Youth and Crew Leaders
(Left to right) Griskarly Sena, Shaibu Alhassan, Manuel Urena, Diamonte Verde, Kimberly Jimenez, Justin West, Esmerlyn Almonte, Sandra Nivar, Julian Norales, Passion Jackson, Abby Gonzalez, and Charlene (Coordinator)
Charlene is a food justice advocate and writer. She joined Community Food Action as the Youth and Farm Stand Coordinator in June 2018 where she manages the 170 Farm Stand and our Youth Leaders. She holds Food Justice Fridays, a series of weekly workshops that highlight food as a social justice issue.
Charlene believes that food is not only the basis of survival, but also key to liberation for oppressed communities. She is dedicated to working against forces of exploitation and capitalism that destroy our food landscapes and qualities of life. She strives to attain this through the education of our youth, hoping to empower them to resist and make change within and from the vantage point of their community.
Charlene’s favorite place to buy food is Natural Blend, a Jamaican vegan spot on Washington Avenue in Brooklyn. Her favorite place to buy local produce is from Community Food Action’s Farm Stand!
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of the job is changing minds. When a child is unsure about trying new foods, seeing them try and enjoy a dish brings a smile to my face.
Why is eating well important to you?
It is important to know that one has a choice in what to eat. A good meal can make a good day.
Maria is a bilingual educator and community worker who joined us in 2018 to coordinate our cooking and gardening initiatives. On the one hand, she leads the Farmers Markets for Kids, and on the other, she coordinates Community Food Action’s work in schools and is the service site supervisor for our two FoodCorps Service Members.
Her efforts in promoting and advocating culturally responsive educational environments have allowed Maria to practice in the classroom, at the Battery Urban Farm where she was tenured for two years prior to joining the CFA team, and at various other alternative community-based educational settings. She strives to contribute to the economic and sustainable development of migrant, minority populations in NYC through fostering increased social/political awareness, and implementing educational initiatives around healthy food, agricultural autonomy, and heritage language preservation.
Maria believes that by rescuing the innate connections we have with nature, we can develop a love of place. And love for our shared home ground leads us to care for it and act against its destruction and exploitation, which is our own. Children in particular “allow themselves to be imprinted by place” and if they’re lovingly devoted to a place, that is the beginning of action.
Maria’s favorite place to grow, buy, or eat food in the Bronx is La Finca del Sur, a 3-acres urban farm ran by women of color, the first one of its kind in the city of New York.
Selma is a food literacy educator and nutrition advocate serving with us at P.S.42 through FoodCorps for the 2018-2019 school year. She believes that food is a fundamental need that must be fulfilled in order to reach our fullest and truest potential.
Selma advocates for an increase in food product knowledge, preparation and production because these skills make for a holistic approach to nutrition. Once individuals and families learn to be diverse about their food and learn the “know how” of handling materials and equipment properly, food shifts from just another fun four letter word to an amazing activity and experience. She also believes the relationship with food is a potential positive model to engaging other aspects of life and community such as self-actualization, culture, and wellness.
Selma’s favorite place to buy food is Aldi, a supermarket in the Hub in the South Bronx. She enjoys going there with her mother because her enthusiasm to get cooking fresh delicious meals is unmatched!
Taisy has loved good food her whole life and is always looking forward to her next meal. Growing up in New York City, she was exposed to cuisines from around the globe, but was also aware of the predominance of cheaply made processed food. Taisy first came to this work to address the damaging and disproportionate health impact of processed food on low-income families and communities of color. As she steadily became aware of the systems and structures in place that propagate food that is bad for the body, for communities, for workers, and for the environment, Taisy became determined to join efforts to restore truly nourishing food to our neighborhoods.
Taisy Conk came on board to New Settlement as the Community Healthy Food Advocate through Communities for Healthy Food in 2013. Since then, she has built the program from the ground up with the support of her passionate team members and committed partners. Prior to working at New Settlement, Taisy conducted food access and physical activity research in New Orleans and was a Patient Navigator at a safety net hospital in Boston. Taisy holds an MPH from Tulane University in Global Community Health and Nutrition. Having lived, gone to school, and now worked in the Bronx, Taisy is proud to have the opportunity to transform the neighborhood food landscape alongside Bronx youth and adults.
Taisy’s favorite place to grow, cook, or eat food in the Bronx is City Island.
Zahra is our FoodCorps service member for the 2018-2019 school year at PS. 294. She supports the school community on its journey through food justice and education programming and curriculum. Zahra was raised in Harlem, and from an early age she spent her summers working on farms in upstate New York. As she grew older, her interest in rural large-scale farming turned to smaller urban productions and food education in urban environments.
Zahra believes that food tells stories of resilience and heritage. She is excited to learn and grow with the Mt Eden Community.
Zahra’s favorite place to eat in the Bronx is the Puerto Rican food stand in the South Bronx called Lechonera Piraña.