4 January 2018

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Farm Bill 2018

Dear Friends and Colleagues: It is not possible to live in the United States and not have some inkling that 2017 was an unusual year, in politics and cultural society. Happy New Year. No, really. This Executive Director Column has a fairly large distribution, which is growing monthly. For more than a year I have […]

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13 December 2017

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The Silence of the Men

Dear Friends and Colleagues: Maybe it will be different this time. Maybe the outcry from women in 2017 will have marked a turning point in the honesty and maturation of the psyche of a culture exemplified by election of a self-proclaimed bombastic repeated sexual harasser to the office of President of the United States. Maybe […]

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19 November 2017

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High Holiday Season

Dear Friends and Colleagues: November heralds the beginning of a traditional high holiday season and the beginning of the end of 2017. Here in the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving, that awkwardly homespun holiday that commemorates a mythological warm and fuzzy breaking of bread between early European settlers and the indigenous peoples of a new […]

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19 October 2017

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Still I Kneel

Dear Friends and Colleagues: I kneel, in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and all those demonstrating support for the issue of ending the killing of black men, women and children while in police custody. My family boasts generations of soldiers in the U.S. military services. My father, my uncle, and my brother served proudly in the […]

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21 September 2017

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Undeniable Human Spirit

Dear Friends and Colleagues: Wednesday, September 27th I have been asked to speak at a discussion hosted by the Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB) on the subjects of SNAP and the 2018 Farm Bill, because, yes, despite the immediate environmental, political and economic challenges, we have to continue advocacy and organizing to effect just […]

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4 September 2017

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What’s in a Name?

Dear Friends and Colleagues: Last November, in Long Beach California, my mother’s children and grandchildren gathered at a neighborhood elementary school to witness a ceremony formally changing the school’s name in her honor. Olivia Nieto Herrera was an amazing woman, but of course, to me she was just, mom. Her achievements included partnering with Rep. […]

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3 August 2017

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O Captain! My Captain!

Dear Friends and Colleagues: When Walt Whitman wrote his poem about the death of President Abraham Lincoln, he captured the sorrow and depth of loss in a nation torn asunder by the clash of cultures and a bloody war that marred the country in 1865. We have not lost our captain, but I fear this […]

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9 July 2017

Comments Off on Your New Normal is Vigilance…

Your New Normal is Vigilance…

Dear Friends and Colleagues: I’ve been on something of a hiatus, spending time in the Santa Barbara/Carpinteria/Rincon area writing and attending the Santa Barbara Writers Conference (SBWC). It was an adventure-filled two weeks about which I will write elsewhere. During that time I pretty much ignored the news and didn’t turn on a television set, […]

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25 May 2017

Comments Off on You Can’t Make this Stuff Up…

You Can’t Make this Stuff Up…

Dear Friends and Colleagues, When I was growing up one of the ongoing discussions we school children had was, “How could the people in Germany not do something to stop Adolph Hitler and the horrible things he did in World War II? All the atrocities he perpetuated inside and outside of the country?” In the […]

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4 May 2017

Comments Off on Bluster and a Path Forward

Bluster and a Path Forward

Dear Friends and colleagues: OMG, when he juts his chin out he even looks like Mussolini… The brouhaha around the new President’s first 100 day is as fake as his patriotism, as evidenced by this birthday card to Melania Trump, complete with a U.S. flag with all of thirty-nine stars. Sometimes a prop is just […]

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7 March 2017

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He Said What?

Reflecting on the first weeks of a new White House administration is not new for many of us. However, by any standard or measurement we are in new territory with the Trump administration. And, after just one month it’s all still new and shiny—the emotions, the outrage, the passion and never ending surprise executive orders. For […]

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6 February 2017

Comments Off on The New Gilded Age…Robber Barons Redux

The New Gilded Age…Robber Barons Redux

  My Dear Colleagues and Friends: Now that Rex Tillerson is Secretary of State, we need to keep watch on how long until the sanctions on Russia are lifted. Tillerson’s previous job was C.E.O. of ExxonMobil, where the world’s largest gas and oil corporation invested in 63.6 million acres of potential assets in Russia that […]

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31 August 2016

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Birthday Greetings!

