Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation Collaborates with North Star Fund

The Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, along with the North Star Fund, has developed Community Food Funders as a regional affinity group for funders interested in creating a more sustainable and just food system. As a national sustainable agriculture and food system funder, Noyes has jealously watched as local funders have organized themselves to support food system transformation in their regions. Wanting the opportunity to learn about change at the “food shed” level, Noyes program officer Kolu Zigbi shared her desire for a food-focused affinity group with Hugh Hogan, executive director of the North Star Fund, a New York City-based social justice foundation and a member fund of the FEX Network. Hugh revealed a long-held passion for supporting bio-regional food systems, informed by his experience spending nearly a decade in West and Southern Africa working with rural farmers and urban communities to reverse the destructive legacies of colonialism and Apartheid, and for five years in New York City with the environmental justice movement. Hugh and Kolu agreed that the North Star Fund should staff and steward a new food focused affinity group, and CFF was born.

CFF will create opportunities for networking, learning and sharing information about ways to support the emerging transition to a just, sustainable and ecologically sound food system. Another goal is to deepen understanding of the relationship between the food supply and community development. CFF’s geographic focus is the New York City “food shed,” a porous boundary the group will explore through the rubric of three key elements of the region; its ecosystem, social dimensions and its sustainable practices.

Noyes and North Star’s commitment to environmental and economic justice are key values guiding the group’s development. CFF’s steering committee includes representatives from the Doris Duke Charitable Trust, and New World and Surdna foundations. North Star has hired Michael Easterling as the group’s part-time coordinator. He has over a decade of experience organizing leadership trainings on agriculture and food systems, and extensive “in the ground” experience with urban agriculture and youth programs. If you are an interested funder, please call