Freedom Dreams Farms seeks food sovereignty
Local farmer and activist ORIANA BOLDEN is working to bring healthful produce, food sovereignty, and equitable access to Wilmington’s Northside.
Food sovereignty, she explains, is “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods.” Inspired by the book “Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination” by Robin D.G. Kelley, Bolden’s vision for Wilmington and its food impoverished neighborhoods has become her own Freedom Dreams Farms.
“There’s not a single word or passage in that book that does not apply to the vision, intentions, and daily work of my small farm,” says Bolden.
When examining the systems that impact poverty and lead to food scarcity, she explains, it’s important to dig beneath the surface.
“Dropping off free food boxes will certainly fill a belly or two for a day or two, but what about the longer term, and the impact on our local farmers who are growing healthy, culturally relevant, and regionally supportive produce? We need a more fair, equitable, and sustained food movement to address the problems at their roots,” she says.
To that end, Freedom Dreams Farms not only brings good food to market, but it educates the public about the processes that make good food happen. Bolden schedules farm tours; community learn and workdays; and lunch and learns, in association with the Northside Food Co-op. While eating healthful produce, guests partake in healthful discussion and on macro and micro topics like food sovereignty and individual composting efforts.
You’ll also find Freedom Dreams Farms at Frankie’s Outdoor Market, located at 1019 Princess Street, on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1p.m. Freedom Dreams sells eggs, fresh seasonal vegetables, year-round microgreens, culinary and medicinal herbs, as well as potted herbs and vegetable starts.
Committed to working with like-minded distributors, Bolden buys seeds, feed, and supplies from small businesses dedicated to environmental practices and economic justice. When examining her bottom line, she rethinks the how and why of the system.
“I have the option to buy from conventional or organic farms,” she explains. For Bolden, the residual effects of organic farming drive her big-picture priorities. “If I look at the few extra dollars for organic as cutting into my profits, that would be a mistake,” she explains.
When buying organic sunflower seeds to fill microgreens subscription boxes, Bolden knows the plant is healthier, and that the workers enjoy better working conditions.
“If my couple of bucks extra means less detriment to the plant and a healthier end product for my customers, it’s worth it many times over.”
Working with community regional farmers who share her vision continues to be a fruitful endeavor. “I am learning, growing and connecting with other small farmers/farmers throughout the region,” says Bolden. “There is definitely a pull toward collectivism.”
Single/individual acts such as recycling, composting, reducing waste aren’t enough, she observes. “Planting a few of our own seeds here and there isn’t sufficient,” she explains. “We have to think and mobilize bigger, and together.”
To view more of photographer Terah Hoobler’s work, go to terahhoobler.com.
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