The core team does all the back-end work to keep the campaign progressing: fundraising, training and recruiting organizers, maintaining relationships with partner organizations, and strategic planning.
The regional coordinators do on the ground organizing work, coordinate student campaigns in different regions and act as liaisons between the core team, RFOs and student leaders.
Estefania graduated in December 2010 from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, which she mobilized to become one of the first Fair Trade Universities in the country. Being born and raised in Ecuador nurtured her lifelong concern for justice. She is an organizer and activist passionate about making real changes to build sustainable food systems, alleviate poverty and hunger, and to let our world breathe some clean air. After a long time of shifting from one home to another, she is now settled in Boston supporting student food justice initiatives in the Northeast. When she is not organizing she is dancing salsa, eating Ecuadorean food and riding her bike in the sun. Email Stefy.
The regional field organizer fellows do on the ground organizing, extending the network and providing support to students running campaigns on campus. They also act as liaisons between the core team, field staff and student leaders.
View the Regional Field Organizers from your home region:
Jackie was born and raised in South Los Angeles and is a recent graduate of Humboldt State University (HSU) where she studied Sociology and Spanish. Her entry point to the food movement was when she took a social ecology class at HSU. The class enabled her to realize that her experience with public school food and food overall was directly connected to a much larger issue: injustice in our food system. She then became extremely interested in learning more about food justice and how she could become an agent of social change. As a result, she took various classes on topics like community organizing, social movements, ethnic studies, and environmental inequality and globalization. Ultimately, her passion to advocate for better food led her to create change within her own college campus. At HSU, Jackie helped organize events on food issues, spearheaded the Real Food Challenge campaign, was a member of the Food Insecurity Task Force, and endorsed student government resolutions in support of the campaign and the creation of a Food Systems Working Group. Aside from her passion of bringing justice to our food system, Jackie also loves adventures, chocolate, long walks, being optimistic, biking, laughing, and most importantly, eating really good real food! Email Jackie!
Jessica grew up in Southern California, where her love of cooking developed at the tender age of 13 after too many years of eating microwavable foods. As a young girl she wanted to attend culinary school, but instead she entered college to study Food Science. As she began to immerse in coursework she learned about a food industry centered on synthetics, rather than ethics. Learning about injustices in the food system in combination with having faced food insecurity herself, led Jessica to to promote food justice. She is a co-founder and lead organizer of the successful Real Food For CSUs campaign — a statewide campaign for the California State University system to commit to real food. In her free time she can be found playing with her bunny, discovering new restaurants, or cooking. Email Jessica!
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Growing up in Norman, Oklahoma, Karen began thinking deeply about where her food came from during high school. Painting the cornfields of industrial agriculture and writing essays on Japanese food traditions, Karen spent hours exploring different facets of the food system. At Macalester College, she continued this exploration and earned an Environmental Studies degree with an emphasis in Food Systems. During her sophomore year, after attending a Real Food Challenge training, Karen realized that there existed a community of people who held similar passions and that by working together they could change the system. Over the next three years, Karen cofounded Macalester’s Food Hub, campaigned to pass the Real Food Campus Commitment and drafted her campus’s food policy—while spending her free time orchestrating farmers’ market trips for the wanna-be-vegans of Macalester’s EcoHouse. Besides making fried rice and hosting potlucks, Karen enjoys throwing teapots, collecting postcards, and meandering along the Mississippi. Email Karen!
Kendra grew up surrounded by corn and cows and colleges and corporations in the quasi-rural town that is Bloomington, Illinois. She transitioned to city life in pursuit of a social work degree at Saint Louis University. During that time, Kendra was introduced to and began organizing alongside the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Campaign for Fair Food thanks to an internship at the Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America. Working with the Real Food Challenge seemed like the perfect next step to foster her interest in food and her desire to redirect our food system. Kendra is honored and super excited to be an RFO, and hopes to inspire the passion that she feels for this movement in other young people starting in St. Louis, her adopted hometown. When she’s not organizing, you can probably find Kendra writing letters in coffee shops, learning to play guitar, baking vegan desserts, or changing her hair color. Email Kendra!
Growing up in New Orleans, Clesi knew the importance of local and seasonal foods from an early age. It wasn’t until she went off to college at Sewanee: The University of the South in rural Tennessee that she saw the downfalls of our food system and the challenges universities were facing. As an Environmental Policy major, she was able to take classes on agriculture policy and put this knowledge to use as the leader of Sewanee’s Peace Coalition. After graduating in 2013, Clesi was a Post-Baccalaureate Fellow in Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship at Sewanee where she helped write and implement a campus sustainability plan, focusing mainly on the “food” section. She worked on designing a campus compost operation, changing dining purchasing policies, and more. After interning as a student, Clesi has returned to Sewanee’s University Farm where she helps to showcase a number of sustainable agriculture practices and grow real food for the university dining hall. Email Clesi!
Emma is a Founder and Coordinator of the REAL Cooperative (Regenerative Education Action and Leadership) for activists. She toured with the Sustainable Living Roadshow from 2010 – 2012, and worked as the Staffing and Outreach Coordinator before returning to Asheville, NC. Her current projects include increasing awareness and appropriate policy around Genetically Modified Foods, the Asheville Grown Local Business Alliance and the Ujamaa Freedom Market, a mobile vegetable shop for low-income communities. She leads workshops in nonviolent action for sustainability, Playful Activism, organizing strategy and more. Emma studied non-violence and facilitation in Huehuecoyol, Mexico and recently graduated with a self-designed degree at UNC Asheville as a student of Social Change, Environmental Policy and Community Health. She loves teaching people to teach, traveling and making art out of trash. She currently lives in Asheville (her very favorite city), spending her days trying not to be a vagabond. Email Emma!
Ani graduated from the University of Vermont in 2014 with a BA in Global Studies, which prepared her very well for seeming informed at cocktail parties but didn't do much else. Thankfully she spent most of her time at university working with the Real Food Challenge, which gave her both a framework for contextualizing the injustices in this world and the hope that together, we can change things. A vegan for four years, Ani is passionate about marrying animal rights and food justice issues. She is currently living in New York City, where she attends culinary school at the Natural Gourmet Institute and works at an herbalism shop. In her free time she likes to read about intersectionality, dance terribly, ferment vegetables, clean her apartment with essential oils and vodka, and talk about her greyhound ad nauseam. Email Ani!
Kate grew up in tiny, post-industrial Millville, NJ and graduated from Swarthmore College in 2014, where she studied history, social movements, and the art of managing to graduate while spending 70% of your time organizing. Kate comes to the Real Food Challenge from the climate justice movement, helping found her campus's fossil fuel divestment campaign in 2010 and the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network (DSN), where she serves on the Coordinating Committee. Kate moonlights as an independent journalist, and in 2014 will be helping to build the Pennsylvania Student Power Network. She's worked previously as a social media intern with the New Economy Coalition, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Responsible Endowments Coalition. When not stuck behind a computer, Kate loves watching and over-analyzing big-budget action movies, experimenting with meat substitutes and reading about commodity chains and civil resistance. Email Kate!
Kira is a recent graduate of Clark University in Worcester, MA where she majorly studied Social Psychology with a focus on theories of ethics, global health, and food policy. During her time at Clark, Kira served as president of Food Truth and as the student co-chair of Clark's Food Systems Working Group. She first discovered the power of Real Food while growing up in a family who journeyed from vegetarianism to the paleo diet to 100% raw food to (what is currently) raw veganism. During college, Kira's passion for alternative nutrition transformed into an understanding of food systems that are inherently connected to larger forces of culture and power. She's now hooked on organizing for real food justice and in her free time enjoys cooking, eating, karate, yoga, poker, how-to books, collaging, dancing, beaches, and watching documentaries. Email Kira!
