21st Class, 2014-2015
Field Placement: La Casa Norte (Chicago, IL)
Erika led a community organizing effort to help strengthen and reinvigorate the Northwest Food Partners Network, a local coalition of emergency food providers. She built new partnerships with local businesses to salvage more food to distribute within the network and helped coordinate the distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables to food pantries and hot meal programs in the northwest area of Chicago.
Hunger Free Community Report:
The Power of Community Engagement is a report on methods for increasing community engagement in a coalition focused on hunger and issues of food access. It also illustrates potential positive impacts of community empowerment efforts in anti-hunger work.
Policy Placement: National Family Farm Coalition (Washington DC)
Erika engaged in policy and communications work on trade agreements, GMOs, and the Right to Water. She researched food security and food sovereignty, helping to expose resource grabs in the U.S., and researched the impact of trade agreements on U.S. farmers.
Pre-Fellowship Education and Experience:
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Erika graduated from Brown University with a degree in environmental studies in 2014. At Brown, Erika wrote a senior honors thesis about how food cooperatives in New York City can address issues of low-income food access. She also helped build a coalition of student food groups and planned events related to sustainable food. Erika has worked with four different locals in the UNITE HERE labor union. With Local 217 in Providence she collected signatures for the $15 minimum wage campaign, with Local 11 in Los Angeles she helped elect four pro-labor candidates to the Santa Monica city council, with locals in Washington DC and New York City she worked on sustainable food and food access programming.