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

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Who Funds Us Matters

It's that time of year... we are all getting dozens of appeals for donations in our inboxes, mailboxes, and all kinda boxes. And here I am doing the same - asking you to make a donation to NAMA.

Why give to NAMA?

We believe who funds us matters, and when the rubber meets the road we don't want to have to decide between fulfilling our mission and not pissing off potential funders. That's why we are picky about where our funding comes from making every dollar we raise matter.

What does this mean? Although we have in the past, we no longer solicit government grants. With very few exceptions, we don't solicit contributions from corporations*. We even choose the foundations we work with very carefully to make sure we are not partnering with those who support the kind of market strategies and policies that we are fighting to make right.

Being picky about our funding makes life difficult at times, but it has made working with fishermen whose first question often is "who do you get your money from?" easier.

That means your donations provide the backbone of our organization and are invaluable to our efforts. Every $20, $36, $50, $100, $5,000, or $20,000 (our largest individual donation in 2015!) matters and gets us closer to raising our 2016 projected budget of $374,800.

Thank you in advance for your generous spirit, activist heart, and powerful voice. 

With gratitude,

Niaz Dorry
NAMA's Coordinating Director

P.S. We'd love to send you a copy of Ali Berlow's new book The Food Activist Handbook with our thanks for your donation of $40 or more. Amongst the many great stories and strategies Ali has included in her book are NAMA's Seven Principles for Choosing Seafood. We thank Ali for including our work in her book and donating a few books to us to share with our donors.

* When it comes to corporate donations, we make an exception when it comes to companies that explicitly align with our purpose and demonstrate a commitment to our purpose and mission. To help us in that process, we confer with our friends at the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts, 1% For the Planet, New Economy Coalition, and the American Sustainable Business Council, all of which NAMA is a member. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cynthia's Seafood Throwdown Year in Review

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

This is me helping get set up and chatting with a
local youth group about fish seasons

In early May we kicked off this year’s Seafood Throwdown season in
Providence, Rhode Island with our partners, Farm Fresh Rhode Island and the African Alliance of Rhode IslandThe Throwdown was at Farm Fresh RI’s annual seasonal kickoff event for their Farmers Markets, where for the first time they were selling fresh local seafood from a local fisherman!

As the months came upon us we found ourselves in multiple communities in Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont! What a road trip! The van was packed to the point where we couldn’t see out the back window and there was barely room for our personal stuff while we took in breathtaking sights as the roads led us to our host destinations. What great days these road trips are! 

Seafood Throwdown in Belfast, ME at the MaineFare.
Thanks to Maine Farmland Trust and Penobscot East
Resource Center
 for bringing land and sea together
in fun family festival! We were honored to have Maine
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree as one of our judges!
My job on that day is to watch over the logistics pieces making sure everything is falling into place or close to it, all the while being outside in a Farmers Market or Festival atmosphere. How cool is that?! I’m in the midst of people who are happy just to be outdoors supporting their community, surrounded by their neighbors. 

As they come to watch the Seafood Throwdown, they’re in for a treat of being tantalized by their five senses; seeing this unusual species with an eye
Locally caught squid, yumm!
popping gotta get closer;
hearing all about what the Mystery Fish is, where it came from and what’s this all about; then there might be some touching, yes, there are a few brave souls that want to feel it, for they never have been around this species before; once the competition starts smelling the aroma draws them closer; then the final sense utilized is tasting the chefs’ creation using all things local, a perfect ending to an all inclusive (using your 5 senses in one place) experience!

I’m inviting you to stay tuned for our 2016 Seafood Throwdown season. We are hoping to reach many more communities this next year!

See you next year,
Cynthia Bush
Finance Coordinator and Program Associate

Making a difference, One Seafood Throwdown at a time!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Shira’s Top Ten Revol-Oceanary Moments

This post comes to us from NAMA Community Organizer Shira Tiffany.
Choosing the ten most powerful moments from my first year at NAMA was a challenge. There have been so many moments when I felt the power of people coming together, connecting our stories and values, and acting for change. Here are some that stand out from my first 14 months with NAMA.

#1: Walk Out

New England Fisheries Management Council Meeting, Mystic, CT
September 30th, 2015

Fishermen bravely testified before the New England Fisheries Management Council on the Fleet Diversity Amendment and led students, seafood consumers and distributors, and other allies in walking out of the meeting. After years of working with the Council, fishermen and allies walked away from the broken “democratic” process and to show the Council’s failure to limit fleet consolidation under Catch Shares. Watch testimonies by fishermen Jason Jarvis, Shannon Eldredge, Stephen Welch, and more.

