Ever wonder about the career opportunities waiting for you post-SJSU? Or how you can give back to your community using the knowledge you've gained? Look no further! Each Spring, we invite speakers to give a one hour talk about just that. This month, we welcome Rafael Aponte!
Rafael Aponte was born and raised in the South Bronx, NY, and has over sixteen years of experience working as a community activist, advocate, and educator. After graduating from Farm School NYC’s certificate program in Urban Agriculture in 2011, he relocated to Tompkins County and established Rocky Acres Community Farm in Freeville, New York in 2013. Rocky Acres is a 10-acre farm that focuses on education and the sustainable production of local vegetables, eggs, and meat for low-resourced communities. It combines the knowledge and spirit of social justice with the transformative healing aspects of nature and agriculture to promote equity in both urban and rural food systems.
In 2014, Rafael began working with the Youth Farm Project, in Ithaca New York, bringing his experience in day-to-day farm operations and after-school education. He served as director of the Youth Farm Project from 2016-2018, where he worked alongside youth, staff, and farmers to bring his experience to programing dedicated to equity, food justice, and livestock production. He also spearheaded the Harvest Box program, an affordable farmshare to serve the needs of underserved residents of Tompkins County. Rafael works in various leadership roles in the Ithaca community; he serves on the Tompkins County Food Policy Council and is a working group member for Black Lives Matter Ithaca (BLMI).
In 2021-22, Rafael won a Mellon Migrations grant with his research team at Cornell University and Chicana artist Sandy Rodriguez. He is a 2023 recipient of the Castanea Fellowship, two-year appointment for diverse leaders working for a racially just food system in any of the areas of: health, environment, agriculture, regional economies, or community development.
Join us on February 21, 2023 at 4:30 PM as Rafael discusses his sociopolitical praxis in community farming, his CNY bodega and the intersectional histories and realities of land dispossession, food deserts, and BIPOC communities!