Grapevine Issue 8

News and Resources for CFSC Members

CFSC wants to know… What do you think about this newsletter?  What would you like to see in future issues?  Please take a few minutes to respond to our brief reader survey.

You can read previous issues at the Grapevine Issue Archive.

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 Emily Becker.

Program News

National Policy Update: Promoting Access to Fresh Produce for All

CFSC is working on multiple fronts to expand access to quality fresh food and the lowest cost garcinia cambogia. We have launched a new program to improve access to farmers’ markets for low-income residents.  In June, we released a report on opportunities and barriers for using WIC benefits at farmers’ markets, which was distributed to members of key Congressional committees and has generated multiple inquiries about what these members can do in their states.

We are continuing to work with the Farm to School Collaborative to obtain $10 million in mandatory funding for farm to school programs in the 2009 Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR). Senator Harkin has announced he will file a short-term extension of the child nutrition programs. So, while CNR is still a priority for Congress, it is unlikely that it will happen this year.

Meanwhile, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is developing new initiatives to promote farm to school and local food.  CFSC is providing input on these issues, partly through a USDA Support Working Group formed after a June 2 meeting with Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. This group includes CFSC, the National Farm to School Network, and School Food FOCUS. Meeting topics have included potential areas for collaboration related to local and regional food systems, and possible formation of a Farm to School and Local Foods Team within the department.  Contact: Megan Elsener Lott

Related link:  Policy Program webpage

New Program to Expand Low-Income Access to Farmers’ Markets
CFSC and the Farmers Market Coalition have launched a new partnership program to increase Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) use, access, and improvements at the nearly 4,800 farmers’ markets around the country. EBT is a specialized debit card technology used for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps).  Currently, most farmers’ markets do not have the technology to process EBT payments effectively, which reduces access to farmers’ markets for shoppers using SNAP benefits, and eliminates farmer access to EBT sales.  (According to USDA, fewer than 16% of the farmers’ markets registered with the USDA were equipped to accept SNAP benefits in 2008.)

This new initiative will create a comprehensive plan for the expansion of EBT/SNAP at farmers’ markets. It will review current EBT usage at farmers’ markets, investigate barriers to EBT availability, and make policy recommendations for how to improve EBT usage. The initiative is funded by the Healthy Eating Active Living Convergence Partnership.  Contact:  Andy Fisher 

Congressional Staff Get a Taste of Farm to School
On June 30, the National Farm to School Network (a project of CFSC and Occidental College) sponsored a farm to school field trip targeting members of Congress.  Participants included Legislative Assistants from seven Congressional offices, two representatives from USDA, and other organizations, including the DC Farm to School Network and the National Family Farm Coalition.

The day began at Great Kids Farm, a teaching organic farm run by Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS), followed by a stop at Hampstead Hill Academy, a BCPS Charter School. The Great Kids Farm Manager, BCPS Food Service Director, and a Food Educator at Hampstead Hill discussed the experiential learning techniques used to introduce kids to growing and eating fresh, healthy foods. This was followed by a delicious salad lunch prepared by students using produce from the Great Kids Farm.

The field trip gave participants a good taste of what Farm to School is all about, feeding growing interest in Farm to School programs… and in more field trips! Contact: Megan Elsener Lott

Introducing Whole Measures for Community Food Systems
CFSC is excited to introduce a new evaluation, planning, and dialogue tool for organizational and community change. Whole Measures for Community Food Systems (CFS) is a values-based and community-oriented tool that invites organizations to redefine how they talk about and measure success.  It gives them a lens to consider how their work impacts a broad range of values and practices that support food secure communities. It focuses on six core outcomes: justice and fairness, strong communities, vibrant farms, healthy people, sustainable ecosystems, and thriving local economies.

Users are invited to define the unique and specific ways that their program intends to impact these six outcomes. Through dialogue and collective exploration, groups then evaluate their work through a process that builds their potential for future impact and improvements.

Whole Measures CFS  will be posted soon on the CFSC website. Over the next year, CFSC will be providing technical assistance and support to a core group of organizations to pilot test this tool.  For more information or to participate in the pilot test, contact Jeanette Abi-Nader.

Committee Updates

International Links Committee
The International Links Committee has been busy planning for the international dimensions of the upcoming CFSC Annual Conference in Des Moines.  These will include a fantastic track of workshops focused on global themes and featuring several international guests; special side events addressing the global food crisis and challenging the Green Revolution; a face-to-face meeting of the International Links Committee, and more.  We also will award a special Food Sovereignty prize—stay tuned for the announcement of the winner!  And following the conference, there will be a special event on October 14th to launch a unified campaign to solve the food crisis at home and abroad.  All are welcome to participate.  For more information, contact Committee Co-chair Christina Schiavoni.

Urban Agriculture Committee
The Urban Agriculture Committee is now meeting on the second Thursday of each month at 2:00 PM Eastern. All are welcome to join these calls.  The Committee’s current focus is learning about ordinances and regulations that are either encouraging or hindering urban agriculture, and they plan to compile a paper on this topic.  On the June call, Jen Blecha from Minneapolis shared her research about livestock and poultry ordinances in U.S. and Canadian cities.  (To receive MP3 recordings of this or other calls, email Aleta Dunne.)

The next two Committee calls will be on August 13 and September 10.  To join, call (800) 704-9804 and enter access code 935485.  To receive notices of upcoming meetings and other urban agriculture-related postings, join the Committee listserv.

The Committee also continues to coordinate with the Metro Ag Alliance, which is compiling an electronic database of urban agriculture information.   For more information, contact Co-chairs Betsy Johnson or Cynthia Price.

