connecticut.

Participants break for lunch at the Miller Street Community Farm on June 15, 2024.

The morning’s discussions influenced the afternoon sessions. Participants explored six organizing rules, engaged in role-playing exercises, and discussed the practical applications of these principles in their farming projects. This hands-on approach helped people understand how to build relationships and become successful farmers in Connecticut.

Diana Martinez shows community members the Miller Street Community Farm on June 15 2024. 

If you’d like to learn more about our BLOC training program or attend an upcoming training, please contact Alycia Gay at alycia@katalcenter.org.

Planting Seeds Together Fundraiser

Our Cultivating Justice project is participating in a fundraiser with Sustainable CT. We could use your help to build hoop houses and set up composting at Lovie’s Farm and Miller Street Community Farm in Middletown. Sustainable CT is matching every dollar donated. We’re almost at our fundraising goal, and your support – in any amount – can make a difference. Donate here.

This project will build the infrastructure for the community to practice composting, cultivate crops, and bring innovative farming projects to life. Our goal is to create an intergenerational, interracial, multi-gender learning space for residents to practice growing their own food – and for entrepreneurs starting agribusinesses to launch their projects. Your support will help us grow power, support new farmers, and encourage community-led food sovereignty efforts.

For questions about the fundraiser, please reach out to Diana Martinez at diana@katalcenter.org.

Katal Quotes of the Week

“There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless.’ You just have to listen harder.” ― Arundhati Roy

“In and through community lies the salvation of the world.” ― M. Scott Peck


Please support our work

We can’t do this without you. Please support our work to build leadership and organizing capacity in Connecticut, New York, and beyond. 

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