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Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Agricultural Programs, Food, Interdisciplinary Research, International, International Human Rights

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.

Community Stories

59 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I HAVE BEEN INTERESTED IN THE FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ and Colleagues work since the 70' and 80' due their Books "Diet for a Small Planet" and "Food First!", from which in a some 'underground' way small nunber of copies circulated in my country CHILE, due the born of the "Vegetarian" and "Permaculture" movement in those years.

Also recently I have knower of a recently Book by Frances named "From an Economic Mind to an Ecological Mind" in which I also very interested for a work of "Green Publications and Media" that I am preparing and doing .... and for which - together - with some other "Green Authors - I am of You very Grateful - Keep Up with Your very Good Work! :- )

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I interned at Food First in the winter 2016. The staff was very welcoming and made me feel at home. I appreciated a lot the deep discussions we had, often during the lunch time all together. Actively joining the staff meetings and strategy workshop allowed me to have a better understanding of how a nonprofit works from the inside.
Interning at Food First during a transition period was challenging but allowed me to develop a lot of self-initiative. I was also conducting a personal thesis research and the possibility I had to discuss it with Eric was very precious and I'm thankful for it.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

The very first thing to strike me about Food First was how open and welcoming the staff were. From the moment I arrived I was welcomed with a hug and instantly felt part of the Food First familial environment.
My work as a research and writing intern has been both thought-provoking and stimulating, exposing me to a range of topics and issues that I had not covered in my coursework. Tasks were varied and multiple - there will always be something to work on - allowing me to expand my skill set and incorporate new research methods.
Being a part of the weekly meetings and strategy workshop allowed me to not only feel a part of the working and organisational process, but also that my ideas and opinions were respected and taken on board.
Last but definitely not least, the casual conversations generated around the communal lunch table were both inspiring and enriching, and something I'll definitely take away from my time being there.
I highly recommend partaking in the internship program - the ability to participate in an independent research organisation has been both an honour and a privilege.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a research and writing intern in Spring 2015, after being introduced to Food First's books and publications in my coursework at Cal. Working with the team in the office was such an amazing moment in my life, always stimulating and interesting, beyond all of the learning through research and writing. I improved my writing skills more in this short amount of time than through any schooling, with dedicated and thorough feedback from Tanya. I learned about the behind-the-scene workings of a non-profit with radical goals and independent funding to carry those out. The camaraderie made it a joy to show up in the office, and even led to a farm visit trip and attending Gill Tract action days together. I gained new understandings of the food system, of analytical thinking, of change-making, and especially of what my part may be in the pending revolution! I continue to work on the Food Workers Food Justice newsletter today...as they say...interns never really leave!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a Research and Writing Intern at Food First during the fall of 2015 after graduating from a small environmental college in Upstate NY in May 2015. Food First is made up of absolutely incredible, genuine people who truly care about you, your goals/objectives, and making you feel like a valued member of the team. I was lucky enough to work on a Backgrounder with Food First's Director, Eric Holt-Gimenez, as well as become a crucial member of the planning committee for Food First's 40th Anniversary Gala. if you're willing to work hard, you will receive so much in return. Because of Food First, I have no doubt in my mind that a career dealing with food justice is what I'd like to pursue.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Interning at Food First was an incredibly valuable and rewarding experience. Not only did I feel like my research was valuable, but also it defined what I want to do. Furthermore, the people are wonderful and really smart and cooking and eating lunch together was always a blast. I am very grateful for this experience and would recommend it.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned with Food First during the winter of 2013 and I continue to be incredibly grateful for the experience. The Food First staff is intelligent, inspiring and welcoming. The work is radical and important. My time with Food First set the tone of and direction for the academic and professional path that I pursue today.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am the Chairperson of Food Sovereignty Ghana. My attention and interest in the struggle against the threats posed by the pesticides and herbicides promoted by the agro-chemical industry under the guise of GMOs owe so much to the excellent work by Food First! I have been reading with keen interest in their works and publications, particularly on Africa. It is very rare to come by such useful insights anywhere else.

