This project aims to explore how local government in Chicago might support the development of a reimagined social safety net—one that facilitates systems change rather than piecemeal, temporary solutions and one that moves from a food security-focused paradigm towards a vision of food sovereignty. By exploring models to improve food access from across the US, this project discusses innovative strategies that Chicago might adopt to champion a right of people not only to healthy, affordable and culturally-appropriate food but also to take part in defining their food and agricultural systems.
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Publication tags: Field Reports
Niisoja graduated from Duke University, where he studied public policy with a focus on health and nutrition policy. His Ghanaian heritage and experience growing up in Florida inform his interest in equity issues. Niisoja’s particular passion for food and nutrition solidified with his senior thesis that explored the role of food assistance in addressing overweight and obesity. He has conducted heart disease community-based research in rural central Uganda, where he worked alongside community health champions to develop a heart disease prevention program that still runs today. Niisoja has also provided high-level nutrition policy support as an intern at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, where he authored the main text of a report of the UN Secretary-General.
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Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC) co-develops, facilitates, advocates for, and supports implementation of policies that advance food justice and food sovereignty in Chicago and across the region. CFPAC envisions a food system where all Chicagoans, regardless of race, class, gender, and/or social identity, have the right to healthy and culturally-appropriate food produced through community-driven, ecologically regenerative, and economically viable processes. The Council recognizes the history and modern maintenance of structural racism in Chicago and across the country that have led to massive inequities in land access, food business ownership, food security, and political power along lines of racial identity. CFPAC works to address these inequities and dismantle racist structures in the food system by building local political power, supporting frontline workers throughout the food system, and facilitating Black/Brown partnerships and understanding.
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