University of Toronto: Arts & Cultural Programming 
Afro-Turf: The Future of Food Communities

Farming in urban settings provides opportunities for local resource generation in communities disconnected from food production. Current challenges implementing urban farming include limited available land, poor growing conditions, and inaccessibility of profitable markets. Additionally, existing challenges are magnifying in communities where a history of systemic racism, limited accumulated generational wealth, and an under-representation in urban planning policy has created barriers to land ownership and/or decision-making. Menilek Beyene’s project Afro-Turf: The Future of Food Communities documents participants' historical and contemporary barriers to career paths in farming and their visions for the future of food production in Black, Caribbean, and African communities in Canada.

Moderator:
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Jennifer Gordon

Director, Centre for Creative Business Innovation and Humber Galleries, Humber College

As the Director of the Humber College Centre for Creative Business Innovation and Humber Galleries, Jennifer Gordon holds a BFA in Drawing & Painting and a BEd in I/S Visual Arts & English, both from the University of Ottawa. Currently, she is a Master of Fine Arts Candidate in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. An advocate for sustainable growth in the Canadian arts and cultural sectors, Gordon has held roles in business development and training, arts administration, and consulting.

Artist:
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Menilek S. Beyene

Menilek S. Beyene

PhD Student, Physical and Environmental Sciences Department, University of Toronto

Menilek S. Beyene is a second year PhD student in the Physical and Environmental Sciences Department at the University of Toronto, supervised by Dr. Marc Cadotte. Beyene was born in Toronto from Ethiopian immigrants and has a deep interest in the environment, its connection to people, and our dependence on its functioning. His driving research interests are in determining how we can restore urban habitats to better provide services to people while conserving biodiversity and ecosystem stability. Beyene aims to continue research in ecological restoration that has a meaningful impact in solving the many global issues we face today like climate change, environmental pollution, and species extinction.

Jennifer Gordon