Viviane Barnett Fellowshipfor Food System Leaders

Who leads the work to create a more equitable and resilient food system matters.

This cohort-based fellowship program is designed for aspiring, emerging, and experienced Black, Indigenous and people of color leaders in Oregon working across sectors to build equitable, climate-resilient food systems.

Meet the 2021-2022 cohort of the Viviane Barnett Fellowship for Food Systems Leaders.

To strengthen this region’s network of food system leaders, the Black Food Sovereignty Coalition, Mudbone Grown, Oregon State University’s Center for Small Farms, the Multnomah County Health Department REACH program, and Ecotrust have partnered to offer the Viviane Barnett Fellowship for Food System Leaders.

About Viviane Barnett

We are proud to name this Fellowship for Viviane Barnett—a Black Portlander and civic leader who spearheaded a groundbreaking community gardening movement from 1968-1970.

Working with community members in Portland’s Albina district, Barnett pursued a wide array of partnerships and collaborations to support food security through a community gardening program called Green Fingers. At its height, the program served around 1,500 participants. Despite the popularity and national attention garnered by Green Fingers, Viviane had to overcome numerous disruptions to the program as a result of institutional racism in Portland city government and planning offices, including frequent displacement and garden sites that were razed mid-season, before harvest.

For her perseverance, love of community, and leadership, we endeavor to honor the memory of Viviane Barnett with this Fellowship.

Learn more about Viviane Barnett and the Green Fingers program

About the Fellowship

The Viviane Barnett Fellowship for Food System Leaders is an 18-month long program designed to build the capacity of experienced and aspiring food systems leaders of color in Oregon.

Fellows will develop, implement, and advocate for food system projects that promote restorative growing practices, community empowerment, food sovereignty, land and water stewardship, and climate justice.

This Fellowship is open to Black, Indigenous, and people of color at all stages of their food systems learning journey. Fellows will come from a wide variety of backgrounds such as farming, land justice advocacy, entrepreneurship, policy, public health, climate justice organizing, and more.

Seeding a pathway for food systems leaders of color whose lived experiences are essential to collective efforts to building a more equitable, regenerative, and climate resilient food system.

This effort is intended to create pathways for food systems leaders of color whose lived experiences are essential to collective efforts to build a more equitable, regenerative, and climate resilient food system while increasing access to nutritious, affordable foods for the BIPOC communities.

Participants of Come Thru Market at the Redd on Salmon Street. Photo by Noah Thomas

Fellowship details

  • The cohort will be comprised of 10-15 Fellows.
  • Each Fellow will receive a $4,000 stipend to participate in the 18-month program.
  • Fellows will develop and launch a project by the end of the Fellowship to demonstrate the impact of their learning journey. Fellows can build upon an existing project or develop it during the Fellowship.
  • Each Fellow will be part of a three-person peer coaching circle with other Fellows that meets monthly to support one another’s learning journey and hold each other accountable throughout the program.
  • Quarterly training sessions will include skill-sharing and capacity-building.
  • The Fellowship will include a community of practice to foster support and connections among fellows. At quarterly community-of-practice gatherings, Fellows will connect, explore new possibilities, solve challenging problems, and create new, mutually beneficial opportunities related to building more equitable and climate-resilient food systems.

Most programming will be remote (over Zoom) for the foreseeable future. Any in-person gatherings, when safe, will follow all state and county health regulations related to size of gatherings, location (outside), physical distancing, health screenings, use of protective masks, etc.

Fostering a network of support to explore new possibilities, address challenges, and create new opportunities to support racially equitable and climate resilient food and farming systems.

Members of the Green Workforce Academy gather at Mudbone Grown Farm for a field day. Photos by Noah Thomas. Top photo: Back to the Root conference attendees visit Unity Farm. Photo by Kim Nguyen

Guidelines and application process

Eligibility and criteria

  • The Fellowship is open to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
  • We are seeking a well-balanced cohort diverse in gender, race/ethnicity, age, leadership experience, and location.
  • Fellows must reside in Oregon. Half of the spots will be reserved for folks who live in Multnomah County, east of the Willamette River.
  • We are seeking Fellows who can commit to fully participate in all program components:
    • Full participation over the 18 months from April 2021 through September 2022.
    • Spend approximately 6-8 hours a month on fellowship work
      Monthly check-ins with peer coaching circles.
    • Skill-sharing / capacity-building through quarterly training sessions.
    • Quarterly cohort gatherings or meetings.
    • Launch/complete a project by the end of the fellowship to demonstrate the impact of your learning journey.
    • Final celebration gathering in September 2022.

Application instructions

Guidelines

Review the application guidelines.

Preview

Preview the application questions.

Support or questions

Contact us if you have any questions or need support with any aspects of your application
bipocfellowship@gmail.com | (503) 227-6225 x763
¿Preguntas? Por favor, póngase en contacto con avargas@ecotrust.org

Key dates

  • February 9, 2021: Applications open
  • March 2, 2021: Applications must be submitted by 11:59 pm PT for consideration
  • March 16, 2021: Upon review by the fellowship selection committee, selected applicants will be notified to schedule a video interview during the week of 3/22, lasting approximately 20 minutes.
  • April 9, 2021: Selected Fellows are notified through their provided email and will be asked to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to confirm their spot.
  • April 19, 2021: Program starts
  • September 2022: Program culmination and final celebration

FAQs

Do I need to have a lot of experience with food systems work to apply?

No, this Fellowship is open to Black, Indigenous, and people of color at all stages of their food systems learning journey. Fellows will come from a wide variety of backgrounds such as food production, land justice advocacy, entrepreneurship, policy, public health, climate justice organizing, and more.

Do I need to be affiliated with an organization or a business to apply?

No, you do not need to be affiliated with a business or organization to become a fellow. The Fellowship is project-based so Fellows will build upon an existing project or develop a new one during the Fellowship with or without an affiliated business/organization.

Why should I apply to become a Fellow?

Because you know a more equitable and resilient food system is possible. You care deeply about your community and are committed to building food systems that promote restorative growing practices, food sovereignty, land and water stewardship, and climate justice. You are a community-builder who is ready to share a learning journey with a group of peers and with support from mentors.

What support structures exist for Fellows?

Each Fellow will be part of a three-person peer coaching circle with other fellows that meets monthly to support one another’s learning journey and hold each other accountable throughout the program. Fellows also participate in quarterly workshops with BIPOC instructors in a variety of topics such as: soil health, cooperatives, GIS, facilitation, fundraising, community organizing, and more.

Will Fellows submit a report or make a presentation at the end of the Fellowship?

In Fall 2022 there will be a final gathering to celebrate the work that Fellows have put into their projects. What’s shared with the Fellowship at that time will look different for every Fellow and could include a site visit, public speaking opportunity/presentation and/or report. Members of peer coaching circles will support each other in preparing to share projects.