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MSU Tollgate Farm lecture series on race, food and land in Detroit
Published: 7/14/2020
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As a part of MSU Tollgate Farm’s reoccurring lecture series, Evenings in the Garden, we are presenting a three-part series on race, food, and land in Detroit.

Across the United States black farmers and black communities face major barriers related to farmland acquisition and food sovereignty. These issues often go unseen. MSU Extension and MSU Tollgate Farm will be facilitating the series to investigate the past, present, and future of race relations in Detroit and how it has impacted land acquisition and food sovereignty.

During each session, a team of MSU Extension facilitators, will be joined by panelists from across the Detroit food systems landscape to share their lived and learned experiences. Registration fees, minus the cost of stipends for the panelists, will go toward initiatives that support the needs of Black/African-American farmers in Detroit.

Follow MSU Tollgate Farm on Facebook for updates on the speakers and topics of the conversations.
• Register at
• Individual sessions are $10 each or $25 for all three.
• Pre-registration is required.
• Sessions will be held via Zoom with a link provided upon registration.
• Each session is eligible for 2 hours of continuing education for Extension Master Gardeners.
• If you would like to attend but are unable to contribute financially, scholarships are available for qualifying participants on a first come first served basis. Please contact Jamie Rahrig with the Michigan Good Food Fund to see if you qualify for a scholarship.

The History of Urban Agriculture and Racism in Detroit (July 30):
• Gain a clear and accurate historical overview of how race relations in Detroit impacted land acquisition and food sovereignty.
• Highlight and uplift historical Black/African American voices regarding lived experiences in relation to race, land, and food within Detroit.

Present-Day Food Sovereignty and Equitable Food Access in Detroit (August 27):
• Learn about Detroiters and Detroit based organizations doing urban agricultural work to strengthen food access and food sovereignty.
• Highlight and uplift present-day Black/African American voices regarding lived experiences in relation to race, land, and food within Detroit.

Envisioning the Future of Food and Farming in Detroit (September 24):
• Articulate action items around supporting the work of grassroots organizations within Detroit tackling the issues discussed.
• Envision what needs to change, grow, or "be weeded out" to bring forth food sovereignty in Detroit.

MSU Extension Session Facilitators:
• Alondra Alvizo - MSU Product Center Innovation Counselor
• Naim Edwards - Director of the Detroit Partnership for Food, Learning, and Innovation
• Mike Mathis - Director of MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center