Black Urban Growers Conference: November 4th-6th

BUGS 2016
  • November 4th-6th 2016
  • Harlem Renaissance School located
  • 22 East 128th Street, New York, NY 10035


Panel Discussion: Faith and Food - African Descent Faith Communities Address Food Sovereignty in New York

Session Day: Sunday, November 6

Session Time: 9:30 - 10:45am

Moderator: Valencia Howard, Operations Manager/Dir. Faith & Food Initiative at Corbin Hill Food Project and Health Minister at AME Zion Church on the Hill in Harlem, NY.



Manbo Dowoti Desir,  High Priestess in the Vodun Tradition, Founder & CEO of Afro-Atlantic Theologies & Treaties, Chair of the NGO Committee for the Elimination of Racism, Afrophobia, and Colorism.

Sharon Herbert- Hayes, Christian Lay Leader and Educator, Board Member at Faith in New York, and Director of Social Justice Ministry at Christ Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith.

Rev. Addie Banks, Health & Wellness Ministry Consultant with the Groundswell Group

David Lee, Eastern Religious Practice (Hinduism & Buddhism), and Ayurvedic Chef

Brother Rojo, Ancient Kemetic Spirituality, Co-Founder of Powerful Pioneers, and Alkaline & Vegan Chef.




Agriculture awareness is essential in the lives of African descent communities.  The ways in which we actively engage in the knowledge and wisdom of healing practices that leads to overall health and wellness for our minds, bodies, and spirits.  The effects of colonization, forced conversion to Christianity, and consumerism in the Western diet and food systems has affected the physical, psychological, and spiritual practice of African descent peoples.

This panel discussion will take an interdisciplinary approach in the ways in which African Descent Faith Leaders are actively participating in repairing the relationship between faith communities, professional leaders, and food practices.  They will collectively answer and reflect on the following questions:

  1. Historically, what contributed to faith/spiritual leaders active participation in public health concerns?

  2. How do African Descent Faith communities address food access, distribution, and concerns?

  3. How do African Faith Practices differ from Christian Faith practices in relation to food practices?

  4. How can faith communities actively engage and participate in food justice and sovereignty in NYC?


Panelist will take about 5-7 minutes to each to discuss following themes in order:

  • Soul Food: African Descent Christian Ancient & Modern Food Practices (Valencia) African Indigenous Relationship with Food (Manbo Dowoti)

  • Historical & Modern Analysis on; Feeding Ministries, Food Pantries, Co-Ops and Grocery Stores in African Descent Communities and Specifically Harlem (Sharon Herbert-Hayes)

  • Faith Leaders, Social Justice Justice and Public Health Professionals (Rev. Addie Banks)

  • Diversity, Inclusivity and Integration: Ayurvedic Diet (David Lee)

  • Community Chefs w/ Cultural Consciousness: Alkaline Diet (Bro. Rojo)

  • Soul Vegetarianism and Afro-Veganism: Conscious Millennials & Youth (David Lee & Bro. Rojo)

  • Food & Feminism: Women’s Role in Food and Faith Practices (Manbo Dowoti & Sharon Herbert-Hayes, Rev. Banks, and Valencia)

Find out what else you can expect from the BUGS Conference this November! See their event schedule here