Tag Archives: People

Domestic Fair Trade Association, Member Services Intern (Boston, MA)

The Domestic Fair Trade Association (DFTA) is a collaboration of organizations from across the food and agriculture system including farmers, farmworkers, food workers, processors, marketers, manufacturers, retailers, and NGOs united by a common vision for health, justice, and sustainability. The mission of DFTA is to promote and protect the integrity of Domestic Fair Trade Principles through education, marketing, advocacy and endorsements. DFTA holds members to a high bar of integrity and commitment. To facilitate collaboration and accountability within the organization, DFTA is initiating a new peer review process this year. The member services intern will work with the DFTA membership and marketing committees on member outreach and engagement with a primary focus on implementing the self‐evaluation portion of the peer review process.
Specific responsibilities:

  • Become familiar with the mission and programs of DFTA, especially the membership application process and membership engagement
  • Review membership applications for all members (37 members at present) and customize standard self‐evaluation questions for each
  • Set up and conduct interviews with all members
  • Prepare reports based on interviews for review by the membership committee
  • Assist with outreach and preparation for the DFTA annual membership meeting
  • Attend and assist with DFTA annual meeting November 12‐14 in Rochester, NY
  • Assist with other work as time, interest, and needs allow

Qualifications:

  • A commitment to the vision, mission, and principles of DFTA is essential. Please review these on our website.
  • Comfortable conducting telephone interviews.
  • Clear written communication skills.
  • Some familiarity with agriculture, food, fair trade, or social justice issues is helpful.

Other information:

  • The intern will report directly to the executive director, but will work closely with two DFTA committees as described above.
  • Boston area is desired, but we can consider locations in proximity to a DFTA committee member by mutual negotiation.
  • Timing is flexible, with a 300‐hour commitment any time between August and December 2012. Must be available to attend DFTA annual meeting November 12‐14 in Rochester, NY.
  • A stipend of $3,000 is available.

To apply: Please send a resume and letter describing interest and qualifications to
kerstin@thedfta.org. For more information about the Domestic Fair Trade Association, visit our website.

Make an impact: choose your food wisely

Source: Tufts Photo

Do you know where your food comes from? When you pick up an apple after lunch in the dining hall or go grocery shopping on a Sunday afternoon, do you read labels to see if your food is local, organic, or whether it has traveled hundreds of miles to get to you?

Many of us don’t know the answers to these important questions, but we should. Every day, we vote – three times a day (probably more) – with our dollars based on what we choose to eat and consequently, the type of food industry we choose to support. In the growing battle between local, organic farming, and mass-produced international produce, most of us are unaware of how much power we have to make a difference. If you’re blindly picking the cheapest fruits and vegetables off the shelf, you may be unwittingly supporting poor labor practices and unfair working conditions, the use of untested pesticides, or corporate culture detrimental to communities. Not to mention, cheap food is often lacking in nutritional value—much of supermarket produce is artificially ripened and often genetically modified. (Did you hear about the petition asking Walmart not to sell unmarked, genetically modified engineered sweet corn from Monsanto?) When you choose cheap supermarket produce, you may not know the truth about the food you are purchasing.

Fortunately, though, it is becoming easier and more convenient to make good decisions about your food and the food producers you support.

Here at Tufts, there are a number of ways you can help support local, organic industry. Tufts Dining Services serves local, organic, and Fair Trade products in addition to vegetarian options, cage-free eggs, and certified sustainable seafood. By looking for these products and choosing to avoid options that are not sustainably produced, you can make healthier, more eco-friendly choices. In addition, you can leave comments in the dining halls requesting more sustainable products—Dining Services is very receptive to feedback and communicating that this is an issue that is important to you can have a large impact down the line. (The sale of single-serve bottled water was eliminated from Hodgdon thanks to a student petition.)

A sample of vegetables that comes with a farm share

Another option on campus this semester is to purchase a CSA farm share to support local farms. A CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture, allows you to buy a share of a local farmer’s harvest. This is a great opportunity for consumers to invest in the local economy and purchase environmentally sustainable produce. This pilot program will run from February to April and you can get an individually packed box of fresh produce, delivered every Tuesday to the Office of Sustainability for pickup. There are different sizes available to suite different needs: a Small share (good for 1-2 people) is $24/week, Medium (good for 2-3 people) is $31/week, and Large (good for 4 or more people) is $42/week. The prices are very reasonable, especially when you consider how the CSA will replace the portion of your weekly grocery bill going to fruits and vegetables of questionable origin (and quality) with local, organic, fresh produce. To sign up, click here.

