The CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute is pleased to announce that our first cohort of CUNY Food Justice Leadership Fellows have completed the 12-month training portion of the program and been placed into 6-month internships with organizations that are committed to food justice and creating opportunities for young food justice leaders

Anissa ZiboFarm School NYC– Anissa will be responsible for research, business planning, and outreach for Farm School’s new urban farm cooperative initiative. The farm will be housed within a supporting housing development that hasa health clinic providing wrap-around services.

Aylleen KocherRock Steady Farm & Flowers– Aylleen, as Rock Steady’s new Education Intern, will work closely with the Education Coordinator to plan, prepare, and facilitate education programs within the following focus areas: Farmer Training and Advocacy, Food Access, and Regenerative Agriculture and Community Engagement.

Fehim HotiGreen City Force (GCF)- Fehim will be working with GCF to assist in the creation of closed-loop systems (such as solar panels and rainwater catchment systems), supporting sustainability and health in New York City Housing Authority developments. His responsibilities will include the coordination and installation of these systems, community outreach, data collection, and event planning.

Jahaira GarciaCUNY Urban Food Policy Institute (CUFPI)- Jahaira is working with CUFPI to interview CUNY students working in the food industry and other key informants, such as union members and CUNY faculty. She will then help to develop a guide on the issues facing CUNY food workers during COVID-19, labor rights, and resources.

Julio SalcedoTeens for Food Justice (TFFJ)- Julio will help TFFJ implement their first-ever online after school program. This program will be designed for middle and high schoolers to explore food system issues and develop advocacy skills. Much of Julio’s time will be spent facilitating, reviewing, and adjusting virtual curricula.

Karla IgnacioCommunity Food Advocates– Karla will be responsible for assisting with both the Lunch 4 Learning Campaign and Good Food Purchasing Program. She will assess menu fatigue and student approval of school lunches and engage mayoral and city council candidates to gain buy-in on the Good Food Purchasing Program.

Kimberly VargasJust Food– Kim’s responsibilities with Just Food include brainstorming and implementing ways to connect people without internet access to food security resources. Additionally, she will help to develop engaging virtual curricula. Both projects are critical for Just Food’s continued operation in the wake of COVID-19.

Melina ValleRock Steady Farm & Flowers– Melina is Rock Steady’s new Communications Intern. Her responsibilities include designing, scheduling, and implementing their annual marketing and outreach plan to reach and engage CSA members, community partners and donors. Melina will also assist with social media and the organization’s newsletter.

Nefissatou AfoattiThe Brotherhood/Sister Sol– Nefissa will be working with Bro/Sis Sol’s three core groups: Sustainable Designs, Food Empowerment, and Horticultural Sciences. She will assist with curriculum development, youth facilitation, nutrition education, farm maintenance, and event planning.

Many thanks to our community partners who have supported the CUNY Food Justice Leadership Fellowship and contributed to its success. We also want to express our many thanks and congratulations to our incredible Fellows. They, like all of us, have faced significant challenges in 2020, and we are so proud of their hard work and tenacity!

By Valerie Chong Nigg, Program Assistant for Youth & Community Development, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute