Join the Social Innovation Forum on Thursday, February 21, 2019 from 12:00 pm-1:30 pm for the Social Issue Talk on “Building Healthier Communities through Environmental Justice.” Lunch will be provided. Space is limited so please RSVP below.
Greg Watson, Director of Policy and Systems Design at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics
Greg Watson's work currently focuses on community food systems and an initiative to improve global systems literacy. In 1978 he organized a network of urban farmers’ markets in the Greater Boston Metropolitan Area. He served as the 19th Commissioner of Agriculture in Massachusetts under Governor Michael Dukakis and Governor William Weld respectively from 1990 to 1993 and under Governor Deval Patrick from 2012 to 2014.
During the Patrick administration he launched a statewide urban agriculture grants program and chaired the Commonwealth’s Public Market Commission, which oversaw the planning and construction of the Boston Public Market. He served four years as Executive Director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, a multicultural grassroots organizing and planning organization where he initiated one of the nation’s first urban agriculture programs (anchored by a 10,000 square foot commercial greenhouse). Greg was the first Executive Director of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust (now the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center). He served on President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Department of Energy transition team in 2008.
Cassandria became a food justice advocate as a teenager working at The Food Project. After many seasons as a youth leader, she graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in Economics and returned to the organization as a youth coordinator. Eager to learn how cities can best help communities access resources, she pursued a degree in Urban Planning at MIT. After graduating in 2011, she worked in affordable housing development but was soon drawn back to the world of food. A Roxbury native, Cassandria came up with the idea for Fresh Food Generation out of desire to find more real food options in her own neighborhood.
Kalila Barnett, Program Officer of Climate Resilience at the Barr Foundation
Kalila joined Barr as the Climate Resilience Program Officer in 2018. Kalila has over a decade of experience in community organizing around affordable
housing, land development, and environmental justice. She served as the Executive Director at Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE) for eight years. Before joining ACE in 2009, she worked as a Senior Organizer at Community Labor United. Kalila has a Bachelor's degree from Bates College, where she studied American Studies and Spanish, and a Master of Public Policy from the Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning School at Tufts University. Kalila currently lives in Roslindale and enjoys walking in the Arboretum, listening to podcasts, and cooking for friends.
Patricia Spence, Lead Innovator, Executive Director of The Urban Farming Institute of Boston
Patricia Spence is currently President and CEO of The Urban Farming Institute of Boston (UFI), whose mission is to engage urban communities in building a healthier, more locally based food system while creating economic opportunities in urban farming and food related businesses. Prior to her position at UFI, Pat worked in corporate sales (Xerox Corporation, Digital Equipment Corporation, WILD 1090 radio, and WGBH), served as Literacy Coordinator for a boston public school, developed the Educational Options Series for families, and is the founder of They Made It So Can I, The 5th Grade Speakers Series.
2019 Social Innovator
The Urban Farming Institute of Boston
The Urban Farming Institute of Boston's (UFI) mission is to develop urban farming as a commercial sector that creates green collar jobs for residents; and to engage urban communities in building a healthier, more just and a more locally based food system. UFI is actively building farms, training farmers, hosting volunteers, providing farm stands, organizing workshops and conferences, offering cooking demonstrations, and promoting environmental justice as UFI establishes the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm as a hub of urban farming.
Cedar Tree Foundation
About the Spring Social Issue Talk Series
This year the Social Innovation Forum (SIF) is excited to announce the expansion of our annual March Social Issue Talk Series to all of spring. With the optimistic energy necessary to live and work in Boston, we are ushering in the start of spring early with our first event on February 21. The newly renamed Spring Social Issue Talk Series is still made up of eight free, educational events across the city but now takes place throughout the months of February to April. At each event, funders and community leaders can hear from leading experts and our 2019 Social Innovators about the latest trends, best practices, and exciting innovations across a variety of fields.
Learn about the entire series here.