--
Ali-Masmadi Jehu-Appiah,
Chairperson, FSG

Website: http://foodsovereigntyghana.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FoodSovereignGH
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoodSovereigntyGhana

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I did my graduate thesis with Food First about 9 years ago! I got to work with amazing people like Peter Rosset and Raj Patel, who at the time I did not even imagine could be as influencial as they are today. I learned so much from them, their analysis skills and professionalism, but most importantly their commitment and dedication, which has served to inspire me since.
I went on to pursue food work in the field and then at the policy level in the EU. The experience at Food First undoubtedly laid teh foundation for this success

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned for Food First my last semester of college. It is, to this day, my absolute favorite and most influential job/ internship I have ever had- and trust me I have had a lot of jobs and internships. At Food First they got to know me as an individual and worked with me to develop research and work that reflected my areas of expertise. With that focus I was able to write a body of research that made an impact on the areas of food justice and sovereignty that meant a lot to me- specifically the efficacy of GMO foods.
If I still lived in the East Bay I would continue to volunteer for them. The staff really, honestly, care about their interns and each other. It is an incredibly positive and inspiring environment.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned with Food First and the Oakland Food Policy Council. I had a great time learning about the food system in the Bay Area. Everyone at the organization is extremely friendly and helpful!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Interning with Food First was an amazing experience. You are surrounded by brilliant, passionate people that are so dedicated to food and social justice, it's inspiring. The environment is very supportive, collaborative and family-like. It's a great opportunity for someone who is self-starting, and motivated. There is lots of flexibility within the intern role- if you have an area you'd like to work on, if you'd like to work on an existing project, etc. The role can very dynamic.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Food First does great work, which is what attracted me to apply to be an intern. Working on several types of tasks allowed me at 24 years old to hone in on what I was most interested. Attending staff meetings I was able to get a sense of how a small nonprofit works. I was drawn to tabling events, but worked alongside people doing grantwriting, others who spend their time working on publishing articles that ultimately helped them get into Graduate School, and even sprucing up the garden out front so we could practice what we preach. The staff is approachable and imbued with a determination to help create a world without hunger. I highly recommend an internship at Food First! I will never look at Food System issues the same way after my time at Food First.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered and worked with a number of non-profits, however Food First was by far the only non-profit which left me with a feeling of complete admiration and respect. They stick by their beliefs and pore their heart and sole into the work they do. I am so grateful for all the inspirational people I met at Food First.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Food First is not only a fantastic organization with amazing, dedicated people, it's an invaluable asset to the food justice movement. It is a great place if you want a meaningful internship that keeps you engaged, learning, and active in the food justice movement. The work they produce is insightful, well researched, and meaningful. On all fronts, this is a wonderful organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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.

1 Brock H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Ana M.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Their literature talks about "food justice" and the 99% getting sick and tired while "multi-billionaires make mega-profits speculating with our food". It also has code word "occupy" and talks about the "injustices that cause hunger" and that "food has become another form of oppression" and many more progressive buzzwords. I'd rather donate to local food pantries.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My experience interning with Food First exceeded my expectations. Though the internship is very loose in its structure, the structure places the intern in control. Interns are given near complete responsibility for what they take away from the experience. For some, this is frightening, for me, this was exciting. I worked specifically with the Oakland Food Policy Council and the Council's coordinator. ..... The other thing that I appreciated about interning with Food First is the communal lunches. Food First provides its interns with lunch nearly everyday. Not only are the lunches (really) good, they facilitate respectful and intellectual conversation among all: interns, staff, and executive director. I learned much during the lunch hour.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I was in intern with Food First for almost a year while finishing up my studies at Cal, and the experience changed my life. It's a very different type on internship structure, and I was able to create my own projects and participate in ongoing projects. Food First gives you the foundation to critique our industrialized food regime and provides analysis and specific solutions on how we can fix it. Being situated in the Bay Area, in the context of strong and active community organization added value to my experience. Because of Food First, I now have a strong foundation for going out into the world and playing my unique role for change. Some of my favorite memories are the shared lunches and gardening experiences with fellow interns and staff.

1 Hayley C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I participated with Food First as part of a very localized fellowship program. It gave big picture context to my work. It is a very get out what you put in situation. They love self-starters and people with good ideas. The staff are great, and I learned so much from them. They know how to appreciate the work of their unpaid interns, because the organization depends on them. I gained a lot being part of the intern team. It's best if you can come in more than once a week, and have a specific project you want to work on. Also, lunch cooking rotation was great!

Louis T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If a bad feeling comes up during your lectures, while watching the news or driving through profitable rural landscapes, the institute will help you locate it, help you explain it for youselves, and help you find out what to do about it. There is a wealth of information that concerns anyone who feels uncomfortable with the status quo.

