At the intersection of marine conservation and social, economic, environmental and food justice

Friday, November 20, 2015

#GivingTuesay Top Five Reasons to Give to our Seafood Throwdowns

2015 #GivingTuesday campaign
This blog comes from Cynthia Bush, NAMA's Finance and Administrative Coordinator and Program Associate. Cynthia organizes our Seafood Throwdowns.

Join NAMA on December 1st by donating to our #GivingTuesday campaign. 

Making a difference, One Seafood Throwdown at a time!

Top Five Reasons to Give

#1 You help us talk through the tough issues. 

Threats to the health of our ocean and community based fishermen are on the rise. Seafood Throwdowns allow us a fun atmosphere to teach audiences tangible ways to do something about it and bring support to those who need it most.

Pic: Local Rhode Island fisherman Katie Eagan shares about how, where, and when she caught her fish. Plus the values she brings to her business.

#2 You help us go deeper around sustainable seafood.

Traditional ways of thinking about sustainable seafood haven’t gotten us where we need to go. So we’re going deeper to share the ecological, social, food system and economic importance of locally caught seafood and community based small and medium scale fishermen.

Pic: Student food activists share why they care about locally caught seafood in the first ever youth-led Seafood Throwdown at the New Hampshire Fishtival.

#3 You help us take action. 

It ain’t just about selling seafood. It’s about transforming fisheries and ocean policies and educating the public, whether that means by signing petitions, creating video testimony, or growing our Fish Locally Collaborative network.

Pic: The late Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston surrounded by local chefs who participated in a Seafood Throwdown, publicly announces local seafood's return to the city's farmers' markets after a 70+ year prohibition!

#4 You help us build community. 

Every wave starts with a tiny ripple. Through the aromas, flavors, sounds, and stories, these events create the ripples of the revol-ocean.  

Pic: The young farm apprentices from the Conetoe Familly Life Center strengthen connections between the Hatteras Island fishing community and the mainland African American farming communities at the Day at the Docks Seafood Throwdown in North Carolina. 

#5 You help us raise awareness about abundance of species.

Our Mystery Fish teaches each community about what’s local and what’s abundant.

Pic: Local fisherman Phil Michaud shows his local catch to the crowd. Dogfish! Most most folks had never seen or heard of a dogfish. And our chefs were pretty much in the same boat. After the tastes, smells, and stories, folks were excited to try local dogfish.

Please partner with us in reaching our goal of $10,000 and exciting 500,000 more people that will stand up with us. Without your help we can’t be in as many communities as we are invited. You can make it happen!

What is a Seafood Throwdown You ask?

A Seafood Throwdown is a friendly cooking competition. We bring together local chefs, fishermen, locally caught seafood, hometown celebrities, and community to learn about the threats to our ocean and our fisheries, finding real tangible ways to do something about it.  

Making a difference, One Seafood Throwdown at a time!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cutting Edge of CSFs & the Interwebs

This blog comes from NAMA's coordinating director, Niaz Dorry.

Our website just had a major facelift. We have one of the first websites built in Drupal 8 (Beta). For most of us that means nothing. For some people, it means something pretty exciting.

Regardless of which camp you belong to, we thought you’d appreciate hearing about what makes the new site unique and what it has to do with Community Supported Fisheries (CSF) and the emerging CSF movement.

What’s Drupal? It is an open source platform for building websites, much like WordPress but a little more robust (at least we think so). I’m not a techy, so don’t expect me to get all geeky on you. But for over a decade, I’ve had to become versed in techy things - especially Drupal-ly things - out of necessity.

Unity Homes model in Gulfport, Mississippi
Nine years ago when I was at the Healthy Building Network, somehow I got roped into helping build a website for Unity Homes, a project of HBN at the time that would build affordable, healthy, affordable, modular homes for those who lost theirs in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Oliver Seldman was the person hired to do the techy part, and he and I began a cyber relationship that has lasted since. Back then, Oliver and I began playing with Drupal, which wasn’t really that widely used at the time.

Shortly after coming to NAMA, we lost the old website. Don’t ask! At first I wished there was a magic cyber grapple. Then I took it as a sign that we were meant to start anew. But with very limited resources and expertise, it proved very challenging to get a good, new site up.

After a few failed attempts at DIY website building, I found myself teaming up with Oliver again. We built another Drupal site; the old NAMA site. We were at the beginning of the Community Supported Fishery movement, a network no one was supporting at the time, and in fact very few could even imagine. It was important for us to fill the gap. We knew the potential of CSFs for creating change on the water and on our plates. We wanted to create an online place where any CSF that didn’t have resources for a website could use to put their information till they could have their own; we wanted a CSF locater so people could put in their zip code and find a CSF pick up location near them; we wanted a place to store information such as regulatory requirements; and, we wanted a place to put our original CSF Bait Box, a step by step resource guide for fishermen and communities ready to start a CSF, amongst other things. 

