Dare writes, “This was very hard for me to write. What care and support do I need? I’ve been conditioned not to think of me. Rewarded, in fact, for not thinking of me. One day, I hope to have my needs and desires on the tip of my tongue, because I’ve been asked so many times that I know people want to hear the truth of my answer. Thank you for asking. I came into the food system via the culinary industry a decade ago. I wanted to nourish as many people as possible. Instead, I found an industry designed to exploit my mind, my body, and my heart for profit. It is such a corruption of the honor that comes with feeding others. I come to this land less than a century after it was brutally stolen from the Xa-Ben-Na-Po Band of the Pomo, whose descendants, the Big Valley Band, continue their work toward the rematriation of the lands their peoples have shared for over 10,000 years. The first year of my work will focus on building relationships with my neighbors to better understand how I can support their visions for the area, rather than producing for market. It will be the first time in my life that my housing and food security won’t rely on the services and pleasures I can provide for others. It will be the first time that I have the autonomy to actually work in relationship with others as my purpose calls for, instead of obeying and compromising my integrity to survive. I want to spend the Winter the way we are meant to. Healing, telling stories, preparing myself and the land for the Spring. I want to grow for seed, to build bonds with my new community, and to celebrate elders and youth on the property. This takes time and space, and that is not something that is given readily to people like me. So, I guess that is what I need - I think it is what most of us need as BIPOC in this industry: Self-Determination.
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