Food First deals with the symptoms of the problem, the problem itself, but also with a wide range of solutions under the name of 'agroecology'. Therefore, although you will learn more and more about famine, poverty and greed, it may well happen that every week at the institite you grow more optimistic. The people at Food First are happy folk, there's good food and conversation over lunch, and I suppose this has to do with the fact that fierce critique goes hand in hand with a proposal. For us young folk, students or simply aroused individuals searching for a sustainable and just future, being at the institute is highly comforting.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Food First is a place for people with open minds. Such an attitude can help you make the most out of the interactions with people from all walks of life that visit or are involved with FF. These people have enriched my own thinking and action, and some of them include David Hilliard from the Black Panthers, Lucas Benitez from the CIW, Graduate students from UC Berkeley and Great Britain, amazing peers from Germany and the US, etc. And of course, among the FF staff there are hidden treasures waiting to be discovered.

Food First is also a place for radicals. Radicals in the sense that the organization pushes for structural change like no other NGO or think tank does out there. For a change, people you talk to will not think anarchism is a synonym of chaos, will be aware that the Black Panthers were not the violent gun waiving terrorists that the media and the government would like us to believe, will know what is capitalism, how it operates, what are its contradictions, etc. Its people who see the system for what it is. (AKA, unplugged from the Matrix)

Lastly, Food First is a place for people who love to cook/eat/share good food and meals. There is a gorgeous garden that provides some of the veggies for the daily vegetarian lunches. You will definitely miss sitting by the stairs with everyone, enjoying a good talk with good food and plenty of sun.

On the flip side, you will definitely find some things you dislike. Like everything in life, Food First is not a perfect organization, but its purpose is essential to the struggles of those who suffer, and its people are genuine. it is absolutely worth your time, energy, resources, commitment and hope.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My time at Food First was extremely beneficial to me personally and academically. The concept of Food Sovereignty and the knowledge that Eric and the Food First staff hold was vital to my MA research . I learnt about movements and issues that I wouldn't have been exposed to if I'd stayed home. I also grew on a personal level, meeting people from various backgrounds who all had different interests and experiences in the food movement. The volunteer group atmosphere is great and I made some amazing friends. The staff at Food First encouraged us to get involved in food events in the Bay area and they lovingly cooked us lunch every day - that was awesome! I think Food First is a great place to volunteer for if you're interested in food justice and food sovereignty, or if you want to learn more about food through researching and writing updates for their very active website! As a volunteer you are recognised as a crucial person in the Food First family and supported to take on new challenges and achieve your own goals.

Advisor

Rating: 5

Food First responds to my indigenous understanding of Food Sovereignty: Food sovereignty is much more than producing, processing and consuming our own food. Food sovereignty responds to our cosmic way of understanding life as a whole, as being part of nature and the universe. Our life is anchored in values, principles and rules that stand for culture, cooperation living among people, equilibrium with nature, and protecting the common good for the benefit of communities, nations and the people that haven’t yet been born. We try to build a synthesis between spirituality and conduct. That is why I share, learn and work with engaged people at Food First.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have always been impressed with the quality of publications they produce, and the way their work gets to the heart of the matter. It made a big difference to my understanding of the complexity of situations when I was a freshman in college, which has affected the way I am able to make an impact today. They are an amazing group that deserves top support.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I became acquainted with Food First after attending a course from Executive Director Dr. Holt-Gimenez. Reading Food First's publication "Food Rebellions" really put global food issues into perspective for me. Later, volunteering at Food First was a great experience. Their work approaches global and local issues in a thoughtful way that is fully informed by historical precedents.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I met Eric in Bamako and his pasion and comcern for food and the depth of knowledge on sound alternatives to the false promisses being brandished around by business was infectious. His ideas stimulated a nunmber of African CSOs to resolve to work even harder together to demonstrate that communities in Africa have the solutions to their food problems and if given the right policy support can implement their ownn genuine green revolution.

