Yardy, a platform founded by DeVonn Francis, engages with food production within queer and migrant communities. A play on the Jamaican Patois word “yaadie”—a term that Jamaican locals and expats alike use to describe themselves and their group of friends—Yardy was built on the premise that education and cultural support for food production are vital anchors for community building, justice work, and healing within marginalized communities. Fostering conviviality and intergenerational dialogue over small gatherings with food, Yardy’s programs center on sisterhooding, matrilineal inheritance, and sustenance for Afro-diasporic people.
As part of the Racial Imaginary Institute’s 2018 Biennial programming, Yardy presented a workshop on the histories and futures of hybrid platforms that forge space for black cultural production in New York City. The workshop considered the history of tenant organizing in the city, focusing particularly on how efforts spearheaded by women of color propelled vibrant cookouts, nightlife, and visioning for a new generation of urban farmers and community gardeners. With a nod to the calypso, funk, soul, and reggae records spun at block parties and basement speakeasies in East Flatbush in the 1970s and ’80s, the workshop paid homage to Caribbean roots while looking to the gatherings that keep this legacy alive today.
This event was organized by Sara O’Keeffe, Associate Curator.