Monday, April 14, 2014

Action Corps Year in Review! Highlights and Celebrations

Click on the slide for a visual tour of the actions and victories of the 2013-2014 year!  We congratulate and give deepest thanks to all our dedicated organizers and volunteers across the country who gave your time, smarts and heart to making this possible.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Meet our new Action Corps Organizers!

Say hello to all our incoming Action Corps Organizers for the 2014-15 year! They are all fantastic, engaged social justice advocates, each coming with a unique background. From youth educators, to nurses, to biologists, we have a full range of experiences to work from to make this a successful year!

Before we move on, though, we want to thank and celebrate our excellent 2013-14 organizers. They are: Kathy Chavez, Jasmine McBeath, Lexy Keaton, Miranda Birt, Suad Maow, Sarah Lucey, Caitlin Lovegrove, Kathryn Sokolowski, Megan Nakra, Lydia Bailey, Kelly Buffalo, Aaron Schlumbohm, Kim Kiser, Joleen Goff, Edna Wijnterp, Mariela Quesada Centeno, Dawn Deransburg, Jessy Spanswick, Margaret Richardson, Elizabeth Norman, Sarah Hwang, Emily Black, Yoshiko Hill, Brook Sinclair, Jena Dixon, and Ruby Mixon-Luecke. Give them a (virtual) hand for all their hard work this past year!!

Soon the new organizers below will be traveling to Washington DC for their leadership training, and we can't wait! Let's get ready for another effective and active year.


Katherine Chavez was born and raised in New Mexico. She joined the US Navy at age 19 and served four years before moving to Hanford, California where she worked as a bartender in a Mexican restaurant. Kathy currently works as a pediatric nurse at Children’s Hospital of New Mexico. She became involved with Oxfam at the Albuquerque’s growers’ market where after she somehow found herself in a kitchen full of great fresh food and wonderful, fun people.

Amanda Dezan is an international relations and Latin American studies major at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Originally from northern Virginia, right outside of Washington DC, she moved to Albuquerque last year for a change, and has been volunteering with the local Oxfam chapter ever since. She is an avid traveler, and has worked extensively with groups supporting rights to education in South America and Asia. When she’s home, she loves being outdoors: hiking, biking, camping or sailing.


Sarah Strong is a graduate of University of Texas Austin with a Bachelor’s in Social Work, and is currently a case manager at a non-profit in Austin, dealing specifically with homelessness. A lot of her experience has been with direct social work practice. She is excited to learn about community organizing and how to tackle the root of social justice issues!


Sapana Thomas works as a product manager at a mobile advertising technology company, and also has a passion for issues related to public health and hopes to do work in that area one day. She is involved with Technology Underwriting Greater Good to spread social entrepreneurship. She previously worked in the biotechnology community as a researcher at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and also loves photography and running.

Sarah Lucey is returning organizer in Boston, who has enjoyed leading volunteers for the past year, especially through lobby visits and event planning. A graduate of Northeastern University, she now works as a program representative at a local housing non-profit with clients in Section 8 housing. Though she grew up in Massachusetts, she loves traveling and is a dual citizen with the UK and USA, and has studied abroad in Italy, South Africa, and Costa Rica.


Madison Moran is an undergraduate studying Natural Resource Planning and Political Science at the University of Vermont, and is also Co-President of the Oxfam America Club there. She has become increasingly dedicated to Oxfam’s message through her work, and has kept busy with their events. In addition, she is extremely involved on campus, and is a traveler, hiker, and skier!

Diana Halbstein, originally from New Jersey, is now thrilled to be in Burlington permanently after graduating from the University of Vermont. Over the last several years, she has been very involved in the Fair Traide movement, and now works for her local Ten Thousand villages store, which is a non-profit fair trade retailer. She also loves biking, hiking, tutoring, and dreaming up travel plans!


Sandra Agik, born and raised in Uganda, moved to Chicago in 2009 for college and fell in love with the city. After studying Biology she learned about how social determinants of health create disparities in various populations, and therefore became interested in Oxfam and its mission. She now works as a Research Assistant at the University of Chicago’s center for Clinical Cancer Genetics. She is also an avid traveler and loves the outdoors.

