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#CommunityFood: Exploring Innovations in Community Food Systems

Highlighting themes in innovation emerging among community-based organizations.


Across the nation communities are working to restore, revitalize, and reinforce the value of local food systems and are transforming the “business as usual” approach to food systems value chains. The #CommunityFood webinar highlights themes in innovation emerging among community-based organizations across Indian Country, rural communities, and cities across America and features two organizations who exemplify this evolution in food systems change-making. 

Featured Organizations

The Oneida Community Integrated Food Systems (OCIFS) group is here as a team to help families by housing a community food system that will include traditional food products and help create a local economy that will provide jobs, and promote and encourage long term solutions to farm and nutrition issues on the Oneida Reservation. The OCIFS group is tirelessly working to improve the Oneida Nations quality of food, educating them about food related health risks, increasing employment and youth opportunities, and assisting in bringing people closer together around food. Presented by Joanie Buckley. 

La Semilla Food Center is dedicated to fostering a healthy, self-reliant, fair, and sustainable food system in the Paso del Norte region of Southern New Mexico and El Paso, Texas. La Semilla engages with the community’s wisdom and ability to decide our food destiny and create a food system based on shared values—dignity, beauty, supporting and celebrating locally grown food, community involvement, cultural traditions & innovations, and ensuring safe, healthy (for people and ecosystems!), and affordable food for everyone. Social justice and equity underlies all of La Semilla's work in programming & function, and the organization operates on a shared leadership model - cultivating leadership from within the community and the organization. Presented by Co-Director Krysten Aguilar.





Presenter Bios

Krysten Aguilar

Krysten Aguilar

Krysten Aguilar is Co-director of Admin and Policy at La Semilla Food Center, where she oversees all policy advocacy efforts and financial and administrative functions of the organization. Krysten led the initiative to get the Las Cruces Urban Agriculture and Food Policy Plan passed and is now leading efforts for a county-wide Healthy Food Financing Initiative. She is one part of a four woman leadership team, driving La Semilla's mission of creating a fair and sustainable local food system and riding on the frontier of nonprofit development with an innovative leadership model, holistic programming, and using food systems work as a tool for racial and gender healing.

Joanie Buckley

Joanie BuckleyJoanie is the Division Director for Internal Services for the Oneida Nation with responsibility for various departments, including their 80-acre organic farm and cannery.  She developed the framework for their 5 Inter-related Agricultural Strategies to build on their Integrated Food System.  She has been instrumental in the development of the Food Sovereignty Summit, to share knowledge and build capacity in Indian Country.

Erin Parker

Erin ParkerErin currently serves as the Research Director of the Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law, where she supports the Initiative through program development, research and writing, and analysis of legislative and regulatory issues affecting Tribal governments, businesses, and individual producers. The bulk of her professional work centers on the tension between the tectonic plates of food & agricultural law and federal Indian law, and as part of this work, she will be part of a team of Initiative attorneys developing a Tribal Model Food & Agriculture Code. Most recently, she authored the 2015 Intertribal Food Systems Report, which lifts up nearly one-hundred different innovative food systems programs doing work across Indian Country. This work was generously supported by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the report should be released in early spring 2016.

Before beginning her work with the Initiative, she worked as a Staff Attorney and Research Coordinator for the Cobell Commission, a national working group convened by the Secretary of the Interior to repair the federal government’s Indian land trust management system. She is a proud Law Hog and holds both her J.D. and her LL.M. in Agricultural & Food Law from the University of Arkansas, and her final thesis for the LL.M. program was a practical legal guide to conducting food recovery in the state of Arkansas. She continues to advance her work in the area of food conservation law and policy by volunteering her time and experience to the law school’s Food Recovery Project.

Susan Schempf

Susan SchempfSusan brings 15 years of grassroots, community-based food and agriculture experience with her to the Wallace Center. After founding the Noyo Food Forest, one of the many innovative organizations nominated for this initiative, she helped build the Community Wellness programs at North Coast Opportunities, a Community Action Agency in rural northern California focused on developing health, wealth, connection and capacity through food. She’s now leading the Wallace Center’s Community-Based Food Systems team and is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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