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The Poughkeepsie Farmers Market was the epitome of the Poughkeepsie Farm Project's mission to create a "just and sustainable food system in the Hudson Valley." While farm itself had been operating for many years prior to the program, it had taken on a social justice agenda when it decided to extend its programs from the wealthier Town of Poughkeepsie into the post-industrial, food insecure City of Poughkeepsie. However, after eight years of a struggling farmers market, the Poughkeepsie Farm Project decided to cut the funding for the project, thus ending its direct presence in the City of Poughkeepsie.
The main question of this senior thesis is that of the relationship formed between the Poughkeepsie Farm Project and the residents of the City of Poughkeepsie through the space farmers market. How is it that a well-planned, well-intentioned project such as the farmers market was not received by the residents of the city? In answering this question, I maintain that this socio-geographic relationship is necessarily one of race, as it was an unspoken, yet guiding principle of the organization's work. By synthesizing different theories of urban development, whiteness, and social movement participation, I hope to shed light on how race influences the work of movements to create equitable participation in the food system. It is only by having an open and honest conversation about race that we will be able to create a just food system. I hope to be one of the many voices of that conversation.
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