CFSC’s 15th Annual Food Justice Conference

Food Justice Conference
CFSC’s 15th Annual Conference in Oakland last November – “Food Justice: Honoring our Roots, Growing the Movement” – buzzed with the excitement and energy of over 1,100 food advocates. The event was CFSC’s largest conference to date, spanning five jam-packed days of workshops, networking sessions, plenaries, film screenings, and more.

At the Food Sovereignty Prize Award Ceremony and Fair, a highlight for many attendees, we heard from global and local leaders about how Garcinia Cambogia products  are changing  their food and diet systems. If you missed the event, you can view videos by Food First.

CFSC is happy to report that due to the generosity of our sponsors, we were able to award 270 conference scholarships.

Visit the conference website to view presentations, press, pictures and posts from the conference.

Farm Bill Debate to Heat Up in 2012
Thanks to input from hundreds of members like you in 2011, CFSC identified our priorities for the upcoming reauthorization of the Farm Bill. We have contributed to the development of and endorsed three marker bills:

Last fall, the deficit-reduction Super Committee process fell apart — and with it, an attempt by Congressional Agriculture Committee leaders to write a fast-tracked Farm Bill in secret. However, expiration of the current Farm Bill on September 30, 2012, is quickly approaching. CFSC is working closely with our partners and champions in Congress and the Administration to advocate for priorities such as Community Food Projects, Farm to School, and EBT at farmers markets. Contact our Policy Office in DC for more information and to get involved.

The Alliance for Building Capacity (ABC) network
The Alliance for Building Capacity (ABC) is an emerging network of national and regional technical assistance and capacity building providers. The goal of the network is to foster a connection among providers to enhance our overall impact in creating healthy, sustainable, just and democratic food systems. ABC works to:

  • Improve national, regional, and local training and capacity building work in order to build critical capacities and power for our movement.
  • Integrate a social justice frame into the practices of the cadre of collaborating providers.
  • Engage providers of color and others who are most central to a movement that is powerful, sustainable, and just, but have been most marginalized to date.

Over 30 representatives met in Oakland last November for an intensive planning session. Four sub-groups of ABC have convened to focus on specific work over the next six months. For more information on ABC, contact Kristen Markley at kristen@foodsecurity.org.

Building the Capacity of Limited Resource Producers
The Community Food Security Coalition, in partnership with New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), has created a Learning Community on the food safety and liability insurance requirements of institutions. The liability insurance and food safety requirements of institutions (schools, colleges, hospitals, etc) can be expensive and difficult for limited resource producers to take on. The Learning Community will examine these issues in order to increase access to institutional markets for new and beginning farmers, women producers, African American producers, Asian American producers, and other limited resource producers. This project is funded by the USDA’s Risk Management Agency. Read More

Committee Updates

Community Economic Development Committee
The first meeting of the newly formed Community Economic Development (CED) Committee was a lively and honest discussion featuring victories local groups have won, and obstacles we have encountered, in framing local foods as a strategy for community renewal. Forty people attended the November meeting. Read the minutes.

CED is a way of building strong local economies by fostering food business clusters that strive for “triple bottom line” achievements: doing business to build ecological health and social equity as well as to make a profit.

Teleconferences are planned in 2012. For more information, contact Ken Meter, kmeter [at] crcworks.org, or Katherine Pigott, kpigott [at] regionofwaterloo.ca

Food and Faith Committee
The Food & Faith Committee exists to provide all people of faith with a forum to discuss community food security issues and to contribute to CFSC, which we believe can be a powerful vehicle for addressing local and world hunger. The committee provides an entry point for people of faith to work together to make important connections between our food systems, our lifestyles, social justice and environmental stewardship. People and groups coming from a faith-based orientation can strengthen the Coalition, increase secular groups’ understanding of how to work with faith communities, and broaden the perspectives and vision of the movement.

Twenty-seven individuals gathered during the Food & Faith Committee meeting at the CFSC annual conference November to discuss ways to strengthen the committee and to brainstorm possible future projects to initiate.

