INSTITUTE FOR FOOD AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY INC

Rating: 4.7 stars   54 reviews

Issues: Food, International

Location: Food First 398 60th St Oakland CA 94618 USA

Mission: The Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First shapes how people think by analyzing the root causes of global hunger, poverty, and ecological degradation and developing solutions in partnership with movements working for social change.
Results: Promotion of the concepts of the basic human right to food and food sovereignty ("right of peoples to define their own food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries systems). Publicizing the success of people who are pursuing the dream of local, sustainable food systems.
Target demographics: Young people of all ages who support access for all people to quality, culturally appropriate food.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Buy Seeds and Pumps for Gao, Mali & funded habitat restoration to bring back bees
Geographic areas served: International, national, local
Programs: Food First Programs: A Three-pronged Approach In an effort to integrate our work for food sovereignty across rural-urban and local-global arenas, nationally and internationally, Food First divides its work into three Program Areas: 1. Building Local Agri-Foods Systems In the United States, the livelihood struggles of low-income, African-American, Native-American, Latino-American, Asian-American and immigrant communities are at the center of our programs for food justice and agricultural sustainability. Low-income people of color are mobilizing locally, forming national coalitions, drafting legislation, and reaching out internationally in their efforts to build healthy, equitable, food systems that contribute to the social and economic development of their communities. The main challenge to obtaining healthy affordable food in low-income communities is overcoming the ?industrial agri-foods divide? that separates sustainable producers from low-income consumers. Food First?s ?added value? in this effort resides in our ability to produce information, analysis and learning materials that help people improve and control their own food systems. Our research informs and documents these experiences, contributing directly to the national and global debates on food and development. In Oakland, California, we are working closely with local food activists to establish a Food Policy Council. As part of this partnership, we will carry out a Market Gap Study in West Oakland, a study of Food Policy Councils: Lessons Learned, and an Assessment of Bay Area Food System Assessments. Nationally, Food First is participating in efforts to build a national coalition of urban communities of color for food security. 2. Farmers Forging Food Sovereignty Dismantling the industrial agri-foods complex at the local food system level must be accompanied by the construction of alternatives that suit the needs of small-scale producers and low-income consumers, worldwide. Farmers Forging Food Sovereignty focuses on farmer alternatives to corporate control over production and consumption. The strategy is to help farmer movements for food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture document and share their alternatives among broad sectors of the rural and urban population to create political will and advance peasant-led food system alternatives. Our active projects in this program area include: The Campesino a Campesino GMO Education Project in Mexico and Central America, and our coalition work with Vía Campesina. 3. Democratizing Development: Land, Resources and Markets Social movements in the Global South are fighting for indigenous and peasant rights, land reform, sustainable agriculture, clean water, fair prices for agricultural goods, and freedom from foreign ?dumping? and GMO contamination. This program area focuses on the structural causes of hunger and poverty, and bridges the gap between transnational advocacy and local control over food system resources. Like other program areas it links critiques of the corporate-dominated food systems with farmer and consumer-led alternatives that ensure justice, equity and ecological sustainability. Our projects include the campaign for African Alternatives to the Gates-Rockefeller Alliance for a Green Revolution, and No full tanks with Empty Bellies: The Food and Fuel Sovereignty Campaign, and El Camino del Migrante: Immigrants and the Struggle for Food Sovereignty.
2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 13-2838167
510-654-4400
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been a research intern and editor with Food First for the past year, and my experience has been extremely influential on my future academic and professional goals. The organization holds its research to rigorously high standards, which makes it an exciting site of cutting-edge inquiry. It is also a high-profile meeting space for renowned scholars from all around the world who are studying food politics. I look forward to staying in close contact with Food First in the future, even after my formal internship has ended.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

My time as an intern at Food First was inspiring and informative in the same time. I did not only meet a lot of people sharing my values on life, food, agriculture and social interactions but I also got insights in politics and social change which I can use for my Master research back in Europe. As a European student interested in the field of food sovereignty it was a good experience to get connected to people from the US and elsewhere working on the same things and to actually realize that we can create ideas and get active beyond borders.
During my internship I researched on the phenomena of land grabbing and thus contributed to the update of one of the Food First publications. Although this work was pretty self-dependent and required to be organized and self-disciplined, I loved to spend my time on using and extending my skills of academic research and writing in exactly the field that I am passionate about. I have to say that it was my first internship in which I was not supposed to do adminsitrative work that the employees don't want to do - I really appreciated that.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I can't think of anything.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

