PROGRAMS & SERVICES
The Center for Food Faith and Justice is in the business of changing and shaping lives. The work we do at our Social Welfare Organization is aimed at providing a holistic approach to solving some of our society’s biggest challenges. We ensure that our partners are empowered by creating opportunities for individuals and communities.
EDUCATION & OUTREACH PROGRAMS
Agroecology Farming and Food Pathways (AFFP)
In partnership with the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture(MESA) CFFJ hosts a USDA Grant funded program for 50 Socially Disadvantaged Emerging Farmers. Emerging farmers and Food Pathway Leaders basic Agroecology and Sustainable Farming practices with both theoretical and hands-on approaches in a year-long course including workshops, farm tours a class presentations from CFFJ and MESA Staff as well a guest farmers, activists and subject matter authorities. Each Cohort consists of 20 students with a separate group of 10 Advanced Leaders becoming certified in the field.
Voices Against Violence
The Voices Against Violence Program is a violence prevention/interruption program for middle and high school students in Berkeley. Led by Pastor Michael A. Smith who brings nearly of 30 years of experience in the fields of youth development and non-profit leadership along with Lorenzo Grayson, Reverend Angela Jernigan and our Community Healing Liaison, Scott Blake, who brings nearly 20 years of experience and training in gun and gang violence reduction strategies. Similarly, Mr. Blake and Voices Against Violence Team works directly with 2 Community Peace Ambassadors (CPA) and 6 volunteer mentors from South and West Berkeley to implement hybrid elements of Ceasefire, a data-driven violence-reduction strategy coordinating law enforcement, social services, and the community.
Seeds of Hope
The Seeds of Hope Project serves Berkeley elementary school students in youth-led Environmental and Food Justice projects targeting high-risk youth and their families in the low-income neighborhoods of South and West Berkeley. CFFJ Fellows provide service-learning activities to train students in addressing environmental and health disparities facing communities of color while engaging youth in food, climate and land use policies, healthy cooking and gardening instruction, to advocate for changes in organizational policies and practices to improve healthier food options and greater environmental awareness as well as adaption and equitable strategies for youth and their families in communities of South and West Berkeley. Participants have the opportunity to earn a modest stipend each semester.
Similarly, Seeds of Hope offers an after-school and summer service-learning program for young people grades K-5. Youth have an opportunity to learn the basics of urban gardening while being introduced to environmental justice and working on service projects in their local communities. Through cooking, gardening, environmental education and art exploration young people engage in various weekend community service projects and educational field trips. Participants have the opportunity to earn a modest stipend each semester.
Parents participate in 9- week series on strategies for effective parenting. Topics include healthy relationships, navigating the education system, health and wellness, culturally appropriate discipline, family violence and abuse, etc. Classes are offered in both Fall and Spring culminating in a graduation dinner and an opportunity to help parents start their support group.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
Beyond the Table
The Beyond the Table Project is a Workforce Development Program using Urban Farming to focus on building and empowering the voices of veterans, the formerly incarcerated and the homeless as a means to moving through trauma that we all encounter in life. Trauma may occur through illness, the loss of a home, the loss of a loved one, a relationship, a career, etc. The Beyond the Table Project will introduce these ideas through hands-on training in Agroecology and culinary arts as well as a series of group discussions and other activities using a range of resources including ancestral, Inspirational and current events as part of our Trauma-Informed Care Strategy.
To further engage participants, we will also use Quilting, Scrapbooking and art therapy designed to engage participants thinking, reflection and dialogue with regard to trauma, resilience and hope. Discussions will take place each week and the crafts will be divided into 3-Three Week Sessions. Upon completion of each 3-Week Session, our Culinary Coordinator would Assist participants in preparing a Healthy Soul Food meal to further engage dialogue around moving through life’s trauma while re-thinking our food system.
Soil to the Soul and Strong Roots Urban Gardens
The Center for Food, Faith & Justice operates 2 urban garden sites in South Berkeley. The Strong Roots Garden and the smaller Soil to the Soul Garden. Through these sites CFFJ offers classes and opportunities to volunteer while learning urban agriculture, environmental justice, participate in Healthy Cooking classes and demonstrations as well as Food Justice and Food Sovereignty Activities. Our gardens are the center of our work where develop specific programs for youth, seniors, young adults and the economically disenfranchised.