  Dear Friends and Colleagues: Yes, it’s true what they say—Medicare is a wonderful thing! Truly, Medicare for all is the solution to the healthcare debacle. True, the losers in such a radical proposal are the insurance companies, who like the stock brokers and hedge fund managers and corporate CEOs, have driven the need for […]

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6 July 2016

Comments Off on Gee whiz, it’s great to be back!

Gee whiz, it’s great to be back!

Dear Friends and Colleagues: As most of you know, for the past year I have been on medical leave for congestive heart failure. Happily, because of advances in health care this diagnosis is something many of us can now live with, assuming better eating and exercise habits in addition to the new “miracle” medications. But […]

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2 June 2016

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CFJC Update

Dear Friends and Colleagues: As you know, CFJC executive director Armando Nieto has been on medical leave for the past year. We are truly happy to report that he is healing  on schedule and planning to return to work soon. We are writing to update you on Armando’s condition, but also to let you know […]

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28 January 2016

Comments Off on January 2016 Program Manager Letter

January 2016 Program Manager Letter

We’re a month into the new year, and 2016 will indeed be a new year for the Community Food and Justice Coalition. To start, we’ve moved fiscal sponsorship from the Public Health Institute (PHI) to Food First (The Institute for Food and Development Policy). CFJC would like to thank PHI for their support over the […]

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27 October 2015

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A Year of Change

Dear CFJC members, partners, and supporters: 2015 has been a year of change at CFJC, and I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about where CFJC is at now. You may have noticed that we did not publish a September newsletter—that is just one of the small changes. Our newsletters will now be published […]

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25 July 2015

Comments Off on $131k in 31 Days: Support CFJC’s Transition!

$131k in 31 Days: Support CFJC’s Transition!

On July 27th, the Community Food and Justice Coalition launches our biggest summer fund appeal to date. $131k in 31 Days: Support CFJC’s Transition! to address Armando’s health concerns. CFJC has come a long way since our founding in 2003. Y. Armando Nieto came to CFJC in 2010 to take the coalition “to the next level.” […]

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19 May 2015

Comments Off on Stepping Up, Stepping Back

Stepping Up, Stepping Back

4th Annual GOAT Convening

Executive Director Column 5/19/15 Arguably, one of the most successful efforts with which CFJC is involved is the GOAT process—Getting Our Act Together. This past March activists, farmers, organizers and policy wonks met in Washington, D.C. for the Fourth Annual GOAT Convening. We will continue to report on the GOAT process but the purpose of […]

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16 March 2015

Comments Off on Here We Go Again….

Here We Go Again….

Dear Friends and Colleagues: I had planned to devote this month’s column to the high philosophical concept level of who we are as a country, and who we want to become. I will still go there, but first, I need to update you on the conversation we just had on the weekly GOAT (Getting Our […]

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16 February 2015

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Changes in 2015

Executive Director Column 2/17/15 Over the past three years, as CFJC participated in the GOAT (Getting Our Act Together) process, we learned more about the Pettus Bridge March in Selma, Alabama, from those who were there in 1965, and those who celebrate the “Bloody Sunday” event annually by re-creating the march. It has been a […]

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27 January 2015

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What’s New in 2015

Executive Director Column 1/27/15 Dear Friends and Colleagues: The first CFJC newsletter of the year is a week later than usual on purpose. I asked Courtney to hold off because it seems the year is unfolding at once slowly and quickly, all at the same time. I just thought more would be settled—in the press, […]

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15 December 2014

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Best Wishes & Blessings

Executive Director Column 12/16/14 Best wishes this holiday season, and we hope all is well with you, your family, friends and loved ones. We have lived through a fairly intense year together. This edition of the CFJC newsletter marks a change from the usual. For one thing, we are taking the opportunity to look back […]

