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



Today Chicago is holding a special election for the 2nd Congressional District. This unique constituency stretches from southern Chicago to Kankakee. In a recent debate on February 12th in Kankakee, seven candidates discussed how they would help improve the area. It was not surprising when they discussed agriculture and the need for continued support for farmers, especially in the areas of Kankakee. Government policy makers and Congressional representatives are crucial to the process of change. We understand that change requires a strategic bimodal approach via government and corporations. Oxfam has made continuous legislative efforts to support better agricultural practices both at home and abroad. After the constant disappointments with the Congress in years past, you are frustrated, and we’re frustrated. Because change is proving to be slow.

How can we get things changing? 1.4 billion people are overweight yet 900 million people are starving. About one third of our food is wasted, but mothers are forced to choose between medicines and food and education. Our crops have been reduced and our food sources changing because corporations are buying public property at an increasing rate. Is anyone noticing? What about the people with a lot of buying power and media power?

After 18 months of careful research and consideration in the approach to improve corporate practices, Oxfam is now introducing BEHIND THE BRANDS. As an extension of the GROW campaign, this initiative allows consumers to empower themselves with information on practices by companies who make their favorite treats. Oxfam uses 7 different scoring areas to rank the companies against themselves. These themes that encompass social, environmental and economic issues are:

  1. Transparency
  2. Women and gender equality policies
  3. Ethical Treatment to supply chain workers
  4. Small scale farmers growing commodities
  5. Land
  6. Water
  7. Climate and gas emissions

Let’s start a race to the top. Let’s encourage large corporations that are stealing water, land and abusing corporate power by paying people unfairly sprint to be better companies! Corporations move fast in response to consumer power and education. When you say something, they listen. Seriously. Tweet about what you expect from the companies you buy from. Update your Facebook status to make people aware about the unfair practices of many companies. Sign the petition to make cocoa-farming practices better. NPR, BBC News, Huffington Post, Bloomberg TV, and more media sources have been covering Behind the Brands. The companies have been responding! Show them you are passionate about supporting farmers and they will listen.

Find your favorite brands on the website Behind the Brands. How does your company stack up on the Oxfam scorecard?

Megan Nakra


February Monthly Meeting Minutes


Convened at location (some bakery on a corner) Chicago
Meeting began at 6:06 pm
Acivists Present
Adam- Bikes-a-lot Co-Chair
Jessica- Concert-Goer Co-chair
Kathryn-Teaching about Activism
Richard- Around the Neighborhood
Delia- Nurse with a Cause
            Emily- Expert Petitioner

Old Business

            SUPER OXFAM SUNDAY, Hunger Banquet with Roger Thurow was a success
            Looking to plan future event “Empty Bowl” on Super Bowl Sunday, earlier in
the day. Continue combined ChOAC and CHANGE event

New Business

            Need Volunteers for three shifts of campaigning
            This is a time to get loud
Carpooling transportation available
            Social media
                        Needed for Twitter, Facebook, blogposts
                        To learn hashtag for the event, please contact Co-Chair at Chicago.
            First website for new campaign available at 5pm on Monday, February 25th

            In conjunction with International Women’s Day
            Need Volunteers for two shifts of campaign
1.      8:30am –10am
2.    11am-1pm
            We will be talking, gaining signatures, educating people,
            To sign up for this amazing event, contact Co-Chair at Chicago.oxfamactioncorps@gmail.com
-Upcoming Tabling Events
            Good Food Festival, March 15th-16th
World Fair Trade Day, May 7th-8th
            Green Festival, May18th - 19th
            Sweet Snacks Expo, May 21st – 23rd


Oxfam Members Skip the Superbowl to Fight Hunger!

Many Oxfam supporters showed their dedication to fighting world hunger on Super Bowl Sunday by skipping the game to participate in a hunger banquet. The Oxfam CHANGE club at Chicago's Loyola University hosted the remarkable event- intended to shed light on the situation many rural farmers in Africa find themselves in.

As we filed in, student organizers and Oxfam Action Corps members handed each of us a card marked with an economic class and the story of a person in that class. These determined our seating arrangements. Those who were in the 'upper' class were given a seat at a table near the podium, 'middle' class participants sat in chairs, while the 'poor' class were required to sit on the floor. LUC’s CHANGE leader, Kaitlin Madsen, read a narrative along with other club members about how the uneven distribution of wealth affects access to basic needs. The audience was involved in the narrative, switching economic classes based on unforeseen circumstances like floods, or assistance from agricultural development programs.

When it was time to eat, we lined up in order of class, and men ate first as a reflection of how real-life circumstances (often inherited rather than earned) affect the lives of people throughout the world. The 'rich' were given a nutritious buffet, the middle class received rice and vegetables, while those of us in the lowest economic class received only one cup of white rice. Because of what they lacked, some members at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder bartered their shoes and phones for utensils or water.

