Hailing from Carthage, Mississippi, Erica graduated from Stanford University in 2017 with a degree in earth systems with a concentration in sustainable food and agriculture and a minor in art practice. She is passionate about issues surrounding food systems including sustainability and food justice. While at Stanford, Erica explored these issues through course work as well as internships. In 2015, she was a summer farm intern in Tuscany, Italy, with the Spannocchia Foundation where she was able to observe a sustainable food system in practice in another country. Erica also participated in the FEED Collaborative Innovation Fellowship through the Stanford Haas Center for Public Service. During her fellowship, she worked with the Stanford FEED Collaborative and Sage Center to help San Mateo County, CA, create a vision for a local food and farm bill.
Field placement: Oregon Food Bank
Erica worked in Portland, Oregon at Oregon Food Bank, whose mission is to eliminate hunger and its root causes. She led the design and launch of the Seed to Supper Ambassadors Program which empowers community leaders with the tools and skills needed to teach their communities how to grow a low-cost vegetable garden in Oregon. The goal was to tailor Oregon Food Bank’s current Seed to Supper curriculum to meet the needs of each community, specifically the immigrant and refugee communities within the Tri-metro area. Erica believes this unique equitable and educational approach has the potential to further enhance all anti-hunger services currently provided in Portland as well as strengthen community ties.
Policy placement: Alliance to End Hunger
At the Alliance to End Hunger, Erica focused on the Hunger is a Racial Equity Issue project that began last year with 23rd class Emerson Hunger Fellow Margot Nitschke. The goal of the project is to illuminate the connection between hunger and racial inequities within the United States, so members can see the need to use an equity lens in their work. To support members on this journey, Erica created a racial equity toolkit for members of The Alliance to End Hunger to implement within their organizations.
Hunger Free Community Report
In her Hunger Free Community Report Erica outlines her vision for the Ambassadors Program, which includes recommendations to address staff capacity, collaboration efforts, expansion, and overall structure. The report served as a guide for Oregon Food Bank to reference for the remainder of the 2017-2018 programmatic year as well as 2018-2019 cycle. Erica’s desire was to build a strong foundation for the program; with that achieved, she feels the potential of the program is limitless.