Storytelling

WhyHunger knows its important to amplify the voices of the people working to regain control of their communities' food. We believe that telling one's story is not only an act of reclaiming in the face of the dominant food narrative of this country, but also an affirmation that the small acts of food sovereignty happening across the country add up to a powerful, vital collective.

SAPNA
The apartment’s small kitchen steams with the flavorful scent of cumin, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, clove, cinnamon and garlic. Slender pieces of chicken simmer in a yellow curry. On a platter, a handful of bright green, fiery-hot chili peppers sit atop fresh-sliced tomatoes and onions. A bowl of steamed rice waits Read more.
Community Servings
Community Servings (CS) has humble beginnings as a Jewish outreach organization responding to AIDS in the late ‘80s. To this day, but especially early during the AIDS epidemic, malnutrition was a major cause of death. The simple act of feeding people properly who were diagnosed HIV+ could keep them alive. Read more.
Urban Roots
Urban Roots (UR) began as a program of Youth Launch in 2008. After an affluent start to the 21st Century, 2008 was not a great year to start a business or non-profit in the US. But it turned out to be great timing for a youth-based urban production farm project Read more.
Santa Barbara Food Bank
Elisa had never heard of free food. That’s not why she came to America with her two young boys, age ten and twelve, from Jalisco, Mexico. She heard about jobs and opportunities for her children to be educated and move up in life. So she came into the country and Read more.
WhyHunger Farmer Profiles: Molly and John Breslin
To reach Breslin Farms, you drive through what feels like a sea of corn. The northern Illinois land is vast and flat, subdivided by a grid of country roads that meet at perfectly right angles before continuing on due east and west, north and south. The corn fields stretch as Read more.
WhyHunger Farmer Profiles: Denise O’Brien
Denise O’Brien distributes vegetable shares to the members of her community supported agriculture (CSA) program from her former dairy barn in Atlantic, Iowa. Denise and her husband, Larry Harris, haven’t milked cows since 1995, but the converted barn-turned-vegetable-shed—along with the chicken house, orchard, vegetable beds and new high tunnel for Read more.
Sustainable Food Center
While the students at Pecan Springs Elementary School in east Austin went through their mid-day class routines, eleven women graduated in a small portable classroom beside the playing field. Each woman was called up to the front of the room to receive her diploma. The rest of the class applauded Read more.
Richard Scott McKnight, Fisherman
Richard Scott hook and line fishes for king mackerel and red snapper on his fishing vessel Schatzi. He has been fishing for 20 years and started in Florida, but moved to Grand Isle, because of the longer fishing season and the larger trip limits. But, over the years, as the Read more.
Karen Washington, Urban Farmer
Karen Washington’s community did not have access to fresh, healthy food, so she started changing that, one garden at a time. Karen has farmed in the Bronx for over 20 years and was an original member of La Familia Verde Community Garden Coalition, which consists of five community gardens. Karen Read more.
Juan Uyunka, Natural Doctor
Juan Uyunkar is an Uwishin, or natural doctor, of the Shuar people of the Ecuadorian Amazon. He has been trained in agronomy, attended veterinary school and extensively studied natural medicines. He gathers herbs from the Amazon to treat people with illnesses that range from cancer to paralysis to spirit possession. Read more.
Dena Hoff, Farmer
Dena Hoff has been farming on Sand Creek Farm since 1981. She grows beans, corn, tomatoes and an array of produce, while also raising lambs, chickens and pigs. Dena coordinates with the international food sovereignty movement and then brings the principles back home. She is an active member with local Read more.
Ben Burkett, Farmer
Ben Burkett’s family has been farming since 1889. Over the years, each generation bought more land and he now runs B&B Farms on 296 acres. He grows 15 different varieties of vegetables, as well as timber. He is active in local, regional, national and international organizations. Ben Burkett is President Read more.
Ben Platt, Fisherman
Ben Platt is a second-generation fisherman on the fishing vessel Sea Star. He trolls for salmon and albacore, longlines for black cod and traps crab from California up the coast to Washington and over to Alaska. Ben feels the current fisheries management system is devastating the communities and the environment. Read more.
