Changemaker Nomination: Gail Stott, Ya’axché Conservation Trust

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Gail Stott, Ya’axché Conservation Trustwww.yaaxche.org

Here’s what Isabelle has to say about this fearless person:

“Gail is one of the most inspirational human I have met. She was a drama major who went back to school in her mid-thrities to study botany so she can put her energy to applied conservation. She has been volunteering in Belize, working hands on on nature plot mapping and is instrumental in the future of rosewood in the country. She works her little butt off for next to nothing and deserve much respect, recognition, love and chocolate! She is a true champion. The donation will go to help her savor life and Ya’axché relies solely on donation to function. A little goes a long way over there. Please look her up! Thank you. ps: Thanks for the opportunity to spotlight her work. I believe in the missing bite! Sharing is indeed caring.”

A little more info:

“Ya’axché Conservation Trust is a Belizean organization which aims to maintain healthy forests, rivers and reefs for the benefit of all. Through protected area management, advocacy, and working hand in hand with communities Ya’axché strives to develop capacity for the wise use of land and natural resources in and around the Maya Golden Landscape in Toledo.

Harmony between nature and human development for the benefit of both!”

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Changemaker Nomination: Paul Wheaton

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Paul Wheatonrichsoil.com & permies.com

Here’s what Jocelyn has to say about this fearless person:

“Paul shares little bricks to build a better world (and these bricks teach people about permaculture). How to stay warm and use less energy. How to grow a lush lawn without chemicals. How to raise chickens in the most humane way possible — which also happens to be the laziest way! Even how to grow food without irrigation. Paul currently has a kickstarter campaign for a batch of rocket stove mass heater DVDs and he also has a popular YouTube page (paulwheaton12). More exposure and financial support would help Paul and permaculture reach more people. Ate my first Fearless bar last night and swooned with delight! Thank you for what you make and what you do to build a better world, too.”

A little more info:

Paul Wheaton – the Duke of Permaculture

Paul says “In 2012, Geoff Lawton, the crown prince of permaculture, dubbed me the duke of permaculture. Damn cool.

I’m shocked by the amount of traffic this page gets. Including the number of searches. Yowza. Well, you found me. Let’s see if I can give you the info you are looking for:

  • permaculture forums…
  • permaculture videos…
  • permaculture articles…
  • radio, podcasts, newspapers and magazines…
  • speaking on permaculture…
  • permaculture design courses…
  • permaculture consulting…”

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Changemaker Nomination: Institute For Justice

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Institute For Justicewww.ij.org

Here’s what Christy Ann has to say about this fearless organization:

“The merry band of litigators at the Institute For Justice knows how it goes for folks who are just starting up: ‘If there is any ironclad rule of entrepreneurship, it is that every new innovation is likely to be attacked by businesses and regulators opposed to change.’ With the motto ‘Litigating for Liberty,’ this civil liberties law firm changes the legal landscape for small businesses and entrepreneurs across the U.S. They represent courageous clients and they take ‘fearless’ to any level needed, including winning 4 of 5 Supreme Court cases since 2002.

Donations support good works: IJ consistently receives top honors from Charity Navigator.”

A little more info:

“Founded in 1991, the Institute for Justice is what a civil liberties law firm should be. As the national law firm for liberty, we stick to a clear mission engaging in cutting-edge litigation and advocacy both in the courts of law and in the court of public opinion on behalf of individuals whose most basic rights are denied by the government.  Our four pillars of litigation are private property, economic liberty, free speech and school choice. Simply put, we seek a rule of law under which individuals can control their destinies as free and responsible members of society.”

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Changemaker Nomination: Danielle York, ReRoot America

Get ready for an avalanche of postings for Nominees — we want to get them all in before we vote at the beginning of July! So here’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Danielle York, ReRoot Americawww.rerootamerica.org

Here’s what Kristen has to say about this fearless organization:

“Danielle is the Founder and President of ReRoot America, an organization dedicated to raising an awareness of our agricultural roots and the source of our sustenance. Over the past two years, Danielle has been learning about and propagating many different types of banana trees and has been in touch with experts and specialists gaining practical experience. She has many banana trees in her backyard ready to plant. In conjunction with the 48th District Agricultural Association of the State of California, she has planted at the elementary schools in the Glendora Unified School District, churches, hospitals and businesses.

Danielle’s project is the ultimate non-profit. She plants trees at schools and then in her free time goes in to speak to elementary school students about the importance of agriculture. The trees she plants help offset carbon emissions, and the fruit that the trees bear goes to a local food bank to feed the hungry.

