The Uhuru Foods & Pies National Conference launches strategic planning for economic development


On Sunday, January 27, 2013, Uhuru Foods & Pies (UFP) volunteers from around the country convened in Oakland, California for a conference aimed at creating a five-year strategic plan.
 
The five-year strategic plan will not only restructure UFP, but also focuses on the revolutionary goals of this Black Star Industries (BSI) subsidiary.
 
Uhuru Foods & Pies Director, Maureen Wagener led the conference.
 
African Socialist International (ASI) Chairman and Uhuru Movement founder, Omali Yeshitela opened the conference with a profound political overview.
 
He described how the current parasitic social system, based on stolen African resources, is in crisis as oppressed people struggle to take back our stolen wealth.
 
This presents opportunities for the future of UFP that must be seized through meticulous strategic planning.
 
Yeshitela stressed that developing a successful five-year plan requires professionalism and organization, key skills also necessary as African people prepare to govern.
 
And he explained that what UFP set out to do in its conference marked a turning point in history; when African people are taking control of our own destiny.  
 
Pivotal UFP conference drew on over 30 years of the institution’s experience
 
A presentation by the African People’s Solidarity Committee’s Office of Reparations and Economic Development (APSC ORED) Director, Kitty Reilly, showcased UFP’s achievements in the context of the work of the African People’s Socialist Party during the last three decades.
 
From its very first food stand, a fundraiser for the Dessie Woods Campaign in San Francisco in 1978, UFP has provided an exceptional opportunity to build support for Uhuru Movement campaigns and programs.
 
UFP’s first apple crumb pie was baked in a rental kitchen. Now UFP bakes in the Uhuru Jiko (freedom kitchen). A hard won achievement of the African People’s Education and Defense Fund, construction of the Uhuru Jiko in St. Petersburg, Florida was completed in November 2012.
 
UFP has come a long way from the days of selling giant chocolate chip cookies at bake sales in the 1970s and 80s. Today UFP operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Black Star Industries, the economic engine of the African People’s Socialist Party.
 
UFP has become a coast-to-coast phenomenon with food stands, concessions, and pie sales in St. Petersburg, Florida; as well as in Oakland and Santa Cruz, California.
 
UFP begins strategic planning process
 
Following the historical overview by Kitty Reilly, conference participants heard from Ona Zene’ Yeshitela, Chair of Black Star Industries and Deputy Chairwoman of the African People’s Socialist Party.
 
She summarized the process of creating a five-year plan, which includes four phases:
  1. Organizing the process and analyzing the environment
  2. Identifying and analyzing strategic issues
  3. Developing strategies and action plans
  4. Implementing the strategies
She also discussed the benefits of strategic planning that include greater effectiveness and efficiency, enhanced organizational skills, improved communication and better decision-making.
After the Deputy Chairwoman’s presentation, the Vice Chair of UFP, Markus Kothner introduced the new branding of Uhuru Foods & Pies.
 
The new logo incorporates the colors red, black and green. And the UFP brochure displays a renewed mission, which reads:
 
“To create, produce and sell the freshest foods to build self-sustaining economic development, designed for the prosperity and self-determination of present and future generations of African people worldwide”
 
In addition to the new mission, UFP’s vision and value statements were also revamped. The vision states:
 
“To make Uhuru Foods & Pies an engine of economic and organizational development throughout the African world, promoting African community commerce, control of food production and distribution, and forming the nucleus of an independent international economy based in a united, liberated Africa”
 
Major 2013 calendar events and goals were announced and discussed. UFP will participate in activities such as festivals, pie campaigning and trainings.
 
One of UFP’s major endeavors is to obtain funding by the end of 2013 to complete the construction of the Uhuru Jiko in the Oakland Uhuru House. This will allow construction to begin in early 2014.
 
Strategic planning subcommittees formed
 
In the afternoon, after discussions of short-term and long-term goals for UFP, conference participants broke up into brainstorming sessions.
 
Participants were encouraged to express their opinions and to contribute to the best of their ability.
The sessions resulted in timelines and the collective determination of 10 different strategic issues that would characterize a five-year strategic plan for Uhuru Foods & Pies.
 
The groups formed official subcommittees to make plans of action for each of these issues:
  • Promotions – Promoting all aspects of UFP
  • Product Line – Defining the products that UFP will produce and distribute in the next five years.
  • UFP Presence in the African Community – Creating more opportunities for African workers to contribute to and benefit from UFP
  • Building the Uhuru Pie Campaign – Developing the current holiday Uhuru Pie fundraiser
  • Building Infrastructure – Creating an organizational structure for UFP
  • Expanding UFP to the entire Uhuru Movement – Expanding UFP to be everywhere the Uhuru Movement is located
  • Volunteer Program – Creating volunteer opportunities and a plan to recruit, retain and recognize volunteers as they are the backbone of UFP
  • Networking and Community Partnerships – Creating partnerships within the community
  • Own the Means of Production and Funding – Creating the opportunity to fund and own all of our production facilities, equipment and food production capacity.
  • Africonomy – A radio show that will bring an African Internationalist perspective to the topic of economic development
Each subcommittee will make contributions to UFP and will drive UFP’s mission and goals.
We look forward to UFP’s transformation in the coming years.
 
As Chairman Yeshitela stated, “Uhuru Foods & Pies is more than just selling pies or food booths at the markets. It is about the ability to create a system that will allow us to reclaim the resources that belong to us.“
 
“We are creating an economic infrastructure by creating a capacity to govern through organization and professionalism, through Black Star Industries and more directly through Uhuru Foods & Pies.”
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