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Jamese Kwele

Vice President, Organizational and Food Systems Equity

Jamese Kwele is a shaper of change, a strategic pattern weaver, and a mama of two, with over twenty years of experience building community, supporting organizational change, and facilitating programmatic impact. As Ecotrust’s VP, Organizational and Food Systems Equity, she works in partnership with teams across the organization to support our transformation into an antiracist organization, while also providing strategic leadership across a variety of community-based, programmatic efforts. Jamese also serves on the boards of the Black Oregon Land Trust, the Black Food Sovereignty Coalition, and the National Farm to School Network. In 2020, she partnered with three other Black women to co-found the Black Food Fund, an organization that builds resources to fuel transformative, Black-led change primarily within the PNW regional food system. In 2023, Jamese joined the Just Economy Institute Fellowship, an influential and innovative network of financial activists (183 strong) that’s working to shift capital and power in service of a more just economy. As one of 27 extraordinary leaders selected to participate in the JEI 2023-2024 cohort, she is developing her capacity to use effective capital activation strategies and explore new ways to create community wealth. Originally from California, Jamese spent over twenty years living and working in the greater Philadelphia region before returning to the West Coast in 2019. She finds her inspiration in the liberatory power of Black people healing through cultural somatic praxis, ecological land stewardship, and rest. Jamese holds deep gratitude for the love, wisdom, and fortitude of ancestors, comrades, and communities who make her work both joyful and possible. She is fueled by authentic connection, subversive humor, radical candor, and expansive joy.

Pronouns: she/her
Location: Portland, OR

Ecotrust Teams:


Jamese writes about a visit with USDA Under Secretary Jennifer Lester Moffitt in March 2022 that focused on Ecotrust’s efforts to expand and strengthen opportunities for local and regional food producers to sell to institutions.

Read more about our work to advance equitable outcomes within Ecotrust and throughout the region.

As Jamese wrote in June 2020, building resilient communities, ecosystems, and economies requires a multitude of approaches. Read about and support these Black-led organizations who are showing the way.

Featured Projects

A cohort-based program designed for aspiring and experienced leaders of color working to build equitable, climate-resilient food systems

A training program for farmers and producers who are Black, African, Indigenous, and people of color in the Portland Metro area