Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Tony Eskridge graduated from Rhodes College with a degree in Urban Studies and minor in Political Science. His passions for nutrition, food access, and community work began in high school, as he led workshops related to the MyPlate, food insecurity, and general wellness at local health fairs. In addition to serving as Student Body President and a First Year student mentor at Rhodes, Tony worked with community development non-profits uplifting Memphis neighborhoods, minority businesses, and CDCs. His academic research experiences include discussing the root causes of the historic devaluation of black neighborhood value and linking community development priorities and concentrated poverty to the health and well-being of neighborhood residents.
Field placement: Pittsburgh Food Policy Council
Tony worked with the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, a community anchor that brings together member organizations from various government, non-profit, co-op, university, and farm entities from the Southwest Pennsylvania region. Tony’s main focus was marketing, campaigning, and collaborating with the PFPC member organizations around the Greater Pittsburgh Food Action Plan, a plan 3 years in the making that identifies specific strategies for action to improve the food system for all, especially historically marginalized groups.
Policy placement: Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice
Tony worked with the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice, the policy research and political education arm of the Poor People's Campaign. He collaborated on a project to interview food justice organizers around the country and created blog posts to share those narratives around effective organizing strategies and how the fight to end hunger looks on the local level. He also supported the Poor People's Campaign in organizing virtual and in-person rallies led by poor and low wealth people to advocate for policy change in their own words.