Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy World Food Day!: Kicking Off Six Weeks of Action

Autumn – especially in Vermont – is a time of beauty and celebration. It’s a time to watch our leaves change color, and to celebrate our always abundant harvests. Who doesn’t love their hot apple cider and their Thanksgiving spread?

This season, while we’re giving thanks for what we have and celebrating plenty, is perhaps the most important time to remember that poverty and food injustice leave millions without luxury, and even sustenance, every year.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We know that when we all come together, we can change the world, which is why this fall Oxfam is kicking off Six Weeks of Action Against Hunger.

Kicking it off, today we’re celebrating World Food Day, a day commemorating the founding of the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization. This day celebrates efforts in the fight for food security, and brings awareness to issues in vital need of action.

This year, World Food Day is focusing on family farming. Here in Vermont, the Oxfam Action Corps are celebrating with a night at the Vermont Goat Collaborative in Colchester. This organization works with new Americans to raise and sell goats in the community – a relief for many who have suddenly found themselves in a country where, despite its importance elsewhere, goat meat is scarce. The project is an awesome example of how farming and food can bring people together.

We’ll be cozying up in the Goat Collaborative’s barn, sharing warm drinks, and watching Planet for Sale – a documentary about the corporate and government scramble for control of farmland, and what that could mean for family farmers across the globe. We’ll have a discussion afterwards, using the film as a springboard for what we can do, and how our action can help.

Join us tonight, and stay tuned for the next five weeks of action! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hitting the Sweet Spot

This diagram – one of our favorite images – is a great representation of who is responsible for change. While sometimes it seems like only the big players can have an impact, it’s so important to remember that each one of us is a huge force of potential impact!

It’s been a great summer for remembering that fact. In May, Oxfam and Behind the Brands launched a campaign asking Kellogg’s and General Mills – the two Big Ten brands with the worst scores on climate – to clean up their acts. Oxfam was responsible for launching the campaign, but it was thousands of individuals that kept it going. Every petition you signed and tweet you sent made a difference – the culmination of all of those little acts became a huge force of influence.

That little dark orange sliver of this diagram where people and business overlap is a huge part of our lives, and is the basis of every company’s existence. In that little slice is what we decide to buy every day. Do I want Frosted Flakes for breakfast, or Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Companies like Kellogg’s and General Mills know that if they’re not delivering something that’s important to us – from cereal that stays crunchy to responsible climate change policies – we might start making decisions they don’t like. When a message like “we love cornflakes, but hate bad climate practices” comes from a huge community voice, companies listen, and change happens.

We’re so excited to hear that both Kellogg’s and General Mills have made commitments this summer to improve their practices on climate change. They’re taking steps to monitor their supply chains more closely, increase transparency on emissions information, and call on their industry peers to do the same. We can keep enjoying our breakfasts, and feel good about what we accomplished in that orange sliver.

This past weekend, Oxfam and hundreds of thousands of others turned to a different sliver of the diagram – the dark purple zone where we meet the government. This week, world leaders from all corners of the globe are at the United Nations in New York to address the climate crisis. An unprecedented number of people congregated on Sunday for the People’s Climate March to make sure that their voices were heard by these powerful heads of state. And so far, it seems like they’re listening.

With Kellogg’s and General Mills, we've already seen the good that can be done when thousands of voices come together in action. Keep fighting and celebrate this fall as we collectively hit the sweet spot.

Want to know more? Read more about Oxfam and climate change here.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Celebrate Women and Food on March 8: International Women's Day

This Saturday, March 8, is International Women’s Day, and we’re holding an event, featuring a Hunger Banquet and speakers, to celebrate Women and Food.

Starting at 7 pm at the First Congregational Church in Burlington, we’ll be hosting a panel discussion with Mary Starkey, Program Support Coordinator for Oxfam’s Regional Programs Department, and Helen Labum-Jordan, Trustee of the Vermont Foodbank, Author, and former Food Policy Administrator at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. Panelists will discuss the role of women in agriculture and food in creating or solving inequalities, both here in Vermont, and worldwide.

Following this discussion, we will invite you to partake in a Hunger Banquet. A Hunger Banquet is a unique experience where the place where you sit, and the meal that you eat, are determined by the luck of the draw—just as in real life, some of us are born into relative prosperity and others into poverty. Food for the Hunger Banquet is generously donated by Boloco on Church Street.

If you are interested, space is limited, so please RSVP on eventbrite here and be sure to bring your friends!

We hope you will join us this Saturday!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Become an Oxfam Action Corps Leader!

Since April of last year, I have been working in Burlington, Vermont to create visibility for Oxfam's amazing work as the Oxfam Action Corps Leader. Over the course of the year, I have found and coordinated volunteers, tabled at farmers' markets, lobbied the national congress, and organized events to bring attention to many of the issues facing those in poverty across the world.

The experience has taught me patience and dedication. It has shown me what a strong and viable organization Oxfam America is, and it has allowed me to grow as a leader within a structured role that also allowed for a lot of freedom.

The opportunity to become a community leader, and the four-day training in Washington D.C. that initiates this experience can help any growing leader and volunteer in a number of different ways. The experience allows you to hone in on your own management style, discovering what works and what doesn't, and it helps you to figure out what your greatest strengths are as a leader. But it also teaches empathy, creativity, and the importance of finding out and building on a team's strengths.

Now, my tenure as leader is almost up, and I am searching for others to take this position.

If you are interested, you can sign up for this opportunity. It only takes a few minutes. You can also reach out to me if you have questions. Just email:

Here's a little more information from our offices about what this position entails:

Leadership opportunity:  Organize in your community to end global hunger – join the Oxfam Action Corps!

The Oxfam Action Corps is a group of trained grassroots advocates in fifteen US cities who organize with other local volunteers in support of our GROW campaign for policies that will save lives, defend the rights of women and farmers, and protect communities worldwide from rising food prices and climate change. It includes a free national advocacy and leadership training for select participants. You will gain leadership skills, have fun, and change the world!

Sign-up by February 14 to apply for Oxfam’s free four-day leadership training in Washington D.C. April 5-8, 2014.

View and share the short video below, highlighting the great work done by the Action Corps: