Newark Community Food System Launch Party

Newark Community Food System Launch Party

Date(s): November 15, 2017 at 5:30pm - 8:30pm

Location: Newark Public Library


The Newark Community Food System (NCFS) is a new non-partisan collective of deeply engaged community leaders, in partnership with Newark Science and Sustainability Inc., and Whole Cities Foundation.  NCFS will support and develop sustainability efforts in urban agriculture, as well as, wellness and nutrition programs. This will be accomplished by tackling social determinants of health and using community driven problem solving in a fiercely collaborative way. 

Whole Cities Foundation, a nonprofit established by Whole Foods Market, partners with communities nationwide to grow community health through broadening access to fresh, healthy food and nutrition information.

Currently, NCFS is setting goals to grow the local food system based on the needs identified by the greater community. It is committed to hosting three signature events per year focused on sustainable living practices and the positive impact of urban agriculture on community health. The collective will also encourage collaboration and social entrepreneurship as a means to create tangible and sustainable solutions for environmental and social issues. Beyond the food system, the group also aims to influence renewable energy, the visual arts, ecological building, and health care throughout the Greater Newark community.

This fall, NCFS will review and provide leadership and guidance to the second annual Whole Cities Foundation Fresh, Healthy Food Access Grant. Through the program last year, Whole Cities Foundation awarded over $140,000 to eleven community-led local food system initiatives across all five wards with local food system projects. The grant opportunity is an ongoing investment in the Newark community and will be open for applications beginning October 16, 2017.

NCFS is comprised of award-winning community leaders with diverse experience in grassroots community organizing, urban agriculture, and creating and building nonprofits and programs that address community health.

The Newark Community Food System collective consist of the following members:

  • Tobias A. Fox – founder of Newark Science and Sustainability, Inc., community organizer, master gardener, and a writer with ten years publishing experience, in 2014 was awarded the Newark NAACP Environmental Justice Honoree.
  • Mecca Keyes – Newark native, a Leadership Newark fellow, Newark NAACP Economic Development Committee Chairperson.
  • Madeline Boughton – a Newark native, founder of Mad Travel, Inc., and has an MA in Global Communication from The American University of Paris.
  • Dr. Stephanie Aisha Steplight Johnson – Director of Student Development and Career Services at Essex County College, has a PhD in African American Studies from Temple University, on the Newark NAACP Executive Committee, and is President of the Newark Lions Club.
  • Amarilys Olivo – Founder of the Garden of Worker Bees, provides nutrition, health and garden education for students and residents throughout the Greater Newark community, serves as a Volunteer Project Coordinator at Jersey Cares, Board Member of Slow Foods USA, Northern NJ Chapter, Bachelor of  Science in Business Management and Minor in Public and Non-Profit Administration. Also, obtained certification as a Food Literacy Educator with The Cook Book Project, and certified instructor for Oldways A Taste of African Heritage & Health Cooking Series. 
  • C. Christopher (“Chris”) Sanders – founding partner, and president and CEO of WSM Associates, LLC, and founder of Wisdom Shapes Minds Community Development Corp., a nonprofit that implements educational programs throughout the Newark community, has a Bachelor of Architecture from Hampton University.
  • Fianah McMillan – native to Newark, is a Brand Strategist and Web Designer, a graduate of Science Park High School.
  • Alexis Trujillo Graham – is a Farmer’s Market Coordinator with Ironbound Community Corporation, has a Bachelor’s in Communications and a Master’s in Public Policy from Monmouth University.
  • Barbara G. Weiland – has 44 years of elementary and middle school teaching experience within Newark, envisioned and created KIDS IN BUSINESS® (KIB), organizes a garden through Newark’s Adopt-A-Lot program.
  • Garfield Smith – Newark native, an entrepreneur and environmentalist at heart, solar distributor and real estate developer. 

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