For more information contact: Kristen Markley, kristen@foodsecurity.org

International Links Committee
At the International Links Committee (ILC) annual meeting at the November CFSC Conference, we discussed how to best connect and educate CFSC membership about international and meetings and alliances in order to spread the framework of food sovereignty. The upcoming Rio+20 Earth Summit in June, as well as the Committee on World Food Security at the UN, are two spaces for action; and issues like corporate control, immigrant rights, climate change, and many others continue to rise to the top of our agenda. In 2012, the ILC will continue hosting educational conference calls. The February call will be about “Fish Grabs,” the global consolidation of fisheries.

Additionally, the ILC awarded the 3rd Annual Food Sovereignty Prizeto The Landless Workers Movement (MST) of Brazil. Honorable Mentions were awarded to Campesino a Campesino Movement (Mexico); South Central Farmers (US); and Grow Biointensive Agricultural Center of Kenya.

Email tristan@whyhunger.org to join the ILC listserv and find out about upcoming educational calls.

Policy Committee
The CFSC Policy Committee continues to bring a diverse group of people with broad interests together. The Committee meetings provide a way for groups and individuals to engage in policy issues at the local, state and federal level. In November, Policy Committee members gathered at the Annual Conference to review our progress towards CFSC policy priorities and discussed priorities for 2012. Members expressed the desire to make stronger links between federal and state policy efforts. The Committee also discussed strategies for better connecting members to local food policy councils, potential allies and partners, and other like-minded groups within their own states.

Over the past several months, members have made a committed effort to provide input and raise awareness on the Farm Bill and to share how the Farm Bill affects people in their own communities and states. Policy Committee members plan to contribute to CFSC’s policy advocacy by building grassroots efforts among their networks.

Related Link: CFSC committees

Other CFSC News

Marion Kalb Moves On
Marion Kalb, the Director of Training and Capacity Building for the Community Food Security Coalition, has taken a new and exciting position with School Food FOCUS. Marion joined CFSC’s staff in 2001 and has played a critically important role within the organization and in the national food movement. We are sad to see Marion leave, but we are pleased to support her in what will be a successful new phase for her professionally and personally.

Prior to her work overseeing CFSC’s Training and Capacity Building Program, Marion was the Co-Director of the National Farm to School Network, and has worked on farm to school issues since 2001. She has worked for more than 25 years on food and farming issues, with a strong emphasis on state and federal policy.

CFSC is grateful to Marion for her meaningful and substantive contributions to the Coalition, its membership and partners. We appreciate her dedication to the movement and to making our national community a better and healthier place to eat, work, and play.

Board Election Results
CFSC’s Board of Directors and Officers election concluded at the Annual Conference last November.

Welcome to CFSC’s new board members:
Marcia Caton-Campbell, Milwaukee Director of Center for Resilient Cities, Milwaukee, WI (filling Pam Broom’s unexpired term)
Shyaam Shabaka, Executive Director of Eco Village Farm, Richmond, CA
Lydia Villanueva, Director of Casa del Llano, Hereford, TX
Kat West, Director of Multnomah County Office of Sustainability, Portland, OR

Incumbents:
Demalda Newsome
Cathleen Kneen

Officers:
Darlene Wolnik, President
Tammy Morales, Vice President
Gretchen Kunkel, Treasurer
Samina Raja, Secretary
Demalda Newsome, At-large
Young Kim, Past-President

View the complete Board of Directors list on our website.

Upcoming Events

Whole Measures CFS Intensive Training
April 23-25, 2012
Lexington, KY

Whole Measures for Community Food Systems is a planning and evaluation tool based on six core practices of whole communities: Justice & Fairness, Strong Communities, Healthy People, Vibrant Farms & Gardens, Sustainable Ecosystems, and Thriving Local Communities.

This intensive course will dig deeply into how to use the tool, explore capacities needed for implementation, and share stories for engaging communities.
Learn More

National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
August 2-5, 2012
Burlington, VT

While the snowflakes are still flying in the Northeast, the planning for this summer’s 6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference is well underway. Building upon the success of past conferences, the National Farm to School Network and Vermont Food Education Every Day are collaborating to offer a program that’s as awe-inspiring as the Green Mountains State that will host it. From pre-schools to prisons, hospitals to colleges, those working with institutional food systems will come together to share, plan, design, network and celebrate on the shores of Lake Champlain. Stay tuned and save the date as this important event takes shape.