Bob St. Peter, Farmer
Bob St. Peter is the director of Food for Maine’s Future, a board member of the National Family Farm Coalition and active in La Via Campesina. Bob led a community effort to pass a law, known as the Local Food and Self Governance Ordinance, which allows Maine farmers to assert Read more.
Ana Luisa Trevino, Retired Farm Worker
Ana Luisa Trevino came to the United States in 1972 from Matamoros Tamaulipas, Mexico. She was eleven years old at the time. At thirteen, she started working as a farm worker, and did so until age twenty-five years. Ana finds that immigration rules and regulations are the biggest injustice for Read more.
Carlos Marentes, Farm Worker Leader
Since 1977, Carlos Marentes has organized work stoppages, aka “strikes” in the border region between the United States and Mexico to gain basic rights, higher pay and better conditions for farm workers. Carlos also is organizing to fight the consolidation of agriculture. He is a member of Sin Fronteras, Rural Read more.
Chavannes Jean Baptiste, Farmer
Chavannes Jean Baptiste is a farmer and farm leader. Since 1972 he has coordinated the Peasants Movement of Papaye (MPP) and is active in La Via Campesina. Chavannes was educated at an agricultural school and uses his education and his involvement with the Catholic church to organize farmers and advance Read more.
Joel Greeno, Dairy Farmer
Joel Greeno works 160 acres at Greeno Acres. He focuses on marketing high quality, fair trade milk and cheese. Joel is president of The American Raw Milk Producers Pricing Association, Vice President of Family Farm Defenders, on the Executive Committee of the National Family Farm Coalition and active in La Read more.
John Kinsman, Farmer
John bought his farm just after World War II and had been a dairy farmer ever since. His life was dedicated to the food sovereignty movement. He was an active member of Family Farm Defenders, National Family Farm Coalition and La Via Campesina. He passed in January 2014 and the Read more.
Julio Cesar Moreno, Fisherman
Julio Cesar Moreno fishes for a variety of fish on his boat,ElUno. He is the spokesperson for the National Organization of Artisanal Fishermen and Fisherwomen and for the Artisanal Fishermen of the Social Front. He is also part of the fishing secretariat of ALBA – The Bolivarian Alternative for the Read more.
Maria José dos Santos, Farmer
Maria José dos Santos and her husband, José Barbosa Soares, farm grains, fruits and nuts. They fight to maintain their territories and protect their culture. Maria and José are active in their community and are members of APAPAIS: Associação dos Pequenos Agricultores e Pescadores Assenta dos do Imóvel Sabiaguaba – Read more.
Máximo Cangá Castillo, Farmer and Fisherman
Máximo Cangá Castillo active with local, national and grassroots organizations. He is a leader in his community and has fought against Columbian palm plantation owners and the invasion of shrimp farms. Máximo is active with the National Coordination for the Defense of the Mangrove Ecosystem. San Lorenzo is in the Read more.
Oscar Otzoy, Farm Worker
Oscar Otzoy came to the United States in 2006 from Guatemala. After working in the fields of Immokalee for some time, he became active with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to fight for the rights of farm workers.  Oscar Otzoy left home so his brothers and sisters would have a Read more.
Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project: Ingersoll Gardens
Brooklyn, NY A half-century of the American urban narrative has unfolded in the Brooklyn neighborhood below Edna Grant’s apartment. She moved into Ingersoll Houses 55 years ago so through her window she’s seen the tale of post World War boom, then the manufacturing collapse of the 70s, a few decades Read more.
Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger
Dr. Melony Samuels never intended to start a multi-borough food pantry and social service operation. She just wanted to help a mother of four whom she’d heard was in need. At the time, Dr. Samuels worked with a Brooklyn corporation and lived in the Jersey suburbs. She and her husband Read more.
Lake County CDC
Once leaving its headwaters in the abrupt, snow-capped Mission Mountain range of western Montana, the Jocko River carves out a mellow valley through bulbous hills that roll into a crispy tan horizon for most months of the year. Until the last century the greater Flathead Lake region was the land Read more.
Food Bank of North Alabama
The world’s first food bank is not that old. In 1967 retired businessman John van Hengel was volunteering for a soup kitchen in Phoenix, AZ. He would routinely accumulate more food than he could use for the needy. Then a soup kitchen recipient told him that she often fed her Read more.
