Authors: Maritza Martinez
For Green For All Fellow Ashara Ekundayo food and art are the entry points to getting people involved in sustainability work. By constructing new spaces and ways for people of varying backgrounds to connect, often over food and libation, she works to “illuminate mindfulness regarding our personal, spiritual, and professional interconnectedness to the environment.”
"I am a working to cultivate the ‘edge,’ a permaculture concept that speaks to the new fertility that thrives where two systems meet."
Ashara describes herself as a catalyst, a cultural worker, and an artivist committed to social justice. She makes connections by creating and cultivating opportunities for individuals and organizations to strategically collaborate. These connections span the globe - from co-founding The GrowHaus, an interactive indoor farm and marketplace in Denver, CO, to being the project manager of the BoldFood Professional Fellowship for international urban growers, food security organizers, and policymakers in the U.S. and East Africa in partnership with the U.S. Dept. of State’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs. Ashara sees herself as an ecologist and her work as anthropology, remembering and re-tooling the lessons of our Ancestors for sustainable living in the present.
"Culture is the cure."
This new Bay Area resident joined forces with G4GMobile.com and other Green For All Fellows to co-found and co-curate The Grow Sessions, a multi-genre installation utilizing participatory listening and performance as community healing mechanism, at Oakland’s monthly Art Murmur. Deemed a “Cultural Jedi” by her peers, she is also the founding producer of venues such as PodSlam.org, the Denver Pan African Film Festival, and the “Cafe Nuba” spoken-word & music showcase. Her latest multi-media offering CanIEatIt.info, launching in Spring 2012, will share intergenerational women’s stories of food and family from the rainforest to the corner store.
"I have an art practice; it is that of the curator."
Drawing on the role of a curator, in a nutshell, Ashara describes her niche as acquiring, displaying and promoting the work of social and cultural activists while building community. As the entrepreneur-owner of BluBlak Media Consulting, she has held a number of roles in the social justice space – from on-air host at FreeSpeechTV to development coordinator to program officer to executive director. “I believe in biodiversity and ceremony in all aspects of my being and I seek to find ways to present all those possible opportunities to my communities of practice as well as those just beginning their journey.”
Want to learn more? Follow Ashara Ekundayo on Twitter.
Ashara Ekundayo — Fellow, Class 3
Ashara Ekundayo is a cultural worker, a food justice activist, a journalist, and an entrepreneur who serves in community as a strategic connector, working with her clients to increase capacity and visibility while building sustainable partnerships.