July 31, 2007

Contact: John Zippert - 205 652 9676

Federation/LAF Food Give-Away in Birmingham
"40th Anniversary Celebration Initiative

(Photos of Food Give-Away) On Friday, July 27, 2007 at 10:00 AM members of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives distributed food, including watermelons, peas, okra, tomatoes and other vegetables grown by 8 Alabama Black farmers, in partnership with Greater Birmingham Ministries at
2304 12th Avenue North in Birmingham, Alabama. All farmers providing produce are members of the Greene-Sumter Farmers Market Cooperative.
    This food distribution to low income people is part of the Federation’s 40th anniversary celebration which includes our upcoming Annual Meeting on August 16 to 18, 2007 in Alabama.
     Ralph Paige, Executive Director of the Federation said, “we are holding this food drive to show the connection between the plight of rural family farmers and inner city residents. Both groups are suffering the impacts of poverty and  discrimination and neglect by government agencies. We are partnering with Greater Birmingham Ministries because we share similar concerns about the needs of poor people.”
     The Federation plans to hold its sixth annual Estelle Witherspoon Lifetime Achievement Award fundraising dinner  in Birmingham, at the Sheraton Civic Center, on the evening of Thursday, August 16, 2007. This dinner will honor Tavis Smiley, author, broadcaster and philanthropist; and the Honorable Henry “Hank” Sanders, Alabama State Senator, author and civil rights activist. Congressman James E. Clyburn and Chuck Snyder, president of NCB (National Co-op Bank) are serving as event co-chairpersons.
     The Federation’s 40th Annual Meeting continues on Friday and Saturday, August 17 and 18, 2007, at the organization’s Rural Training and Research Center, near Epes, Alabama.
     “We are pleased to be distributing farm-fresh produce today to deserving people in Birmingham in honor of this milestone in the Federation’s history. This is part of our mission of helping Black farmers and changing the quality of life in the rural ‘Black Belt” areas”, said Paige.

For more information: contact Ralph Paige, Heather Gray, or Jackie Ward in the Federation’s Atlanta Office at 404/765-0991; or John Zippert and Debra Eatman at the Federation’s Rural Training Center in Epes, Alabama at 205/652-9676. Background information on the work of the Federation is available at our website: www.federation.coop.

Note: The Federation/LAF, now in its 40th year,  assists Black family farmers across the South with farm management, debt restructuring, alternative crop suggestions, marketing expertise and a whole range of services to ensure family farm survivability.