Recent Articles

Project Sweetie Pie cultivates an urban farm movement

By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer


It’s a tough call as to whether Project Sweetie Pie ( is the proverbial idea whose time has come or if its founder/director, irresistible force Michael Chaney, has brought his tireless tenacity and innovative industry to bear on the immovable object of social inertia. In October of 2014, Chaney told the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, on being honored by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, “Urban farming is a means to an end. It creates economics [as well as] a value system and work ethic within our community. “This serves as an antidote to the poison that we [experience] as African Americans, the mythology that the larger, dominant community tries to spread upon us of self-defeat, of low self-esteem. That we’re not capable.”

Project Sweetie Pie (PSP) encourages youngsters to literally get their hands dirty by learning how to plant gardens and grow food, in the process acquainting them with exercise out in the fresh air as well in entrepreneurship. Continue Reading →

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Conference brings Black environmental thought to Twin Cities

Everyday Black folks missing from the eco-dialogue

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Tuskegee University hosted the first-ever Black Environmental Thought (BET) conference in 2007. The University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Center hosted last weekend the second such event on September 21-23. The U-M’s African American and African Studies (AAAS) department, the Institute for Advanced Study and St. Paul-based AfroEco were key organizers of BET II, which was billed for Black scholars, activists, farmers and other environmentalists “to engage in translocal and transnational dialogues about environmental justice.”

“It took us five years to do this again,” proclaimed U-M Professor Rose Brewer in her welcoming remarks. AAAS Chair Keith Mayes added that too often “Black folk and people of color are left out of the [environmental] discussion.”

Environmental issues are “fundamental Black issues,” noted AfroEco’s Sam Grant. Continue Reading →

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