Farmer Friday: Stephen and Tyler of SAL
Future farmer grinding corn at Sustainable Agriculture of Louisville Garden Camp
Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Sustainable Agriculture of Louisville (SAL) seeks to educate, train, empower, and accompany the next generation of farmers to rebuild a just local food economy in their regional foodshed.
Stephen Bartlett, SAL’s Director, and Tyler Short, a member of SAL, just finished their 16th summer of Garden Camp: a week of gardening, cooking, recreating, and storytelling for kids. While this/the camp is for children, SAL prides itself on cultivating an intergenerational community. Members as young as six years old to over sixty participate in SAL’s programs. “Living out [this model] has been what has made SAL successful in the undertakings we’ve had as an organization,” Tyler says.
Recently, Stephen and SAL have actively engaged with #OccupyICELouisville. Condemning Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) as a repressive, “rogue” agency, SAL has shown up by participating in demonstrations, serving fresh food for movement participants, and crafting social dramas — a form of theater used to enhance and strengthen social movements. As part of a coalition of organizations led by Mijente, SAL fought to successfully pass a bill to prohibit collaboration between ICE and police in Louisville.
“With a social movement lens and mode of practice, it is important to have a holistic conception of social realities– we understand the intersection of different systems of oppression…The persecution of immigrants is a direct threat to justice in the food chain,” Tyler shared.
SAL prepares to continue embracing the intersection of food and justice at this year’s US Food Sovereignty Alliance Midwest Regional Assembly. Stephen and Tyler are preparing to collaborate with the seven other member states to discuss food chain labor issues, and promoting resource access for farmers. Assembly participants will also visit a New Roots Fresh Stop Market to see/observe/learn about? a model of food procurement and distribution firsthand.
The Midwest Regional Membership Assembly is part of a broader process leading up the US Food Sovereignty Alliance’s IV National Assembly in Bellingham, WA (October 12-14, 2018). This year, the national assembly will focus on promoting agroecology as a way of life as well as the means to protect Mother Earth.
As they explore and envision a food system that cultivates immigration justice and food sovereignty, SAL also addresses the reality that the United States exists on colonized land. Considering this truth, SAL asks you, our followers: what would decolonization look like right now? How can the food sovereignty movement play a role in decolonization?
Rural Co proudly celebrates SAL — new member organization! — and looks forward to supporting their work promoting food sovereignty in Louisville and the greater midwest region.