Grow Well Kingston is a collective of organizations and individuals that support Kingston residents to grow plants and raise animals for food, medicine, natural habitat, and beauty by supporting projects that provide knowledge, growing spaces, and resources.
Kingston is a city where every resident has an equal opportunity to grow their own food and medicine. There is a network of growing spaces (on both public and private land) for annual and perennial plants, ranging from planters to raised beds in backyards to community gardens and urban farms, that are supported by a strong and resilient community of humans and pollinators, clear, non-restrictive zoning and policies, and functional systems for shared resources. As a part of this network, Kingston residents of all ages understand the interdependence between themselves and their human and ecological communities. They live in “right relationship” with the land and other community members and know that their own spiritual, bodily, and economic well-being depends upon the well-being of others. Because of this ethos of interdependence and community care, Kingston is a food sovereignty and wellness hub in which residents have equitable access to fresh, healthy foods
Values: Code of Ethics
Food Justice: Food justice is a holistic and structural view of the food system that sees healthy food as a human right and addresses structural barriers to that right.
Centering human rights: We consciously choose to make decisions that center the experiences of people whose livelihood and survival are directly impacted by racism, gender oppression, oppression based on sexual orientation, ableism and/or any other form of oppression. We prioritize people who identify as low income, elderly, disabled/ people with disabilities or chronic illness, migrant, refugee, Black, Indigenous, or People of Color, families with children, women, and trans* non-binary folks. We commit to urban gardening and land access as a form of resource redistribution and weaving of a new community-held safety net for all.
Relationship: We value the relationships between people, the relationships between humans and other living and nonliving creatures, and our relationship with the Earth as the fundamental building blocks of our work. Nature continues to provide a template for healthy relationships from which we draw inspiration. A fundamental lesson is that we can only begin to heal our human relationships (including our relationships with non-human beings) when every participant is valued and their needs understood. Within our human communities, we have respect for lived experience as well as different perspectives, and commit to open, honest, and clear communication which allows us to build trust and mutual understanding.
Cooperation: We know that communities who work together move towards a more sustainable and resilient future. We commit to maintaining collaborative and innovative relationships within the coalition and with its affiliates. We consider others opinions through active listening, and value working together through discomfort as it arises. We ask and listen to what people need, and shift our actions in response.
Environmental activism: We consider and advocate for the rights of the natural environment in all of the decisions we make and choose to use environmentally friendly practices in our work. These practices will take into consideration the effects of our actions on the ecosystem in order to minimize the environmental footprint of this coalition. We strive to bring similar awareness to others outside of the organization as we move through our work.
Sharing work: We maintain a distributed organizing network where local levels can operate independently and create solutions for their specific needs. We are also transparent about what we can and cannot support.
Language justice: We believe that everyone has the right to engage with this topic in the language they are most comfortable with. To this end, we strive to provide bilingual documents in the main languages in our community and interpretation for in-person or virtual events, as well as building multilingual leadership to support our whole community.
Keeping it simple: We use low-tech tools that keep the barrier to entry low and our resources accessible to all. We prioritize accessibility, and try to make things easy to learn and participate in. We also practice looking back to move forward by learning from and building on work that has already been done.
Keeping it safe: Because we respect people’s experiences, values, and privacy, we work to build trust within our community by protecting sensitive information and offering community support to anyone who feels threatened.
Art as a Vehicle for Communication: We value the power and impact of artistic expression and consider the role of art and artists in food justice to be integral. ‘The role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible’ – Toni Cade Bambara