Want to be an Active Advocate?

Want to be an Active Advocate? Join an Event Committee or become a Lead. Get involved! Email us at Chicago@OxfamActionCorps.org


New Year Social: Hang out at Goose Island with Oxfam!

Want to start 2012 with something new?  Heard about the Oxfam Action Corps, but waiting for the right time to join?  Or, do you simply love Chicago's Goose Island Brew pub?

If so--our first meeting of 2012 is for YOU!

Come meet the Chicago Oxfam Action Corps for a New Year Social at Goose Island Brewery on January 19th, 2012 at 6:00pm.  We will give a short introduction to the Chicago Oxfam Action Corps and our current campaigns.  But, we mostly want to get to mix-and-mingle with all of you!  Light appetizers will be provided and drinks will be available for purchase.

Please contact us at chicago.oxfamactioncorps@gmail.com if you have any questions.  We hope to see you there!

What:  Chicago Oxfam Action Corps' New Year Social Meeting
When:  Thursday, January 19th
Where:  Goose Island Brewery, Lincoln Park
The Siebel Room
1800 North Clybourn Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60614


Celebrate World Food Day on the Farm with the Action Corps - Crop Mob to Spence Farm

Join us for the second annual Crop Mob to Spence Farm!  Sponsored by Chicago Oxfam Action CorpsWhite Oak Gourmet, and the Spence Farm Foundation, we'll be celebrating World Food Day helping out on the farm.
You'll be joining other Chicago area residents who are committed to a sustainable food supply. We'll be taking a bus from Chicago to Spence Farm 100 miles south of Chicago. Spence Farm in Livingston County was first settled in 1830. You'll be joining the Travis Family; Marty, Kris, and Will, descendants of the original settlers. We'll assist them with harvesting organic farm produce and with fall clean-up chores around the farm. Spence Farm supplies leading restaurants in Chicago like Frontera Grill and Blackbird with specialty produce and its famous Iroquois corn.
Because the farms are typically family owned and operated, most of the labor is done by hand. The term "Crop Mob" was coined by city dwellers who have an interest in sustainable agriculture and would like to help more than just by going to the farmer's market or joining a CSA. The "Crop Mob" gives the farmer(s) a valuable source of volunteer labor.
You'll need to bring the following for the trip:
  • Packed Lunch
  • Hand held gardening or pruning shears to help with the harvestng
  • Sturdy shoes or boots and a change of socks.
  • Gardening or work gloves.
  • A re-fillable water bottle.
  • A hat & sunscreen.
  • A sweater or light jacket.
  • Snacks for the trip down and return home.
  • Money in case you'd like purchase some products from the farm. 
Spence Farm will provide beverages and snacks.
Children are welcome, however, but because the bus trip is 2 hours, and the inherent risks of working on a farm, this trip is more appropriate for children over 12 years of age.
The bus will depart from City Provisions Deli & Catering, located at 1818 W. Wilson, Chicago (Ravenswood) at 9:00 a.m., so please arrive No Later than 8:30 a.m

For those traveling to City Provisions via the CTA, they are just steps away from the Damen Brown Line stop, and the Damen bus. For those in vehicles, There's parking for your car anywhere in the gravel parking lot behind the shop (please don't park under the EL! City Provisions cannot be responsible for damage caused by tar falling from the tracks). For those on bikes, there are ample bike racks to lock your bike securely for the duration of the day.

Questions, need to carpool in from the 'burbs?  Don't hesitate to phone Organizer Tom Leavitt at 847-754-0708.


Soaring Global Food Price "Pressure Points" Mapped

The people of Chicago have spoken:  rising food prices and hunger are issues that must be taken on today.  Deaths due to a lack of food must end.

The vast famine in Somalia and across the Horn of Africa is just one example of an area in which droughts, instability, and injustice have hit poor, small farmers first and the worst.  Oxfam America has compiled this interactive map--including stats and photos--to depict this global crisis and other areas being hit by rising food prices.  Check it out and spread the word!

