Grapevine Issue 17

News and Resources for CFSC Members
In this issue, we honor our founding Executive Director, Andy Fisher, who moved on this summer, and inform you about some of the changes happening at CFSC. We welcome your feedback about these changes and encourage you to join us at our Annual Meeting on November 7, 11:30 am – 1:15 pm, which is just one of many opportunities to get involved at CFSC’s 15th Annual Conference in Oakland (see below for a sampling of conference offerings).

A Tribute to Andy Fisher, a Food Justice Champion 
On behalf of CFSC’s members, the Board and Staff would like to thank Andy Fisher for his years of service to the community food security movement as a whole and to CFSC in particular. Andy has been a key leader in bringing people together to tackle food justice issues.  His early recognition of people’s need for healthy diet options, his tireless effort, and his organizing skills have helped grow community food security from the cause of a few to the passion of millions of people across North America. As one of the founders of CFSC and the founding Executive Director from 1997 to 2011, Andy played the lead role in organizing for the passage of the Community Food Security Empowerment Act, winning critical gains in the 1996 Farm Bill. Since then, CFSC has mobilized and supported its members to shape food policy for garcinia cambogia. Thanks to Andy’s drive and vision, CFSC now has permanent policy staff in Washington, DC, working with our members to develop our federal policy priorities and advocate effectively for adoption and implementation.

Under Andy’s direction CFSC became a national resource for organizations and individuals that are creating healthy, sustainable, just, and democratic local and regional food systems. He positioned CFSC to provide thousands of hours of training and technical assistance as well as countless networking opportunities at conferences and a variety of other venues. Andy, the staff and board, and CFSC’s partners have collaborated to develop programs that now include training and technical assistance to support local and regional food systems, and state-of-the-art services in areas ranging from food policy council development, to development of program evaluation plans and tools tailored to all aspects of the movement.

Thank you, Andy, for your invaluable contributions to the community food security movement. We wish you the very best as you move forward in a new and exciting direction and we look forward to seeing what you will do next.

CFSC Board and Staff

Changes at CFSC

Staff and Board Transitions at CFSC
CFSC is in a period of organizational transition. During the last quarter, three staff members have said their farewells, including Andy Fisher (see above), Megan Lott and Laurel MacMillan. At the same time we have welcomed two new staff, Margaret Eickmann and Aisha Amuda (see staff profiles below). The coalition is also preparing to elect five new board members (see below) in October. It’s critical that you and other members help select a new board that is qualified to lead CFSC through this time of transition.

Megan Lott 
After nearly three years with CFSC as Associate Policy Director, Megan left the coalition to join the Pew Charitable Trust as a Senior Associate working on the Kids Safe and Healthful Foods Campaign. We wish Megan well in her new position and thank you her for the talent and tenacity she applied to our policy work. Our federal policy team in DC continues to advance the coalition’s priorities with active support and involvement from you, our members. View her profilefrom the Grapevine Archives.

Laurel MacMillan 
Laurel was hired to be CFSC’s Community Building Program Manager. After 6 months providing quality technical assistance to CPPW-funded communities and CFSC partners, Laurel left the Coalition to pursue regional level work. Laurel is continuing her relationship with CFSC through ongoing work with the Healthy Corner Stores Network. View her profile from the Grapevine Archives.

Board Elections are Now In Progress – Participate!
This fall, three of our fifteen Board members (Molly Anderson, Ed Cooney, & Anne Palmer) are finishing their terms, and two others (Cathleen Kneen & Demalda Newsome) will be running for re-election. As we look to the future of CFSC, we need your help in identifying new board members to guide the organization through the current transition and help us grow to the next level of leadership in the food movement.

On September 16, CFSC sent out the Call for Nominations which explains the skills, perspectives and experience needed.  If you know someone who is a good fit, nominate them!  We are accepting up to 2 nominations per member through this Friday, September 30.

Organizational members will receive the ballot in early October, and the polls will close October 25. The new board members will be announced and begin their terms at the Annual Meeting, which takes place during lunch on Monday, November 7 at our Food Justice conference in Oakland.

