Oaklander is a White House ‘Champion of Change’

The White House today announced it’s welcoming Dana Harvey, executive director of Oakland’s Mandela MarketPlace, as one of 11 “Champions of Change” who have committed themselves to strengthening food security in the United States and around the world.

“Today’s champions are examples of the groundbreaking work being done to tackle hunger at home and abroad. These individuals are making improved access to healthy food a reality for millions of individuals in need,” Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said in a news release. “Establishing global food security isn’t just critical for those now suffering from hunger. It is also vital to our long-term economic prosperity. We applaud the champions for their efforts to empower families and communities and to reduce the depth and severity of hunger around the world.”

The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative; each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of champions are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities. President Obama is not at the White House today; he’s in Charlotte, N.C., where he’ll be accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for re-election.

Harvey, 55, of Oakland, has spent the last decade in nonprofit management and development in areas of environmental justice, food security, education and economic development, according to the White House.

At Mandela MarketPlace, she’s building a community-led food system that combines increased access to healthy foods with economic development to build community health and wealth. Harvey led a campaign resulting in the June 2009 opening of Mandela Foods Cooperative to address West Oakland’s longtime status as a food desert, and since then has helped catalyze and grow other successful food enterprises in the area.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR senile columnist

    She’s chump change.

  • Naomi Hough

    Far from “chump change”, Dana’s work in food security and social enterprise is both innovative and inspiring in West Oakland, and has continued to influence similar projects nationally and internationally. Keep up the good work!

  • Elwood

    Good news! Unemployment falls to 8.1 per cent.

    Bad news! Why it fell. Hundreds of thousands of people became so discouraged that they stopped looking for work.

    Another great victory for Obama!

    I do like his campaign theme though. “I couldn’t get the job done in four years so would you please give me four more?”

    Does that resonate, or what?

  • JohnW

    Yeah, I don’t understand why Obama can’t double the GDP rate (which generates more jobs) just because Europe is in deep recession, just because households are paying off debt instead of spending, and just because state and local governments are eliminating jobs instead of adding them.

    I pulled the Bureau of Labor Statistics month-to-month job numbers for 1999 through August 2012. Wanted to see how many jobs were being generated at this point in Bush’s first term compared to Obama’s — after two big tax cuts and the start of an economy doped up on the housing bubble. Including government jobs (which were growing, not shrinking), 46,000 were added in July 2004. 122,000 in August, 161,000 in September, 348,000 in October (interesting), 63,000 in November, 134,000 in December. Like Obama’s first term, Bush’s began with a recession, but not one remotely as severe and not one that wrecked household net worth.

    Not dinging Bush. Just saying the Baby Boom as a driving force in economic growth is over. And we are in a competitive globalized economy. I have no idea what’s going to bring the next wave of robust economic growth to get us out of this “new normal.” Neither does either Romney or Obama. Supposedly, there are 3 million jobs out there not being filled, because available people don’t have the right skills. Obviously, training and education need to be part of the solution.

    Romney promises 12 million jobs in his first term. Some economist predict that will happen no matter who is president. Don’t know what they base that on, but let’s hope.

  • JohnW

    By the way, some of those “people becoming discouraged” and no longer looking for work are actually students going back to school who were counted in the “looking for work” statistics over the summer.

  • JohnW

    The October 2004 spike in jobs up to 348,000 apparently was due to temporary construction jobs to repair damage from a severe hurricane season.

  • Elwood

    @ #5 John W.

    Just as a wild guess, that happens every fall, John.