Grapevine Issue 13

News and Resources for CFSC Members

Welcome! 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 Rachel Smith.

You can read previous issues at the Grapevine Issue Archive.

Program News

Food, Culture, & Justice: Highlights from New Orleans
Nearly 1,000 community food advocates gathered in New Orleans in mid-October for CFSC’s largest conference ever. The event was infused with the benefits of garcinia cambogia , through field trips to innovative local projects, special lunchtime events, a regional workshop track, and a fabulous second line procession that was one of the peak moments in CFSC’s conference history—hundreds of participants danced through the streets to a gumbo cook-off reception and party at the historic French Market.

Plenary highlights included personal stories from New Orleanians about their food culture and rebuilding after the storm, an energizing presentation by the leader of a West African peasant farmers association, and closing reflections from diverse leaders on how to build power for our movement. There were also 68 workshops and networking sessions on a wide range of topics, including local food economies, sustainable fisheries, social justice issues, and the upcoming Farm Bill.

Thanks to generous donations from our sponsors, CFSC was able to award 330 scholarships to limited resource producers, youth, and people working in low-income areas or communities of color.

Visit the conference website to view presentations and photos.
Conference attendees dance through the French Market

National T&TA Strategy Session Breaks New Ground
In September, representatives of 17 organizations gathered near Baltimore for the first-ever national strategy session for training and technical assistance (T&TA) providers for community food projects. Participants worked together to assess the current T&TA landscape, explore emerging needs, and identify opportunities for coordination and collaboration. We also played together through energizing group games, creative activities, and a campfire night complete with s’mores. The gathering was organized by CFSC with support from the Community Food Projects (CFP) Program.
T&TA Strategy Session Participants
The session outcomes included new linkages between providers, shared insights about the state of the movement, ideas for collaborative work and strong interest in continued communication and collaboration, and an extensive written summary of each organization’s T&TA programs. Many participants remarked on the value of taking time to meet in person and reflect on our work together. We are continuing to meet to develop more specific plans for future collaboration.

Contact: Kai Siedenburg

Promoting Environmental and Policy Changes in CPPW Communities
In July, CFSC received a major grant to serve as a technical assistance provider for Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW), a new federal initiative to promote health and prevent obesity and tobacco use. (See August Grapevine for more information.) CFSC was recently matched with the 11 CPPW-funded communities that will receive in-depth assistance from us as they implement environmental and policy changes:  La Crosse, WI; Lakes Region, ME; Louisville, KY; Miami, FL; Nashville, TN; Omaha, NE; Portland, ME; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; San Antonio, TX; and Tucson, AZ.

Working closely with our partners, we will support these communities in promoting healthy eating through farm to school initiatives, healthy corner stores, food policy councils, farmers markets, and local food procurement initiatives. We also will develop an online local food policy information center, issue policy briefs, and organize several national conferences.

At this writing, CFSC has just hired a new Program Manager, Sara Padilla, to implement this program and we will soon select a new Director of Education and Capacity-Building to provide leadership for all our training and technical assistance programs.

Community Food Projects Indicators of Success
Since 2005, Community Food Project (CFP) grantees have used a collective reporting tool to track the breadth of their work funded through the CFP program—the Common Output Tracking Form (COTF). The combined results are summarized in a new report.

This fall, CFP grantees are starting to use a more comprehensive impact assessment and tracking tool called the Community Food Project Indicators of Success (CFP IOS). This new online reporting tool will track a wide range of outputs and outcomes across dozens of grantee organizations, and includes more value-based questions to record impacts in greater depth. It also includes a customizable survey that CFP grantees can use to assess the impact of their work from the participants’ perspective. The results will be reported in a collective database.

Developed in collaboration with over 70 community food system organizations, the CFP IOS is founded on broad values of what is involved in a holistic community food system. To view this new tool and a guide for its use, go to the resource section of the CFSC Evaluation Program webpage.

Committee Updates

International Links
Since its inception, the International Links Committee (ILC) has sought to provide a broader global context for CFSC’s work. This year’s Annual Conference was a milestone for the ILC, with an inspiring plenary highlighting the winner of the second annual Food Sovereignty PrizeFamily Farm Defenders, and the three groups that received Honorable Mentions. In this and other sessions, speakers from Niger, Brazil, Italy, and Sarajevo shared compelling stories and perspectives from their countries.

The ILC’s meeting in New Orleans explored the global forces we are up against, the assets we have, and the committee’s role in the movement. Projects on the horizon include planning for next year’s Food Sovereignty Prize and establishing a synergistic relationship with the newly formed US Food Sovereignty Alliance. Fresh energy and ideas are critical to the ongoing success of the ILC—please join us as we chart our path forward! To learn more, contact Christina Schiavoni.

Urban Agriculture Committee
The Urban Agriculture Committee has been mobilizing support for the Greening Food Deserts Act (HB 4971). Marcy Kaptur introduced this bill expressly to garner comments on the wording and to demonstrate Congressional support for urban agriculture. The Urban Agriculture Committee has been active on both these fronts, and recruited some of the 68 co-sponsors for the bill. CFSC’s D.C. office has been very supportive of this work, and will help us move the bill forward when it is reintroduced in the next session.

The committee also developed a new short course on urban agriculture policy for the CFSC conference in New Orleans. This included compiling a comprehensive overview of urban agriculture policy work around the country, which will be posted on the committee’s webpage soon. One of the short course speakers, John Shaffer from The University of Memphis, will present on the committee’s next monthly call on November 11 at 2:00 pm Eastern time. Contact co-chair Cynthia Price or Betsy Johnson if you are interested in participating in the committee’s work.

Policy Committee
At CFSC’s Annual Conference, the Policy Committee began discussing priorities and strategies for the 2012 Farm Bill. The committee reviewed CFSC’s potential action areas, which include urban agriculture, community food projects, local food infrastructure, links between food stamps and local/healthy foods, food access, farmers markets, and food policy councils. We also identified ways that CFSC can support its members throughout the Farm Bill process. Ideas included hosting a Farm Bill 101 webinar, generating background materials, developing simple grassroots messaging, conducting a member survey to identify priorities, and crafting a Farm Bill strategic plan.

CFSC also held the first in a series of Farm Bill listening sessions to solicit input from members on their priorities. The next session will be held at the NESAWG conference on November 13 in Albany, NY.

Policy Committee calls are held on the third Tuesday of every month, with the next call on November 16.  For more information, visit the committee webpage or contact Megan Lott.

To receive additional policy updates, sign up to receive CFSC’s policy newsletter, which comes out twice a month.

Related Link: CFSC committees

Other CFSC News

CFSC and the National Farm to School Network Identified as High-impact Non-profits
The Community Food Security Coalition and the National Farm to School Network were recently identified by Philanthropedia as two of 14 high-impact non-profits working to promote and support childhood nutrition at the national level. Most of the top-rated organizations are CFSC partners and funders.

Philanthropedia identifies high-impact non-profit organizations in key issue areas to help guide informed and effective giving. For each issue area, they ask over 100 experts to rate organizations based on evidence of their impact and other organizational strengths. See CFSC’s profile on the Philanthropedia site.

Upcoming Events

State and Local Food Policy Conference
Portland, Oregon
May 18 – 21, 2011
Food policy is on the agenda of policymakers from cities, counties, and states across the nation.  This conference will bring together elected officials, government staff and advocates for three days of networking, peer-to-peer learning, and skill building.

CFSC’s 15th Annual Conference
Oakland, California
November 4 – 8, 2011

Next year’s annual conference will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area, a hotbed of community food activity.  As usual, there will be updates on cutting-edge models and strategies, field trips to exciting local projects, and great local food.  Watch for the request for workshop proposals in the spring.

6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference
Burlington, Vermont
Spring 2012

The 6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference will showcase innovative and effective strategies for connecting schools and colleges with local farms.

For more information about our upcoming events, including workshop proposal requests and scholarship information, sign up for the conference notification list.

