Friday, September 26, 2014
This diagram – one of our favorite images – is a great representation of who is responsible for change. While sometimes it seems like only the big players can have an impact, it’s so important to remember that each one of us is a huge force of potential impact!
It’s been a great summer for remembering that fact. In May, Oxfam and Behind the Brands launched a campaign asking Kellogg’s and General Mills – the two Big Ten brands with the worst scores on climate – to clean up their acts. Oxfam was responsible for launching the campaign, but it was thousands of individuals that kept it going. Every petition you signed and tweet you sent made a difference – the culmination of all of those little acts became a huge force of influence.
That little dark orange sliver of this diagram where people and business overlap is a huge part of our lives, and is the basis of every company’s existence. In that little slice is what we decide to buy every day. Do I want Frosted Flakes for breakfast, or Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Companies like Kellogg’s and General Mills know that if they’re not delivering something that’s important to us – from cereal that stays crunchy to responsible climate change policies – we might start making decisions they don’t like. When a message like “we love cornflakes, but hate bad climate practices” comes from a huge community voice, companies listen, and change happens.
We’re so excited to hear that both Kellogg’s and General Mills have made commitments this summer to improve their practices on climate change. They’re taking steps to monitor their supply chains more closely, increase transparency on emissions information, and call on their industry peers to do the same. We can keep enjoying our breakfasts, and feel good about what we accomplished in that orange sliver.
This past weekend, Oxfam and hundreds of thousands of others turned to a different sliver of the diagram – the dark purple zone where we meet the government. This week, world leaders from all corners of the globe are at the United Nations in New York to address the climate crisis. An unprecedented number of people congregated on Sunday for the People’s Climate March to make sure that their voices were heard by these powerful heads of state. And so far, it seems like they’re listening.
With Kellogg’s and General Mills, we've already seen the good that can be done when thousands of voices come together in action. Keep fighting and celebrate this fall as we collectively hit the sweet spot.
Want to know more? Read more about Oxfam and climate change here.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Starting at 7 pm at the First Congregational Church in Burlington, we’ll be hosting a panel discussion with Mary Starkey, Program Support Coordinator for Oxfam’s Regional Programs Department, and Helen Labum-Jordan, Trustee of the Vermont Foodbank, Author, and former Food Policy Administrator at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. Panelists will discuss the role of women in agriculture and food in creating or solving inequalities, both here in Vermont, and worldwide.
Following this discussion, we will invite you to partake in a Hunger Banquet. A Hunger Banquet is a unique experience where the place where you sit, and the meal that you eat, are determined by the luck of the draw—just as in real life, some of us are born into relative prosperity and others into poverty. Food for the Hunger Banquet is generously donated by Boloco on Church Street.
If you are interested, space is limited, so please RSVP on eventbrite here and be sure to bring your friends!
We hope you will join us this Saturday!
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Since April of last year, I have been working in Burlington, Vermont to create visibility for Oxfam's amazing work as the Oxfam Action Corps Leader. Over the course of the year, I have found and coordinated volunteers, tabled at farmers' markets, lobbied the national congress, and organized events to bring attention to many of the issues facing those in poverty across the world.
The experience has taught me patience and dedication. It has shown me what a strong and viable organization Oxfam America is, and it has allowed me to grow as a leader within a structured role that also allowed for a lot of freedom.
The opportunity to become a community leader, and the four-day training in Washington D.C. that initiates this experience can help any growing leader and volunteer in a number of different ways. The experience allows you to hone in on your own management style, discovering what works and what doesn't, and it helps you to figure out what your greatest strengths are as a leader. But it also teaches empathy, creativity, and the importance of finding out and building on a team's strengths.
Now, my tenure as leader is almost up, and I am searching for others to take this position.
If you are interested, you can sign up for this opportunity. It only takes a few minutes. You can also reach out to me if you have questions. Just email: Vermont@OxfamActionCorps.org
Here's a little more information from our offices about what this position entails:
Leadership opportunity: Organize in your community to end global hunger – join the Oxfam Action Corps!
The Oxfam Action Corps is a group of trained grassroots advocates in fifteen US cities who organize with other local volunteers in support of our GROW campaign for policies that will save lives, defend the rights of women and farmers, and protect communities worldwide from rising food prices and climate change. It includes a free national advocacy and leadership training for select participants. You will gain leadership skills, have fun, and change the world!
Sign-up by February 14 to apply for Oxfam’s free four-day leadership training in Washington D.C. April 5-8, 2014.