Get Adobe Flash player


Famine in Somalia: Realities of a Broken Food System

With ongoing drought and food shortages across East Africa, the United Nations has declared a famine in parts of Somalia.  The UN claims that "10 million people are on the verge of starvation" and Oxfam America reports that millions in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia also struggle as thousands of refugees pour into refugee camps.  This crisis has been the culmination of multiple factors.  The lack of rainfall, for instance, has sliced harvests in half across Somalia and caused mass livestock losses for many communities already living in poverty.  

Immediate humanitarian aid is needed to alleviate starvation and rising displacement across Eastern Africa.  Yet, Oxfam America also emphasizes the need for a long term vision in dealing with the famine.  Small farmers like those living in the drought-stricken areas of Somalia, for example, need support to develop sustainable farming economies in times of climate change.  Stable and robust crop yields mean security for millions that rely on sustenance farming to support themselves and their family.  Success for small farmers can mean a global stabilization of food prices and fewer conflicts in competition over resources and markets.  

This famine demonstrates that we have reached a place of no return; it is time to address our broken food system.  Let's not support more of the same policies that continue to leave 1 in 7 people chronically hungry and unable to feed their children.  Let's ensure that everyone has the opportunity to grow food justly and a seat at the table in our future. 

Photo Source:  BBC News


Join us July 13th at our montly meeting!!!

July is here already - summer is half over and we still want to do so much more.  Please join us at our monthly meeting on July 13th at Barnes and Noble Cafe, DePaul Center, 1 E. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL.  6:30 pm - 7:30 pm. 

This weekend we are tabling at the Dave Matthews Event!  8/7 we have a table scheduled for the Glenwood Sunday Market - We are firming up plans for Arlington Heights - and let's not forget our trip to the farm!  So come and bring all of your great ideas because we want to hear them all.

We will also be discussing how biofuels play a big part of the new Oxfam Grow campaign and how we can get involved with communication to our Senators and Representatives.

See you Wednesday the 13th. 


Chicago Tribune Editorial Endorses Oxfam Biofuels Position

The Chicago Tribune recently published an editorial, Gotta Eat, that agreed with Oxfam's negative stance on biofuels:

Even if Obama gets through this dangerous summer without a crisis, he can't keep running the same risks. The Oxfam International development agency recently predicted that global food prices will more than double within 20 years, citing everything from climate change to flat-lining yields. Breathless reports designed to sound an alarm naturally invite skepticism, but the biofuel part of Oxfam's analysis rings true.

The U.S. needs a comprehensive energy policy that ends our reliance on food for fuel. We need it now, and we will need it all the more in the future.

New York Times Blog Mentions Oxfam Report On Food Prices

At the New York Times' Green blog, Justin Gillis posted an article, World Food Supply: What's To Be Done?, that mentions Oxfam's recent report on food prices:

Oxfam, the global relief group, recently published an analysis of the food situation and the risks in coming decades. The themes echo many of my own findings and those of the Beddington report, but the Oxfam report has a sharper tone on certain issues, particularly relating to the behavior of corporations, investors and governments in rich countries. Raymond C. Offenheiser, head of Oxfam’s American branch, was recently on the radio talking about these issues. One of the major conclusions of the Oxfam report is that food prices could easily double from today’s high levels by 2030, with climate change likely to be responsible for a major part of that increase. 
As I reported in my article, the governments of the developed world have acknowledged a need to invest anew in global agricultural development, but have been slow to fulfill the $22 billion of pledges they made on this issue in 2009 in L’Aquila, Italy. Numerous advocacy groups are attempting to track the status of the pledges. The latest accounting on this issue by the Group of 8 governments themselves was made public a few weeks ago in a document called the Deauville Accountability Report
However, the watchdog groups have attacked that document, saying that it obfuscates the slow pace of spending by the governments. A group called ActionAid has published a detailed analysis, coming to the conclusion that, two years into a three-year set of pledges, the governments have actually spent only 22 percent of the pledged amount. Oxfam also discusses the status of the pledges in one section of a broader report


A Table for 9 Billion

Today our planet is facing its second large-scale food crisis in 3 years.  Research shows that 1 in 7 people worldwide are chronically hungry and it's time to make this emergency a global priority. 