Since Danielle is only a high school student, in order to achieve her mission, she needs financial help. The money will help her purchase more trees and expand her project. Danielle’s ultimate goal is to have her project become “franchised” throughout high schools across the country. Danielle is a driven individual and deserves a donation because she will make the most of the money graciously given to her.”

A little more info:

“Great things often have small beginnings. For the past two years, I have been learning about and propagating many different types of banana trees. I have been in touch with specialists and I have gained a lot of practical experience, I have many banana trees in my backyard ready to plant. My goal is to have churches, schools and companies “adopt” a banana tree. In conjunction with the 48th District Agricultural Association of the State of California, I am currently planting at the elementary schools in the Glendora Unified School District.”

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Changemaker Nomination: Abby Lodmer, Humor Healing Humanity

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Abby Lodmer, Humor Healing Humanitywww.humorhealinghumanity.com

Here’s what Emily has to say about this fearless organization:

“Abby Lodmer is a f“AB”ulous spokesperson for conscious living. Via Humor Healing Humanity, she promotes healthful, ethically produced products (like Fearless Chocolate) that foster well-being without harming the environment or our bodies! Using humor, she shares her unique message of vibrant health through vegan diet, positive attitude and conscious choices. Her spirit of fun influences people of all ages — helping elders change lifelong destructive habits and teaching kids to make wise lifestyle decisions for wellness and vitality. Humor Healing Humanity deserves a donation so that Abby Lodmer can expand her “conscious living education” campaign beyond the web — through speaking tours and traditional media.”

A little more info:

“Abby has more energy and interests than G*d. She is a Renaissance woman if there ever was one! Abby completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Arizona with a major in Media Arts and minors in Religious Studies and Dance. Abby worked for the U of A’s Wellness Center, creating healing programs and delivering lectures about health and drug education. During that time, Abby also embarked upon an aerobics training program — and has taught dance, aerobics and yoga in various capacities for the past 14 years…

Abby Lodmer continues to traverse the world, bringing LIGHT and HEALING through HUMOR! She has performed in comedy clubs across the globe, including the Improv and the Laugh Factory, and has been featured in both television and live shows, playing characters from Rizzo in Grease, The Musical, to the “TV Reporter” and the “Jewish Relative” among other characters in Michael Lucid’s show, Pretty Things. Abby continues to uplift humanity through her show: Humor Healing Humanity, and through her stand-up comedy performances.”

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Changemaker Nomination: Heifer International

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Heifer Internationalwww.heifer.org

Here’s what Marianne has to say about this fearless organization:

“Heifer International is making a real difference in lives. They give animals that keep giving to their communities making a real change in peoples’ lives. They do not simply feed families in need, but rather give them food AND an abundance that allows them to sell additional animal products.”

A little more info:

“Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth.

It all started with a cow.

Moved by the plight of orphans and refugees of the Spanish Civil War as he ladled out meager rations of powdered milk, Dan West, an Indiana farmer, volunteer relief worker and Church of the Brethren member, grasped that the people needed “a cow, not a cup”—cows that could produce milk so families would not have to depend on temporary aid. From that simple idea, Heifer International was born.”

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Changemaker Nomination: Halie Weber, Misfit Animal Rescue

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Halie Weber, Misfit Animal Rescuewww.misfitanimalrescue.com

Here’s what Ruzena has to say about this fearless organization:

“Halie Weber is a 17 year old who founded Misfit Animal Rescue after realizing the plight of death-row animals in her local area. She and her mother went to adopt a new herding dog and were going to leave until they found out that the one they didn’t pick would be euthanized. Her county doesn’t have a low-cost spay/neuter program so many animals are put to sleep in the shelters every day because of overcrowding, sickness, and mismanagement of funds.

Halie saw this was a problem and she became an activist for animals — speaking to local legislators and committees and even ending up on the news as well as the front of the newspaper twice in the last few months. At first she asked her mom, “Why doesn’t someone do something about this?” and then she realized “I AM someone.” In the last 4 months, they’ve rehomed over 80 last-chance dogs and an unknown number of cats.

She and her parents and sister have been such an amazing inspiration for many of us. I adopted my dog from the kill shelter through them last month and ever since, I’ve become actively involved with trying to help them out. It would make me so happy to see some money go to them — especially now that they’ve just taken in some heartworm positive animals as well as a pregnant momma dog who is ready to give birth at any time. They’ll be having some major expenses soon.

