We work with residents and partners to build momentum for long-term change. Our movement-building work intentionally seeks to acknowledge and challenge the impacts of racism and other oppressions have on the systems that run our communities.
We are a part of two coalitions and several partnerships to move forward with our campaigns to increase food and land sovereignty in New London.
Putting the “Culture” Back in Agriculture
We acknowledge and lift the contributions that Indigenous peoples and other Black and Brown people have made to sustainable agriculture.
We acknowledge that our community should have a say in their food access and we work with emergency food system providers to give culturally relevant food to our people. We fight to reduce unnecessary barriers to food access points so people can get the resources they need. We strive to create the conditions for all people to access food with dignity.
Save the Mercer Community Garden and Gathering Space
The Mercer Community garden and gathering space was a part of the Martin Center, New London’s former (and only) community center. FRESH reclaimed the blighted lot in 2008 to make a productive green space for the neighborhood. After 20 years of deferred maintenance, the City sold the building and lot for $1 to a developer to build high end condos.
In 2020, we fought to secure a 5-year lease for our garden space. Once the lease is up, we will fight to renew and keep control of this land.
People Budget Coalition
- The People’s Budget Coalition fights to ensure that City resources are used to benefit Black, Brown, and Indigenous people and poor and working class families. In 2020, we surveyed nearly 1000 people to see what is most important to them. The coalition was able to secure more funding for youth services, youth employment, and public parks, and fought to reduce increases to the New London Police Department budget.
- Coalition members include Hearing Youth Voices, Step Up New London, Cultured AF, Writers Block, and Madry Temple.
- Find out more on the Hearing Youth Voices website.
Food Justice Action Team of the Health Improvement Collaborative of SECT
FRESH New London convenes the Food Justice Action Team of Southeastern Connecticut. The purpose of this multi sector collaboration is to ensure that residents have access to food with dignity, at all food access points. We have two main initiatives:
1. We are working to change the local emergency food system by documenting existing culture and providing training on systemic oppression and culturally relevant crops to address any issues.
2. We are an active member of Region Food System Partnership Project in Eastern Connecticut. The goal of the partnership is to make local, culturally appropriate crops available to low income consumers. Our role is to ensure that local residents have a say in the final projects, that projects are culturally responsive, and that they truly address systemic racism and other oppressions prevalent in the food system.
The Health Improvement Collaborative of SECT (HIC) is a group of organizations and community members committed to working together to create opportunities for health for all our community. We came together in 2015, to lead the development of the comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessments and Community Health Improvement Plans in 2016 and 2019. CHNAs/CHIPS. In the 2019 CHNA, the HIC called out “Racism as a Public Health Issue” in order to take intentional steps to dismantle its impacts.
The Health Improvement Collaborative has a vision of Southeastern CT as a community healthy in body and mind that promotes access, health equity, social justice, inclusiveness, and opportunities for all. Our group’s values include the intentional creation of a culture of trust, authenticity in seeking community involvement, inclusiveness, respectfulness of cultural consideration and differences, and social justice.
Learn more on the HIC website.