Lizzie Nolan  is Vice President and Co-Founder of a health and technology start up, and considers herself an adventurer. After studying and working on four different continents, she loves traveling. She has just finished a Master of Science in International Public Service degree and is eager to put it to use for Oxfam!


Kenny Ruffin is a self-defined media artist, educator, musician, and community activist. He has spent over 20 years in higher education and broadcasting, teaching at the community college level at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting, as well as starting his own media company for non profits and local artists. He enjoys art, music, film, theatre, travel, photography and philosophy, and is dedicated to making the world a better place.

Des Moines

Amy Luebbert is a returning organizer who took off a year to do service as an Energy Corps AmeriCorps member. After working for a while at a financial company, she left to pursue a career more in line with her passions for the non-profit sector. She is also very dedicated to her local church, and loves cats and vegan food! With all of her previous experience she is excited to continue as organizer.


Kim Kiser is a returning organizer who currently works at a local organization called Second Helpings coordinating volunteers to make meals from donated food. The organization also serves the meals at homeless shelters, low-income day care centers, after-school programs, and senior programs throughout the area. Kim recently graduated from the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and now volunteers with Slow Food, the Indiana Climate Collaboration, Toastmasters, and with her church.

AJ Feeney-Ruiz is very involved in politics, with dual JD/MBA degrees from Indiana University and more than fifteen years of political work experience in both the Indianapolis and Washington, DC areas. In addition, he has extensive experience with public relations, management roles, consulting, and international experience – having been to seventy-five countries and time living and working abroad! He is currently chief mediator for discrimination cases brought forth in his county, and is very involved in his community.

Kansas City

Edna Wijnterp is a returning organizer, born and raised in beautiful Puerto Rico, who now works as an Operations Specialist at a bank in Kansas City. She loves to travel and meet new people and learn from different cultures. She has loved being involved with Oxfam and creating awareness of our global social problems, particularly those surrounding women’s rights.

Diana Arcila was born in Colombia, and studied accounting there until she moved to the U.S. with her new family. She later moved to her current home in Kansas City and started working as a Reconciler of Internal accounts in the United Missouri Bank. She is an active participant in her community, volunteering, giving free classes, and living and working closely with the Hispanic community there. She is a true believer of communal identity, seeing us all as citizens of the universe who should work to help each other.


Yolibeth Rangel-Fitzgibbon is originally from Venezuela, where she studied agriculture. She then came to the U.S. to study Plant Pathology at University of Wisconsin Madison, where she stayed on to work after graduation. After starting a family, she now works as the Program Director for an after-school program for less privileged children, dedicated to improving English literacy and good character. With food justice still as an important issue for her, she is dedicated to making a difference in society and has always been involved in her community.

Alice Reznickova is an environmental justice advocate, with degrees from University of Wisconsin – Madison and Smith College in Chemistry and Environmental Science. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW – Madison, where she explores the social inclusiveness of the local food movement. Alice is also currently the Director of the Greater University Tutoring Services at UW, and an active volunteer for a neighborhood center where she teaches science to children.


Margaret Richardson is a resident of St. Paul who has been very involved in her community. She is a parent who single-handedly raised 5 almost adult children, and is someone who loves bringing people together to work on a problem, campaign, or a party. She is currently a CNA/PCA/HHA science instructor for elementary school children and is constantly challenging her students to be problem solvers.

Janiece Watts is an active participant in community organizing, on issues including environmental justice, economic equality and food justice. She has worked on campaigns such as Raise the Wage, and has sat on the Minnesota Trade Policy Advisory Council, to research implications of a bill in Congress. She is a passionate advocate for many social justice issues and loves the mission of Oxfam.

New York City

Jennifer Viechweg-Horsford was born in Grenada, and has always been actively involved in poverty and youth issues globally. She has extensive experience as a public servant in Grenada, and has represented the island nation in many platforms. After attaining her Master’s in Business Administration she deepened her understanding of poverty issues by attending a seminar in China. She is now an independent consultant, the volunteer coordinator for a youth group, and is also involved in parent leadership.