Hunger is about power. Its roots lie in inequalities in access to resources and opportunity. And women face the greatest inequalities of all.

In response, Oxfam International is launching a global food justice campaign on June 1st to alleviate hunger and build a food system: one that produces enough for a growing population and empowers poor people to earn a living, feed their families, and thrive. In 2050, estimates show that our global population will reach 9 billion people and we want everyone to have a seat at the table.  

To mark the start of this campaign locally, the Chicago Oxfam Action Corps will be setting "A Table for 9 Billion"  at the Chicago Green City Market on Wednesday, June 1st from 7 am to 1 pm.  We will have educational material about the current food crisis and opportunities for you to become a partner in our food justice campaign in Chicago.  

Read more on Oxfam's Fact Sheet - Food For All: http://www.oxfamamerica.org/files/food-for-all-fact-sheet.pdf

All of us, no matter who we are, can do something to help. Join us on June 1st to find out what you can do to educate others and help get the word out.

If you are interested in volunteering or learning more, please email us at chicago@oxfamactioncorps.org



Budget cuts are nothing to laugh about

Budget cuts are nothing to laugh about

By Gawain Kripke 04/01/11 09:30 AM ET
Good news! Congress finally does what U.S. voters say they want and dedicates 13 percent of the federal budget to life-saving international poverty-fighting assistance.
April Fools!
As the current budget drama gripping Washington continues, foreign aid remains on the chopping block. 
While all kinds of theatrics go on, some of us are waiting to see what will happen to the tiny fraction of the federal budget that is dedicated to the life-saving international health programs, emergency aid, poverty reduction, climate change adaptation and economic development assistance. Oxfam America’s doesn’t take funding from the US government, so our budget doesn’t depend on the answer. But we care because these programs make a big difference for poor people and developing countries. 
Year after year, cutting international assistance is a talking point for politicians: “We have to take care of America before we send American money all over the world,” say some members of Congress. But it’s an easy thing to say, given the misperceptions Americans have about international assistance. 
According to recent polling, Americans think 27 percent of the budget goes to foreign aid. Asked if they support cuts, most say yes. The funding level Americans settle on for foreign aid is somewhere between 10 and 13 percent of the federal budget. 
The only problem, of course, is that the ENTIRE international affairs budget, which includes diplomacy and development, is just about 1 percent of the budget. And less than half of that is spent on poverty-focused development aid. So armed with the facts, voters could actually support INCREASING spending on foreign assistance by 1,000 percent? Given that Americans spend around the same amount on caring for their lawns as they do for programs that improve livelihoods and create lasting solutions to world poverty, I would hope they do.
Cutting half of foreign aid – or even cutting all of it – wouldn’t do much for the federal budget deficit. But it doesn’t stop politicians from supporting the foolish decision to cut it. 
Pretending to close the yawning federal budget gap with cuts to foreign assistance is a terrible prank to play on:
• 5 million children and family members who could be denied treatment for preventative interventions for malaria,
• 3,500 mothers, more than 40,000 children under 5 in danger of dying due to reduced child survival interventions,
• 400,000 people who would be turned away from life-saving treatment for HIV/AIDS.
Even the threat of the government shutting down is disruptive and does damage.  Important development and anti-poverty programs have already been put on hold due to the uncertainty; an innovative food security program focused on rice production in Cambodia has indefinitely postponed its March 28 launch, for example.   
April fools is for laughs and kicks. But the pranks should stop when it comes to cutting life saving assistance. 
Gawain Kripke is the policy director for Oxfam America in Washington.


