The Virginia Tech Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation & R.E.A.L (Racial Equity in Agriculture Lab) present

Building Racial Equity in the Food System: From Individual Anti-Racism to Dismantling Institutional Systems

A Two-Part Workshop, March 31, 2021 | 10:30-12:30 & 2:30-4:30 (EDT)

Building upon our summer Racial Justice in the Food System Learning Circle series, the Center will host Shantell Bingham, Michael Carter Jr., and Duron Chavis of R.E.A.L. to lead an in-depth, 2-part workshop on building racial equity in the food system from a critical pedagogy perspective. This virtual, two-part workshop is open to students, faculty, staff, and community members who seek a deeper understanding of structural and institutional racism in our food system. This workshop series is also designed to provide a pathway to action to help dismantle the attitudes, practices, and structures that hold racism in place as a step toward creating a more just and sustainable food system that works for everyone.  

Register here:
**We have reached capacity for this training, please use the registration link to be added to our waitlist**

Shantell Bingham works to cultivate equitable strategies from the ground-up in local and regional food systems on the East Coast through grassroots community organizing, coalitions, and academic institutions. She has served on steering committees for Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, built food justice coalitions in Charlottesville, VA, and worked regionally as a member of the Chesapeake Foodshed Network’s Community Ownership, Empowerment and Prosperity Action Team. Shantell has conducted research internationally in post-apartheid South Africa, where she sought to understand systems of oppression, social transformation, and health outcomes. In 2015, she was awarded the Dalai Lama Fellowship to study compassionate, ethical leadership and social entrepreneurship. In 2018 was appointed to the Human Rights Commission in Charlottesville where she served two terms as chair guiding work to strengthen the city’s ability to tackle housing and employment discrimination. She is a 2018 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award nominee and a 2019 Charlottesville top 10 under 40 recipient. In 2020, she was awarded the Castanea Fellowship joining a cohort of other food system leaders working for a racially just food system in any of the areas of: health, environment, agriculture, regional economies, or community development. A great granddaughter to NC tobacco sharecroppers, she believes every human is endowed with the right to self-determination in our food system. Shantell holds a B.A. in Global Development Studies and an MPH from the University of Virginia.

Michael Carter Jr. is an 11th generation American/farmer, and is the 5th generation to farm on Carter Farms, his family’s’ century farm in Orange County, Virginia, where he gives workshops on how to grow and market ethnic vegetables. With Virginia State University, he is the Small Farm Resource Center Coordinator for the Small Farm Outreach Program. Virginia Association of Biological Farmers (VABF) and Virginia Foodshed Capital have him sit on their respective board of directors. He also serves as the state coordinator for the Black Church Food Security Network and as the food safety coordinator for the Six State Farm to Table organization. He acquired an agricultural economics degree from North Carolina A&T State University and has worked in Ghana, Kenya and Israel as an agronomist and organic agricultural consultant. As a cliometrician, curriculum developer, and program coordinator for his educational, cultural, and vocational platforms, Hen Asem (Our Story) and Africulture, he teaches and expounds on the contributions of Africans and African Americans to agriculture worldwide and trains students, educators and professionals in African cultural understanding, empathy, and implicit bias recognition. Michael is also a Fellow of the Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation.

Duron Chavis is the founder and director Happily Natural Day, a Richmond-based non-profit organization engaged in innovative and dynamic initiatives around the topics of urban agriculture and local food systems in a culturally relevant way. Duron started his career in community advocacy as first a volunteer then an employee of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of VA. While there founded the highly acclaimed Happily Natural Day festival as a grassroots effort to supplement the summer jazz concert that was held annually at the institution. The festival is a weekend long experience that focuses on cultural awareness, health, wellness and social change. In 2009 Chavis launched the Richmond Noir Market, a Saturday farmer’s market targeting low-income communities located in what the USDA has designated as food deserts in Richmond Virginia. 2012 marked the development his first community garden; which subsequently led to the development of urban farms, urban orchards, urban vineyards and work in poverty mitigation, workforce development, health and racial equity. Chavis has received numerable accolades for his work. He served in 2011 as a Clean Air Ambassador on behalf of Earthjustice and the Hip Hop Caucus. He is an alumni of Leadership Metro Richmond’s class of 2011, received Style Weekly’s Top 40 under 40 award in 2010, and the Style Weekly Power List in 2014 & 2015. Chavis served as the inaugural director of the Harding Street Urban Ag Center; a recreation center repurposed into an indoor farm by VSU. Chavis is currently leading the Resiliency Garden and “Black Space Matters” Initiative in partnership with the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute of Contemporary Art in Richmond.


Sponsored in part by the Community Change Collaborative of the VT Institute for Policy & Governance and the VT CALS Diversity Council.

For support, email Garland Mason