North Tulsa EATS/Newsome Community Farms
Rufus Newsome presses his ear against the cold wooden side of a beehive. His massive hand nearly covers the top of the box as he listens for a barely audible hum. He hears it. The hives are surviving the dead of winter in Oklahoma’s Green Country. They’ll live to pollinate Read more.
Unity Barn Raisers
Hurricane Andrea drags its wet, car-wash stroke across Maine. The usually black, clear Sebasticook River running between town and the small, bucolic campus of Unity College flows faster and browner after two inches of overnight rain. The big tent erected for the annual Unity Barn Raisers small business fair at Read more.
American Friends Services Committee
Fidel Gonzalez started farming to save his house. He’d never farmed in his life. He’d never been to a farmer’s market. But he was running up against a wall with payments and his music recording business wasn’t giving him the boost he needed. Fidel had worked in music most of Read more.
Solid Ground : Seattle Community Farm and Good Food Project
Seattle can grow food. All that misty rain that never seems to go away in April and May just means more moisture for young plants. And there’s an ethos of backyard gardening and community gardens in the city that has been growing strong for half a century. But not everyone Read more.
Staunton Creative Community Fund
The best ideas are usually the most obvious ones. Michael Reeps stood on stage in front of a crowd of Staunton, VA residents. He proposed an idea he’d been scheming for a while. Reeps is a web developer and designer. He recognized the interest in local, fresh food around Staunton Read more.
Zenger Farm
Zenger Farm turns 100 in 2013. In its lifeline, one can see a (admittedly simple) model of 20th century American development with a happy ending. Chronology Point 1: America’s last great farmer generationBegin with the Swiss immigrant farmer, Ulrich Zenger, who opened Mount Scott Dairy in 1913 Chronology Point 2: Read more.
EcoTrust + Columbia River Intertribal Fisheries Commission
Three brightly-colored nylon tents flap in the mild breeze. A tattered blue tarp hangs from the only shade- and wind-block tree for hundreds of yards. A few American-made full-size pick-up trucks angle in, creating more of a wind-block. With the tall trucks on one side, the tree on the other, Read more.
Minnesota Project
Vince Vang Lee Xiong and his mother stoop to pick shiny, metallic beetles off the leaves of broccoli plants. They toss the pests into a pickle bucket with two inches of water on the bottom. It’s slow, tedious work, but Vince’s mother and his father, who also works this farm, Read more.
Soil Born Farms
In 2006, Soil Born Farm’s Food Access Coordinator, Randy Stannard, heard about a man selling peaches at a crazy low price at one of the city farmer’s markets. He heard the man had incredible fruit but no permit. Since Soil Born Farms is a non-profit in Sacramento that supports farmer’s Read more.
Ecology Center + Farm Fresh Choice
“I started out just scrubbing walls,” says David McClellan, age 21. “Hours of scrubbing walls and painting classrooms.” If there ever was a ladder to climb to get into urban agriculture, David started at the very bottom. He came to the Ecology Center as a court-ordered juvenile, required to work Read more.
East Bay Asian Youth Center
Each Thursday at Martin Luther King, Jr. elementary school in West Oakland, Monica Parks shows up before her three girls are out of class for the day. She sets up tables and a tent for shade. She displays cabbage, greens, onions, apples, oranges, tomatoes, avocadoes, mangos, cherries, and strawberries. When Read more.
FareStart
A four-year-old carrying an adult-size food tray is a funny thing. It looks like a construction worker hauling a sheet of dry-wall from one end of the house to the other. It takes concentration and focus. The pre-K students at West Seattle Montessori have been taught to carry their trays Read more.
Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative
Since it’s below freezing, Rita and Barton Williams walk us into the greenhouse that sits to the side of their farmstead a dozen miles outside Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Which is to say, in the middle of the middle of America, what Oklahomans call Green Country. Long, straight roads and a rolling Read more.
Kerr Center for Sustainability: Global Gardens
When school lets out at Eugene Field Elementary School, the area does not become a ghost town that children run from, like so many schools. The block that houses Eugene Field remains a gathering place in a fringe neighborhood of southwest Tulsa. The Westside Harvest Market shares a backyard fence Read more.
