Get To Know MomsRising's 2014 Food Power Awardees
As part of the MomsRising Food Team, I've witnessed first-hand the passion our members have about food issues and food justice. From weekly #FoodFri chats to on the ground activisim, MomsRising members rise up to ensure all communities have options, and access, to healthy foods and meals.
This year, we celebrated New York area members, who have gone above and beyond. They are fierce. Today, we celebrate them for all they have done and continue to do. They changed lives with their voices and activism. And, it all began with one step that snowballed into something bigger, impacting not only their families, but their communities. May you be inspired and encouraged by their stories!
Click on a name to learn more about the awardee.
- Bess Hauser
- Shanora Heath
- Latitia Jackson
- Eileen Campos
- Dara Cooper
- Diana Limongi
- Rachel Negron
- Ola Ronke
Bess has spent the last five years actively engaged in her Brooklyn community. From the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, the Brooklyn Food Coalition and Brad Lander's Participatory Budgeting Process to extensive involvement in parent leadership at PS32 in the Gowanus. Bess has worked tirelessly to create spaces for diverse parent leadership so no parent's voice is left out. When her daughter arrived at PS32, chocolate milk was served at every meal and there was no fresh water source in the cafeteria. To change this, she founded the Nutrition Committee which has not only accomplished its’ initial goals, but has added a salad bar, added fresh water sources in the portable classrooms, formed partnerships with Brooklyn Food Coalition and Food Fight and has improved standards for food at school events. Thanks to the work of a number of parents in this capacity, PS32 received an Excellence in School Wellness award from the DOE in 2014. As an extension of the Nutrition Committee, Bess helped create and oversee a garden at PS32 which won the Citywide Golden Apple Award from DSNY this year. The garden provides hands-on curriculum based lessons that help connect the diverse students at the school to the food that they eat. Bess sees her work as part of a larger community of parents and activist who are influencing and making decisions that positively impact people and the environment in Brooklyn.
A single mother to three beautiful children ages 19, 15 and 10. Shanora Heath is no stranger to the importance of volunteering and parent participation in schools. In 2010 with no prior knowledge of gardening Ms. Heath embarked on a journey with other parents and students with the goal of building a garden at her child's Ocean Hill Brownsville school. Ms Heath knew early on that building the garden would support hands on learning, boost student moral and increase the exposure of students and parents in Brownsville to green spaces and opportunities for environmental stewardship. What started as a flower garden around the middle school quickly grew to become a full on vegetable garden. With the help of students, administrators, and outside organizations the garden is thriving. The school now runs a farmer’s market open to the community and surplus produce is donated to a local food pantry. In 2010 Ms Heath joined the Brooklyn Food coalition and became part of the first cadre of School Food Parent fellows in 2011. With the training Ms Heath received she was able to organize other parents around school food issues. Their first major victory was eliminating Chocolate milk from the breakfast menu at their school. She now supports parent trainings at other schools. “My goal is to educate parents on school food and about volunteering at their child’s school. Parents are not aware their voices can makes a difference and how volunteering can change not only their lives but the lives of other children and the whole school.”
Latitia Jackson has been an inspiration to the countless parents she supports in her role as Parent Coordinator for Mott Hall IV in Brownsville Brooklyn. Her tireless dedication to the students and broader school community has opened doors for beautiful partnerships with other organizations in the community. She is respected among her peers and continues to nurture and grow the youth and parents she meets each and everyday.
GOOD FOOD FORCE BLOGGERS
Eileen Campos is a teacher, who saw first hand the unhealthy meals children received in schools. While working with Laura Fuentes from MOMables, she chronicled her classroom's lunches in pictures, comparing those meals to the other blogger's school meals. She realized the other blogger's meals were fresher, healthier and introduced children to an array of food groups. What she saw fueled her passion and commitment for healthier school meals! Eileen became involved with MomsRising.org after attending #FoodPower13, participating in MomsRising's #FoodFri chats and spreading the word about healthy school meals on her blog and the MomsRising blog. She used her voice, and experience, as an educator to raise awareness. On the home-front, Eileen reevaluated her food choices and made changes to her families eating habits. She has chosen to be a role model, emulating healthy habits to her family and her classroom, by sharing her journey on her blog, MommyTeaches.com, and by talking to parents in her community. We are proud to honor Eileen for her commitment to healthier school meals for all children!
Dara Cooper is an activist, organizer and currently the director of the NYC Food and Fitness Partnership at Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. The Partnership works to address food and health access issues in Brooklyn and is focused on a new farmers market featuring regional Black farmers at Restoration, the first community development corporation in the country in addition to a piloted farm to Headstart program rolled out in Brooklyn. She serves on the advisory board of Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Renewable Living, a member of Black Farmers Urban Gardeners (BUGS), a food justice blogger for BKreader.com and is the contributing editor for the Environment, Sustainability and Food Justice section of the Praxis Center, an online activist academic journal at Kalamazoo College. She has worked on or advised healthy food access work all over the country and is deeply committed to strengthening community reclamation of our food system.
Becoming a mother changed Diana Limongi, making her aware of the food she put into her body and her son’s body. The realization that not all foods are created equal, drove her to educate individuals, especially parents, of the power of food. She believes that teaching children from an early age about real food helps them make healthier food choices; as a result, she tirelessly advocates for healthy school meals both online and off. She blogs, participates in #FoodFri chats, and spreads the word on the ground. She shares photos of her family making, and eating, healthy dinners to show others cooking CAN be fun. She leads by example, encouraging those around her to make healthier choices. Diana also uses her voice to ask companies to change their marketing practices and stop targeting children, particularly children of color. As consumers, parents have power and she is exerting hers! She is a catalyst for change, an uber Good Food Force Blogger, that is making a difference in communities and children's lives. MomsRising celebrates Diana and all she does to help families, and communities, live healthy.
Raquel Negron is an incredible mom, blogger and activist. Although she has her hands full working full-time, and caring for her family, it doesn't stop her from attending MomsRising's events or dropping of deliveries. She believes being part of her community means playing an active role in the betterment of others; as a result, she devotes her spare time to MomsRising.org food advocacy, projects in the Department of Education's Community Education Council, the Girl Scouts of NY Troop 2500, and spreading the latest information on a policy that affects the everyday modern family. Follow her on Twitter, @digital_latina, or on her blog, TheDigitalLatina.com.
Ola Ronke is a Brooklyn born Nigerian, artist, radical mama, witchy womanist love warrior. She reveres children, trees, change and imagination. Her work centers around health, healing, self love and spiritual liberation. She has led a variety of workshops all over the world birthed out of the goodness of life, compassion, and social responsibility. She has worked as a food science & health educator, creating and implementing award winning curriculum that introduces children and teens to the concepts of agriculture, sustainability, food marketing, healthy eating and nutrition through the use of gardens and growing food. She currently serves on the board for Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, a a non profit organization built around preserving gardens and greens spaces through out Brooklyn and Queens, through BQLT she organizes and develops public programming and community service work to promote healthy living, community gardens and stewardship. She leads the annual BQLT bike tour which takes over 100 local residents of Brooklyn throughout the borough visiting varying neighborhood gardens and green spaces.
Interested in becoming a Good Food Force Blogger?
Good Food Force (GFF) Volunteers and Bloggers are real-life superheroes who take action in their schools and communities, and/or on their blogs and online networks, to get the word out about healthy school foods, junk food marketing to kids, and strategies that are working to reduce childhood obesity. Together with MomsRising.org staff, they help advocate for healthier kids and families. Help spread the word! Contact Migdalia to join: firstname.lastname@example.org
Already a Good Food Force Blogger or Volunteer?
Let us know what you doing to promote healthy school foods, junk food marketing to kids, and strategies that are working to reduce childhood obesity! Share your story and we may feature you in a future Good Food Force update! Contact Karen to share: email@example.com