My internship at Food First provided the occasion to pursue academic passions and career goals. I was connected to the right people and I was doing meaningful work. Any individual in the field should try to get involved or at the very least be familiar with their purposeful work.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 4 stars  

My internship with Food First truly opened my eyes to the many endemic problems of the global food system. I was given the opportunity to improve my research, writing, and language skills, and was even able to publish a few articles. The office is very cozy and home made lunches in the garden each day gave me a great opportunity to get to know the staff and other interns. You must be very independent an self-sufficient, because they have high expectations and do not coddle you, but it was a wonderful experience that I am very grateful for.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give interns more structured opportunities to talk with and meet each other, staff members, and guests.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 4 stars  

My internship at Food First has opened my eyes on many subjects and helped me develop a more critical point of view. I met and worked with inspiring people and I hope to contribute again in the future.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Supervise the interns more

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Food First provides young people like me a space to think radically, practice academic and hands-on research, and connect to food movements internationally as well as within the US and the San Francisco Bay Area. Unlike many internships, where you are stuck doing the work your supervisors don't want to, Executive Director Eric Holt-Gimenez and Research Coordinator Tanya Kerssen encourage interns to do research that is meaningful to them as well as collaborate on any current Food First research projects. This mix of independent and collaborative work is fertile ground for critically-minded students and young people. I was able to work on a diverse set of projects during my time at Food First. I did qualitative research assessing the state of the Food Justice movement in the Bay Area, wrote about the politics of Food Aid and land grabs in the Americas, interviewed locals in the food movement and wrote news articles, and conducted literature research about quinoa production and trade in Bolivia. My best advice to you: come prepared to pursue your own research under the helpful tutelage of Eric and Tanya, as well as jump in and collaborate on Food First research projects. And become friends with Marilyn; she's the backbone of the whole organization.

-- Brock Hicks, Research Intern

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Structure interns' time more, have more staff meetings.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Serving on the Board of Food First gives me the privilege of supporting the organization's trail-blazing work in the complex domains of food justice and food sovereignty. The basic research; the careful analysis; the publication of findings; the support for young scholars; the on-the-ground work for local food justice groups; the local and international perspective: all of these qualities fulfill the basic Food First mission as a "think and do tank". Food First enjoys outstanding leadership from Executive Director Eric Holt-Gimenez and the unsung heroes such as Marilyn Borchardt, Director of Development. Eric and Food First provide local, national and international leadership for the food justice and food sovereignty movements, addressing is systemic inequities and failures in building sustainable, equitable, healthy food system.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

As a U.S. Fulbright student I lived and did research in Brazil, the first couple of months in the Northeast in the state of Pernambuco and later in the interior of Sao Paulo state. I learned first hand the benefits of Agroecology in rural Brazil and have since dedicated much of my research on Brazil's rural development on this topic. The research and work done by Food First, or the Institute for food and Development Policy Inc., has proved indispensable for my research and this innovative and sustainable approach to agriculture. I hope to participate in one of Food First's Sovereignty tours, and am very much looking forward to taking a pre-Congress course, among different prominent speakers, Eric Holt Gomez during the Latin American Congress of Agroecology this year in Peru.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would offer internship experiences online, as well as paid internships for people with research experience and interest.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I had come across Food First publications a number of times during my undergraduate studies and masters. I eventually decided to carry out an internship at Food First based off of all the positive acknowledgment of its work from respected professors and colleagues of mine, their literature I had read, and their collaboration with other organizations such as Via Campecina.
I greatly value the time I spent with Food First. While I was working with them it became clear how important their close collaboration with people’s organizations and peasant groups is, both locally and globally. This collaboration allows for Food First to accurately publicize information from its roots, rather than the typical top-down approach.
My experience with them as an intern allowed me to gain a much better understanding of the inner workings of a non-profit. Food First is a creative and encouraging environment for one to gain useful skills and to constructively work towards their ideals and aspirations.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

As a graduate and undergraduate student, I have used literature from Food First to support research projects and papers. I decided to intern with Food First to gain experience working with a credible and distinguished organization. As an intern, I was given the opportunity to help write articles and research issues of food justice. Food First requires its interns to work independently and produce professional and well-researched pieces.Working with Eric Holt-Gimenez and Food First was definitely a highlight to my academic career. As an organization, they are dedicated and passionate about advocating for international food justice.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful?