Location: Saginaw, MI
Founding: 2021
Founders/leadership: Pamela Pugh, founder and co-director; Teresa Stitt, co-director; Hurley Coleman III, John Pugh, Hurley Coleman, Jr., Michelle McGregor, co-founders

In the middle of the city of Saginaw, MI, sits a 54-acre fairground that was once the home of the biggest fair in the region from the 1930s to the 1960s. By 2000, the lot and its historic gates had grown into a wasteland in the middle of the Fairgrounds neighborhood. Instances like this inspired community residents to take matters into their own hands, aligning efforts with the Saginaw Just Transition Indaba — an organization founded to promote Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), centered and recognized as the leaders in decisions made about them and their neighborhoods for more equitable and inclusive economic development opportunities. Composed of six community and faith-based organizations, the Indaba came together to combat poverty by mobilizing and utilizing public and private resources to provide education and employment opportunities and motivate productivity for better living, learning, and working conditions for the people of Saginaw.

With supporting partners throughout the city, the Indaba aims to reduce food and energy insecurity through the eventual development of the community, including the old fairground acreage into a park and recreation center, urban farm, and a community center that provides educational, cultural, social, and recreation opportunities to the community.

The six community and faith-based organizations that make up the Indaba include Saginaw County Community Action Committee, Fairground Neighborhood Association, World Outreach Campus, First Ward Community Service, and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (Florida A&M).

Borrowing from the Florida A&M University Sustainability Action Plan, the Saginaw Just Transition Indaba involves the convening and collective action of the aforementioned organizations along with local youth, seniors, entrepreneurs, academia members, and policymakers. The organization’s goals include working together toward food and energy justice, inclusive economic development, health equity, and general wellbeing for neighborhood residents, including Saginaw County seniors, youth, entrepreneurs, and BIPOC, low income, and ALICE residents living in Saginaw, Buena Vista, and Bridgeport Township.