Their hearts are so big and they’ve dedicated so much of their love and time to these animals. Not only has that changed their lives and the animals lives, but it’s changed mine. They’re a great example of a family who makes giving back absolutely contagious.”

A little more info:

“Our mission is to reduce euthanasia and take on animals that no one else has adopted and are therefore going to be euthanized. We are also dedicated to educating the public and our local government agencies about the importance of having affordable spay and neuter programs in our community.

The “misfit” dogs we save are generally larger dogs that are not adopted from county shelters as often as smaller dogs. We take them to our ranch and treat them as a member of our family while they wait for their forever home. If you are interested in adopting a dog or cat please see our ADOPTION page.”

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Changemaker Nomination: The Refuge

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to The Refuge (Jim and Marietta Hartley)refugekc.com

Here’s what Mike has to say about this fearless organization:

“Since the Columbine shootings, the Hartleys have been inspired to reach out to young people and encourage them to seek their destiny and become Champions of life.

They run a non profit youth event center in Overland Park, KS called The Refuge. Their name Hartley corresponds to their huge hearts and caring attitude towards young people and their futures.”

A little more info:

“ ‘The refuge is the safer place for teens to party!’

The refuge is not just a place, it is a state of mind. We believe all the best things in life : friends, music , concerts, video games, movies, fun, food and parties should help you achieve and celebrate your dreams instead of rob you of them.

Champions of Life Inc. provides safe, fun places, all ages events and youth activities through arts and music that are free from the risks and influence of drugs, alcohol and violence and self destructive attitude and behaviors.

Our mission is to help young people stay healthy and whole by choosing to be a “Champion of Life” over taking drugs or alcohol, smoking and other destructive choices.”

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CONGRATULATIONS 2012 Changemaker: Food Shift!

The vote is in and our 2012 ChangeMaker of the Year is Food Shift!

What began as an educational organization, Food Shift (www.FoodShift.net) is now developing food justice and recovery programs in our very own Oakland, California. Working with community members, public schools and food businesses alike, founder Dana Frasz is an inspiring leader in the movement to reduce waste. Dana sat with me this April to talk about what we can do to curb waste, empower communities, and respect the environment.

Jordan – Thanks for spending the morning with me Dana. I’m excited to learn more about you and your amazing work with Food Shift! As we always say, Fearless Chocolate is inspired by you who have the courage to dream and act. What inspired you to dream and act, and create an organization called Food Shift?

Dana – When I was 17, I took a year off after high school and spent 4 months traveling around South-East Asia — volunteering and living with families. It was at a Buddhist meditation retreat in Dharamsala, India when I first tapped into my higher calling. The experience of international travel helped shape my world view, awakened my understanding of the true value of food, and helped me realize my position of privilege and therefore responsibility. When I returned home I was overwhelmed by the excess, consumption and waste in our society. I remember the day I saw tray after tray of totally edible food being dumped down the garbage disposal in the campus kitchen at RIT. I freaked out. For one night the manager allowed my friend Len and me to package up the food and take it into the abandoned subway tunnels in Rochester. We shared the food with some men who were living there — this was my first experience with hunger and homelessness in America. I transferred to Sarah Lawrence College and was attracted by the opportunity to design my own major. I studied hunger in America, the economics of waste and consumption, sustainable food-systems and non-fiction writing. The campus was located in Bronxville, New York — a wealthy town with several upscale eateries. I began to ask the businesses and school dining hall if they would donate their excess food. There was a lot of resistance at first but I remained persistent and, by my senior year, we had 10 donors in the community, including the school dining hall, 45 student volunteers and our excess was helping to feed 500 people in the Bronx everyday. After college I spent 3 years working at Ashoka where I became fascinated by social innovation, worked with social entrepreneurs from all over the world and learned about creating sustainable systemic change. I moved to the Oakland and began attending a lot of sustainable food events. I met incredible people, learned about great organizations and yet was wondering why no one was talking about the fact that we are wasting almost half of all our food. I saw this as a real gap in the conversation and a gap in the food justice and sustainability ecosystem.

Jordan – How would you frame hunger in America?

