Alameda County Community Food Bank, located in Oakland, has been a positive force in the Bay Area since 1985. Today, the Food Bank serves approximately 1 in 4 Alameda County residents through a network of nearly 400 food pantries, soup kitchens, and other community organizations, as well as through direct-distribution, including their Children’s Backpack and Mobile Pantry programs.
ACCFB, however, is more than a distributor of food. Their outreach and advocacy teams work tirelessly to address hunger at its root causes: poverty, racism, and other systemic forms of injustice. But ACCFB goes even deeper: they analyze their own practices within the organization in order to further their internal alignment with the values they preach.
Recently, a team of five staff from ACCFB, including Executive Director Regi Young, presented a webinar for CAFB’s member food banks with the theme of “Operationalizing Equity.” In addition to Regi, we were able to learn from ACCFB’s Director of Operations Erick Lovdahl, Director of Policy & Partnerships Deen Hasaan, Project Specialist Laura Hayden, and Associate Director of Supply Chain Wilken Louie.
The session began with a moving video, “Open Letter from a Black Farmer,” which starts with 80-year-old Will Scott Jr. discussing his personal history with farming, and ends with ACCFB’s commitment to sourcing produce from Black and Brown farmers in California:
So how did ACCFB come to this newfound commitment? Director of Policy & Partnerships Deen Hasaan explained, “The way that we talk about equity can be very abstract and very academic, and so our early conversations were about, how do we make this practical? So we put our minds together and we realized that our procurement was an entry point to put these ideas into practice.”
And they have made some amazing progress. So far, 79% of spending, and 68% of their overall produce poundage, is being sourced from BIPOC farms!
We’ve got dollars. Let’s pay attention to where those dollars are.
Erick Lovdahl, Director of Operations
We appreciate and admire ACCFB’s strong voice and actions in the pursuit of a more equitable food system. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn, see any upcoming events here, and read their informative blog posts here!
We established racial equity as a foundational principle in our strategic partnership framework.
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