Please join us at the Annual Meeting for a special thank you to Andy Fisher, founding director of CFSC.  We will acknowledge Andy for the key role he played in launching the community food security movement and this organization. We will also update the membership on CFSC’s accomplishments in 2011 and ask for your ideas for how CFSC should lead the movement.

Related links: Call for NominationsCFSC Board List

Program Updates

Dismantling Racism & Social Justice at the Annual Conference

CFSC counts among its core strategies a dedication to promoting Social Justice and Anti-racism. In planning our 15th Annual Conference, the conference planning committee chose to focus on Food Justice and to integrate social justice and anti-racism practices throughout the event. Some of these activities are occurring as a direct result of member feedback and engagement in discussions on how to improve the conference.

As you prepare for “Food Justice: Honoring our Roots, Growing the Movement,” please consider attending some of the below events specifically focused on social justice and anti-racism.

Short Course: Modern Racism in the Food System: Dismantling Tools and Approaches, Nov. 5, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm

Forum: People of Color Caucus AND White Allies Caucus
Nov. 6, 1:15 pm – 2:15 pm

Networking Session: Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative
Nov. 8, 10:15 am – 11:45 am

In addition to this list, many workshops and networking sessions will also address these issues; particularly in the “Power, Race and Labor in the Food System” track, the “Building Community Power and Local Food Economies: Achieving Food Sovereignty” track, and the “Voices from the Bay Area” tracks.

Related Links: 15th Annual Conference WebsiteCFSC’s Six Core Strategies

Hands-on Local Foods Training for Cafeteria Workers
The People’s Regional Opportunity Program and the City of Portland, Maine food service workers prepared for the back-to-school season by learning sustainability practices at a training funded by the federal Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) initiative and presented in partnership with CFSC.

In August, cafeteria staff from Lakes Region and Portland schools participated in “The Maine Ingredient: A Local Foods Training for Schools.” The training encouraged kitchen staff to work with farmers to procure locally grown foods and provide staff with skills to prepare school meals from scratch. Sixty-nine kitchen staff participated representing 26 schools. In total, over 12,000 students will benefit from the culinary training of their cafeteria staff.

Guests from Douglas County, Nebraska – another CPPW community – attended the training in order to bring back valuable lessons and share ideas for planning a similar training for Omaha based cafeteria workers. This training is an exciting example of CPPW partners working together to positively impact the general health of the Lakes Region and Portland communities by increasing access to healthy food.

Related Link: Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) Program Page

Deficit-Cutting Dominates National Politics
Debate in the 112th Congress continues to revolve around reducing the national debt and slashing federal spending. In August, President Obama signed the Budget Control Act of 2011. This new law imposes $900 billion in cuts over the next decade, on top of the drastic reductions to human needs and conservation programs already made for the current fiscal year. It also sets up a Super Committee charged with recommending an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by Thanksgiving. If these proposals fail to pass Congress, across-the-board cuts of $1.2 trillion will be triggered.

Deficit reduction measures could include major cuts to Farm Bill spending. CFSC is coordinating closely with Congressional champions and partner organizations to recommend future food and farm program cuts to the Super Committee before the Agriculture Committee’s mid-October deadline.

As part of the SAVE for All Coalition, CFSC continues to deliver a clear message to Congress:

  1. Protect programs that help low-income people, like SNAP, from deficit reduction.
  2. Include fair increases in revenue in any deficit-reduction plan.
  3. Move forward in discussing policies that will address job creation, economic development, and healthy, sustainable, just and democratic food systems—including the 2012 Farm Bill.

Related Link: Federal Policy Page

Committee Updates

International Links Committee
In order to help raise awareness about international issues, the International Links Committee (ILC) holds education and action calls open to the CFSC community. Our September call featured US leaders in the fight against regressive immigration reform and why food system activists need to prioritize immigration. The call included speakers from the Border Agricultural Workers ProjectFarmworkers Association of FloridaThe Dignity Campaign, and  National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR). Audio recordings of this call and others will be posted soon on the ILC webpage.

Our October educational call will feature fishermen from around the world who are facing a “water grab” as industrial fishing pushes family fishermen out. Join our listserv to stay on top of all our great work.

