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#CommunityFood: Return to Roots

Featuring organizations grounded in food sovereignty that preserve cultural heritage, and focus on achieving affordable access to healthy, culturally appropriate, sustainably produced food.


In food, "innovation" often means a return to traditional cultural practices, creative adaptation of an existing idea, or reinstating traditions that use food to build community. This is one of the most striking findings in “From the Ground Up: Inspiring Community-based Food Systems Innovations,” a recent report commissioned by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and produced by the Wallace Center.

This webinar explores this “Return to Roots” theme, featuring organizations that are grounded in food sovereignty, preserve cultural heritage, and focus on achieving affordable access to healthy, culturally appropriate, sustainably produced food.

For the past 40 years, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC-NM) has worked on land and water rights and agricultural justice, especially for Chicano and indigenous people living in the state. We’ll learn about AFSC’s comprehensive Farmer-to-Farmer training program and their work facilitating farmer to farmer cooperation to access markets across the state. In California, the Klamath Basin Tribal Food Security Project is enhancing tribal health and food security by building a sustainable regional food system through collaborative and participatory approaches, co-developing research, education, and hands-on workshops and training programs to evaluate barriers and develop solutions to achieve a healthy food system.

Watch the archive to learn more about and be inspired by their unique approach, best practices and lessons learned along the way.





Presenter Bios

Lisa Hillman

Lisa HillmanKaruk Tribal Member Lisa Hillman has over 30 years’ experience working with schools, community colleges and universities on curriculum development, program management, and serving as a lecturer. Mother of six, Lisa is an advocate for the preservation and perpetuation of cultural heritage, and the advancement of both tribal and non-tribal youth. Currently, Lisa is the Program Manager for the Píkyav Field Institute, a holistic environmental education program that incorporates traditional as well as western knowledge. 

Sayrah Namaste

Sayrah NamasteSayrah Namaste is the director of the American Friends Service Committee- New Mexico program.  In her ten years there, she has helped create three farmer co-operatives, connected six school districts with local food, and managed 11 farmer training programs across the state. Sayrah serves on the board of the Recuerda a Cesar Chavez Committee and the Dia de San Ysidro planning committee. 

Jennifer Sowerwine

Jennifer SowerwineJennifer Sowerwine is an assistant cooperative extension specialist in the Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley. Her work engages diverse stakeholders across the spectrum of the food system to build equitable, economically viable and culturally relevant food systems that contribute to healthy communities, ecological diversity and sustainable livelihoods. For the past five years, she has led a collaborative and participatory research, education and outreach program with the Karuk, Yurok and Klamath Tribes in the Klamath River Basin aimed at enhancing tribal health, food security, and food sovereignty. 

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