PORTLAND, Ore. – February 26, 2020 – Jamese Kwele, Ecotrust’s Director of Food Equity, has joined the Advisory Board of the National Farm to School Network (NFSN). With a background as an educator, parent of school age children, and farm-to-school advocate, Kwele will collaborate with the Advisory Board to support implementation of NFSN’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan while championing its mission.
“I am thrilled to be joining the NFSN Advisory Board at this pivotal moment when NFSN is focusing on elevating its program and policy efforts, including farm to early care and education, farm to school in Native communities, policy advocacy, and racial and social equity,” said Kwele.
The National Farm to School Network is an information, advocacy, and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing and food and agriculture education into school systems and early care and education environments. NFSN provides vision, leadership, and support at the state, regional, and national levels to connect and expand the farm-to-school movement, which has grown from a handful of schools in the late 1990s to approximately 42,000 schools in all 50 states as of 2014. Forty-two percent of U.S. schools and more than 23 million students annually benefit from some level of farm-to-school activity. NFSN works to deepen and expand the reach of this work.
“We are delighted to welcome Jamese to NFSN’s Advisory Board,” said Helen Dombalis, Executive Director of the National Farm to School Network. “Her wealth of expertise in farm-to-school efforts combined with her commitment to advancing racial and social equity well align with our goals. We know she will contribute tremendously in the years ahead to expanding the reach of farm to school while working for a more just food system.”
Kwele’s membership on the NFSN Advisory Board is another important link in Ecotrust’s decade-long drive for farm-to-school research, funding, and program development. Beginning with pilot programs and a Farm to School Counts reach project, Ecotrust and its allies were instrumental in guiding the Oregon legislature to a historic $15M investment in the state’s exemplary farm-to-school program. Kwele’s participation in NFSN opens a new avenue for advancing equitable policy and systems change on national level.
Ecotrust creates and accelerates triple-bottom-line innovations to benefit our region and inspire the world. Our work is rooted the region from California to Alaska that holds productive lands and determined people. On the farm, at the coast, in the forest, and across our cities, we work in partnership towards an equitable, prosperous, climate-smart future. We recognize the legacy of colonialism and the deep inequities of this place, and we believe that radical, practical change is possible and necessary. Since 1991, we have created durable change and sparked ideas across the globe. Join us at ecotrust.org