As we ate, Roger Thurow, Senior Fellow on Global Agriculture and Food Policy in the Chicago Council on Global Affairs gave an inspiring talk on the opportunities and challenges that face Africa's smallholder farmers. For example, as Mr. Thurow details in his second book, The Last Hunger Season, many of these farmers go through a 'hunger season', or the time of austerity between the end of food from one harvest and the gathering of food from the next. Fortunately, initiatives like Oxfam's GROW campaign are bringing modern methods, technology, and seeds to these farmers that can eliminate the 'hunger season' and bring new economic freedom to those who need it most.

The hunger banquet was inspiring, and we all felt the experience we had was well worth waiting to watch the Super Bowl.

Think you understand about the hunger problem? Test your knowledge by answering these questions in the comment section below!

In order to adequately meet demands of a growing global population, food production:

a) must double
b) depends on smallholder farmers obtaining new techniques and technology
c) must be a priority in foreign aid
d) all of the above
'Microdosing' crops can nearly double yields in Africa with __________ of fertilizer per plant.
a) One cup
b) One gallon
c) 1/2 cups
d) One bottle-cap full
-Jeffrey Rozelle


Valentine’s Day on the GROW Method

It's that time of year again! Celebrate Valentine's Day with tasty sweets that also hold the keys to the GROW method. Share with co-workers, sibling, friends or loved ones. There is something sweet for everyone you love. The following recipes include Less Dairy/Meat, Eat Seasonal, Support Local Farmers, and Energy Efficiency (or no energy at all). 

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sweet Vegan Recipes, Vegan Festival
  • 1 cup softened vegan margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8-oz vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, including Ener-G powder. Add the margarine and the water from “effs” and mix with a hand blender. Dribble vanilla over mixed ingredients and mix again. Dough should stick together but not be too wet; it should hold its shape when formed into a ball. If too dry, add a teaspoon of water’ if too wet, add 1/4 cup flour or oats. Add chocolate chips and fold in by hand or with mixer. Using a spoon, form balls of dough and place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes. Let cookies cool on a sheet.

Chewy Vegan Brownies
Sweet Vegan Recipes, Vegan Festival
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 T ground flax seed
  • 1/8 tsp salt
Mix sugar, water, and oil until blended, then add in the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into an oiled 6 by 9 pan and bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes.

Chocolate Trail Mix
Better Homes, February 2013
  • 1 cup granola
  • 1 cup salted pretzel sticks, coarsely crushed
  • 1 cup vegan semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 cup cocoa-covered almonds
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup freeze-dried raspberries
Line baking sheets with waxed paper; set aside. In a small bowl place granola, in another bowl place pretzels. Melt chocolate pieces in the microwave for 30 second intervals and stirring in between. Pour half of melted chocolate over granola and half over pretzels. Turn the contents of each bowl out onto the prepared baking sheets. Separate the chocolate-coated pieces into small chunks. Let stand at room temperature until set. Break or chop chocolate-coated granola and pretzels into bite-size morsels. In a large bowl, combine chocolate-covered pieces, dried cranberries, almonds and dried cherries. Add dried raspberries before serving. Can last 3 days in air tight container at room temp.

Moroccan Spiced Orange Dessert
Moroccan-Spiced Oranges RecipeLiz Brown, Cooking Light

·  2 1/2 cups orange sections, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 6)
·  1/4 cup slivered almonds
·  2 1/2 tablespoons chopped pitted dates (about 4)
·  1 tablespoon powdered sugar
·  1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
·  1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·  Ground cinnamon (optional)
·  Grated orange rind (optional)
Combine first 6 ingredients in medium bowl. Cover and chill for 20 minutes. Garnish with cinnamon and orange rind.

Dessert Nachos
Adam Farag, Chicago Oxfam Action Corps

·         1 apple chopped
·         1 pear chopped
·         1/2 cup chopped nuts (of your choice)
·         1/2 cup rolled oats
·         Vegan Chocolate chips (optional)
·         Honey (for drizzling)
·         Cinnamon
·         Tortillas or unsalted tortilla chips.

Combine chopped apple and pear in a bowl. Add nuts, oats, cinnamon and vegan chocolate chips for taste. Mix well. Evenly spread mixture onto tortilla. Drizzle honey as desired. Roll tortilla and serve. If using tortilla chips, spread evenly on a plate. Carefully spread mixture onto chips and drizzle honey as desired.

No Bake Cookies from Favorite Recipes For Our Friends
Uploaded by Monica H at www.lickthebowlgood.blogspot.com
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick oleo, margarine or butter (I used butter)
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups oatmeal (old fashioned rolled oats, not instant)

Mix the sugar, butter, cocoa, and milk in a medium saucepan.* Boil for 1 minute. Add the peanut butter and vanilla. Mix quickly until peanut butter melts, then add the oatmeal and mix till well blended. Drop spoonfuls on tin foil, wax paper or parchment. Allow to set and cool completely.
Makes 2 dozen 3-inch cookies.

Compiled by Megan Nakra

First Person: Voices, video, and photos from Oxfam's fight against poverty