Indian Health Care Resources: Food for Life
Ms Campbell’s Earth Science classroom in McClain Junior/Senior Magnet High School looks huge and spotless without the students in it. They’ve gone home for the day. The tools of the modern high school science lab are everywhere: gas outlets and computers on the wide, black desks, microscopes in back, the Read more.
Taos County Economic Development Corporation
The grim reaper of Taos County is a quiet, soft-spoken man who arrives to ranches in a giant white semi-truck emblazoned with colorful logos. Gilbert Sauzo Jr. drives the truck. He’s the reaper, using a bolt stunner or rifle to slay cattle, elk, bison, or pigs, but none of it Read more.
Rio Grande Community Farm
The rich floodplains along the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque look like they’ve been farmed since the dawn of time. The river moves on the surface but, seen from above, it appears as a wide, green ribbon of vegetation that is much broader than the actual flow. The ribbon runs Read more.
Rippling Waters Organic Farm
There’s nothing easy about farming. You can’t dabble in it. That’s gardening or plantation farming. Farming for real is a lifestyle. And farming in purely organic, bio-diverse ways on a small scale for commercial sales in a low-income community is as hard as it gets. Next to impossible with the Read more.
Groundwork Lawrence
Manney Sicard, age 37, kept seeing people working in the garden behind his apartment. The lot had been another three-story apartment building like the one he lives in, but it had burned, and the vacant lot had quickly attracted weeds, then shadows, then illegal trash. It was not something worth Read more.
Vida Verde Farms – Earth Learning Center
Juan Lopez arrived to the US as an exile, with the Coast Guard flying overhead. He was in a twenty-seven-foot boat with around forty other Cubans. They landed on Cayo Hueso (Bone Key, as the Cubans refer to Key West). He took a bus to Miami. It was 1980. Castro Read more.
International Rescue Committee
There are no FM radio stations when driving up the Pauma Valley from California’s Interstate 15. The straggly ends of the Sierra Nevada Mountains make for a choppy landscape. Creeks are full of round, sand-colored granite boulders, but no water. It’s desert, but there’s water somewhere; the hills are green Read more.
Community Services Unlimited: Village Market Place
Daniella, 18, used to ride her fixy bike all day, just to be outside. She doesn’t like being inside, it makes her feel trapped and closed-off. It’s not that she comes from a bad home, just a crowded one. Her mom left the family of eight children when Daniella was Read more.
Mariposa Community Health Clinic
The border town of Nogales, AZ has two lives, but they aren’t Mexican and American. Those two worlds seem to flow into one another on a street-level basis. Less so than before the border fever hit full pitch, but residents still go “across the line” for a shopping trip or Read more.
Adelante Mujeres: La Esperanza Farm
For over a decade the field lay fallow, a broad meadow at the bottom of a long hill. Thick evergreens and maples lined the back of the lot, but nothing more than grass grew in the dozen acres of flat Forest Grove, Oregon soil. Forest Grove sits to the west Read more.
Mandela Marketplace: WYSE and HENSA
You can’t ignore the fresh produce stand in the front of Bottles corner store at West Oakland’s 12th and Market Streets. A garland of yellow and white flowers frames the four metal shelves that hold bananas, tomatoes, onions, limes, apples, and green peppers. Surrounding the shelf is a corner store. Read more.
GRuB
Cody Van Meter’s favorite part of his Olympia, WA hometown is a rectangle of tilled earth that’s been growing food for centuries. The pool-sized plot is called Darwin East and it’s part of the GRuB farm. Cody’s only been growing here for a year, but the dark, rich soil and Read more.
Tohono O’odham Community Action (TOCA)
As we wrote a few days ago, several of us from WhyHunger were in Arizona last week for the Closing the Hunger Gap conference, and we visited the San Xavier Community Farm on the Tohono O’odham Nation. In this short video — filmed at the San Xavier Farm — you Read more.
Jones Valley Teaching Farm
Some towns need a revolution more than others. Birmingham, AL, at the turn of the 21st Century, was begging for some fresh ideas. The downtown had been all-but abandoned, a classic American urban food desert where corner stores and fast food were even running scarce. Edwin Marty grew up in Read more.