Our Dear Friends,
It’s that time of year when we need to ask for your support so that we can continue to work on behalf of local communities throughout the state and country… but with a twist.
We are writing this letter jointly because of the nature of our request. We need your support to fund the work of, what we believe is, an incredible group of women.
And so we want to tell you about the women of CFJC and how your dollars can support them.
Erin Middleton has taken the lead on the CFJC Taking Back Our Food System call to action and coordination of all related activities. We believe there is great potential for the Bay Area food justice movement to grow through deepened partnerships. Collaborating with more than 15 organizations and individuals, CFJC has hosted more than 30 events and outreach activities in 2012 as part of the call to action in partnership with Food First.
One highlight is the People’s Food Justice Summit planning process, in which the diverse elements of our movement are represented. Other successes include facilitating community leaders from under-resourced neighborhoods in San Francisco to the West Oakland community. A number of events with former Black Panther Party member David Hilliard also helped reframe the legacy of the Panthers by celebrating the community programs they founded, such as the Free Breakfast for Children Program.
Courtney Hendrix’s focus on communications and social media has increased CFJC’s online presence dramatically. In July 2012, CFJC launched social media campaigns to educate the public about how issues of food, health, environment, policy and our economy are connected and related to social justice.
Courtney also coordinates support for partner organizations’ social media and other campaigns. Recently, CFJC partnered with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) to gather signatures urging Congress to pass a better Farm Bill, resulting in more than 20,000 signatures.
A recent graduate of San Francisco State University, Courtney came to CFJC in the fall of 2011 as a Health Education Intern. She is responsible for developing a collaborative relationship between CFJC and SFSU students, professors and departments that has resulted in a steady stream of student interns.
Jessy Gill coordinates Getting Our Act Together (GOAT) on the Farm Bill Process in collaboration with DC partner The Rural Coalition. GOAT consists of food, farm, and agricultural organizations from around the country focusing on policy reform and seeks to model true partnership and transparency. Jessy is taking the lead on developing a strategic map of national policy players to be used for GOAT’s strategy and direction.
Over the past 7 months, Jessy has coordinated the People’s Food Justice Summit planning process. Jessy has re-engaged relationships with old partners and developed new ones to expand the conversation at the December 8th Summit in Oakland. For example, when she saw a gap in communication between the anti-hunger and food justice communities, Jessy put together a meeting of CFJC staff and the California Hunger Action Coalition Steering Committee. As a result, CFJC will now be working closely on joint events, activities and policy efforts.
Before coming to CFJC, Holly Calhoun worked for the nonprofit Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA) where her efforts focused on increasing fresh food access and affordability for low-income Angelenos while creating economic opportunities for local family farmers. Holly coordinated the “Bring the Farmer to Your School” program for over 200 schools, managed the Echo Park Farmers’ Market, and implemented “Market Match” (a SNAP-incentive program) at four farmers’ markets.
Holly now coordinates the Healthy Farms Healthy People Coalition, a national coalition that works for policy reform that promotes the health of all Americans while strengthening the economic and environmental viability of the food and agriculture sectors. Holly works out of the CFJC Oakland office because we believe a broad-based coalition that incorporates diverse perspectives from across the country is vital to achieve the local, state, and national policy reforms that we all need for a healthy and prosperous future.
Lotta Chan’s research and writing skills are complimented by her data and technical management. She has helped CFJC upgrade our web conferencing skills to allow CFJC a platform to provide webinars and online trainings for our technical assistance programs. She lent her editing skills to a replication packet for the Mothers Taking Action program, for which CFJC provided technical assistance. This packet is a resource for county health departments who want to replicate the peer-to-peer model for nutrition education and community change.
Lotta’s climate change work has presented the biggest impact at CFJC. She is an active member of the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition, co-chair of its Land Use committee, and is currently working with the coalition in implementing the city’s climate action plan. She has also participated in the Food Justice, Land Access and Resilience and Adaptation Committees of the Oakland Climate Action Coalition, where she worked with other members to develop a report on Oakland’s social vulnerability to climate change, create educational climate materials for community members, and discuss with the city the possibility of incentives for land owners to turn blighted properties into community gardens.
Christina Spach transitioned from a background in traditional community organizing to the ‘safe space’ and leadership methods developed by CFJC, most notably in the Mother Taking Action Project. MTA was a pilot project in San Joaquin and Ventura Counties comprised of women of color including Mixteca and Spanish speakers as well as African American mothers. She and the MTA mothers were part of a team that pioneered the project methodology and resulted in these women starting community gardens, walking clubs, and other efforts specific to their needs and vision.
Christina has also assumed a co-leadership role with Executive Director Armando Nieto to model a different kind of organizational management style – a model of breaking of silos internally at CFJC as we challenge our team to do the same externally in community.
Since coming to CFJC, Christina has helped increase staff from 1 to 7 full-time employees, supported by a robust internship program. By blending a combination of traditional community organizing skills and CFJC’s approach to authentic community engagement, Christina helps lead CFJC’s efforts to effect the type of paradigm shift we all want to see – a food system for people, not corporate profit.
Again, on behalf of staff, volunteers, and the Steering Committee at CFJC, we want to acknowledge and thank you for your personal commitment to the health and well-being of our families and our communities.
Thank you for caring.
And by all means yes, if you are able, please consider making a contribution to help CFJC continue working on your behalf.
All the best,
Y. Armando Nieto