View and share the short video below, highlighting the great work done by the Action Corps:
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Join us on World Food Day
For a Screening of “Land Rush,” discussion, and snacks75% of Mali’s population are farmers, but rich, land-hungry nations like China and Saudi Arabia are leasing Mali’s land in order to turn large areas into agribusiness farms. Many Malian peasants do not welcome these efforts, seeing them as yet another manifestation of imperialism. As Mali experiences a military coup, the developers are scared off – but can Mali’s farmers combat food shortages and escape poverty on their own terms?
On World Food Day, learn what you can do in Vermont to help support
worldwide food security through Oxfam’s Behind the Brands Campaign.
Screening of: “Land Rush” & Discussion
Thursday, May 23, 2013
We were sad not to hear from Leahy after our visit, but with several follow-up calls from well-spoken volunteers, we did finally receive a reply from Leahy's office. The good news is that he also wants to see improved efficiency in the way that the U.S. delivers foreign aid. We just want to make sure that we are included in the list of "public and private sector partners" that he mentions. We also want to promote the "sweeping changes" that we know will help produce 53% less waste and ultimately save lives and grow positive attitudes towards the U.S. abroad.
We're excited to have our congressional representation here in Vermont reflect our own beliefs, and we look forward to communicating with them further as there are more developments in the fight to end food inequality and help stem global poverty.
Here's what Leahy's office wrote:
Dear Ms. Lovegrove:
Thank you for contacting me about improving the efficiency and quality of international food aid.
On May 7, 2013, I held an oversight hearing in my role as Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of State and Foreign Operations on the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Fiscal Year 2014 budget request. USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah testified and answered questions regarding the economic and humanitarian impacts of food aid reform both at home and abroad and specifically addressed monetization. Administrator Shah stated that shifting away from monetization and toward local capacity building will not only help avert local product displacement, but save on shipping costs and improve the delivery time of food aid in emergency situations. Like you, I support USAID's goal of increasing efficiencies in international food aid programs to save money and feed more hungry people. While there are strong, competing views on the issue and I am doubtful that we will achieve the sweeping reforms USAID proposes in a single year, I will continue to work with the Department of Agriculture, USAID, and other public and private sector partners to address the inefficiencies in monetization and provide greater resources for local and regional purchase of food.
United States Senator
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The David Wax Museum was generous enough to let us be at their concert last week at Higher Ground. The band has been a great supporter of Oxfam since David Wax interned with Oxfam several years ago. Needless to say, he is dedicated to the organization. He was also a very friendly guy, who was open and kind to the many fans who showed up for the concert.
We were there to see a great show, but also to gain signatures for a petition to reform US food aid. Thanks to the insight and outstanding new policies suggested in the President’s budget proposal for FY14, we have the exciting opportunity to overhaul the out-dated foreign aid delivery systems that have been in place since 1955. This is a giant leap to bring poverty and food aid policies into the 21st century.
Federal politicians from both sides of the aisle have committed to keep an open mind to these policies, that will greatly increase efficiencies in foreign aid. However, to take politicians from considering to voting in favor of these programs require your help. We were able to gain almost fifty signatures at the show, but lobbying groups are drowning our voice, and we need all of the support that we can get. You can help by sending a note to Congress here.
In the meantime if you would like to get information on the revolutionary aid policies from other organizations that from across the ideological spectrum, check out these informative links:
- InterAction: an alliance of over 180 U.S. based international non-governmental organizations (NGOs): http://www.interaction.org/work/foreign-assistance-reform
- Devex: a membership organization that delivers business information and recruitment services to the international development community. https://www.devex.com/en/blogs/400/blogs_entries/80681
- The Hill: a daily congressional newspaper: http://thehill.com/opinion/op-ed/274151-overhaul-of-us-foreign-aid-is-overdue
- MFAN: Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: http://www.modernizeaid.net/tag/conservatives/
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Every year two new Action Corps Organizers are chosen to lead each city's Oxfam Action Corps. Our goal, as trained organizers, is to be the on-the-ground arm of Oxfam's campaigning efforts. This means that we help spread the message about the inequalities and poverty in the world, but more importantly, we show the simple ways in which people across America can help end these inequalities, one action and one petition at a time.
Before we start to table farmers' markets, and spread the message at concerts, hunger banquets, and other events, all of the new organizers had to get trained. Here's what it involved:
For four days, 29 amazing people from 15 cities across the country congregated in Washington D.C. We spent three days locked away in a beautiful classroom, getting to know each other and the intricacies of how Oxfam is organized and run. We learned how to organize, spread the message, and even lobby. In fact, we spent our final day in the capital, talking to our representatives and senators about the President's policy to reform Food Aid.
Over the coming months, expect to hear more from myself and my co-organizer as we hit the ground, gathering partners and volunteers, and looking to make a difference for those in need in any way we can. Interested in joining us? Send us an email at Vermont@OxfamActionCorps.org. We look forward to meeting you!