Action Teams

CFN Action Teams develop regional strategies to accelerate change in specific food system priority areas. They comprise food system stakeholders, content experts, & community organizers.

The CFN & Action Team funders have worked together to secure resources in support of stipends & strategy implementation. Action Team members will be selected through an application process. Teams are accountable to & supported by an Advisory Group of funders(s), regional and national resource experts, & CFN Steering Team members. Once strategies have been developed, the Team’s work is complete. Regional issue-specific strategies contribute to a regional map for achieving the CFN Food System Vision.

The Chesapeake Foodshed Network (CFN) is launching the Community Ownership, Empowerment, and Prosperity Action Team for food system reform in the Chesapeake region. CFN defines Community Ownership, Empowerment, and Prosperity (COEP) as communities of color and other disenfranchised groups not merely being beneficiaries but drivers of positive change in their communities. The goal of this initiative is to grow economic opportunities for marginalized communities and build community ownership and resilience (as it relates to our regional food system) through the development of people-led, community-based solutions. In developing this new framework for action, we think that the people telling us how to invest funding and energy in our regional food system should be the people living and working on it every day.

We are so pleased to announce the Community Ownership, Empowerment & Prosperity Action Team’s new Co-Chairs!

Aleya Fraser

Aleya is the principal consultant at ACRES Consulting Services. She joins the COEP team with 5 years of organic farming experience and exposure to many strong networks of farmers and organizers in the region and internationally.  Aleya began organizing farmers and food activists of color in the region in 2013 by inviting people to the black-owned 5 Seeds Farm in Sparks, MD on weekends.  Eventually that evolved into 3-day agroecology trainings on the farm she co-founded on the eastern shore of Maryland.  Aleya has worked regionally as the Delmarva Program Manager for Future Harvest CASA and has traveled the region to speak at conferences and facilitate workshops throughout the Chesapeake Foodshed. The mission of ACRES Consulting is to contribute to the future of regenerative food systems by connecting resources, developing programming, and providing food sovereignty expertise to organizations and individuals. 

Beth Schermerhorn 

Beth grew up playing the in streams and forests of Hanover County, VA, known for its delicious tomatoes. She used those childhood experiences to develop a deep appreciation and respect for nature, the earth’s people and particularly sustainable agriculture. As the Urban Agriculture Coordinator for Muddy Bike Urban Farm in Harrisonburg, VA, Beth developed close relationships with people experiencing homelessness and immigrant communities. Beth received her Master’s in Ecological Landscape Design & Planning from the The Conway School, where she completed an urban food security plan for Lowell, MA. 
In 2016, Beth worked with Virginia Cooperative Extension to conduct a multi-lingual community-based food systems assessment process that resulted in recommendations to improve food equity throughout the city. She is currently working with communities across the east coast on issues related to environmental justice, water quality, community engagement and increasing diversity, equity and inclusion within organizations. 
Beth is a passionate queer farmer, community organizer and environmental planner. She lives in Harrisonburg, VA where she is working to implement the Harrisonburg Food Equity Plan, building power in solidarity with marginalized communities and cooking delicious meals with her partner and friends. 

Want to learn more about the Community Ownership, Empowerment and Prosperity Action Team? Check out this webinar from January, 2017

If you missed the May 24 informational webinar on the co-chair invitation to participate, you can view it here. Information in this video may also be helpful to those considering applying to serve as an Action Team Member.

"Time For Some Action: Making Moves Towards an Equitable Food System in the Chesapeake Foodshed"

A Chesapeake Foodshed Network blog written about the COEP Action Team for Food Solutions New Englands’ Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge, 2017.