Out with the old....
These functions weren’t readily available in Drupal then. To meet our unique needs, we had to create some things for the first time. I should say Oliver got to create some things for the first time.

As it is with open source software, improvements, suggestions, and ideas emerge from the community and strengthen the community. We know that the tools we built to support the CSF movement helped Drupal grow and serve more needs while serving the CSF movement at a critical time.

With our once cutting edge website nearing an out-of-date state, we had to take action. In fact, if we didn’t, it would be obsolete and no longer supported by year’s end. We would be floating at sea without a lifeline. And this time even a cyber grapple wouldn't help!

So with the help of two of our funders - Maine Community Foundation’s Broad Reach Fund and Food and Farm Communications Fund - we were able to invest in an upgrade - actually a double upgrade.

And that’s where Oliver came into the picture again, but this time he made us an offer we couldn’t refuse!

Oliver, now no longer a solo contractor, had joined the team at Advomatic, the premier digital agency for mission-driven organizations. We would be their first website to be built in Drupal 8, the latest version that only exists in Beta. By coming together, NAMA would get a double upgrade, meaning we would likely not have to do anything other than basic maintenance to our website for a good number of years to come. For Advomatic, it meant their staff becomes one of the first teams to build from the ground up in Drupal 8 while creating solutions, ideas, suggestions, fixes, improvements, and maybe even some innovations to offer to the community to make Drupal 8 more robust and productive out of the box. 

We took the plunge, even though we recognize there are risks involved in trusting our cyber presence to a program with bugs and unknowns. Taking risks isn’t something we shy away from, in the real world or the cyber world.

Advomatic had to take some risks, too. Their staff has spent nearly 800 hours on our website, and they had to go where their programmers, developers, and designers hadn’t gone before. Read more about Advomatic's end of things by checking Oliver's blog here.
... in with the new.
After months of work, our website launched last week. Check it out. We’re excited to once again find ourselves on the cutting edge of the interwebs, and we like it! This has been a win win win win situation:

* We have a high performing, easy to use for us lay people, and well designed website and we didn’t have to increase our budget to get a website that we really really really like.
* Advomatic broke ground by being one of the first firms to build in Drupal 8 from soup to nuts increasing their capacity to support and work with mission driven organizations like ours to have solid web presence. Especially those, who like us, were living in Drupal 6.
* Drupal community wins as so many of the bugs that emerged and were fixed, tools that were built to meet our online needs, and boundaries that were defined will improve Drupal 8 considerably.
* Organizations like ours win. Those who have to live with limited budgets to spend on websites, have to have a website that they can easily manipulate as needed often without an in-house IT department, and who are looking for user friendly web platforms can have access to the latest and greatest.

Please take a few minutes and visit our new site. Let us know what you think after you dive in, but please be patient as we get our bearings straight. It takes everyone some time to adjust when they’re standing at the edge of something new.

Monday, November 9, 2015

On #GivingTuesday, make a difference one Seafood Throwdown at a Time!

This blog comes from Cynthia Bush, NAMA's finance and administrative coordinator and program associate. Cynthia organizes our Seafood Throwdowns.

Join NAMA for this 24 hour #GivingTuesday Campaign on December 1st 2015 and make a difference, one #Seafood Throwdown at a time!

This #GivingTuesday campaign is a crucial piece that would allow us to continue our outreach through our Seafood Throwdown Events.  

Come join NAMA and help in raising $10,000 in our promise to carry on Seafood Throwdowns and reach 500,000 more people this upcoming 2016 season!  This dynamite event called the Seafood Throwdown brings us into so many different communities reaching diverse audiences creating an outreach that is explosive! 

A Seafood Throwdown is a friendly cooking competition; the players in this event are two local chefs, one local mystery fish, one local emcee, three judges (picked from community) and the audience.  They all come together to learn about the secret ingredient The Mystery Fish, watch the cooking show, and end up learning about the threats to our ocean and our fisheries, finding real tangible ways to do something about it.  Truly making a difference, one Seafood Throwdown Event at a time!

Please give to our Seafood Throwdowns so we can continue our road trip to communities everywhere, strengthening our networks and building new relationships with the people. We can’t get there without you… let’s do this together and keep spreading the word!

Callie Crossley and Laurie Lufkin co-emceeing the 2010 Boston Local Food Festival Seafood Throwdown
Please partner with us in reaching our goal of $10,000 and exciting 500,000 more people that will stand up with us. Without your help we can’t be in as many communities as we are invited. You can make it happen!

Making a difference, one Seafood Throwdown at a time!