On December 4th, CFF partnered with Philanthropy New York, Sustainable Agriculture and Food System Funders, and Surdna Foundation to host a briefing on three new leadership development programs in the food and farming sector. Navina Khanna, Director of the HEAL Food Alliance, spoke about their School of Political Leadership that supports 10 food and farm justice leaders with the tools, knowledge, and skills they need to run for office, work on campaigns, and drive political change. Next, Farzana Serang, Executive Director of the Castanea Fellowship, described how Castanea will provide a diverse cohort of leaders with the time, space, and resources they need to connect and innovate on long-term solutions that can foster vibrant communities and the creation of a more equitable, sustainable, and healthy food system. Lastly, Adam Liebowitz, Director of Community Food Funders, outlined the new Seeding Power Fellowship for experienced food justice leaders working across sectors to build equitable food systems in New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Long Island.
Author: Adam Liebowitz
On November 1st, CFF partnered with The Marcus Foundation and SAFSF to host a briefing about the living and working conditions faced by most farmworkers in the US, and food certification programs that are trying to address and ameliorate these issues. Jessica Culley described the work of the Farmworkers Support Committee (CATA), a grassroots member-led organization. CATA was also a founding member of the Agricultural Justice Project that issues the "Food Justice Certified" label. Peter O'Driscoll talked about the Equitable Food Initiative and all it has accomplished in the past five years with its "Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured" label that comes only as the result of multi-stakeholder engagement and agreements across the supply chain. And Michael Rozyne talked about his years in the farming and food distribution business with Red Tomato, what it will take to maintain farms in our region, and a pilot project he is engaging in with EFI in Connecticut to explore the model on smaller farms.
Over the past two decades, food has emerged as a central strategy and focus of nonprofits worldwide concerned with environmentalism and climate change, public health and hunger, community and economic development, human rights, and racial and social justice. Despite gains on certain issues in some geographic areas, a coordinated and unified ‘food movement’ has yet to realize the true potential of the millions who care deeply about these causes. Now, the infrastructure is being put in place for that to change. You're invited on December 4th for a special discussion about three initiatives designed to bring together diverse leaders of this nascent movement, break down silos to encourage dialog, and support them in reaching their fullest power.
On this webinar, we will be discussing the wide range of food and farming issues that make up “food systems” work in New York. The food system incorporates everything involved in producing, distributing, purchasing, and consuming food, as well as what is done with waste product. The call is important for all grantmakers, as food systems affect everything from the environment, to workers’ rights, to public health and nutrition. We will hear from funders working on different aspects of the food system, and from a group of funders who have created a network to share learning and coordination across the region, including how private philanthropy can leverage local, state, and federal funding.
Although the backbone of our food system, farmworkers are often marginalized in discussions about food and agriculture. Despite the upsurge in interest and consumption of organic, local, or certified produce, the working and living conditions for most farmworkers planting, picking, and packing fresh fruits and vegetables have remained largely as they have been for decades. Examining the nuts and bolts of creating just and equitable food and agriculture systems --- across diverse crops, geography, and scale --- our lunchtime discussion will also look at innovative opportunities for philanthropic resources to leverage the power of markets to drive change.
On June 7th, over 50 CFF members gathered at Project Farmhouse for the 6th CFF Annual Gathering. Delicious Puerto Rican food was supplied by Liberation Cuisine, with drinks sponsored by Port Morris Distillery and Bronx Beer Hall. The evening featured a presentation by East New York Farms, our 2018 CFF Champions Award recipient, and a keynote panel on food system issues in Puerto Rico with frontline activists from the island.
On July 12th, CFF hosted an event called Pesticides in Paradise: How Hawaiian Communities Took on the Chemical Industry and Won. Food justice advocate and funder Anna Lappé opened with an overview of how she learned about this story and why she was drawn to get involved, and then Dr. Virginia Rauh presented her research on the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos and its public health impacts, including related chemical exposure from indoor spraying here in New York City. From there we heard from community activist Malia Chun about her community's personal history with the pesticide industry, and how that narrative fits in to the larger history of Hawaii post-contact with Western colonialists. Anna Frederick, Executive Director of Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA), then detailed the community organizing and statewide campaign that resulted in the country’s first ban on chlorpyrifos. Malia closed by discussing new nonprofits, especially on the most impacted island of Kaua'i, that have emerged as a result of this fight.
On June 25th, CFF partnered with Philanthropy New York to host an event called Unpacking Nutrition Education – Why It Matters for NYC Students covering the myriad ways nutrition education is addressed and offered in NYC schools, and significant value that these bring to a student’s physical, academic, and future well-being. Pamela Koch of the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy presented findings from their recently concluded reports, and was joined on a panel by Kelly Giordano of Newman’s Own Foundation and Tony Hillery of Harlem Grown. The panel was moderated by Bronwyn Starr of the New York State Health Foundation.
On May 16, CFF partnered with Soul Fire Farm and Philanthropy New York's Committee for Equitable and Inclusive Philanthropy to host a workshop titled Funding a Racially Just Food System. This event was the CFF Champions Award briefing, designed and created by our 2017 Award recipient, Soul Fire Farm. Leah Penniman, Co-Director of Soul Fire Farm, and Amani Olugbala, Assistant Director of Programs, guided over 30 funders through a history of racism and resistance in the food system followed by a workshop to help identify concrete next steps. You can find a video recording of the briefing below.
Join us on July 12th with longtime funder and advocate, when Anne Frederick, the executive director of the Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA), will talk about the long struggle for common sense regulation of pesticides in Hawaiʻi. Native Hawaiian mother, educator and cultural practitioner, Malia Chun will talk about living with her two daughters on the frontlines of the agrochemical test fields on the westside of Kauai and growing the next generation of culturally grounded leaders. And Dr. Virginia Rauh, the country’s foremost expert on the pesticide chlorpyrifos, will share her research on the public health impacts of this insecticide and what the ban in Hawaii means for the rest of the country.