Dana – We are throwing away 40% of all the food we produce while 50 million Americans don’t have adequate access to food. I see this as one of the most disturbing, unjust, and yet solvable paradoxes of our time. We have more than 40,000 groups working to alleviate hunger in this country, yet, hunger in our country is a bigger problem than ever before. The traditional models of food recovery and food assistance are not working. Food alone will not solve hunger. A free meal or bag of groceries is only a temporary fix to a complex problem rooted in unemployment and structural inequality. And that is why Food Shift is working so hard to shift the paradigm around food recovery and food assistance from one that is volunteer and hand-out based to one that focuses on using food to cultivate jobs and catalyze self-sufficiency.

Jordan – I like the idea of approaching the problem by pairing food recovery with job creation. Food is always coming from somewhere and going somewhere, and this implies a whole chain of potential value. How is Food Shift trying to change our culture around food waste and hunger?

Dana – Food Shift’s work involves increasing awareness about the social and environmental impacts of wasted food and inspiring a shift in thinking and behaviors around food. 25% of food waste is happening in our own homes, so we all have an opportunity to be part of the solution by shifting our own behaviors. Right now, there’s a lack of consciousness around the value of food and often people don’t quite connect how wasted food also means wasted land, oil, water, and soil fertility. Food Shift is developing revenue generating food recovery models that provide job training and employment opportunities for vulnerable populations. We know we can employ people in the recovery, redistribution and processing of excess food. This requires a shift in our thinking around both food recovery and food assistance. For decades, we have relied on charity groups to address these massive challenges of food waste and hunger. Despite their obvious value, most food recovery groups in the U.S. provide a free service, receive limited financial support and depend on volunteer commitments to operate. This structure is unsustainable and limits their ability to expand, increase impact, purchase necessary infrastructure, provide wages, and effectively tackle a crisis of this magnitude.

Jordan – I like this idea of food recovery as a service. And I’m trying to imagine you going into a restaurant or an Andronicos and saying “Hey I have this service I want to provide.” Is that an easy conversation?

Dana – It is not easy to get businesses to donate food. We often have to conquer the perception of extra labor, cost and the fear of liability to the business in order to successfully engage with donor businesses. Fortunately, the Good Samaritan Act protects donors of food from liability issues when they donate food to non-profits. We often start with the staff to make sure there’s “staff buy-in.” We’re asking questions like “how will this best work for you? What time should pick-ups happen? How should we label the boxes for your ease of use?” And we work to make sure they understand where this food is going and why this program is important. The staff buy-in is critical. If we don’t achieve that we know the program isn’t going to work.

Jordan – 6 years ago I started a chocolate company and there have been so many moments where moving forward just seemed improbable or downright impossible. You have that self-aware moment of holy$%&* what the heck am I doing? How am I going to solve this? The world doesn’t make it easy to do good work, especially when the driver of your business is values and principles beyond profit. Sometimes you reach that moment where it truly takes a Fearless attitude to push on through. You’re thinking, “I don’t know if this is possible….but if it is, this is how I think its going to work,” and you put your faith in that idea to move forward. You started this program a year and a half ago. What was your greatest Fearless moment so far?

Dana – My fearless moment was the day I decided to launch Food Shift and every day since then that I have been working to take it to the next level. Working to shift a paradigm, change cultural behaviors and influence widespread mindsets is hard. What we are proposing is a major shift in how we regard and utilize food and people in our communities. We are suggesting that we develop different systems that will be better for the environment, the economy and our communities. It’s big, its unique, and its outside what most people consider a possibility.

Jordan – How exciting! And now that you’ve got a year and a half behind you, where do you hope to be in the next year and a half?

Dana – Currently we are exploring a fee-for-service food recovery model with Andronico’s Community Markets in which they would pay us to remove their unwanted food. They see it as a way to reduce waste disposal costs, receive tax deductions, and benefit the community and environment which of course is valuable for marketing and branding. Additionally, we are working with St. Vincent de Paul and Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency (BOSS) in Oakland to make use of cosmetically imperfect and surplus food from farms and grocers. With this food we are going to set up farmers markets, in communities like West Oakland, where we have liquor stores but no grocery stores. We are going to sell the produce at a low cost on a sliding scale so low-income individuals and families can access affordable nutritious food. We also are piloting a program in which we will utilize this food to create value-added products — like jams, sauces and chutneys. These programs will be used as job training opportunities for individuals who are overcoming difficult life circumstances. These are realistic strategies that embrace the potential of food to be used as a tool to empower people and strengthen communities. This is a way we can do more than just feed people through a soup kitchen but also feed them through skill building, employment and opportunity. Lastly, we are working with Oakland Unified School District to reduce waste at schools and redistribute excess food to students and their families.

