Keymah Durden and Randy McShepard are very frank when talking about Cleveland’s Kinsman neighborhood, where the childhood friends grew up and where they joined forces with three other Black men to found Rid-All Green Partnership, a nonprofit organization focused on urban agriculture and education.

“People living in Kinsman are dealing with significant trauma as a result of being poor and from generational poverty. They feel disengaged, forgotten about, and despised. So, when you show them that despite their trauma, that despite dropping out of high school or being unemployed or being poor, you can overcome that, when you come to Rid-All and see these people working tirelessly to build community and create jobs, people who are thinking about a brighter future where there is more abundance, it really impacts that poverty, which is not only poverty of the pocketbook, but also of the mind,” says Durden.

For Durden, McShepard, and the rest of the Rid-All team, the solution is what McShepard calls “a localized food approach,” where people grow and buy food within their community, which not only increases access to fresh healthy food, but also creates jobs and strengthens the community, all of which are principles of Equitable Food Oriented Development (EFOD), a community-anchored development strategy centering Black, Indigenous and People of Color food and agriculture projects and enterprises as vehicles for shared power, cultural expression, and community asset building. Rid-All is a 2022 recipient of a grant through the EFOD Collaborative’s practitioner-controlled EFOD Fund, which supports BIPOC-led organizations working at the intersection of food and agriculture and community asset-building.

Read the entire article at The Kresge Foundation