Elizabeth Tillman is originally from Florida, where she first studied and worked at a law firm. Then, after obstaining her Masters from the University of Leicester, she moved to New York where she is currently working at an investment firm. She also volunteers with the grassroots development aid organization, Kageno Worldwide.


Sarah Magnelia first got involved with Oxfam as a student at the University of Texas at Austin with their college club. She moved to Philadelphia recently for a job as the College Placement Associate at KIPP, a national network of charter schools. She has spent time in Tanzania doing HIV/AIDS outreach, and mentored freshman in the Texas Interdisciplinary Program.

San Francisco

Janet Lee was born in South Korea, lived between Korea and Indonesia when she was young, and finally came over to the US at the age of 8. After attending an arts junior high and high school doing violin performance and dance, she attended University of Southern California where she graduated in 2012 majoring in business, with an emphasis on tech entrepreneurship. She currently works at Apple in the Geo Expansion team but is excited to learn more about social entrepreneurship and policy through Oxfam. She is also an avid traveler, going abroad for study, work, leisure, and volunteering.

Nadine Lueras-Tramma was born and raised in Southern California, and moved north four years ago to go to UC Berkeley. After studying Social Psychology, she volunteered with Kiva as a Community Support Intern. This experience inspired her to travel to East Timor, where she worked for a micro-finance institution. She now lives back in Berkeley, working her way up to apply to grad school for International Development.

ALSO Welcome our 2014-15 Peer Facilitators!

Isaac Evans-Frantz is a reproductive health educator at a community health center in Northern Manhattan. He has volunteered with Oxfam Action Corps NYC since 2008, when he helped launch the group, and has been instrumental to its growth and numerous community alliances since then.  He recalls attending his first Oxfam America Hunger Banquet at age 10, and is excited about helping the Action Corps build relationships with other organizations. 

Jasmine McBeath is from Arizona, but moved to Albuquerque a few years ago. She works at Big Brothers Big Sisters, offering support to volunteers, families, and children. She finds the work extremely rewarding (with the added benefit that it helps her practice her Spanish!). When she returned from her year in Brazil, she wanted to continue learning about development work and low-and-behold she found Oxfam. She has been a leader for the New Mexico Action Corps for two years and is thrilled to return as a peer facilitator!

Megan Nakra is a clinical Research and Development scientist who focuses on various avenues to impact change especially in regards to public health. With a Masters in Biotechnology and working on a Masters in Public Policy, she assumes many roles. These roles include teaching undergraduate students, chairing health events and creating marketing campaigns for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, and practicing as a licensed EMT. Megan is ready to forge forth and generate waves of solutions with Oxfam.

Elizabeth Norman is originally from North Carolina where she grew up near her grandparents’ farm. She moved to Brooklyn after graduating from Oberlin. In addition to working in finance for a non-profit and volunteering with Oxfam, she volunteers with street trees and is studying French. She loves to travel, and has had the opportunity to volunteer on a cheese-making sheep farm in France. She has loved being a part of the Oxfam Action Corps for the past year and is ready to take her commitment to the next level.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sugar Can Be Sweet! An Update from Behind the Brands

Check out this fantastic update from our own Megan Nakra, Chicago Oxfam Action Corps Organizer, about the latest from Behind the Brands. For the original post, go to:

(Quotations from the Behind the Brands website)

"After nearly 6 months of campaigning, the world’s second largest food and drink company agreed to a zero tolerance policy on land grabs and for its bottlers to do the same.

“Consumer power just got a little bit stronger,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. The second biggest food and beverage company in the world has committed to put its full weight behind preventing land grabs in its supply chain. Suppliers who want their ingredients to be used in everything from Pepsi Cola and Doritos to Gatorade and Mountain Dew must now ensure their land is acquired responsibly.
“This would never have happened without hundreds of thousands of people standing up to insist that companies respect the rights of people in their supply chains. No company is too big to listen to its customers. Together we can transform the food industry if consumers demand it.”