Shelby grew up in Rhode Island, graduated from Barrington Christian Academy and Brown University, and now works at a café in Providence. Questions and discontent about her own and others' experiences of gender, sexuality, race, and class led Shelby to the Student Labor Alliance, a university student group that organizes students and university resources to support working people's struggles for justice in the workplace. Being part of victories led by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, workers in Indonesian and Bangladeshi garment factories, Brown University dining workers, and hotel workers in Providence, as well as being around the amazing people in her life, has spurred Shelby on to continue work for a more just world (and understand more deeply what a just world would entail!) in a way that is ethical, strategic, and fun. With so much more to learn and so much great work to be done, Shelby is thrilled to be working this year with students in the Pioneer Valley in partnership with people organizing at all levels of the food chain in Western Massachusetts and around the country and world to win justice. Shelby is also a member of the steering committee of the Student/Farmworker Alliance. She loves being silly, spending time with her family and friends, and learning about how people are building loving community and being so creative in the face of the problems of everyday life, perpetrated by oppressive systems.
To learn more about our past RFO's follow the links below:
The Steering Committee sits at the center of the organization to address organizational priorities on a national level. They offer guidance on campaigns, programs and operations of the organization. The Steering Committee has student, alumni, staff, and regional field organizer members.
California State University-Monterey Bay
Stephanie is student currently attending California State University Monterey Bay pursuing a major in Environmental Studies. She is a daughter of foodies and grew up appreciating the different ethnic cuisines and celebrating food. Recognizing the impact food has on wide range of social and environmental injustices did not become clear to her until taking a writing class during her first year of college. She jumped head first into RFC with starting a calculator account on her campus and working other Cal State students and RFC supports to form the Real Food for CSUs campaign. Real Food for CSUs is a campaign for the system of CA state universities to sign a real food commitment. She is really excited to take on the role as a student representative for RFC on a national scale. When she is not working on campaigns, you can find Stephanie cooking in the kitchen with her suitemates or hanging out at the farmers market. Email Stephanie
Johns Hopkins University
Sunny was born in Seoul, South Korea, raised in Kansas City, Missouri, and recently graduated from Hotchkiss, a boarding school in Lakeville, Connecticut. At Hotchkiss, she worked on the school owned farm and got hooked on the satisfaction that simple labor and the working landscape gives. She co-founded the Real Food chapter and signed the commitment as the first high school in the nation. Now at Johns Hopkins University majoring in Global Environmental Change and Sustainability, she runs the calculator and product shift towards JHU’s commitment of 35%. In her free time, Sunny likes to sing and jam on the guitar or uke, go on spontaneous adventures, and be super silly! She is excited to be a part of the Steering Committee and try on the dual role as a student organizer and decision maker on a national level. Email Sunny
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Hannah is a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst pursuing a major in Public Health with a concentration in Food Systems. Growing up with a love of gardening, she first began to think about transparency in our food system through running a fair trade chocolate campaign at her high school. Continuing on to university, Hannah broadened her understanding of food justice working with community-based organizations focused on urban agriculture and food access. Seeing food as a means to address the overwhelming social and environmental injustice that exists in our world, she joined the RFC team at her school and has never looked back. Jumping into an exciting campaign to get the commitment signed, Hannah has continued working towards making UMass Amherst a successful Implementation school- and she is excited to be a student representative on the national steering committee! When she is not organizing for Real Food on campus, Hannah enjoys traveling, biking, reading, and sitting down to long meals with friends. Email Hannah
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities '14
Laura is currently a student at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities studying Environmental Policy. She will be graduating in May, and will be continuing organizing work with Environment America in Portland, Maine. When she's not organizing student leaders around food, you can likely find her playing with animals, hula hooping, or reading a mystery novel...and of course, eating delicious, REAL food! Email Laura