Community empowerment happens when non-profits and funders step back and community-based projects thrive. This workshop will highlight examples from low-income, racially diverse, and multi-generational communities where programs were designed to build enduring capacity for leadership and self-management within the communities they addressed.
With racial, economic, and gender equity as the foundations for community empowerment and sustainable food systems, examples will highlight: Community garden programs that paid low-income and immigrant gardeners to attend multi-lingual leadership trainings and successfully manage and advocate for their gardens; Farm to School programs that used grant funding to build knowledge, value, and capacity by purchasing processing equipment for schools and paying low income school food service workers to attend professional skills trainings for self-management; and a Food Hub designed and advised by small-scale, limited resource farmers to form a cooperative structure. By design, the role and control of non-profits and funders diminished as the community role and control increased.
This course is designed and delivered by Miles Gordon and Jen Dalton of Kitchen Table Consulting.
About the Instructors
Jen Dalton is the founder and principal of Kitchen Table Consulting. Jen has expertise in developing strategic intentions and advocacy efforts for organizations of all sizes, from grassroots to global. She is a highly trained group convener, facilitator and co-active coach and has designed and facilitated numerous multi-stakeholder collaborative impact efforts. Her passions lie in community food and community health with a foundation in heart and nature-based emergent strategies.
From 2017-2019, Jen was the lead consultant for Friends of the Earth’s Climate-Friendly School Food projects – working to develop institutional capacity to increase use of plant-based proteins and local, grass fed beef. She designed and facilitated multi-stakeholder engagement events called Greening School Food, regional forums on climate-friendly school food. Jen co-authored a national report titled “Scaling Up Climate-Friendly School Food: Strategies for Success.”
She is an advocating member of the Mendocino County Food Policy Council and served as the regional representative to the California State Policy Council of Councils. Jen was the founding Local Eats Editor of Civil Eats, promoting critical thought about sustainable agriculture and food. And worked as the Program Director for 2010’s groundbreaking Slow Food Nation in San Francisco.
Having worked in food and politics for the majority of her professional life, Jen is committed to collaborative efforts that communicate the connections between the food we eat and the overall health of our environment, be it personal or global.
Miles is a recognized leader in Food Systems development, Community Engagement, and Multi-stakeholder and bilingual (Spanish/English) Facilitation. He most recently served as the Food Systems Director for North Coast Opportunities (NCO), located in Mendocino and Lake Counties, California. He is co-founder of the Mendocino Food Policy Council and a member of the California Food Policy Council. He is currently a Wallace Center Community Food Systems Mentor.
After several years of growing organic melons in Potter Valley, CA and studying International Relations, Miles served as a bilingual high school and college teacher, teacher trainer, and human rights worker in Central America. As a result of these experiences, Miles founded the Gardens Project of NCO to empower low-income, disenfranchised communities in California to grow food in community gardens through facilitated leadership development and self-management.
Miles facilitated the expansion of the project to develop and manage numerous Farm to School, Farmer’s Market, Farmer Development, Food Hub, and Nutrition programs. Miles has administered several USDA grants, including the Community Food Projects, Farm-to-School Program, Farmers Market Promotion Program, Specialty Crop Block Grants, SNAP-Ed, and FINI Market Match.
Moreover, Miles has facilitated the formation and implementation of a county-wide Homeless Services Coalition, lead community food systems action planning for the EPA’s Local Food Local Places program, and continues to lead a city-wide Neighborhood Resilience community organizing initiative.