PepsiCo’s announcement comes on the heels of similar commitments made by the Coca-Cola Company in late 2013 after just one month of your campaigning.

And Associated British Foods (ABF), the other company you’ve been calling on to act, recently created new policies committing to the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), which helps ensure communities are consulted and must give consent before the land they are using is sold. Oxfam is currently in dialogue with ABF-owned Illovo, the largest sugar producer in Africa, to encourage them to take further steps to implement this policy.

So what exactly have they committed to?

Oxfam welcomes PepsiCo’s commitment to “zero tolerance” for land grabbing, including commitments to:
  1. Adhere to the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent and require that its suppliers, including bottlers, do the same.
  2. Disclose the top three countries and suppliers of its cane sugar.
  3. Conduct and publish social, environmental and human rights assessments, including into land conflicts.
  4. Engage with governments and international bodies to support responsible land rights practices.
  5. Engage with suppliers regarding the cases in Brazil and Cambodia highlighted by Oxfam’s Nothing Sweet About It report to pursue resolutions that respond to community concerns.
We’ll be closely tracking PepsiCo to make sure they follow through on their promises - see the roadmap here.

What does this mean for farmers and their communities?

As one of the biggest food and beverage companies in the world, PepsiCo has immense power to influence its suppliers and other companies in the industry. As a result of these commitments, better measures will be taken by PepsiCo to avoid land conflicts that drive farmers off their land and out of their homes.
“We applaud PepsiCo’s important step forward in declaring zero tolerance for land grabs,” said Byanyima. “We will monitor the actions the company takes to follow through on this commitment. In particular we willcontinue to advocate, along with local partners, for appropriate resolution for the communities in Brazil and Cambodia who continue to struggle to regain the rights to their land. Other companies must now follow PepsiCo and Coca-Cola’s lead and transform the industry’s approach to land rights”.

Thank you


Without your voices, this would not have happened. So we need you to be ready to speak out again in May when we launch our next action on the injustice of climate change."

What to Post on Social Media
We’d love your help to celebrate, spread the word and thank your supporters. Please post the following on social media.


  • WIN! You spoke, @PepsiCo listened! (link to blog) RT to share the news! #behindthebrands
  • GREAT NEWS: @PepsiCo have committed to zero tolerance of land grabs! (link to blog) RT to share the news! #behindthebrands


  • You spoke, PepsiCo listened!After nearly 275,000 of you took action PepsiCo have committed to put its full weight behind preventing land grabs in its supply chain. Suppliers who want their ingredients to be used PepsiCo’s products like Pepsi Cola, Lays and Doritos must make sure they commit to the zero tolerance approach to land grabs. Find out exactly what the biggest food and drink company in the world has committed to in our blog (LINK) – and SHARE this post to share the great news!
  • PepsiCo, the world's 2nd largest food and drink company, has listened to nearly 275,000 of you and committed to a zero tolerance policy on land grabs throughout their supply chain!  Following your pressure, PepsiCo will be making sure it's sugar, and other ingredients in its products like Pepsi Cola, Doritos and Tropicana, does not lead to farmers and communities being kicked off their land and out of their homes. You made this happen - so find out exactly what's been committed to and how we'll make sure they stick to their promises here - and SHARE this post to share the great news!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

International Women's Day Ahead!

International Women’s Day is fast approaching, and Oxfam Action Corps will hold events on the day itself, March 8th, as well as throughout the month. These events will celebrate the work done by women worldwide, as well as recognize women leaders from our communities for their local actions that have a global impact.

Oxfam’s mission is to right the wrong of poverty and hunger; problems that are rooted in injustice. By championing the right of women and girls we can work towards ending that injustice and empowering populations of struggling people.

Did you know?

·         Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, but earn only 10 percent of the income and own only 1 percent of the property.
·         If women farmers had the same access to resources that men do, the number of hungry people in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.

This year, join Oxfam Action Corps by honoring a woman in your community who is leading the fight against poverty and hunger. By highlighting women who are acting locally and helping globally, you’re showing that these actions matter—and sending a powerful message about the role of women as a force for change. (In addition to participating in the events below, you can download this toolkit to create your own event)

What events can you attend?