Related Link: CFSC committees

Other CFSC News

Strategic Road Map Approved
CFSC’s strategic plan has been approved!  This plan will guide our work over the next four years, based on eight strategic goals that include building political voice and power, increasing community-based capacity building, and improving membership engagement.  Staff, board, members, and consultants worked hard over the past year to develop this plan, and many others provided input to the process.

‘Action teams’ fleshed out plans for each strategic goal this spring, and a complete draft plan was developed in early June. At a board-staff retreat in North Carolina, we reviewed this draft and made a few changes, most importantly adding a goal focused on social justice, inclusivity, and anti-racism.  (Earlier the group had decided to integrate this goal throughout the plan rather than separating out, but we later agreed that making it a distinct goal would give it more emphasis.)  We also drafted a new mission statement:
The Community Food Security Coalition catalyzes food systems that are healthy, sustainable, just, and democratic by building community voice and capacity for change.

The board formally approved the plan at the retreat, and staff and board identified priorities for implementation.  CFSC is still completing the action plan details for the social justice goal and developing a communications strategy for the new plan, which will be shared with members soon. Contact: Andy Fisher

Related Link: Strategic Planning webpage

Upcoming Events

From People Power to Public Policy: A Gathering of Local and State Food Policy Councils
October 10, Des Moines, Iowa
This all-day meeting provides an opportunity to learn more about local food system policies, projects, and partnerships, and to network with individuals on the cutting edge of local and state food policy issues.  It is appropriate for anyone who is interested in or involved with any organized effort to influence local or state food, agriculture, or nutrition policy.

From Commodity to Community:
Food Politics, Policy, and Projects in the Heartland

October 10-13, Des Moines, IA
CFSC’s 13th annual conference, the nation’s primary food systems networking and educational event, will feature plenaries on food system change and social justice themes, 50 workshops on a wide variety of topics, six field trips, a food film festival, great local food, and much more.  Register by August 21 to receive a discount.  To stay posted on conference announcements, please join our conference email list or become a fan of CFSC on Facebook.

Member Profiles

Food Roots
Food Roots is a rural Northwest Oregon organization whose mission is to cultivate a healthy food system in Tillamook County.  Founded in 2006, Food Roots’ vision is a community that achieves self-reliance through local food production.  The culture, climate, and rich soils of coastal Oregon provide a strong foundation for their programs, which include school and community garden development and microenterprise and community-based economic development.  Food Roots provides support and resources for gardensthroughout the county, and operates a food bank garden and a youth microenterprise garden at Tillamook Junior High.  Next year the microenterprise program will include Individual Development Accounts to assist low-income folks with food-based small business start-up or expansion.

In 2008, Food Roots launched a Community Food Assessment, and a producer inventory/survey is now underway in partnership with Clatsop County.  This will generate a database of regional producers and processors that will be used to create web and print North Coast Food Guides. Food Roots’ programs have helped hundreds of residents grow their own food, increase their food self-reliance, and strengthen the local food economy.   For more information, see the Food Roots website.

Presbyterian Hunger Program
For 40 years, the Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) has provided a channel through which Presbyterians can be engaged in the fight against hunger and injustice worldwide. A ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the PHP works to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes, in partnership with poor and hungry people around the world. Through giving to the annual One Great Hour of Sharing and year-round support of the Hunger Fund, Presbyterians provide the PHP with approximately three million dollars a year to support ministries of direct food relief, development assistance, public policy advocacy, education, and lifestyle integrity.

The PHP seeks to fulfill its mission through grantmaking, print and web educational and worship materials, and participatory programs that allow us to respond with love, compassion, and justice to the most vulnerable of our neighbors next door and across the planet. Current special programs include: Joining Hands Against HungerCampaign for Fair Food with the Coalition of Immokalee WorkersEnough for Everyone/Just LivingJust Trade and Food & Faith Initiative.  For more information, see the Presbyterian Hunger Program website.

Related link: 
Food & Faith Committee

Board Member Profile

Demalda Newsome is Executive Director of Newsome Community Farms in Tulsa, OK.  She and her husband Rufus work to improve access to fresh, quality foods for low-income people of colorthrough their farm and on-site farmers’ market in an urban food desert.  In addition to growing food, they are active in distribution, marketing, and community organizing to ensure that all people have the opportunity to be food secure. They also have been very active in youth education, and work with other organizations to manage school and community gardens.

Demalda brings a true grassroots and minority perspective to everything that she does.  She always strives to speak the truth and to “keep it real.”  She joined the CFSC board last fall, and has been very active in the strategic planning process.

The Newsomes have been married 33 years and have eight children and six grandchildren, who also love good food.  They do a lot of cooking with family, friends and neighbors.  Their three-year-old granddaughter has been helping cook since before she could talk, and is now learning beekeeping!

Related link: CFSC board contact list

Staff Profile

Andrea Dudley Hart joined CFSC in June as our new Conference Planner.  She is coordinating our 13th Annual Conference, as well as other events.  Andrea has a strong passion for event planning and is thrilled to be at the Coalition working with such a broad and motivated base of staff, board, members, donors, and volunteers. She recently moved to Portland from Boston, where she directed the Molly Bish Institute for Child Health and Safety and Civic Engagement Outreach at Mount Wachusett Community College. In that position, Andrea spearheaded events, fundraising, service learning, and outreach for the college.

Andrea grew up as an Outward Bound child and loves being in the outdoors. She treasures living in Portland, where there are endless opportunities to play outside with her Jack Russell terrier Sammy, and tremendous choices of farm fresh produce for her kitchen. Andrea is bilingual in Spanish, and loves to network and meet new people, so find her on Facebook.

Related links:
CFSC Annual Conference website
CFSC staff contact list

What do you think about this newsletter?  What would you like to see in future issues?  We want to hear from you!  Please take a few minutes to respond to our brief reader survey.