Everett,  February 23 2018

Using image and story to build a healthier, more equitable food system in Everett

Everett-based food justice organization Everett Community Growers (ECG) is convening a small group of Everett residents to share their experience of Everett’s food environment through a camera lens. Participants are taking to the streets as community photojournalists and capturing images that tell stories about issues in Everett’s food system, and features that make it great. They’re doing this to identify ways to improve health and racial equity in Everett’s food system. With their cameras, they will look into issues related to food insecurity, urban agriculture and community gardens, food workers and businesses, school food, and cultural diversity.

“It will be refreshing to see a variety of perspectives people have as they take pictures throughout the city,” said local photographer and project member Katy Rogers.

This project uses the PhotoVoice approach, which employs photography as a way to inform about positive changes in the community. With their photos arranged around them, the group will reconvene in March to discuss what positive changes could address some of the issues they uncover.

“We are really excited about the PhotoVoice project, because it builds on past projects we’ve done to collect and share our growers’ personal stories and reasons for gardening,” remarked ECG Development Coordinator Emily Nink. “This project goes further, enabling critical dialogue and knowledge sharing between Everett’s community leaders, who we ultimately look to for guidance on how to change the local food system.”

“As the saying goes, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words,’” said Mayor Carlo DeMaria. “I can think of no better way to tell a story than with an outdoor photo exhibit at the Northern Strand Community Farm and Trail. This exhibit will convey emotion, mood, narrative, ideas and messages that promises to increase health outcomes and civic engagement among Everett residents.”

The project will culminate with an outdoor photo exhibit at the Northern Strand Community Farm and Trail in late spring. The community will be invited to view the photos and stories and join the conversation about making improvements to Everett’s food system.

Those interested in taking photos of their own can enter into the Everett Food Culture Photo Contest. The photo contest will run parallel to the PhotoVoice project and will ask participants to take photos that celebrate food in Everett. One winning photo will be chosen to be displayed at an outdoor photo exhibit in late spring. Photo submissions can be made through March 30, 2018. For more information and to participate in the Everett Food Culture Photo Contest, please visit www.Facebook.com/everettfood.

Both the PhotoVoice project and Everett Food Culture Photo Contest are part of broader efforts of the Everett Community Food Assessment and Plan. This larger project is led by partners ECG, the City of Everett, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). The goal of the project is to develop a food system plan for Everett that is guided by Everett residents and advances equity and public health. Funding support is provided by MAPC, the City of Everett, the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund, and the Everett Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.