Nicole Berube is the Executive Director at CitySeed, a Connecticut based organization that engages communities in building an equitable, local, and sustainable food system. Nicole grew up in a small rural town in Connecticut where she spent most of her young life watching cows at a friend's farm, traipsing through the backwoods, and helping her mom collect wild grapes for her jams and jellies. She didn't understand until much later that her town was facing incredible development pressure and that they were actually part of the working poor. After moving away, she received a degree in English and a minor in Anthropology, but her real education began when she joined AmeriCorps right after college. This was a turning point in her life and the basis for everything she does now.
Why do you what you do?
I do what I do at CitySeed in New Haven because I want to be a part of changing the food system. The food system isn't fair and it never has been. We can change the course of the food system by focusing on justice. I am inspired by the individuals that have long been carrying this message such as LaDonna Redmond, Erik Holt-Gimenez, and the many others that know wages, housing, economic policy, healthcare, and education are all intersected with food and that without overall justice, we can not have food justice.
What are your most urgent concerns or upcoming action opportunities?
What I am working on now with CitySeed's incredible staff and our community partners is how to take our successful farmers markets, Mobile Market, and other community programs and grow them in thoughtful and intentional ways that better support farmers and community. Food access and farm viability should not be viewed in opposition, but rather two sides of the same coin. And valuing the energy, effort, and time of all people involved with proper funding and wages is really critical for both farmers and community members, and a major component of food justice.
How can the FSNE Network help you overcome or address those concerns or help you with action?
The FSNE network can address these concerns by continuing to bring topics of justice into the common dialogue about food systems. Understanding and changing all of our systems that are NOT currently based in justice is critical. Addressing how traditional non-profit, municipal and agriculture systems can change to better serve food justice and thereby a better food system would be a great theme for FSNE to continue to explore!