Racial equity in the food system

At CISA, we envision a local food system that is resilient, inclusive, and just — for farmers, farmworkers, and our whole community. For the last five years, CISA’s board and staff have been engaged in a process to understand the ways that systemic racism shapes our food system and CISA’s own work, and we have begun to shift our work in both small and significant ways. We know that building a truly equitable food system and figuring out CISA’s role in it is a long and non-linear road. We want to invite our partners, supporters, members, and the whole vast community — especially BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) gardeners, farmers, organizers, activists, and anyone else engaged in food justice work, however you define it —  to join us. Tell us what your vision is, invite us in when you think we can help, and hold us accountable when we get things wrong.

We’ve been educating ourselves and working to educate others about the ways that racism affects our food system –  the racial discrepancies in food access, hunger, and health, in land and business ownership rates, and in the conditions under which the agricultural workforce, many of whom are undocumented, lives and labors. To read more on this, click here.

We are working internally to assess and change our programming and organizational culture, and we are working externally to develop stronger relationships with the people and organizations that are leading the way towards food justice. In doing so, we are dedicated to incorporating the needs, assets, and perspectives of people and communities of color, and we welcome the changes this process will bring to our programming, advocacy, organizational culture, and policies — including a more diverse staff and board. We will ensure that CISA’s time, expertise, and resources are distributed equitably. And we will use CISA’s position in the community, as an established organization with a respected voice, to be an ally and to share opportunities and platforms with people and organizations of color. Much of this is underway, and we are working with consultants to help CISA’s staff and board set strategic goals and clear timelines.

As we carry out these commitments, we strive to be transparent about our progress and outcomes. CISA’s board/staff committee that is dedicated to keeping us on this path can be reached at, and we are committed to updating this space with our progress, outcomes, and learnings.