Community Food Systems Mentor Profile: Neelam Sharma
Community Food Systems Mentor Profile
The Community Food Systems Mentorship Program offers Network members the opportunity to work directly with a food systems expert to support their growth, learn best practices, and connect with seasoned food movement leaders.
Neelam Sharma, Executive Director, Community Services Unlimited Inc. (http://csuinc.org/)
When I was a tween the National Front (a British facist organization) decided to have a concert in Southall Town Hall in London, where I grew up. In the aftermath of the street battles that occurred I became involved in organizing to free those who were arrested by the police. Ever since, I have been interested in and involved with community organizing against the barrage of systemic attacks against communities of color including racial attacks, police violence, employer exploitation and unfair immigration practices. When I moved to South Los Angeles about 22 years ago, I was already connected to Community Services Unlimited Inc., as one of the founders of the Panther organization in the United Kingdom in the late 80’s. I began to volunteer with CSU and also became engaged in seeking good food for my family. This led to the work that CSU has been doing for the past two decades to build a local, equitable food system in South LA. I believe in place based community driven solutions defined and spearheaded by those they seek to serve, in partnership with a broad range of individuals and entities. The world and its problems are now interconnected at an unprecedented level, our solutions while preferencing local knowledge, history and experience, must be equally embedded within a global framework.
Areas of expertise:
• Urban Farming
• Strategic Planning
• Event Production
• Community Development
• Public Speaking
Seeking to mentor:
Community based grass roots educational and economic initiatives that challenge dominant models of thinking and doing. I am specifically interested in working with organizations employing and or actively working towards embracing Equitable Food Oriented Development or EFOD, a development strategy that uses food and agriculture to create economic opportunities, healthy communities, and explicitly seeks to build community assets, pride, and power by and with historically-marginalized communities. Please check out www.efod.org for details of the principles and practices of an efod organization.
Visit the Mentorship Program page (under Services) to learn more!