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I was a young mother, inspired by Frances Lappe's work, when I became aware of Food First. We had five children and very little money, and I wanted to feed our family as well as possible. Food First helped me realize that we were like all parents of humble means, all over the earth, who love their children. Food First affirmed my understanding of our one single human family, and the absolute importance of sharing what we have so that there can be enough for all, and no one's plate need be empty. I'm a grandmother now, and I haven't lost my admiration for the quiet, intelligent, disinterested, and noble goals Food First has faithfully pursued all these years, for the benefit of us all.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

As a german woman working in the field of agriculture and rural development, I have been living and working in Chiapas, Mexico for nearly 9 years.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a graduate student of agricultural policy, I've found Food First to be an invaluable resource for atypical, emerging ideas and arguments, regarding global food and development issues, that are well-grounded in reliable research and empirical evidence. Food First scholars and writers are not afraid to reveal root injustices and assign blame, but they also take care to check their facts and offer practical solutions.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

A reliable source of a counter-position to the official development paradigms which are mostly anti-poor, even if they are well-meaning. Food First represents an important view of the situation and is grossly underrated, especially when you compare its funding/income to other organizations.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Food First's work is invaluable to developing an understanding of the key issues regarding food policy and development globally. Their vision is impeccable and their analyses cut straight to the heart of the problems at hand, often providing alternative solutions to those propounded by the eurocentric mainstream.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Food First's knowledge-based activism stands as an example for many. It grounds its work in vital principles of equity and democracy. It doesn't dodge complexity, but puts across its messages in straightforward terms and through concrete cases. It continually refreshes and renews its knowledge through a wide and well-anchored network. Its overall approach keeps the focus where it should be, on skewed political and economic power, on why it needs to be tackled and on what can be done to tackle it.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Food First is a great non-profit to get the hands-on experience working in the food writing world; you are not only continually researching and writing, but expanding your understanding of food justice and food systems locally, nationally, and globally. Everyone who works within Food First is caring and passionate about what they do, with a willingness to help you and have you contribute to the food justice cause.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

There are very few organizations that address fundamental problems. Most fix symptoms, like an aspirin fixes a headache. Food First approaches the basic problems that cause human hardship and social unrest. And they point out that even well intentioned programs can cause harm when they are implemented without an understanding of the basic problems.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

Food first provides unique and thoughtful insight into food systems and economies. Their research and analysis is invaluable and gives a critical counterpoint to the business slanted mainstream media.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have used Food First literature in many of my classes because the books, short papers, and other literature are always engagingly written, supported with solid research that is carefully cited, and providing positive suggestions about what readers can do to improve their world. I have lived for over 6 years in rural Asia and so know how well Food First books convey to the reader a sense of what life is like for struggling rural people. This work makes understandable to American students the desperate conditions that 1/6th of the world's people must endure. As the name suggests, making food available to people is the primary focus, a focus that involves looking deeply into the social and economic forces that create hunger. The careful examination of those forces, as they interact in a nested hierarchy of scales, from household, to village, to region, to state, to international economy provides a sophisticated, yet accessible way to understand our globalizing world. As I said above the goal of improving the welfare of the most powerless keeps their work centered on essentials.

Review from Guidestar

Scott L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful organization. The breadth and depth of Food First's work is almost unmatched by any other non-profit in its field. As an intern, I was able to choose which path I would like to take in my contribution to the organization, a trait that very few NGOs can offer. My research work was challenging, but I always had assistance from staff members and fellow interns when I needed it. Much of what I researched is making its way into tangible written reports. The work is highly independent, and allowed for flexibility in my schedule. And not to be overlooked is the fabulous work environment, filled with positive, motivated people that truly care about what they are doing. Plus, a delicious lunchtime meal for everyone to share, everyday. What more could you ask for!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a current intern at Food First, I have already had a wonderful experience in the short time that I have worked there. From the very first day, I knew that I would love it there, simply by the laid-back, welcoming atmosphere, and the collective sense of true passion on the parts of the staff and interns. My first project dealt with Food Policy Councils (analyzing case studies and tool kits) and the support that I received during my research was tremendous. The report itself, which had been constructed prior to my internship at Food First, was thorough, contained incredibly useful information and is written in a way so that all will easily be able to understand it. From what I have observed of the work that others do around me at Food First, it is aligned with mission statement, and truly beneficial.

Review from Guidestar

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great Non-Profit, great work very productive, good for those who do well working independently and can remain self-motivated. There area various projects and spheres of food related issues to get involved in here from local (Oakland) to International (Africa, Latin America) and Global Issues. and you get a DELICIOUS lunch every day :]

