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Rev. DeVanie Jackson

Brooklyn Daily
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Rev. DeVanie Jackson has dedicated her life to the pursuit of justice — specifically, food justice.

“I work as a food justice activist in Brooklyn,” she explains. “This advocacy and policy work allows me to represent the low-income constituents in my program and help them to gain access to healthy local foods in places where they could use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits closer to home.”

In her ongoing battle against food insecurity, Jackson — an ordained minister who preaches and teaches at a Bedford-Stuyvesant church — works closely with academics, politicians, community leaders, and other professionals. Her award-winning Bed-Stuy Farm has been recognized by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development as a model for small-scale farming.

This Woman of Distinction co-founded — along with her husband, the Rev. Robert Ennis Jackson — the Brooklyn Rescue Mission Urban Harvest Center, along with the Urban Harvest Center food pantry, an award-winning, supermarket-style, appointment-based community food bank.

In addition to her advocacy work, her husband most admires his wife’s dedication to their community.

“I am glad she’s being honored,” he said. “She’s been servicing the community for the last 18 years, feeding folks, encouraging folks, helping educate young people. She’s done work without seeking out a lot of attention. My wife is a person of kindness, a person of intellect, always wishing and hoping and looking for the best in people.”

Devanie humbly says: “My professional goal is to reflect God’s hope and love through feeding food insecure families and children. As the director [of the Urban Harvest Center], I have been able to feed healthy food to more than 800 families monthly. In addition, with donations from food-funders, corporations and the community, I have been able to distribute compassionate care items to families who are in need of a fresh start in life.”

DeVanie grew up watching her mother, Bernice D. Morris, prepare plates of food to distribute to the elderly and sick or struggling neighbors year-round, especially on Sundays and holidays. Even as she became involved in missionary work as an adult, she never forgot that people in her own community were going hungry.

“My favorite part of the job is helping individuals, seniors and families with children stay well-fed, with healthy foods, meats and fresh produce,” she says. “Everyone who visits our program has an opportunity to have access to food if they are hungry and in need.”

Jackson is also passionate about the borough where she was born and raised — especially in springtime.

“Spring is my favorite season in Brooklyn; it is the season of rebirth, especially on the farm and garden. The return of the fruiting and flowering plants and trees from winter and the opportunity to prepare the earth to produce food to nourish and beautify our community is spiritually, mentally and physically uplifting.”

NEIGHBORHOOD: Bedford-Stuyvesant.

OCCUPATION: Mission pastor and director of programs.

COMPANY: Brooklyn Rescue Mission Urban Harvest Center.

CLAIM TO FAME: I am a Bible teacher and a person of prayer who believes that God pre-destines all of us to be successful in life.

FAVORITE BROOKLYN PLACE: The Bed-Stuy Farm in spring or any community garden in Brooklyn.

WOMAN I ADMIRE: My mother, Bernice D. Morris.

MOTTO: Everyone has a basic human right to healthy food.

Updated 2:53 pm, July 3, 2017
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