Benjamin headshot

Emerson Fellow

Tavia Benjamin

18th Class, 2011-2012

Field Placement: Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (Detroit, MI)

Tavia contributed to a feasibility study for a healthy foods cooperative retail store in Detroit, where there is limited access to healthy foods. She conducted community surveys and focus groups to gather community input for a food cooperative project. She also built connections with and collected best practices from other food co-operatives throughout Michigan.

Hunger Free Community Report:

A Portrait of Self Determination: the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network’s Efforts to Start a Food Cooperative in the city of Detroit describes the emergence of community-owned food initiatives in Detroit, with a focus on stories about community organizing by people of color.

Policy Placement: RESULTS Educational Fund (Washington, DC)

Tavia worked on the domestic policy team’s Early Childhood Development campaign. She conducted site visits to child care centers to hear from practitioners and parents about the benefits of Early Head Start and the Child Care Development Block Grant. She also created an Early Education outreach toolkit for RESULTS volunteers and designed training sessions for young, emerging anti-poverty activists at the RESULTS International Conference.

Education and Experience:

A North Carolina native, Tavia graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011 with degrees in global studies and anthropology. Tavia is a Chancellor Carolina Scholar, and served as a campus leader and activist as well as a Resident Advisor and lead organizer for food justice events. She has also conducted original research and fieldwork in the U.S., Tanzania, Mexico, and Guatemala on issues of food justice, gender, race, and health.