– Jessica Jane Spayde, April 17, 2019

There seems to be a theme to my day. Ideas and events about racial equity in the food system are popping up everywhere. I want to share three of these with you, which focus on three important parts of increasing racial equity: education, taking responsibility, and inspiring others.


Today, I had the opportunity to participate in the webinar hosted by Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems. The focus of the webinar was to give an overview of the history of Land Grant Universities in the United States. The webinar was titled, “Land-grant institutions and food systems:  Acknowledging historical disparities and exploring present-day equity initiatives.” 

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Taking Responsibility

Kickapoo Coffee Roasters, a local business located in Viroqua, Wisconsin, who is dedicated to giving coffee farmers a better-than-fair-trade price. They are part of an international consortium to increase the coffee farmer wages and profits, and they do this by paying farmers a good price for the high quality agricultural products. This results in amazing coffee, made right here in Wisconsin! I subscribe to their email list, and I saw a notice today titled “Name Change.”

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The tone and sincerity of the announcement is moving and inspiring. I pulled out one quote to share, which communicates the owners’ sense of a moral responsibility to respect the Kickapoo Tribe by changing the name of the company.

“We are dedicated to educating ourselves and approaching this work with humility and vulnerability. It is our intention to hold space for a thoughtful dialogue. As a company committed to social justice and the pursuit of a more fair and equitable world, we recognize that this work begins with us.”

I want to congratulate Kickapoo Coffee Roasters for taking this important step in respecting the Kickapoo Tribe. 

Inspiring Others

My third item to share with you is a fun image on Instagram. Chrysalis shared this great graphic today on Instagram, which reads:

“Nothing about us without us is for us”

I love this graphic because it highlights Wisconsin Local Food Network’s approach to racial and income inequities in the food system and society. Instead of trying to make decisions for the people we’re serving, we are actively engaging and inviting people of color, low income people, disadvantaged people from across the food system to be on our organization’s governance and planning teams.

Thank you!

Thanks to Kickapoo Coffee Roasters, Chrysalis, and the Racial Equity in the Food System Steering Committee Members for sharing inspiring and educational opportunities with us today!

I encourage everyone to follow these examples, by recognizing how we can do better in addressing inequities in our food system.

by Jessica Jane Spayde
Wisconsin Local Food Network 
2019 April 17

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