In Albuquerque, NM: “We Are the Eighth Day” - An art presentation by five local women, and artistic expression from international sisters. With artist booths and locally grown food, this event celebrates women’s ability to express their resilience in the face of social and environmental challenges.
To RSVP to this event or learn more, click here.

In Boston, MA: A hunger banquet, featuring two incredible guests and honorees, Cassandria Campbell of Boston and Emiliana Aligaesha of Tanzania. This event celebrates women’s achievements here and worldwide in changing the way we grow, eat, and share food.
To RSVP to this event or learn more, click here.

In Burlington, VT: A hunger banquet, featuring Oxfam guest Mary Starkey, Program Support Coordinator for our Regional Programs Department. This event will also highlight the achievements of women here and worldwide in agriculture, with hopes of inspiring change in our food system.
To RSVP to this event or learn more, click here.

In Chicago, IL: Women in Decision Making Expo and Panel – this event will feature a panel of incredible women representing different fields and careers to discuss their role, particularly as women, in the changing sphere of decision making.  The Networking Expo will focus on women’s-based businesses and health issues.
To RSVP to this event or learn more, click here.

In Des Moines, IA: This video screening and discussion event aims to celebrate women that are moving culture forward. Featuring speakers to discuss their leadership roles in their work, attendees will then be lead in a lively discussion.
To RSVP to this event or learn more, click here.

In Indianapolis, IN: This event celebrates local Dr. Stephanie Kimball, climate change activist and Affiliate and Resource Director for Hoosier-Interfaith Power & Light. After screening some videos on climate change, Dr Kimball will speak on its impact on farmers and what we can do to help.
To RSVP to this event or learn more, click here.

In New York, NY: A hunger banquet is to come, in collaboration with Pace University. This event will highlight the injustices and inequities within our food system, while focusing on the impact women have and can continue to have in changing it.
For more information email the NYC Action Corps at

In Minneapolis, MN: An Oxfam Jam concert will have an element of honoring women, in collaboration with this event that celebrates Oxfam’s mission and vision.
For more information email the Minnesota Action Corps at

In Philadelphia, PA: A small dinner for local attendees, this celebration will honor women leaders in the area and facilitate a discussion about what's being done, and what can be done.
For more information email the Philadelphia Action Corps at

In San Francisco, CA: “Oxfam America – Act Local, Think Global Awards 2014” – a celebration of accomplished women doing work on global issues such as food justice, climate, water, land, and corporate responsibility. This event will features speakers and discussions about and by its honorees.
To RSVP to this event or learn more, click here.

In Seattle, WA: Hosted at a local, sustainable restaurant, this event will feature four amazing speakers who work directly with the farming industry in the Seattle area. They will speak and be honored for their work to create equity and justice, and all will reflect on how local efforts impact people worldwide.
To RSVP to this event or learn more, click here.

Events in the remaining Oxfam Action Corps cities are not finalized, but to get in touch with the organizers please email them at these addresses:

Thank you and enjoy a wonderful International Women's Day!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Rockin' the Last Week of Recruitment!

Jamming out with the Oxfam Action Corps

This is your last week to apply for the one-of-a-kind Oxfam Action Corps leadership training in Washington DC.  That's right - the deadline is Valentine's Day, February 14!  And on that note, here's one reason why I love the Oxfam Action Corps: because they organize "Oxfam Jams."  This Friday our group in NYC held its first such concert - pictures below.

If you think you would love it too, apply by February 14 at

To learn more about our annual training and leadership service program, view the recording of our live presentation and discussion held last week. Click here to view the Streaming version or the Downloadable version

Now is an exciting time to join our campaign, as we plan to take action on food and climate justice initiatives in the upcoming year. We will continue our Behind the Brands initiative calling on companies to take responsible measures to ensure farmers are treated fairly. For this and other information about what Oxfam America is up to, or just as a refresher, be sure to check out our Behind the Brands and revamped campaign pages.

For more inspiration and motivation on the local level, take a look at the recent Oxfam Jam concert held in New York City! 

