Ray is a man of many hats, but when I imagine him it is his black beret. I met Ray once, when he hosted our group for a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service project at Brook Park, the community garden he helps lead in the South Bronx. He was wearing the same black beret another time I remember him seeing him around, at a food policy breakfast as President of the New York City Community Garden Coalition (NYCCGC), forcefully advocating for a more community-driven approach in a room full of researchers and public health workers. I imagine Ray’s beret comes with him to the Pratt Institute, where he is a Visiting Instructor in the Graduate Center for Planning.
While I had a heard a little already in these chance encounters, I was intrigued by Ray’s holistic approach to planning and how he connects his passions for food, youth, and community development. I connected with Ray over the phone to ask him about his approach.