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About the event

Click here to join this Zoom event starting at 1:00 PM (ET).

This cross-pollinating conversation will highlight how communities are navigating the climate crisis and amplify efforts and experiences in NYC, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico that focus on water, food and wellness. Join these activists Ysanet Batista (Woke Foods), Jacqueline Pilati (Reclaim Seed NYC), Olatokunboh Obasi (Omaroti, from the Well of Indigenous Wisdom & Herbalists without Borders International), and Amara Abdal Figueroa (Tierrafiltra) who will discuss their projects to inform, inspire and incite student-led and community-based efforts organized at and adjacent to LaGuardia College. In delving into these conversations we hope to cultivate and share strategies across spaces that help us imagine and create a more just world. The conversation will be moderated by Ryan Mann-Hamilton (Professor of Anthropology at LaGuardia Community College, and Seminar Faculty Leader of Environment Community Humanities Oasis (ECHO) project.)

Free and open to the public, but please Register here to access the Zoom link and attend.

Learn More about the Participants and their Projects/Work:

Ysanet Batista

Ysanet Batista is a queer Black-Dominican woman, born in Harlem, NY and currently living in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Ysanet is a Farm School NYC alum and holds a certificate in Urban Agriculture & Permaculture Design. She completed her undergraduate degree at Johnson & Wales University and worked in hospitality & tourism for 10 years before transitioning to community, place and identity centered organizing. Ysanet is the founder of Woke Foods, a Black women & worker-owned cooperative focused on offering Dominican and other Afro-Caribbean plant-based gastronomy and food sovereignty. When she is not working at Woke Foods, she is participating in solidarity economy circles and hosting Free The Bag Podcast, a podcast to guide people towards freeing their time, money, and each other.

Visit the website for Woke Foods for more information about this project.

Jacqueline Pilati

Jacqueline Pilati was born and raised in Lenapehoking (New York City), Jacqueline Pilati (she/ella) is an urban farmer, teacher, and seed keeper. She is a Professional Development Instructor at the New York Botanical Garden and Adjunct Instructor at Bank Street College of Education where she leads teacher institutes and courses in garden-based learning and experiential science investigations. In 2018, she founded Reclaim Seed NYC, an urban seed initiative rooted in education and community. The project stewards a community-sustained seed library, educates for seed and food sovereignty, and works towards building a regional seed network reflective of the region's foodways and climate. Her work can be followed on Instagram @shesavesseed. Her research interests include science education, participatory organic plant breeding, inclusive history, community action research, Sicilian and African diaspora foodways, Taíno history, culture and foodways.

Visit Reclaim Seed NYC website for more information about this project.


Olatokunboh Obasi

Olatokunboh Obasi MSc, RH (AHG), CNS is a wellness professional in herbal medicine, nutrition and indigenous ways of practice. She is an educator/founder of Well of Indigenous Wisdom school for herbal medicine and African cosmology. Puerto Rico Coordinator for Herbalists without Borders International & Owner of Omaroti a wellness shop for wellbeing. Birth doula, yoga and dance instructor, author, presenter and healer, her devotion is to serve humanity and care-take the earth.

Visit the website for Omaroti: Well of Indigenous Wisdom for more information about this project.

Visit the website for Herbalists without Borders International for more information about this project.


Amara Abdal Figueroa

Amara Abdal Figueroa (1990 Ponce, Puerto Rico) lives between Puerto Rico and Kuwait. Agroceramist, artist and environmental advocate. Amara’s practice is regenerative and intergenerational, focusing on our Earth, how nature reflects culture, and how material extractions separate or connect us to our current ground by linking the effects of the ecological collapse to conflict. Her work documents ways in which materials are sourced, transformed, used and reused, working mainly with, but not limited to, locally identified clay bodies. She currently studies the ground in Puerto Rico to filter the island’s water, Tierrafiltra, continuing Ron Rivera’s legacy (Potters For Peace) in his island of origin.

This event is co-sponsored by the Environment Community Humanities Oasis (ECHO) project as part of the Mellon Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research from the Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center CUNY, and by ISER Caribe, the President's Society Environment Program (PSE) at LaGuardia Community College, and the Rauschenberg Foundation.

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