More pictures can be found on their twitter page. Thanks to the hard work of our organizers and volunteers there, they were able to put on an awesome musical event that helped spread the word of our mission and also listen to some great tunes. Remind your friends and potential applicants that this is what you can look forward to by being a part of the Oxfam Action Corps. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

You know Oxfam, you love Oxfam, now lead Oxfam in your hometown

Leadership opportunity:  Organize in your community to end global hunger – join the Oxfam Action Corps! 

Oxfam America, an international relief and development organization, invites you to play a leading role in the Oxfam Action Corps, an exciting grassroots effort to stand up to poverty, hunger, and injustice around the world – starting right in your community.  The Oxfam Action Corps is a group of trained grassroots advocates in fifteen US cities who organize with other local volunteers in support of our GROW campaign for policies that will save lives, defend the rights of women and farmers, and protect communities worldwide from rising food prices and climate change.  It includes a free national advocacy and leadership training for select participants. You will gain leadership skills, have fun, and change the world!

Sign-up by February 14 to apply for Oxfam’s free four-day leadership training in Washington D.C. April 5-8, 2014.  

"This is leadership in practice. You can't just read a book on leadership. You have to put it into practice." - Jill Mizell, Researcher, New York

“Oxfam Action Corps has given me a ton of confidence… Gaining knowledge and being able to speak to people about the issues.”  - Amy L., Business Operations Analyst, Des Moines

"This has become one of the best parts of my life… I can't express enough how satisfying it is to be organizing with people who are just as committed and dependable and passionate. It is so great to have the support from the Oxfam America staff, and I've been really impressed by their accessibility, competency and friendliness." – Isaac E., Educator, New York City

View and share the short video below, highlighting the great work done by the Action Corps.

Sign up at by February 14

Our Voices Have Been Heard: Coca-Cola Agrees to Zero Tolerance Policy for Land Grabs

Here is a great post from our Action Corps in the San Francisco Bay area, highlighting their work and success with the campaign!

Original post can be found at:

Our Voices Have Been Heard: 

Coca-Cola Agrees to Zero Tolerance Policy for Land Grabs


Ladies and Gentlemen, our hard work is paying off! All of our hours spent volunteering, campaigning, speaking out, and signing petitions is showing fruition. Over 225,000 people called for action to prevent land grabs and Coca-Cola has heard us. The food and beverage giant Coca-Cola has agreed to respect and protect the land rights of indigenous communities from which it sources its sugar. Specifically, Coca-Cola has agreed to:

  1. A zero tolerance policy on land grabs
  2. A “know and show” policy relating to being held accountable and aware of land rights and conflicts within its supply chain
  3. To support responsible agriculture investment and to advocate for governments and others to tackle land grabbing;
Sugar production requires a vast amount of land and is currently at an all time high triggering land conflicts and abuse. Coca-Cola is the largest sugar producer in the world making this news all the more amazing. Coca-Cola is the first beverage and food company to take such a stand, but should not be the last. For more information on this breaking news visit

Our mission and work does not end here. PepsiCo and Associated British Foods are some of the largest sugar producers in the world and as such we are urging them to follow in Coca-Cola’s footsteps and make a change in relation to the allowance of land grabs within their supply chains. In order to do this we need your help.

What Can You Do to Stop This?

Start by signing Oxfam's current petition to urge Pepsi-co and Associated British Foods to follow Coca-Cola’s example and hold themselves accountable for the land and human rights atrocities occurring in their supply chains. These huge companies have the market power to pressure their suppliers into committing to zero tolerance land grab policies and you have the power to pressure these food and beverage giants into stepping up and standing against land grabs. Make sure your voice is heard.

Then share the following messages:

Via Twitter

Tell @PepsiCo & #ABF to take action against land grabs! #BehindTheBrands

Via Facebook

Post the following message to PepsiCo's Facebook page

Stop land grabs! Tell PepsiCo and ABF—some of the biggest buyers of sugar in the world—to make sure their sugar doesn’t lead to land grabs that force poor farmers and their families off their land. #BehindTheBrands!