Press Release:
HEAL (Health, Environment, Agriculture, Labor) Food Alliance Announces
New School of Political Leadership

Contact: Neshani Jani, Communications Director,, (510) 974-3771

OAKLAND, CA  (November 30, 2017) -- The HEAL Food Alliance named its first cohort of 10 food and farm justice leaders to take part in the HEAL School of Political Leadership (SoPL), a year-long leadership development program to support talented individuals working to create inclusive, democratic food and farm systems.

SoPL will equip the inaugural cohort with the tools, knowledge, and skills they need to run for office, work on campaigns, and drive political change to transform our food and farm systems on the local, state and national levels.

“My community needs young leaders to emerge and continue advocating policies that our elders have been working towards for generations.” said Miah Ulysse, SoPL Leader and Northside Fresh Coordinator & Policy Manager, for Minneapolis-based Appetite for Change. “SoPL will provide opportunities for me to pass down that knowledge to my communities and continue growing our Good Food Movement.”

HEAL’s SoPL leaders are farmers, fishers, community activists, organizers, educators, and advocates working in diverse communities across the country. They live and work in California, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington State. Their work is centered around challenging the glaring inequities that dominate our country’s food and farm systems. HEAL’s SoPL leaders are advocating for solutions to reimagine how those systems function.

“I see SoPL as an opportunity to achieve a better understanding of the political systems that affect my community work.” said Neftali Duran, SoPL Leader, Chef and Founder of I-Collective. “Low income cities, racial minorities, or food insecure communities are directly impacted by policy. Currently political leadership is often at odds with community leadership...which is why I see so much value in bridging the gap between grassroots initiatives and the government agencies.”

See the full list of the HEAL SoPL Leaders here.

Over the course of one year, SoPL Leaders will participate in several training sessions, including Campaign Strategy Development, Communications Training, Grassroots Fundraising, Ethical & Accountable Leadership, and in depth sessions on HEAL’s Platform for Real Food. SoPL will also include a learning component alongside local organizing groups.

“For too long, policies related to our food system, including those that govern land use, immigration, environmental regulations, wages and worker protections have further disenfranchised low-income communities and communities of color.” said Navina Khanna, Director of the HEAL Food Alliance. “Thanks to big agriculture and the policy makers beholden to the big ag lobby, our food system leaves corporations unchecked while failing to provide a basic safety net for our community members. It’s time for us to set food policy that works for all of us. SoPL is a first step in training the leaders from our communities who will do just that.”


About the HEAL Food Alliance
The HEAL (Health, Environment, Agriculture, Labor) Food Alliance is a multi-sector, multi-racial coalition building collective power to transform our food and farm systems. We are led by our member-organizations, and strive to amplify the experience and expertise of frontline communities who are most burdened by the disparities of our current systems. Together, we are developing solutions to drive change.

About the HEAL Platform for Real Food
in 2016 by 50 organizations representing rural and urban farmers, fisherfolk, farm and food chain workers, rural and urban communities, scientists, public health advocates, environmentalists, and indigenous groups, the HEAL Platform for Real Food is a 10-point platform that serves as a call to action and a political compass for transforming our country’s food and farm systems.