Review from Guidestar

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working with Food First was a great experience-they are very efficient at getting a lot accomplished with a small staff. As a volunteer intern, I was given latitude to choose what projects I wanted to work on and was able to contribute meaningfully to the organizations work. The environment is very supportive for students and interns, and my supervisor was monumentally helpful while I was learning, writing, and job hunting.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is excellent to be an intern at Food First. I feel privileged to work with such smart, knowledgeable, and dedicated people. They are an invaluable resource. For interns, there is a good balance between independence and support for your work. Food First provides first-rate, reliable, and truly visionary analysis of the food system.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In its work Food First addresses a wide range of issues related to food sovereignty. Food First gives volunteers the possibility to contribute to the agenda of the organization in their own way by using their own expertise in collaboration with others. This contributes to the inspiring and catalyzing work atmosphere within the organization.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Food First is an exciting and intellectually fulfilling place to work. Food First fosters a collaborative environment in which interns and staff produce detailed research and analysis of current struggles in local, national, and global food systems.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization was extremely useful for me during my time as a student and I was thrilled to become one of their interns. It was a great experience in which I learned a lot and felt appreciated for my contributions. I still follow the twice monthly newsletters and go to the website for information.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My time with Food First was one of the best six-months of my life. I couldn't imagine a better group of people to work with from the staff to the director. During my time there I learned an amazing amount about every aspect of their policy, media, outreach and operations. Knowledge is one thing, but being a part of their grand effort was something I will never forget.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This excellent organization needs your support! Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy is dedicated to ending hunger by addressing its root causes in rising poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation. The Institute debunks major myths (e.g., taken-for-granted assumptions about “free trade”) that obscure the real causes and solutions to hunger, and promotes practical alternatives like food sovereignty, living wage jobs, and peasant-led sustainable agriculture. Through its extensive publishing of compelling research, hosting of community forums and speaking engagements, and participation in activist coalitions and social movements like Via Campesina and the World Social Forum, Food First is helping to mobilize and empower large numbers of people to take effective action to eliminate poverty and hunger. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to complete a policy research internship with Food First from the fall of 2006 to the spring of 2007 as part of the requirements for my M.A. in Anthropology. My responsibility involved conducting research into and writing a report about the role of the World Bank in promoting the expansion of large-scale surface gold mining by foreign corporations in western Ghana and the negative impacts of these activities on the livelihoods and food security of local small-farming communities. The intention of the study was to further Food First’s education-for-action mission by providing information and analysis that may help to strengthen grassroots movements for social justice and sustainable livelihoods in Ghana’s goldbelt. Food First provides interns with a relaxed and friendly work environment, complete with your own office space and computer if you need one. The Executive Director, Eric-Holt-Giménez, was very helpful in providing guidance and feedback for my project. I was also able to get feedback and discuss my work with all the other staff and interns during the weekly staff meetings or during the lunch break. One of the benefits of being a Food First intern is the delicious family-style lunch that is prepared everyday for all the staff and interns. Food First operates in a highly participatory manner and everyone is treated with respect and appreciation for their contribution to the organization. I learned a lot from this experience, not only about my research topic, but also how nonprofit organizations work and often depend on a small number of very dedicated and hard-working staff and volunteers to stay alive. It was an unforgettable experience.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had a wonderful experience collaborating with the Food First community of hard-working and compassionate people to provide each other with support and intellectual stimulation to carry out research and to craft strategies to tackle the problems of food and social injustice. Through research and discussions, I learned immeasurably about the challenges we face in democratizing the food system and ending hunger and poverty. Knowledgeable of Food First’s domestic and international work, I am inspired and hopeful for the future.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Food First is always at the leading edge of thought and analysis on food and farming issues. Its a very exiting and nurturing place to be an intern, because you work on real issues, usually in cooperation with farmers and community activists, to provide research and analysis that people really use in their struggles for a more sustainable, just food system.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As the current world food crisis amply demonstrates, humanity at large and the Western world in particular really needs the knowledge and wisdom of this group! Reading "Diet for a Small Planet" and "Food First" as a teenager changed my life, making me a vegetarian and launching me into a continuing inquiry into the problem of world hunger. Naturally, I was very happy to find this institute devoted to continuing Frances Moore Lappe's work. I also had the opportunity to do some volunteer work for this group, helping to edit a fascinating book manuscript, an anthology about the pernicious effects of the GMO revolution on the genetic treasury stored in the world's core agricultural seeds. I learned a lot doing this from the diverse array of experts who contributed to the anthology. This group is publishing extrememly important books on topics like these, as well as providing valuable internship opportunities for people with diverse skills, backgrounds, and interests. The group also publishes a regular email notices of internships and jobs with a large, diverse array of like-minded organizations. They are friendly and welcoming to people who visit their office, as well, and they help sponsor valuable workshops and public speaking engagements. By all means, spend some time on their website and buy some books! Sincerely, Julie Sparks, Ph.D. San Jose State University, English Department