Announcing the 2019 Castanea Fellows!

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After an outpouring of interest, the Castanea Fellowship has selected both its 2019 and 2020 cohorts. More than 400 applications were received, and our Selection Committee participated in about 100 video interviews.

The leaders selected as Castanea Fellows signify hope and reflect the Fellowship’s core values of racial equity, diversity, and impact. 92% of the fellows are people of color, the majority are women-identified, and all have significantly contributed to growing a more equitable, sustainable, and healthy food system. They will be joining the Castanea Fellowship to further amplify their transformational work by connecting with cross-sector perspectives and learning from local, regional, and national innovation to bolster collective leadership nationwide. Castanea Fellows will have two-years to explore connections and will receive a $40,000 award in honor of their leadership once the program begins in June.

Their work is needed.

“Despite significant progress in the past several decades, our food system remains the driver of some of our nation’s most entrenched problems: from widespread hunger to diet-related illnesses and environmental impacts like water and air pollution and devastated rural economies,” says Castanea Fellowship Steering Committee member Anna Lappé. “The transformational work needed to fix our food system cannot be achieved in isolation. That’s one reason we are thrilled that this Fellowship will bring leaders together—to more effectively address the complexity of food system change”.

About the Castanea Fellowship

When we started the Castanea Fellowship in 2018, this day seemed like a dream. Many individuals and organizations have helped make this day possible. They provided vision and practical support.

We talk about why we were founded often, because the organization is grounded in a rich and compelling history. Inspired by the W.K. Kellogg Food and Community Fellowship Program (2001-2013) a dynamic Steering Committee organized. This Steering Committee of inspiring leaders, change-makers, and connectors— Scott Cullen, GRACE Communications; Haile Johnston, Common Market; Navina Khanna, HEAL Food Alliance; Anna Lappé, Panta Rhea Foundation; Mark Muller, McKnight Foundation; Brett Ramey, Doris Duke Conservation Scholars; Ricardo Salvador, Union of Concerned Scientists; and Kolu Zigbi, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation - came together in partnership with me to launch the Castanea Fellowship to bring about a world where food is the source of health, equity, and well-being for all.

Meet the 2019 Castanea Fellows!

  • Erika Allen, Ecosystem Innovator, Urban Growers Collective, Chicago, IL
  • Shorlette Ammons, Food Equity Educator, Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Durham, NC
  • Geeta Maker Clark, MD, Activist Physician, Evanston, IL
  • Leonard Diggs, Farmer, Stone Farm, Pescadero, CA
  • Mark Winston Griffith, Cooperative Organizer, Brooklyn Movement Center, New York, NY
  • Lilian Hill, Land Steward, Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture, Kykotsmovi Village, AZ
  • Emily Moose, Sustainable Farm Promoter, A Greener World, Pittsboro, NC
  • Martin Lemos, Farmer Advocate, National Young Farmers Coalition, New York, NY
  • Eduardo Rivera, Farmer, Sin Fronteras Farm and Food, Minneapolis, MN
  • Maeraj Sheikh, Community Builder, Community GroundWorks, Madison, WI
  • Aileen Suzara, Culinary Connector, Entrepreneur, Berkeley, CA
  • Rowen White, Seed Keeper, Sierra Seeds, San Juan, CA

I am in awe at the potential of our inaugural Castanea Fellowship cohort. They are a dynamic group that symbolizes the bold, thoughtful, and caring leadership we will need to bring about that more just food system we know is possible. I am excited to see where their collective leadership will take us.

What’s Next

Our inaugural cohort will gather in Pittsburgh in late June for the first of several immersive educational experiences. Look for the formal announcement of our 2020 Fellows in December 2019. Stay up to date on the latest news by subscribing to our newsletter.

And follow Castanea on social media: #Castanea2019 #CastaneaFellowship  Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn.

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Thank you for your support and interest in our organization. We’re going to go far, together.

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