#2: Pescando Justicia Action
NORPEL, Fish Island, New Bedford, MA
9 pm, December 15th, 2014

One year ago today
workers at seafood processing plant NORPEL presented a letter to management listing eight demands, among them a $15 minimum wage. Workers and allies held a vigil in front of the plant. It was colder this time last year!
Leaders of Pescando Justicia (Credit: Pescando Justicia)

#3: Hauling in the Catch Aboard the F/V Holly & Abby
Out of Hyannis, Cape Cod, MA
4 am, July 28th, 2015

I ventured out on my first commercial fishing trip with Captain Stephen Welch. I learned A LOT. What I took away is how comfortable Stephen is behind the wheel and how much fishing means to him. It’s not just how he’s supported himself and his family, it’s how he’s mentored young people, and found meaning and purpose. He’s been fishing in the Gulf of Maine and Nantucket Sound for longer than I’ve been alive and has an incredibly vast wealth of knowledge. As long as he's been hauling in nets, my highlight from that day is still true for him too. When you haul in your nets, what you find is always a surprise.

Sunrise from F/V Holly & Abby

#4: F/V Finlander
70 miles offshore from Saco, ME
Midnight, August 14th, 2015

Captain Tim Rider and his crew steam 70 miles offshore from Saco, ME to fish under the common pool management system. Fishing is an adventurous and exhausting way of life and this was no exception. Highlight: I didn’t throw up!
Cleaning up on the steam home: Crew Spencer Montgomery gets some help scrubbing down from crew Amanda Parks

#5: Fish Locally Collaborative Narrative Retreat
Penobscot East Resource Center, Stonington, ME
July 11th to 13th, 2015

Leaders of the Fish Locally Collaborative gathered to begin work on a collective narrative
to ground our work by crafting a manifesto of what we believe. The rich conversations wrapped my brain around all sorts of new questions.

Sharing a laugh in Stonington
From left to right: Kyle Molton, Brett Tolley, Meri Ratzel, Sarah Schumann, and Stephanie Webb

#6:  Swarm Training
Cambridge Co-Housing, Cambridge, MA
November 6th to 8th, 2015

Sarah Schumann, President of Eating With The Ecosystem, and I learned best practices of decentralized organizations among leaders working on issues from immigrant rights to climate justice to prison abolition. Hours of conversation with Sarah and others during our weekend-long immersion into working ON our organizations instead of IN them was a great kickstarter for this important and easily overlooked work.
Participants at Swarm Training
Did Sarah Schumann sneak out of this photo? She was nearby!

#7: First Ever Fish Camp

First Baptist Church, Boston, MA
November 8th, 2014

Fishermen, fishworkers, and students came together to share their experiences as producers, workers, and consumers and to talk about an ecologically sustainable, fair, local seafood supply chain. Attendees included Real Food Challenge student leaders from across New England, fisherman Tim Rider from Saco, ME, fisherman Shannon Eldregde of Chatham, MA, Jared Auerbach of Red’s Best in Boston, MA, fishworker leaders of Pescando Justicia in New Bedford, MA, and Jarvis Green of New Orleans, LA.

Fisherman Shannon Eldredge sharing her story

#8: Food Solutions New England Summit
Boston, MA
June 10th to 12th, 2015

The first ever Food Chain Worker Delegation to the New England Food Summit brought 11 incredible food chain worker-organizers from across the food chain to share their courage and tenacity in the fight for worker justice.

food chain worker power.png

#9: US Food Sovereignty Alliance 3rd Assembly
Des Moines, Iowa
October 12th to 15th, 2015

Organizations working for food sovereignty around the world gathered to be in solidarity and learn about agro-ecology. It was inspiring to share stories, songs, poems, meals, cooking, seeds, and take action with folks working for food sovereignty around the world. I listened to Wisconsin family dairy farmer Joel Greeno and Iowa family farmer Brad Wilson stories of resistance to corporate agribusiness. Miriam Miranda, Coordinator of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), shared about the movement of indigenous Garifuna fishermen and farmers defending and strengthening their land security and their sustainable, small-scale farming and fishing.

Andrew Kang Bartlett’s visualization of a conversation on Food Sovereignty at the Assembly

#10: Emerging Leaders Retreat
Hartford, CT
October 20th to 21st, 2015

Emerging Leaders in the Food Solutions New England Network made space together to dig into how racism plays out on various levels of the food system - internalized, interpersonal, institutional, and systemic - and how to work to dismantle racism. Incredibly important work and there’s so much more to do.

Embedded image permalink
Participants at the Emerging Leaders Retreat

Bonus Revol-Oceanary Moment!
#11: Celebrate the Fruits of our Ocean Seafood Throwdown

Roxbury YMCA, Boston, MA
October 25th, 2014

We hosted a sunshine and fun-filled Seafood Throwdown with our partners Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, host Roxbury YMCA, and Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness, at the kick-off event for Roxbury Rising Against Diabetes. Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson was the MC!

Dancing the Cupid Shuffle with Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson

...and the Wobble