About Enterprise Farm

Enterprise Farm founder Dave Jackson and his family live onsite at the farm

Besides supporting local, organic agriculture, you will also be helping a wonderful social initiative. Enterprise Farm is an organic farm whose mission is to grow the best quality produce possible and care for their farmland in the process. They allow for direct farm-to-table purchasing by selling at farmer’s markets, through CSAs and in some local stores. By eliminating the middle man, they aim to sell fresh, high quality produce at low prices.
Enterprise Farm believes that great, fresh food is a right and helps families across the greater Boston area achieve this goal. They accept food stamps and donate produce to Food For Free in Cambridge, the Northampton Survival Center, and other food redistribution organizations. The farm has also created low-cost Senior Shares in partnership with Senior Whole Health to distribute to the elderly in Boston. Finally, the farm’s CSA-supported Mobile Market traveled to low-access communities in Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden, and Middlesex counties last summer with with fresh, local produce and a portable EBT machine. Through all of their initiatives, Enterprise Farm is helping advocate food justice and sustainability.

So, the next time you eat in the dining hall or go for a cup of coffee, think about all of the options available to you and the impact of your choices. Every decision you make about what to eat can either positively or negatively impact not only your own health, but the health and sustainability of the food systems upon which we all rely.

Tufts Eco-Reps shine at Symposium

Jessie and Rachael introduce the day's first ice breaker

Jessie and Rachael introduce the day's first ice breaker

I’m so proud of our Eco-Reps! Today they rocked the Babson/GreenerU Eco-Rep symposium – they ran the ice-breaker for the whole group, gave two presentations, sponsored the composting for lunch and dinner AND had the best showing of any school! Here are some pictures:

Claire summoning group 2

Claire summoning group 2

Josh explains the next step in the ice-breaker

Josh explains the next step in the ice-breaker

Jessie and Rachael presenting

Jessie and Rachael describe Tufts Eco-Rep training program

Laina, Claire and Katie explain Tufts' dorm composting

Laina, Claire and Katie explain Tufts' dorm composting

Trains and Handkerchiefs

Tina on train with zero waste bag

Luckily the guy behind me didn't have any complaints about my bag…

Since today is the last day of Mass Car-Free Week, my fellow commuter rail travelers got a special peek at my Zero-Waste Challenge trash. We have now sent out invitations to lots of students and employees at Tufts encouraging them to try their own challenge. My colleague, Ann Greaney-Williams (also the Environmental Studies coordinator) is going to do it with her five-year old and her husband. And two other staff from OOS will be starting their challenge week on Monday – so you can join them too.

I did notice another unintended consequence – the Zero-Waste Challenge keeps your dietary indiscretions in full view – no more pretending you didn’t eat that cookie or candy bar. I haven’t decided if this is a good thing yet…

On another note, the other day I was reminded that there was life before disposable tissues and Simple t-shirt tissuesit’s time to re-discover handkerchiefs! With so many awesome designs out there like these by Hank & Cheef, how can you resist buying one for every day of the week? If you don’t want to buy anything you can make your own perfect ones with a sewing machine and a scrap of fabric. Or, if like me, the sewing machine won’t be entering my life soon enough for my next bout of sniffles, check out this awesome blog on how to make simple, adorable, no-sew t-shirt tissues.

Maybe this is the solution to my cat’s insistence on pulling my non-eco-friendly tissues out of my trash bin and chewing them to bits on the floor… (speaking of which – does that count as trash for this week if I used them last week?)

Sept 22-28: Zero-Waste Challenge Week

OOS intern Hannah contemplates her trash so far

The Eco-Reps started their Zero-Waste Challenge Tuesday night and several of the OOS staff members are participating as well. What does this mean you ask? In a nutshell it means that for an entire week you don’t throw anything in the trash – instead you carry it around with you in a clear plastic bag on the outside of your backpack (shocking, eh? Full rules here) or you recycle or compost it. The idea is that there is no “away” and how different would we act if we actually couldn’t throw anything ‘away’? It’s quite an enlightening experience as you realize how many things have packaging and how hard it is to not generate trash.

My reminder not to throw anything in the trashcan!

As this is the fourth time I’ve done this exercise (it’s always a great reminder about how much you can compost, recycle and reuse – especially after you’ve slipped back into some wasteful habits…*wink wink*), I knew that the hardest thing in the first couple days is to remember not to use the trash can. So… this time I borrowed a social marketing tool and created prompts. I also noticed last time that the most abundant item in my bag was q-tips, so I pledged to do without my morning ear-cleaning ritual (yes, yes, I know you’re not supposed to – but it feels so goood!).

