Vital Village Networks Selects 10 Emerging Leaders for 2023 Community Food Systems Fellowship

BOSTON - BostonChron -- Boston, MA – Vital Village Networks at Boston Medical Center is working with a growing network of local leaders to build the capacity of communities to promote community-ownership of local food systems. To learn more check out:

Through a grant supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, VVN has selected ten emerging local leaders from across the country to participate in the 2023 Community Food Systems Fellowship program, which was launched in 2022 with its inaugural cohort. The program serves as a leadership pipeline to increase opportunities for diverse leaders to build skills, capacity, and networks to strengthen efforts to build equitable and resilient local food systems.

The program ​​pairs peer learning and capacity building with participatory co-design principles. It was created through strategic partnership with a group of 19 local and national food systems advocates, experts and practitioners on a National Advisory Committee. Over the course of the program year, fellows will participate in a series of capacity building and peer learning sessions. This will include: community design labs focused on participatory engagement and human centered design approaches, monthly virtual learning sessions focused on key capacity building topic areas, individualized technical assistance, as well as a culminating project stakeholder convening and showcase during Vital Village's annual National Community Leadership Summit. Selected fellows receive a stipend and can also apply for project innovation grants. In addition, alumni from the 2022 cohort have been invited to return as Guest Faculty.

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Fellows will also work collaboratively as a cohort to develop a shared vision and roadmap to advance community-powered food systems.

This year's fellows were selected from a robust pool of applicants across the United States for their demonstrated experience and commitment advancing racial equity and social transformation within the food system, centering of local community leadership, and history of effective collaboration and partnership. A selection committee of fellowship program staff and members of the project's National Advisory Committee, participated in a multi-part review process.

2023 Fellows include:

Travis Andrews
Skyline Urban Ministries
Oklahoma City, OK

Sierra Doehr
Saticoy Food Hub
Saticoy, CA

Femeika Elliott
Rooted East Knoxville
Knoxville, TN

Jamie Gonzalez
Big Fresh Market Box and Produce Markets
San Antonio, TX

Cassandra Loftlin
Black Farmers Index
Augusta, GA

Hallie Nelson
Jefferson County Food Policy Council
Denver, CO

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Marc Peeples
Liberated Farms
Detroit, MI

Kim Ross
Mount Terra LLC
Bluefield, WV

Patricia Tarquino
Cosecha Community Development
Nashville, TN

Tacumba Turner
Oasis Farm and Fishery
Pittsburgh, PA

Vital Village Networks

Source: Vital Village Networks

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