Political advocacy – at the city, state, and federal levels – is one of the most effective ways of achieving lasting systems change in our communities and in our food system. Too often, what “policy work” means and how non-profits, community organizations, and individuals can do it effectively can be opaque and intimidating. And in many cases, the organizations and individuals with the time and resources to advocate for their interests aren’t always rooted in the communities most impacted by policy decisions. It’s long past time to flip that script.
Understanding how policy is written and passed, how it affects our lives and work, and how we can change it is an essential step towards building grassroots power and channeling the massive resources of government to where they will make the most impact. This is especially true in the lead up to the 2023 Farm Bill, which has serious implications for our collective work to transform the food system.
In this virtual series, we’ll build our collective knowledge around policy and advocacy for food systems change. Equity Advocates offers two sessions that debunk the misconceptions around nonprofits and advocacy and offer tips for how to get started and stay involved.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition will then walk us through a Farm Bill 101 session as we gear up for the reauthorization of this critical piece of food systems legislation.
The series will round out with a dynamic panel discussion featuring seasoned food systems policy leaders, Lorette Picciano of Rural Coalition, Kate Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald-Canepa, LLC, Paula Daniels of the Center for Good Food Purchasing, and Savi Horne of North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers, Land Loss Prevention Project, who will offer their learnings from decades of food systems advocacy and share their vision for its future.
Meet the Trainers
Gabrielle Blavatsky (Equity Advocates)
Co-founder, Policy Director
Gabrielle Blavatsky is a policy analyst with experience working on local, state, and federal nutrition, public health, and agriculture issues. As Equity Advocates’ co-founder and Policy Director, she is responsible for setting the organization’s policy agenda and strategy, overseeing grasstops advocacy, operations and strategic legislative planning, and providing policy expertise that strengthens the grassroots and communication strategy.
Leah Kabran Eden (Equity Advocates)
Co-founder, Grassroots Advocacy Director
Leah Kabran Eden is an anthropologist and policy analyst with experience working on nutrition, public health, and benefits access within the nonprofit, government, philanthropic, and business sectors. As Equity Advocates’ co-founder and Grassroots Advocacy Director, she is responsible for developing the coalition’s grassroots campaigns, partner organization recruitment and coalition growth, crafting the communication strategy, overseeing data collection & evaluation efforts, and providing on-the-ground support for legislative efforts.
Cathy Day (NSAC)
Climate Policy Coordinator
Cathy worked on agriculture and climate change for most of the last 20 years. Before joining NSAC, she taught in the Environmental Science and Studies and Sustainable Food Systems programs at Stetson University, where she also led implementation of the Sustainable Farming Fund. She holds a PhD and MS in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she researched how Nigerian and New Mexican farmers respond to multiple stressors, including climate change. Raised in Montana, her background includes time as a farm apprentice in Alaska, as an agricultural extension agent with the Peace Corps in Niger, and as an agricultural educator in New York, New Mexico, and Florida.
Sarah Hackney (NSAC)
Sarah oversees NSAC’s overall organizational strategic direction, administration, management, and capacity-building. Previously, she served as NSAC’s Grassroots Director for nearly 8 years, working with NSAC’s member organizations and allies to empower and mobilize grassroots food and farm voices nationwide. Raised in rural Florida, her prior work has included community-led efforts to improve small farm viability, increase fresh food access, and build leadership in rural communities in the Pacific Northwest
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