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Community Profile: Leticia Ama Deawuo

About Leticia Ama Deawuo

Before joining SeedChange as Executive Director in 2021, I spent fifteen years as a leading activist for food sovereignty and food justice, and four years as the Executive Director of Black Creek Community Farm, where I worked towards greater food justice with the Toronto community of Jane-Finch. I was instrumental in the creation of a number of initiatives in Toronto, including Jane-Finch On The Move, Jane Finch Action Against Poverty, Jane Finch Political Conversation Café, Black Creek Food Justice Network, and Mothers-In-Motion. I am currently completing a Master’s Degree at York University, looking at how decolonization, agroecology, and the expertise of women elders in small-scale farming communities can support much-needed shifts in the way we think of our relationships with each other and with other living beings.

I grew up in a small town in Ghana called Pepease. Growing up, most of the farmers I saw were women and many were responsible for the care of their grandchildren. My mother was a teenager when she gave birth to me so my grandmother basically raised me as one of her children. She had a smallholder farm where she grew corn, peanuts, cassava, yam, cocoyam, etc. to feed her children and her grandchildren. She took me with her to the farm almost every day. She paid for my school tuition/fee with a small roadside “chop bar” where she sold prepared food for the community. It is Black women like my grandmother who inspired me to listen and share the stories about the important work they do in their communities and the impact of that food work upon their communities and in the world.

Black women like my grandmother's major impact in food and agriculture are under-represented in history books and their work is not considered essential or impactful. For example, the UN Food Systems Summit held in the fall of 2021 is dominated by big agribusiness corporations and peasant farmers are shut out of the conversation even though they produce 70% of the world’s food supply (FAO, 2021). Women make up 70% of the 1.5 billion smallholder farmers globally. Many folks will be able to list out a few men who have made an impact in agriculture in the world but fail to list out the women - specifically Black women’s impact.

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