Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-Op
Raqueeb Bey | Founder and Managing Director, Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-Op
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In 2011, Raqueeb Bey began a youth program in her Homewood community to teach children how to grow food and lead by example. This led her to start attending community meetings, where she noticed that no one in a position of power was African American. Seeing this, she was inspired to start the Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-Op, an organization committed to creating change and fighting the systematic racism in Pittsburgh that she’d witnessed and felt. She began her focus on the Homewood area, noticing that it was not a food desert but more of a food apartheid area – a location stricken by government-sanctioned systemic racism. The Black Urban Gardeners have grown to become a source of food for the community, selling fruits and vegetables in farmers markets to residents in need. Through the use of hoop houses, they are able to grow food year-round, into even the harshest months of winter. They have also since started the Homewood Food Access Working Group, committed to work on issues around food insecurity as a whole. Bey notes that urban agriculture can be a struggle, but it is worth it and necessary to bring urban gardeners’ voices to the table.
About the Speaker
Raqueeb Bey is an urban agriculturist, community activist and mother of six phenomenal children. She is the Garden Resource Coordinator for Grow Pittsburgh Garden Resource Center, a tool lending library in Pittsburgh’s East End. Raqueeb found the Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-Op (BUG-FPC) in June of 2015, where she is the executive director. BUG-FPC was created out of the need to unite black urban agriculturalists in the Pittsburgh area for support and to dismantle the systemic racism that infiltrates our communities. We are a grassroots organization that has brought together a collective group of black gardeners and farmers to work together to solve challenges that we face here in Pittsburgh as urban growers. We have over 50 years of farming and gardening experience; as well as social activism; community engagement; land conservation and acquisition and entrepreneurship. The mission of BUG-FPC is to establish, educate and assist black people for sustainability and food sovereignty.