No q-tips for me!

The interesting thing about this exercise is that you realize that there are actually lots of unintended positive consequences that stem from trying to not generate trash. For example, this morning I didn’t have anything obvious in my fridge to bring for lunch, so I figured I’d just buy something. But then I thought of the potential dreaded take-out container – what if it wasn’t recyclable?! So, instead I packed up a lunch of some tomato and kale soup I had been waiting to make taste good (right now, it just tastes healthy) and some brown rice I had cooked a few days ago and stored in the freezer. You can’t really get more healthy a lunch than that can you? So, unintended consequence #1: healthy, home-made food saves money and promotes good eating.

Hannah’s unintended consequence from her first foray into zero-waste challenges was that instead of throwing that extra bit of extra pasta into her pot last night (since the box was almost empty), she left it in the box – cooking only exactly the amount she needed for dinner. Therefore, unintended consequence #2: portion control and perhaps even preventing wasted food (if you, like me, have a tendency to forget about your leftovers…).

We will be posting more tips and discoveries as the week goes on. What about you? Do you think you could ever try the challenge – for one day, one week, one month?? (one of our Eco-Reps did it for 6 weeks when she was in high school!). If you want to join us on our adventure, we would love to hear about  your experiences – please comment below!

Tina

Eco-Ambassador Laurie Sabol: a green champion within and beyond Tufts

Laurie accepting the Bridge Builder Award from President Emeritus Larry Bacow

Last June at the 2011 Tufts Distinction Awards, the Office of Sustainability was proud to note that former Eco-Ambassador Laurie Sabol (FY 2009-10) was recognized* with a Bridge Builder Award for “bringing out the best in others”. It is easy to see why: apart from being the Social Sciences reference librarian at Tisch Library, Laurie has long been a “green advocate” within and beyond the Tufts community.

During her stint as an Eco-Ambassador, she wrote a proposal to start the Tisch Sustainability Team which has since received support and recognition from library administration. The Team has started several initiatives such as office composting and becoming a TerraCycle recycling site for chip/granola bar bags and writing implements. (Proceeds from TerraCycle benefit the Eco-Reps program.)

On being an Eco-Ambassador, Laurie says she really enjoyed networking with people she otherwise would not have met. She found the session on “Social Marketing and Communicating Change” most helpful because she found that the biggest challenge is convincing people to actively participate in sustainable initiatives.

In 2000, Laurie answered a call for board members at the statewide recycling coalition Mass Recycle and became involved with the organization for six years. She served as the board’s secretary, doing a lot of “grunt work” but also looked for speakers and spoke at a conference herself two years ago about the Tisch Sustainability Team. Of her time at Mass Recycle, she humbly remarks that “I learned how much I didn’t know.”

Before joining Tufts, Laurie worked at Chicago Public Library and Bowling Green State University (Ohio) where she had also started recycling initiatives. “At Chicago Public Library, we just had a laundry cart that we filled with newspapers and I found a local recycling organization who would take them.” There was no formal organization or recognition, as was the case in Bowling Green where the library staff began recycling cans and hauling the lot themselves to a recycling facility nearby. “It was fun and very low maintenance,” Laurie recalls. “We’d bring the cans over every Friday and go out for a beer.”

Not surprisingly, Laurie remains an active member of MassRecycle and the recycling program at her current hometown of Ayer, MA. She’s got plenty of other things going on, so drop by the library sometime and ask her about being a weekend puppy mom for NEADS and what she was doing in Xi’an, China in 1992…

*Another Eco-Ambassador, Chantal Hardy (FY 2010-11) of the English Department was also recognized for exceptional customer service with The Extra Mile Award.

Tufts delegate at Recharge! Retreat

Focus the Nation selected 20 rising clean energy leaders—5 each in the categories of Technicians, Innovators, Politicos and Storytellers—to spend one week on Mt. Hood, Oregon together at its Recharge! Retreat. One of the delegates in the Innovators category is Julie Paul from Tufts, an incoming second year graduate student in Chemical Engineering. Her research is primarily focused on the interactions between mammalian and bacterial cells, but she has worked on a project exploring the creation of biofuels using e.coli.

“I’m excited to see the technology and I’ve never been to Oregon, where we will be able to see solar, hydro and wind energy projects all in one place,” Julie said over a phone interview. The retreat will end with a hike on a glacier.
We will catch up with Julie when she gets back. Find out more about the Recharge! Retreat here.

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