Reimagining Alternative Futures

by | Dec 1, 2022

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 In this 90-minute recorded webinar, hear from EFOD* leaders Camryn Smith of Communities in Partnership (Durham, NC), Nicole Anand of Inclusive Action for the City (Los Angeles, CA), and Mariela Cedeño of Manzanita Capital Collective on how Black, Indigenous, and other community-based practitioners of color are working to fill critical funding gaps for under-invested food systems innovators and projects through alternatives to conventional community development funding and finance. *Equitable Food Oriented Development (EFOD) is a community-based development strategy centering Black, Indigenous, and People of Color food and agriculture projects and enterprises as vehicles for shared power, cultural expression, and community asset-building.  Learn more about EFOD here.

Despite their claims toward poverty alleviation and social justice, many large institutional CDFIs, credit unions, and foundations are rife with structural biases that continually shift resources away from BIPOC-led enterprises and organizations, to less “risky” or more “investment-ready” projects owned by community outsiders. Our history, community assets, expertise and lived experience are undervalued and undercapitalized. The additional financial hardships created by the pandemic further highlight the need for community-led solutions to capital access.

The EFOD Collaborative exists to challenge these barriers and lead a shift to a community-driven framework for equitable finance. Now is the time for community-based practitioners of color to change the conversation on how private capital can be deployed in ways that really meet the needs of communities.

Camryn Smith, Communities In Partnership (she/her/hers) 
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Camryn is a proud resident of Old East Durham and a community activist & organizer. She has been serving in place-based development work for over 18 years both stateside and abroad. Camryn is a founding member of Communities In Partnership (CIP), a grassroots community organizing and education group based in Old East Durham and serves as the Executive Director. Camryn has been a member of the EFOD Executive Committee since 2020.

Communities in Partnership (CIP) formed in 2011 in Old East Durham, when a gathering of neighbors decided to take action following a neighborhood shooting involving two children. Frustrated by an inadequate and uninformed response from city officials and other local agencies, CIP was created by longtime neighbors as a vehicle to give voice to local residents and hold officials and agencies accountable. Since then, CIP has developed community-based education processes, and community development initiatives, and organized for and implemented policies that address systemic inequity for communities of color and materially poor peoples within Durham. Read more about CIP here.

Nicole Anand, Inclusive Action for the City (she/her/hers)
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Nicole is the Deputy Director at Inclusive Action and as a political economist and participatory designer, she designs and implements civic processes to change the status quo. She is passionate about creating public services that work for people and has partnered with the City of LA Mayor’s Office to co-create the city’s first open government agenda. Nicole is the co-founder of a global collective for multidisciplinary learners, and an educator in design research. 

Inclusive Action for the City is a community development organization whose mission is to bring people together to build strong, local economies that uplift low-income urban communities through advocacy and transformative economic development initiatives. Inclusive Action has become a leader in the citywide campaign to create a permit system for street vendors; hosted over 7,000 Angelenos in topical events; developed a purchasing cooperative to bring healthy produce to small markets located in “food desert” communities; launched micro-finance programs to support small businesses in low-income neighborhoods with capital and coaching; and advised major cities and organizations on how to engage communities effectively. Read more about Inclusive Action here.

Mariela Cedeño, Manzanita Capital Collective (she/her/hers) 
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Mariela is the product of her Venezuelan birthplace, El Salvadoran roots, and Bay Area upbringing. For the past 15 years she has cultivated local economies and resilient food systems, and catalyzed new models of investment and economic opportunity that center and uplift BIPOC entrepreneurs, farmers, and community-based organizations. Mariela holds a wide breadth of experience in community rooted economic development, small business advising, alternative capital, financial planning, non-profit management, and much more. Mariela has been the chair of the EFOD Collaborative Investment Committee since 2018.

Manzanita Capital Collective serves as a connector between Indigenous and POC-led food, agriculture, and land justice projects and values-aligned funders and investors. Manzanita advocates for integrated capital investments in rematriation, Indigenous and regenerative land stewardship, and resilient food systems. Read more about Manzanita Capital Collective here. 

Trisha Chakrabarti, EFOD Collaborative (pronouns: she/her/hers) 
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Trisha is the National Coordinator of the EFOD Collaborative, working alongside EFOD’s Steering Committee of BIPOC-led community-based organizations. She has used her 15 years of experience in community-based development, place-based food systems, and participatory policy advocacy towards racial and class justice. Trisha grew up in the South Asian diaspora and lives in Oakland, CA, on unceded Ohlone land. 

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