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2021 SAFSF Forum

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WORKSHOP – Food Without Borders: The Interconnectivity of U.S. and Mexico Food Systems

May 4, 2021 @ 10:00 am 11:30 am PDT

Presented by International Community Foundation

Food systems in the United States and Mexico are inextricably linked. This session will explore, educate, and generate thoughtful dialogue around the interconnectivity of these systems including; farm labor on both sides of the border, production practices, food insecurity, public health and food waste. The goal of this presentation is to both generate awareness and highlight innovative solutions to current cross-border challenges. This session will begin with a virtual trivia game where participants will work in teams to answer questions in various categories such as: Imports, Farm Labor, Food Waste and Culinary Traditions. We will then move into short presentations and Q&A with experts in each field and will conclude in small breakout groups for continued networking and discussion.

Session goals:
  • Participants will have a greater understanding of the connectivity of food systems between the U.S. and Mexico.
  • Discuss timely emerging issues/themes connecting the US/Mexico food systems with a focus on innovative and actionable solutions.
  • Participants will have the opportunity to meet and engage with allies and potential project partners interested in cross-border food systems.


McKenzie Campbell – Moderator, International Community Foundation; BCS, MX

McKenzie Campbell

McKenzie Campbell is currently a Program Officer with the International Community Foundation (ICF), where she manages ICF’s growing portfolio of special projects in Baja California Sur, Mexico. McKenzie is expanding ICF’s food system impact in the Baja Peninsula by incubating new initiatives and catalyzing collective action around; equitable access to fresh, healthy food, improved community health and resilience, regenerative production practices and regional marketplace connectivity. McKenzie has 18 years of community organizing, leadership development and nonprofit management experience. Before coming to ICF, she served as the Director of the Colorado State University Center in Todos Santos, where she helped launch CSU’s first international facility, and founded Living Roots (Raíces Vivas), a nonprofit promoting remote ranching communities’ unique cultural heritage through social enterprise. She holds an MBA, in Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise from Colorado State University and a BA in Political Science with a concentration in International Development from Oberlin College. An avid outdoor enthusiast, McKenzie enjoys exploring the coast and mountains with her two young kids.

Robert Ojeda, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona; AZ

Robert Ojeda was born and raised in Arequipa, Peru, where he grew up farming at his family’s farm. He joined the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona (CFBSA) in 2010, where he is currently Chief Program Officer. In his role, Robert oversees the CFBSA’s programmatic initiatives including hunger relief, and community health, education, and development. Robert has a master’s degree in International Agriculture and Rural Development and a Ph. D. in Adult and Extension Education from Cornell University. He has over twenty years of experience doing community development work in Arizona and overseas. He regularly teaches community organizing and development workshops to Latin American youth leaders. He is an enthusiastic soccer player and Andean music musician.

Rupal Patel, Akasha Strategies; CA

Rupal’s environmental and social impact portfolio includes developing the 579 MW Solar Star Project, ranked in the top 10 largest projects in the world; developing and managing an inaugural Corporate Social Responsibility program for Sun World International, one of RRG’s largest agricultural operating companies; and originating the first employee benefit company in the U.S., California Harvesters, of which Rupal is Co-founder and Board President. California Harvesters provides quality jobs to over 1,200 farmworkers in California’s Central Valley. Prior to joining RRG, Rupal gained extensive experience engaging with LGBTQ, environmental justice, labor, poverty, and immigration issues while working for organizations such as the Council of Michigan Foundations, NAACP Washington Bureau, Urban Justice Center, Liberty Hill Foundation, and the California Immigrant Policy Center. Rupal serves on the Board of Leading Harvest and is a Founding Member of the Integrated Capitals Investment Committee for The Heron Foundation. Rupal received her B.A. in Sociology and M.P.P. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Luis Garduño, Alianza para Seguridad Alimentaria de Baja California Sur; BCS, MX

Luis Garduno

Luis Fernando Garduño, is currently executive director of the BCS Food Security Alliance (Alianza para Seguridad Alimentaria – ASA) an organization working to transform food systems in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Luis has been rapidly building ASA’s capacity to unite cross-sector stakeholders to address immediate food needs while beginning to make shifts toward healthier, more resilient food systems. Under Luis’ leadership, ASA is launching the state’s first food bank, striving to prevent and reduce food waste, promoting community health and mobilization around nutrition, and piloting a regenerative production collective. Luis comes to ASA with 10 years of experience founding and co-directing Red Turismo Sustentable, a hybrid for-profit/nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering small tourism businesses in rural areas that connect travelers with social development and conservation programs. Luis is committed to catalyzing efforts in support of food justice in Mexico and amplifying the voices of those that often go unheard.

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