The Practical Visionaries Workshop and Field Projects are guided by three community based organizations which include Alternatives for Community Environment (ACE), Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) and Somerville Community Corporation (SCC). These organizations share a common interest in creating a just and sustainable food economy. To learn more about each organization, click the links below:
- Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE)
- Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI)
- Somerville Community Corporation (SCC)
ACE (founded in 1993) works to build the power of communities of color and low-income communities in Massachusetts. Their broad organizational goals are to eradicate environmental racism and classism, create healthy, sustainable communities, and achieve environmental justice.
In their efforts towards systemic environmental justice, ACE is working to solve pervasive social and environmental issues. ACE is anchoring a movement of people who have been excluded from decision-making to confront power directly and demand fundamental changes in the rules of the game, empowering communities to achieve healthy environments.
To combat food injustice, ACE’s youth program Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project (REEP) has begun a food justice campaign, Grow or Die. Through this campaign, they are helping more residents get better access to fresh, affordable, healthy food. One of their main campaign strategies is to take over vacant lots and turn them into community growing spaces. For more information about the Grow or Die Campaign, click here.
DSNI is a nonprofit community-based planning and organizing entity in Boston’s Roxbury/North Dorchester neighborhoods. Formed in 1984, DSNI grew from the efforts of Dudley Street area residents to protect their community from arson, disinvestment, neglect, redlining, and speculation. Since gaining eminent domain from the City of Boston in 1988, DSNI and their partners have developed affordable housing, a greenhouse, schools, and other community-driven plans and projects. Goals for sustainable economic development and community empowerment characterize DSNI’s campaigns, partnerships, and long-term goals.
In their efforts to increase access to healthy and affordable food, DSNI has built a greenhouse on their land trust, which is managed by The Food Project (TFP). They are also partnering with ACE and TFP to create The Dudley Real Food Hub, which aims to 1) increase access to ‘real food’ and 2) encourage healthier food habits and healthier lifestyles. To learn more about these programs, click here.
SCC (founded in 1969) is a community development corporation working to preserve and enhance the economic, racial, and ethnic diversity in the City of Somerville. Reacting to the displacement of low-income and working families in Somerville neighborhoods since the 1980s, SCC has developed the following priorities:
- Affordable housing development
- Community organizing
- Homelessness prevention
- Asset building
- School- and community-based mediation
SCC has completed more that 20 affordable housing projects, led successful neighborhood organizing efforts, and helped residents gain financial security and access other important community resources.