Our annual face-to-face meeting, at the CFSC Conference in Oakland, will be on Monday, November 7 at 3:15 pm. Global food sovereignty leaders will join us in strategizing around support for global struggles as well as furthering food sovereignty work in North America. The ILC meeting will be a multilingual space at the Conference and all are welcome to join us.

Policy Committee

Despite the gridlock in Washington, CFSC continues to work diligently to find Congressional champions for the Farm Bill priorities that emerged through our listening sessions with members and constituents. We are gearing up for the introduction of several marker bills to advance local and regional food systems, Farm to School, urban and community-based agriculture, and SNAP/EBT redemption at farmers markets.

October presents two excellent opportunities for organizing and advocacy around CFSC’s policy platform. We are participating in Food Day on October 24, with CFSC Board member Demalda Newsomeserving on the advisory board. CFSC is also a partner for the first National Farm to School Month, established by a November 2010 Congressional resolution introduced by Representative Rush Holt of New Jersey.

Policy Committee members across the country are organizing locally around these national events. To learn more and get involved, join our next monthly Policy Committee on Tuesday, October 18. Visit the committee webpage for details.

Related Link: CFSC member committees

Upcoming Events

Food Justice: Honoring Our Roots, Growing the Movement
CFSC’s 15th Annual Conference
Oakland Marriott City Center, Oakland, California
November 4-8, 2011

Food Justice conference logoCFSC’s 15th Annual Conference is an event not to be missed. We will gather in Oakland to learn from each other and to shape the future of our movement. The conference spans two days of pre-conference Food Justice Tours and Short Courses (Nov 4 – 5) and three days packed with workshops, networking sessions and inspiring general sessions. Check out the full schedule.
On top of all that, this year we’ll watch fantastic food films with Reel Food, hear from global leaders at the Food Sovereignty Fair, delve into issues of Food Justice and racism at the People of Color and White Allies Caucuses, and get a Taste of Oakland under the (planetarium) stars of the Chabot Space and Science Center.
Reserve your hotel room by October 13 to get the conference discount.
Registration is open through October 16 and pre-conference events are filling up.  See the conference website for details and join the conference email list to get updates.

Related Links: CFSC Events Archive

Member Profiles

Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy is a “think-and-do tank” whose mission is to eliminate the injustices that cause hunger. Food First partners with social movements for food justice and food sovereignty to amplify their voices and to generate the information and analysis we all need to transform the current food system. Started 35 years ago by Francis Moore-Lappe (Diet for a Small Planet) and Joseph Collins, Food First has exposed how hunger and malnutrition are a product of the very food system that claims to be “feeding the world.”

Based in Oakland, CA, Food First works locally and globally with the “advocates” and “practitioners” forging equitable and sustainable food systems. Food First’s research and publications chronicle the efforts of such diverse groups as the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (MST), the Food Chain Workers Alliance, the Community Food Security Coalition and Via Campesina. Their seminal books include: “Hunger 12 Myths,” “Food Rebellions: Crises and the Hunger for Justice” and “Food Movements Unite!

Food First is acting as the local co-host and organizing Food Justice Tours for CFSC’s 15th Annual Conference. Food First has been a CFSC member since 2005.

Food First website

Hartford Food System
Since 1978, Hartford Food System has been a leader in grassroots policy and program work to fight hunger and improve nutrition in low-income Hartford, CT neighborhoods. They are one of the nation’s oldest organizations promoting community food security. As their name suggests, they focus on system-based strategies to address this complex problem. They aim to increase access to normal food outlets, deepen the connection between food consumers and agriculture, and promote policies that improve the affordability and quality of food.

The Hartford Food System’s largest effort is Grow Hartford, now in its 8th season of urban agriculture and youth development. The Healthy Food Retailer Initiative promotes better availability of healthy selections for the many Hartford residents who rely on “corner markets.” The North End Farmers Market, the only market in the northern city neighborhoods, is in its 4th season of providing fresh fruits and vegetables. The City of Hartford Advisory Commission on Food Policy, one of the oldest councils in the country, is Hartford Food System’s policy and advocacy presence. Recent recommendations include a trans-fatty acids ban and restaurant scoring, adopted this year by the Hartford City Council.

The Hartford Food System was one of CFSC’s first members, joining in 1996!

Hartford Food System website

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.