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25 November 2014

Comments Off on Ferguson 11/24/14

Ferguson 11/24/14

Executive Director Column 11/25/14 Dear Colleagues: Listening to the District Attorney out of St. Louis last night, I was reminded why I dropped out of law school. As an idealistic student, it didn’t take long to learn that, increasingly in this country, the law does not always have much to do with justice. Or, at […]

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21 October 2014

Comments Off on Choosing to be Fearless

Choosing to be Fearless

Dear Colleagues: On the GOAT call this afternoon we discussed the need to regroup as Capitol Hill staff work out differing scenarios, depending on the results of the 2014 mid-term elections, now just two weeks away. I don’t think anyone really has an idea of who is going to win the election season sweepstakes, but […]

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22 September 2014

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Every Day is Voter Registration Day

Executive Director Column 9/23/14 Dear Friends, Colleagues, & Fellow Americans: Congress is in recess until after the elections on November 4th,  except that their staff is working behind the scenes on Capitol Hill, planning for the various scenarios: will Republicans take the Senate? If so, does that mean nothing gets done until the new Congress is […]

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19 August 2014

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I am Ferguson

Dear Friends, Colleagues, Supporters & Fellow Americans: On occasion our newsletter runs a day late, as is the case this month. We know from analytics that readership is robust and growing, and that typically the E.D. column is most read. So it is that I wanted to more fully observe and digest the news stories […]

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15 July 2014

Comments Off on Drought, Food, and the Politics of 2014

Drought, Food, and the Politics of 2014

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters: It’s summer and we know that because children are out of school, the baseball all-star break is upon us, and back-to-school sales have already begun. With regard to the weather, we have to get used to the changes—what used to be unusual weather patterns are now the norm. Here in […]

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20 May 2014

Comments Off on Got your GOAT?

Got your GOAT?

My Dear Friends: I am sitting at the Harvesting Change Conference in Detroit, one of more than 600 attendees, listening to a young generation of food activists demanding to know, “why has my city privatized the health department? Why is it small business fees in Detroit are 3-4 times that of [other] surrounding counties?” and on […]

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22 April 2014

Comments Off on Stand and Be Heard

Stand and Be Heard

Executive Director Column 4/23/14 Its time to Stand and be Heard, and that means each of us. If you bear with me, I’ll explain. To begin, I want to reflect on my personal history to lend perspective to the request for your personal action now. In the 60’s and 70’s, when I was a young […]

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7 February 2014

Comments Off on CFJC Perspective on the 2014 Farm Bill

CFJC Perspective on the 2014 Farm Bill

Jessy Gill and Y. Armando Nieto February 7, 2014 Today, on February 7, President Obama signs into law the reconciled House and Senate 2014 Farm Bill.  After two expirations and years of deliberation we welcome the passage of a full bill, but not because it is a brilliant piece of legislation. Any government that cuts […]

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16 July 2013

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GOAT’s Full and Fair Farm Bill Statement

Below is a statement which was prepared and circulated by the signatories who regularly participate in the “Getting Our Act Together (GOAT) on the Farm Bill” Collaboration, which promotes a fair farm bill with equity and sustainability. We are continuing to add sign-ons to the statement as they come, we urge you to sign on and send out to members of […]

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16 July 2013

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July Message

Dear Friends: Tonight, as I write for morning’s publication of the CFJC newsletter, workplace and airwave discussions of the Zimmerman verdict continue. Hopefully, a painful awareness of the tragic deaths of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, and so many others across the country can lead to action on social issues taken for granted or ignored for far […]

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28 January 2018


Please Read to the End

Dear Friends and Colleagues: If you have been sent this message by a friend or relative, I ask that you please read through to the end. In the face of unrelenting divisiveness I want to touch on cultural, political, gender and even spiritual issues in conflict on the airwaves, in town halls and communities, state […]

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