Member Profiles

Walnut Way Conservation Corp. is a resident-driven organization, founded by neighbors deeply committed to their Central City community in Milwaukee. Their mission is to sustain economically diverse and abundant communities through civic engagement, environmental stewardship, and creating venues for prosperity.

Since their purposeful beginnings, the Walnut Way Conservation Corp. has successfully reclaimed their neighborhood, driven out crime, restored and helped to construct homes, transformed vacant lots into productive gardens and orchards, installed rain gardens, offered programming to youth, provided social and educational resources for adults, and created a close-knit neighborhood of caring residents.

Historically, their gardens began as a strategy to address problems associated with vacant properties, which attracted all sorts of unwanted behaviors. Reclaiming these lots transformed dumping grounds into places of community action and created new value. Growing food has become one of their strongest commonalities. Now people are connecting with their traditions of growing food and talking about their gardens or life on the farm. Their gardens are nourishing the bodies, minds, and souls of neighbors.

Walnut Way Conservation Corp. website

Community Alliance for Global Justice (CAGJ) mobilizes Seattle activists in solidarity with global struggles for food justice and food sovereignty through their Food Justice, AGRA Watch, and Trade Justice projects. Founded in 2001 by organizers of the historic protests that shut down the 1999 World Trade Organization talks, CAGJ is grassroots, volunteer-run, and member-driven, with only one part-time staff.

CAGJ just launched the Northwest Farm Bill Action Group to engage urban and rural folks in efforts to transform the 2012 Farm Bill into a force for good food that does not harm the land, workers, or eaters. Their Food Justice Project recently published a resource guide called “Our Food Our Right: Recipes for Food Justice,” and they organize monthly work parties with exciting movers and shakers in our local food system. AGRA Watch (monitoring the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, AGRA) is taking on the Gates Foundation’s undemocratic push for industrial agriculture, GMOs, and neoliberal policies, demanding they instead support African agro-ecological farming initiatives and food sovereignty. Join them!

Community Alliance for Global Justice website 

Board Member Changes

Congratulations to the winners of CFSC’s 2010 board election! We appreciate their willingness to serve the Coalition in this vital leadership role. The current board includes 15 members from 11 U.S. states, and Canada, seven of whom are people of color. (CFSC’s organizational members elect new board members each fall.)

CFSC’s three new board members are:
• Pam Broom, Women and Agriculture Network, New Orleans, LA
• Vicki Karhu, Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative, Okmulgee, OK
• Wayne Roberts, Freelance writer and speaker, Toronto, ON

These new members filled vacancies left open by board members who resigned or chose not to stand for re-election.

Additionally, the following board members were re-elected:
• James Johnson-Piett, Urbane Development, Philadelphia, PA
• Young Kim, Fondy Food Center, Milwaukee, WI
• Gretchen Kunkel, KC Healthy Kids / Food Policy Coalition of Greater KC, Kansas City, MO
• Anne Palmer, Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

In New Orleans, our board elected the following members to serve as CFSC’s Executive Committee through October 2011:
• Young Kim – President
• Darlene Wolnik – Vice President
• Gretchen Kunkel – Treasurer
• Samina Raja – Secretary
• Demalda Newsome – Executive at Large

We look forward to working with them in the coming year.

Related link: CFSC board contact list

Staff Profile

Kathy Mulvey joins CFSC this month as Policy Director in Washington, D.C. She’ll work with staff, members, and allies to formulate and advance the Coalition’s federal policy priorities, starting with the 2012 Farm Bill. She says, “I am excited to contribute to a democratic transformation of our food system.”

For more than 20 years, Kathy has been organizing in the U.S. and internationally for social change, public health, economic and environmental justice, and human rights. In various leadership positions with Corporate Accountability International (formerly Infact), she played a pivotal role in campaigns curbing deadly abuses by corporations like Nestlé, General Electric, and Philip Morris. She also lobbied for adoption and effective implementation of the World Health Organization’s groundbreaking global tobacco treaty.

A Massachusetts native, Kathy now lives with her partner Patricia in D.C., where they both love shopping at the Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market. A keen cyclist, runner, and softball player, she also has a deep appreciation of poetry.

Related link: CFSC staff contact list