International Women's Day in Chicago

Madame Jacqueline Morette with Oxfam Staffers and volunteers after meeting with aides at Senator Mark Kirk's office.  Madame Morette had a busy day during her visit to Chicago.  After the visit to the senator's office she also presented at a public health class at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and was the guest of honor at the Oxfam co-sponsored International Women's Day event that evening.  This was just one of Oxfam America's 100 events in 100 days held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. The Chicago Oxfam Action Corps was honored to have her share her message with our guests that evening. She stressed that further involvement and resources are still needed to help the women's co-operative achieve their goals of improving livelihoods in her rural community.  Please join us in asking your member of Congress to Support the International Affairs Budget.  Ask them to vote against to cuts to funding for U.S. foreign aid programs – programs that help the world’s most vulnerable communities. Follow this link to tell your senators:


In the heartland, a voice from Haiti

“We farmers depend on rainfall: too much rain, you lose. Too little rain, you lose.”
Jacqueline Morette almost didn’t make it to Des Moines, Iowa, last Friday morning. She’d just arrived from the airport with moments to spare, though you’d never know it from her calm smile as she took her place onstage, facing an audience of hundreds of food and agriculture experts.
A farmer from central Haiti, Morette was part of a panel on tackling malnutrition—an issue she knew intimately.
“In Haiti … infrastructure in rural areas is in bad shape, or nonexistent. Much of the country is mountainous. We farmers depend on rainfall: too much rain, you lose. Too little rain, you lose,” Morette explained through a translator. “Despite our efforts, most Haitians are food insecure. A lot of our kids are malnourished.”
The panel marked the final day of the World Food Prize Symposium, an annual conference that brings together leaders from the sciences, academia, corporations, and governments. The theme of this year’s symposium was “Take It to the Farmer”, referring to the importance of supporting subsistence farmers worldwide. Though about 60 international farmers attended the conference, only a few took the stage as panelists.
As I listened from the front row, I thought about Morette’s difficult journey. First, visa issues delayed her US trip until the last possible moment. Then a missed flight stranded Morette and her translator in Chicago overnight. Thanks to a quick airport pick-up by Oxfam organizer Jim French, they’d made it in time for the panel—barely.
Morette’s fellow panelists included Liberia’s minister of agriculture and PepsiCo’s vice president of health, among others. Most showed PowerPoint slides, displaying charts about vitamin consumption and post-harvest losses, blocky and colorful as abstract art.
Morette simply spoke about her work as head of an Oxfam partner organization, the United Women’s Association of Pouille. She explained that most aid and services in Haiti focus on the capital, Port-au-Prince, leaving rural farmers at a disadvantage when it comes to fighting malnutrition.
“As you might know, we have a big gender gap in Haiti,” she said. “We seek to narrow that gap by improving women’s incomes. Since [we began] men have joined us to work together to improve agriculture and nutrition. … We educate people not only about cash crops, but about what to consume.”
During the question and answer session, an audience member asked Morette where she saw opportunities for local leaders like her to take charge of their own development.
“The fact that I’m here is already a big help,” she said. “[Oxfam] is in rural areas and sees what’s happening there. This is a big step for any organization, to go directly to the rural farmers.”
After the panel ended, a small crowd surrounded Morette, including a young Haitian-American graduate student who began a rapid dialogue with her in Kreyol. Two women sitting behind me, who’d been nodding along with her words, also rose to greet her.
“Thank goodness,” I heard one of the women say, reaching out a hand. “I’m so glad you’re here.”

Re-posted from Oxfam America's Blog on October 18th, 2010 | by Anna Kramer


Join us in Celebrating International Women's Day

International Women's Day 100th Anniversary

March 7th, 2011

Help us celebrate in Chicago

Join the Action Corps as we celebrate International Women's Day on Monday March 7th.

This all ages, free event will include a reception, a film screening of the Oxfam short film, Sisters on the Planet and a panel discussion. We're honored to host Madame Jacqueline Morette, a Haitian farmer, activist and Oxfam partner. She will share with us her stories of food insecurity,  injustice and her work to create change in her community.

Millions rely on the hard work and resourcefulness of women farmers. But although women produce 60 to 80 percent of the food in developing countries, they own just 2 percent of the land, and have few opportunities to earn a decent income. Climate change poses an added threat: erratic rainfall and droughts that disrupt the growing season. Today, many of these women farmers and their families are only one harvest away from hunger.

DATE: Monday, March 7, 2011

TIME: 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
University Center Conference Chicago
Loop/River Room 2nd Floor 
      525 S State Street, Chicago 60605

Interested in volunteering or attending?

or call Tom Leavitt 847-754-0708

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