Neelam Sharma : email@example.com
Neelam Sharma serves as Executive Director of Community Services Unlimited Inc. (CSU), a non-profit based in South Central Los Angeles. Neelam met CSU founders when she visited Los Angeles from London on behalf of the Panther organization she was a founder of in Britain in the mid 1980’s. She first became a community activist as a pre-teen in response to an attempt by fascists to organize in Southall, London, where she grew up and since then was always engaged in grass roots community organizing. When she moved to South Central Los Angeles from London in 1997 she began to volunteer with CSU and she found that her own difficulties in accessing fresh, high quality, affordable food in her neighborhood was a generalized experience for South LA residents. Her need to feed her own family good food became her work and was driven by her broader understanding of the basic human right to high quality, culturally appropriate food as a critical element of social justice and a basic human right. Neelam has mostly lived in the South Central community CSU serves, and has two children who attended neighborhood schools. She was a founding member of the Healthy School Food Coalition, the parents’ coalition responsible for passing the soda ban in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the first in the US, as well as the Los Angeles Food Justice Network (precursor to the LA Food Policy Council) and the California Food and Justice Coalition. As a result of her experience and success working and organizing with residents to expand urban agriculture, build models for grassroots economic development, and improve community health, Neelam is recognized as a national leader on the intersection between community economic development, youth empowerment and food justice. Neelam loves dancing, reading and story telling and is excited about what the future has in store.
Financial and Administrative Manager
Dyane Pascall : firstname.lastname@example.org
Dyane Pascall is the Financial and Administrative manager for Community Services Unlimited Inc. (CSU) and specifically for its social enterprise, The Village Market Place (VMP). Dyane has worked with CSU’s leadership team to establish and manage the VMP with the responsibility of setting up and maintaining accounting and billing systems and for keeping customer records andmonitoring business growth. He also plans and delivers the Growing Healthy nutrition education program to 5th grade students and helps to run VMP Produce Stands. Dyane has a bachelor’s degree in International Business with a minor in Economics from the California State University. As part of his work with CSU Dyane was a recipient of the BLAST Cadre scholarship in 2007- 2008, a select group of dynamic youth leaders from around the country who work together towards a common goal within the framework of creating sustainable food systems. The scholarship provided one year of traveling to conferences (including the Kellogg Foundation’s Food and Society Conference), support to focus on a food related project, and leadership development. Dyane was also a Bioneers Youth Food & Farming Scholar in 2006. In 2007 Dyane was asked to participate as a facilitator of the program. Dyane has served as the Chair of the California Department of Public Health, Network for a Healthy California, Food and Nutrition Education Action Committee. He is former Member at Large of the Empowerment Congress North Area Neighborhood Development Council. Dyane is a native of New Jersey and has lived in South Central Los Angeles since 2005.
Associate Director : Development
Heather Fenney : email@example.com
Heather Fenney is Co-director of Community Services Unlimited Inc. and Co-Manager of CSU’s social enterprise, the Village Market Place (VMP). She began volunteering with CSU in 2003, and joined the staff team in 2006. She has played many roles with CSU, from running garden based education programs in schools, to work on the urban mini farm, to writing grants, and managing the growth of the VMP. Heather is a Southern CA native, and has also lived in Washington DC. Before joining CSU she worked on public policy campaigns at the state and national levels aimed at building support for local food systems and small farmers and ensuring food justice for all communities. Heather loves to garden and cook and go to farmers markets in every city she visits.
Program Coordinator for From the Ground Up Program
Cristian Marroquin : firstname.lastname@example.org
As the program coordinator for the From the Ground Up, Cristian uses food and culture centered education to engage students in critical thinking and empower students to eat healthy and make changes in their local food system. Students learn how to grow their own food, run a produce stand, develop presentational skills and, have discussions related to food and social justice. Cristian and his team of high school students and adult allies work together on projects to increase access to beyond organic fruits and vegetables in South Los Angeles communities. Cristian teaches community members to be self-reliant in monthly garden and healthy cooking workshops held at the expo mini urban farm. Cristian is a business owner who designs, makes and distributes novelty pin back buttons and magnets. Cristian’s business was made possible through his commitment and long relationships with organization with strong messages. Cristian pursues to further his education and find innovative ways to help communities.