Freedom Farms is a series of urban farms designed to be both gathering spaces and spaces for increased food access. Freedom Farms is a joint endeavor between Family Freedom Center and community partners. Freedom Farms was created by the Black Community for the whole community, and was founded on the principles of social equity and food sovereignty. At all Freedom Farms locations we offer free produce pick up, gardening & food preparation classes, community events, skills-building workshops, and environmentally conscious workshops for community members of all ages.
Freedom Farms Hillside:
The Freedom Farms program grows produce in Elder accessible raised garden beds and has a large gathering area, making it perfect for social events, classes, and food production. Since October 2021 Freedom Farms Hillside has also been the location of the annual Big Tent Event, which is an resource exchange event created by Family Freedom Center, American Indian Community Housing Organization, and Duluth Aging Support. The Big Tent Event purpose is to prepare the marginalized communities for winter by connecting them with resources/other non-profits, providing free coats and weather gear, and distributing produce and other food. This is also the location for FFC's weekly Conversations & Coffee, a Black Elder lead cross-generational event for all community members. Additionally, AICHO, Outside-the Box, and Neighborhood Youth Center use this space for youth gardening programs. Freedom Farms Hillside has a large selection of easily accessible fruit trees, as well as a beautiful pollination habitat that is a home for many types of butterflies and bumble bees.
Like the rest of Duluth, our Farm is located on ancestral and contemporary lands of Indigenous people--the Ojibwe people, and before them the Dakota and Northern Cheyenne people, and other Native peoples from time immemorial. We live in a city that experiences zip-code based health disparities that disproportionately impact people of color. This includes disparities in access to fresh, affordable, culturally-relevant foods. We live in a country whose agricultural system was built on the stolen labor of enslaved African peoples, where migrant farmworkers still contribute much of the labor that feeds us all, yet they are not guaranteed basic rights. Through centuries of policies built to uphold systemic racism and white supremacy, people of color do not have equal access to land, housing, or economic opportunities. We have witnessed police brutality against and mass incarceration of Black, Brown, immigrant and Indigenous people in our state and across our nation. We acknowledge that these systemic injustices shape urban agriculture in our community today, and we are committed to being a part of the solution in building a more just and equitable world.
Starting this April, we will be hosting Coffee and Conversations every Wednesday (Weather permitting). Where our Outreach Coordinator Jack McCully will facilitate community or FFC related conversations and the weekly work list will be presented for volunteers to help us out around the farm. Watering/ mowing days will be determined upon the start of the season; and we will recruit volunteers as necessary as different task present themselves.
Family Freedom Center maintains Freedom Farms locations collaboratively with various community partners, with the potential to expand into more locations in the coming seasons. As part of our partnerships, other organizations have an active roles in land stewardship. At Freedom Farms: Hillside the American Indian Housing Organization conducts youth programming during summer months. Family Freedom Center also employs youth through the city-ran YES Duluth program, ensuring BIPOC youth can get paid to learn, grow, and harvest produce. We work with youth at our urban farms, ensuring all produce gets picked and youth have the opportunity to learn about culturally relevant produce. Duluth Aging Support, also partners with FFC for the Conversations & Coffee program which takes place in the garden during summer months. From the Elders to the little ones, Freedom Farms is an inclusive gathering space for all generations to learn and grow together.
Learning Lab Additions: