The Legacy & Future of Love as Liberation

A Panel on Mutual Aid


Raven A. Blake, cultural worker, community organizer and Founder and Visionary of Love Fed New Haven, hosts a conversation with global majority organizers and artisans who were working in mutual aid prior to the pandemic and who continue this vital work today. Panelists will engage with the legacy and power of love and its role in their collective past as well as how it shapes their work and visions for the future. What are alternatives to charity that empower communities to care for each other? Panelists include Farron Harvey, Disha Patel, Leah Penniman, Rachel Sayet, Tenaya Taylor, and Charline Xu.

This event will be ASL interpreted. Captions will be available on Facebook Live.

Raven Amandla Blake (all pronouns)

Artist, Writer, Cultural Worker & Community Organizer

Raven Amandla Blake is a Black, queer and gender-nonconforming Artist, Community Organizer, and Cultivator of ideas, culture, community, love. They are also a former hospitality professional who has worked in various parts of the food and wine industries, with their knowledge culminating from their work in various restaurants, wineries, food & beverage media, and retail between the NYC area & CT.

Raven comes from a long lineage of African American & Jamaican farmers and is inspired by the activism and love of their great-grandparents, grandmothers, and parents. Their food justice lens has also been shaped by experiencing food apartheid for most of their life while working in the hospitality/food & beverage media industries, where Raven noticed a harmful trend; the projection of false perfection and erasure of global majority culinarians, narratives of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), and recognition of BIPOC’s contributions to the culinary world. Raven's commitment to food sovereignty is rooted in their core belief that our stories, real food, our healing, as well as safe, healthy environments and climate resiliency, are absolutely essential for all living beings and our only home. These values led Raven to create the Love Fed New Haven project which existed from winter 2018 to spring 2021.

Raven is an alumna of Soul Fire Farm’s Farmer Immersion Program, as well as a member of the Northeast Farmers of Color Network (NEFOC).

Raven's Website

Farron Harvey (they/she)

Owner & Founder of Farron's View
"I created Farron’s View as an offering and a commitment. I wanted to offer my services to those who felt connected to my work. For so long I believed that I had to compartmentalize myself if I wanted to be in certain spaces, but every time I left parts of myself it felt like a painful denial of my whole self- it felt like I wasn’t acknowledging that the reason why I am able to create, vision, collaborate, and execute is because of ALL of my identities, not despite it. I am continuously practicing to bring my whole self at all times, that’s my commitment. My offerings are rooted in my expertise in facilitation and movement work since the age of 16."

Disha Patel (she/her)

Cultural Programmer, Artist, and Educator

An Elm City [Annex!] native; Disha is a queer South Asian femme who believes in the transformative power of youth, the outdoors & snack sharing.

She has been her nani's kitchen helper since the 1990’s and comes from a lineage of agriculturalists & chai workers, so much so that her last name – Patel – stands for the Gujarati word “patlikh” or farmer. She has spent most of her years on a circuitous path of network weaving, cultural organizing, migrant justice work to the most tangible of pursuits: producing life giving food. She believes cooking & growing your own food gives you power & that it isn’t just the food that is vital, but the act of eating together that creates a platform where any form of activism can sustainably happen.

As of now, Disha is a youth worker, food justice educator, cook, grower & land steward at Common Ground High School and Urban Farm on Quinnipiac, Paugusett & Wappinger lands, and is on the programming team of Sanctuary Kitchen, a womxn run & led program that promotes & celebrates ancestral foodways & stories of refugees & immigrants and builds community resilience through access to economic resources & food entrepreneurship trainings.

She survives on a steady diet of hiking and de-Brahminizing Ayurveda and holds reverence for theater/film & for lifting up the stories & agency of those in the in-between spaces.

She is also an alumnus of Soul Fire Farm’s BIPOC FIRE Farmer Immersion (Black-Indigenous-People-of-Color Farming in Relationship with Earth), a member of the Northeast Farmers of Color Network, & supports BIPOC & LGBTQ folx in the outdoors through nature connections and outdoor backpacking.

Leah Penniman (li, she, elle)

Co-founder/director, Soul Fire Farm

Leah Penniman is a Black Kreyol farmer, author, mother, and food justice activist who has been tending the soil and organizing for an anti-racist food system for25 years. She currently serves as founding co-executive director of Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York, a Black & Brown led project that works toward food and land justice. Her book is Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land. Find out more about Leah’s work at and follow her @soulfirefarm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Rachel Sayet (she/her)

Mohegan/Narragansett/Pequot Anthropologist, Reiki Practitioner, Lightworker, and Essential Oil Crafter

Rachel Beth Sayet or Akitusut (She Who Reads) is a member of the Mohegan nation. Raised with the spirits of her ancestors, she grew up learning traditional stories and teachings and participating in tribal events. Rachel has always been passionate about and proud of her Mohegan heritage and identity as well as an avid studier and learner about other cultures, indigenous and beyond. History has always been her favorite subject.

Rachel’s other main passion throughout her life has been food. As a child, she grew up cooking with her grandmother and mother. Rachel’s grandmother Phyllis is a Russian American Jew who always been ahead of the curve when it came to food. In the 1980s she taught Chinese cooking classes. Phyllis inspired Rachel to always try different foods and learn to cook cultural cuisines.

Rachel has a BS in Restaurant Management from Cornell University. 

Tenaya Taylor (they/them)

Director of Nonprofit Accountability Group

Tenaya Taylor (they/them) is an autistic artist, model, rapper, and director and founder of Nonprofit Accountability Group (NAG), a Black and trans-led organizing and advocacy group based in Hartford, CT. Tenaya also owns Hartford Etc., an online gift shop and community platform for residents, business owners, and organizers. They use the tools of social media and online platforms to bring tangible resources like money and food to their communities. Tenaya's work is built around themes of abolition, trans visibility and disability justice in order to overcome struggles of ableism, intergenerational poverty, and childhood trauma. Through their organizing, they seek to attain Black liberation through reparations and through cultivation of Black joy. Tenaya and their work have been featured in local and national news outlets, including the Hartford Courant and the Hardtimes Magazine Podcast and they appear regularly on TMZ Live.

Charline Xu (she/they)

Educator, Facilitator, Grower, Creative

Charline Xu, Chinese American non-binary womxn, was raised in and currently lives in New England. As an Educator, Creative, Facilitator and Grower, Charline focuses on Food Justice, Sustainability, Intersectional Medicine and creative ways in dealing with diaspora. Charline views Food and Art as an intersectional and universal language that can connect our ancestors, heritage and future together. Charline has been teaching and facilitating 2D & 3D Art, Basic Herbalism, Nutrition, Anti-racist Curriculum, Growing and Cooking workshops and classes. Lately, Charline has been working on plant medicine with individuals and families that are under supported, elders, and folks who work in laborious fields that share remarkable stories about their resilience, advocacy and pain. Sharing and adapting medicine cross culturally has been vital for Charline to not only create with the Earth but also to heal. Throughout the growing season, Charline has donated to community fridges in Eastern Massachusetts and hopes to continue to donate medicinal and therapeutic hand made goods through the cold seasons.

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