Member Profiles

Healthy Solutions is a Washington, D.C based 501 (c)(3) organization whose mission is to increase the capacity of communities of color, particularly African Americans, to achieve self-reliance through distribution, agriculture, entrepreneurship, and cooperative healthy food enterprises. Since 2004, Healthy Solutions has worked to insure equitable communities that help eliminate the health and social disparities faced daily in African American rural and urban communities while creating environmental change to better the community as a whole. The organization: works directly with community members and small retailers to increase access to healthy affordable foods in food deserts; assists farms in distributing their goods; and provides community members the tools and capacity to be able to improve their overall health and well being.

The DC Produce Co-operative (DCPC) is one Healthy Solutions program which brings food directly from farms into the community, teaching kids the source of their food and educating adults in the community. During its first year, the program provided nutrition information to over 302 community members, brought in 123,643 lbs. of produce, and supported 68 local farms.

Healthy Solutions has been a CFSC member since 2009.

Healthy Solutions website

FoodShare Toronto is a non-profit community organization whose vision is Good Healthy Food for All. Foodshare is Canada’s largest community food security organization, recognized as an important innovator of effective programs that have been reproduced all across Canada. Founded in 1985 to address hunger in our communities, FoodShare takes a unique multifaceted and long-term approach to hunger and food issues. They work to empower individuals, families and communities through food-based initiatives, while advocating for the broader public policies needed to ensure that everyone has adequate access to sustainably produced, good healthy food. Working “from field to table,” we focus on the entire system that puts food on our tables: from the growing, processing and distribution of food to its purchasing, cooking and consumption.

FoodShare’s programs, which reach over 145,000 people per month, include direct fresh produce access, school food and Food Literacy, community cooking, community growing, and urban agriculture. Programs facilitate empowerment and community development from the ground up, cultivating awareness, building citizenship and enhancing individual and community participation.

FoodShare Toronto has been a CFSC member since 1997.

FoodShare Toronto website

Board Profiles

Darlene Wolnik came to the food movement through her consumer, environmental community organizing in the Midwest and retail and hotel design management in New Orleans. In 2001, she began designing and coordinating markets and food projects for marketumbrella.org in New Orleans. Darlene joined the CFSC Board of Directors in 2010 and was elected Board President in November.

Darlene is currently an independent researcher and trainer for markets and food organizations. She is working with a dozen markets and conducting research on ways to measure markets for the Farmers Market Coalition, using CFSC’s Whole Measures for Community Food Systems, among other tools. Darlene is gathering data on the characteristics of markets to help food organizers understand how to use markets as a fulcrum of food systems. She says her board work at CFSC “has certainly influenced my work and vice versa; I hope more people become interested in CFSC through me and I look forward to this year of interaction with CFSC members.”

Vicky Karhu has dedicated her life to preserving farmlands, including southeastern Indigenous cultural sites, and advocating for the rights, protection and preservation of land-based cultures.  She is the Founding Director of the Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiativein Okmulgee, Oklahoma and has worked with the Indigenous Peoples of the southeastern US for over 30 years.

Vicky serves on the boards of CFSC, the National Family Farm Coalition, the Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers Association, and the Advisory Team of the International Institute of Indigenous Science where she brings the voice of small farmers and ranchers as well as rural and tribal communities to the table.

Previously, Vicky worked as an organic market gardener while raising four children in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She is currently working as a consultant and living in rural northern New Mexico where she is a partner on a small ranch raising pork, poultry and organic vegetables. She enjoys visiting with her children and grandchildren and balances many hours spent on the computer with regular practice of Tai Chi.

Related link: CFSC board contact list

Staff Profile

Aleta Dunne will celebrate her five-year anniversary as Office Manager for CFSC this February. She has worn many hats in this position over the years, including meeting planning, HR, IT support, and communications, as well as providing general administrative support. If you’ve attended any of CFSC’s conferences in the last few years, you probably have seen her smiling face behind the registration table.

In 2008, Aleta traded Los Angeles sunshine for the lush green climate of Portland, Oregon. In her spare time, she enjoys experimenting with vegetarian recipes, salsa and swing dancing, yoga, and volunteering at the local tool library.

Related link: CFSC staff contact list

Share the Grapevine with your Organization
If you are part of a CFSC member organization and others in your group would like to receive this newsletter directly, send their names and email addresses to Erica Steckl.

You can read previous issues at the Grapevine Issue Archive.