Jordan – Fearless is a humble sized company but we have customers all over the country and all over the world. How can people get involved with Food Shift locally, but also nationally and globally?

Dana - There is a very tangible action everyone can take to support Food Shift and the movement to end food waste. Until May 12th Food Shift needs votes in a Facebook contest in order to win $50,000 worth advertisements on San Francisco’s public transit. Food Shift is currently in the lead but we need more votes! And, everyone who votes has a chance to win a $500 BART card! People can join Food Shift online at www.FoodShift.netwww.Facebook.com/Foodshift, on twitter and sign up for our newsletter. We are always in need of volunteers and funding so if you are able to contribute, please do!

Jordan – We have a program we call “Bite-Back,” where we give a bite-sized portion of our proceeds from each bar we sell to changemakers nominated by our customers. Fearless found Food Shift because you were nominated by one of our customers. Congratulations and thanks for doing such inspiring work! Now lets pay it forward, who inspires you and Food Shift, who would you like to nominate for 2013?

Dana – Josh Arnold at GALA: Josh makes magic happen in his community, based in New Hampshire — its all focused on strengthening the community and making it more sustainable. He has dedicated the last 6 years of his life to this project, helping his town and NH become more self-reliant, aware and connected. He is a strong leader with the vision and talent to make this world a better place.

Gavin Radars at Planting Justice, based in Oakland. He has an incredible vision for establishing backyard gardens to both explore elements of food justice and job creation. They offer a paid landscaping service where the proceeds are reinvested into garden planting projects at homes and public spaces in low-income communities. It’s about empowerment, employment and a more sustainable food system. Gavin is a true leader, incredibly articulate and has created a fantastic model that should be expanded across the country.

Avery Ellis is Co-Owner at Backyard Revolutions and Owner/Designer/Builder/Teacher at Integrated Aquaponics, based in Colorado. Avery is a leader, teacher and most of all a do-er. He creates, builds, grows, learns and each day is creating a more nutritious, sustainable world through his development of permaculture agricultural systems that use aquaponics.

Jordan – Thank you Dana and congratulations on winning our 2012 ChangeMaker of the Year award! Its an honor to support you and your work with Food Shift, we are inspired!


A big THANK YOU to everyone who voted for Food Shift in the BART Blue Sky contest by May 19th! 

Nearly 900 people indicated through the online contest that they believe in the work and want to see Food Shift ads on San Francisco’s public transit system.  We believe, along with Food Shift, that this is a reflection of how deeply people desire a more just and less wasteful food system.

You can help TODAY by donating to Food Shift here: donate

 

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Changemaker Nomination: Transform a Person Africa (Johnson Migwi)

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Transform a Person Africa (Johnson Migwi)transformaperson.org

Here’s what Bobby has to say about this fearless organization:

“I believe that TAPA [Transform A Person Africa] truly exemplifies the attributes you express in your definition of champions and changemakers. TAPA is a charitable non-profit located in Nairobi, Kenya and brings change and hope to women and children in Kibera, the second largest urban slum in Africa.

Fearless — TAPA fearlessly faces the challenges of rampant HIV/AIDS, poverty, and abandonment that define the Kibera slum. They work in this environment every day to create a safe haven and bring hope to the destitute.

Champion — Johnson Migwi, the founder and director of TAPA, was born and raised in Kenya. He was educated abroad and received an MBA from Oxford. He left a career in banking to return to Kenya, create TAPA and being helping in Kibera in 2007.

Changemaker — TAPA is effectively transforming lives in Kibera, one at a time. They have founded a school in the slum, providing early childhood education, clothing and sustenance to approximately 300 children and orphans. They also provide training and skills development for parents and caregivers, teaching them start or improve their small businesses to generate income to support themselves and their families.

TAPA is a dedicated, needs-focused organization, putting it all on the line day after day to transform the lives of people in Africa.”

A little more info:

“TAPA (Transform A Person Africa) is a non profit making charitable organisation, based in Nairobi, Kenya. The organization was founded and registered with the Government of Kenya in September 2007 by Johnson Gachuri Migwi and has 7 Board of Trustees. We seek to address the plight of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC), parents and caregivers (some living with HIV/AIDS) who find themselves in the unfortunate situation of lacking the life basic necessities for survival. TAPA is based on the understanding that human life is precious and that everyone has the right to live a dignified life as God intended. We therefore exist to bring hope to the destitute living in the slums by providing means for them to access education, food, Medicare and creating business opportunities.”

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