Our Work

Neighborhood based. locally driven. regional impact.

Neighborhood based.
locally driven.
regional impact.

Our relationship with the food system, the environment and with each other is an intimate and oftentimes tumultuous kinship that requires critical interrogation of our values.

Local food policy councils everywhere are organized as a stakeholder voice designed to assess the sectors of the food industry ecosystem. This includes how the system informs economic development, healthy families and communities, environmental stewardship and the preservation and viability of farms and farm land, including those in urban centers.



Our Philosophy in Action


Black Women

We are a Black woman led initiative with a targeted universalist approach to systems design. We center the voice and experiences of Black women as a strategy to design a more comprehensive, responsible and sustainable food industry ecosystem that is beneficial for all. We encourage the participation of all people in this work, because all people are needed for this work.


New Systems

At Zoo City, we are not asking for a seat at the table. We are creating our own table that everyone can eat from.

Locally, we serve as a bridge for farmers and small businesses working under cottage food laws; this allows for more sustainable income, closer community connections, and will lend to the restoration and rejuvenation of vacant land in areas affected by environmental racism.

Regionally, we develop pathways for food sovereignty. We do this by providing food systems literacy to communities with little to no access to education on the food industry ecosystem, primarily in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek.

Nationally, our desire is for our model to be accessible to communities across the country. Although our food system is designed with Kalamazoo and Battle Creek counties in mind, we know that there are other cities and counties around the U.S. that could benefit from an initiative that champions food sovereignty. With this in mind, we aim to share our design model with our neighbors outside of Michigan for them to apply it to their specific, collective needs.

In Action:

  • Provide fresh, healthy produce through our neighborhood-based farm sites.
  • Process, package and distribute our network members’ products (produce and value-added goods) at our regional Food Hub Facility in Battle Creek, MI.
  • Facilitate agricultural training programs, workshops and courses.
  • Foster community and policy innovation at our Community Design Studio


Truth to power

As a food policy council with the Michigan Local Food Council Network, we have established ourselves as an entity that reflects the interests of those underrepresented across all sectors of the food industry ecosystem. We share these perspectives within the network to inform policies, systems and legislation. 

In Action:

  • Create systemic change with our local food policy council Working Groups:
    • Land Stewardship
    • Intuitive Economies and Disruptive Money Systems (IEDMS)
    • Diaspora Women of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
    • Policy Review (Food, Water, Air and Soil)
    • Emergent Organizing Coalition


Our Working groups

Land Stewardship

  • The land stewardship working group is looking at the ethics of stewarding land and land ownership. They also examine our historical relationship with the land and search for ways to honor that relationship. This working group will tend to the specific needs of each site that we steward. This is a team in support of upholding Zoo City values and lending to the collective agenda through urban farming initiatives.
  • The Land Stewardship Chair position remains vacant at this time. 

Intuitive Economies and Disruptive Money Systems

  • This working group will focus on the concept of the conscious consumer. They will study various economic systems as well as underground and shadow economies (bartering, gig culture), and brainstorm about their practical application to our collective system and membership structure. Participants in this working group will evaluate how we participate in the agricultural economic landscape.
  • Co-Chairs: Chaz Rawls and Devon Wilson

Diaspora Women of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

  • The Diaspora Women of the Transatlantic Slave Trade working group is here to celebrate and affirm one another and the land that we steward. This collective will act as a resource for Diaspora women to uplift support, education, and representation in the outdoor industry and in the sustainability field. It is a group that will be a sacred space made for Black women, by Black women.
  • Chair: Remi Harrington, Founder

Policy Review
[Food, Water, Air and Soil]

  • The Policy Review working group will look at legislation and allocations in the areas of food, water, air, and soil. They will form Zoo City’s stance on climate change and conduct open discussions about environmental racism and justice. The ultimate goal of this working group is to work with local institutions to advocate for and develop innovative environmental policy that directly addresses the issues in our region and beyond.
  • Chair: Katie Pearson

Emergent Organizing Coalition

  • This working group will lend its support/input to our strategic partners and other working groups. Emergent organizers will ask what the most pressing issues for our network and community are and look for other organizations creatives to collaborate with. The coalition will serve as a communication bridge between Kalamazoo organizing groups in order to prevent overlap and overuse of resources.
  • Co-Chairs: JaMeelah Williams and Lindsey Palar

Our Team

Remi Harrington



About Remi
image_6487327 (1)



About Salina
Ru Hensley


of Operations

About Ru