The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Board of Directors announced Friday that effective early 2015, CEO and Co-founder Jill Staton Bullard will transition into a role focused on community development, long-range system change, advocacy, and strategic fund development. The position of Executive Director will be added to assume full responsibility for daily operations including staff management, programs and service delivery, financial management, and development activities. This strategic move will support critical local food system change, and enable the 25-year-old nonprofit to accelerate the dynamic community conversations about ending hunger. For 25 years, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle (IFFS) has been known for innovative strategies to end hunger that do more than feeding, focusing on overcoming the root causes of hunger: lack of access to healthy food and lack of income to purchase it. The role change for Bullard recognizes the future is about changing the food system.
“We are investing in this effort by dedicating our CEO to a strategic role focused on building a healthy food system for all,” said board chair Becky Jacobs. “Jill is a sought–after visionary and innovator in hunger relief with 25 years of experience. With the recent escalation of conversations about local food system issues, it was clear she needed to transition from day-to-day operations to have the capacity to focus on working closely with other thought leaders finding solutions to these key issues for our community.”
- Bullard shifts to a more strategic role focused on food system change, and finding the funding to support that system change. Bullard continues to report to the board as CEO.
- New Executive Director position created to report directly to the board, with full autonomy and accountability for staff management, programs and service delivery, budget and financial management, and marketing and development strategy. The board’s Personnel Committee will begin the search for a seasoned manager and leader immediately. Applicant inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bullard commented, “Anyone who works in low-wealth communities knows that just putting food on a plate in not enough. It’s a vital service, but it won’t solve the problem of hunger. Teaching skills for self-sufficiency, supporting local sustainable farms and ecosystems, building a thriving local food economy---those are the game-changers. I’m thrilled to join my community partners in making that kind of systems change.”
Bullard’s organization has been at the forefront of a growing community conversation about the root causes of hunger. In early 2014, the NC General Assembly formed a special committee on food deserts, while most Triangle counties have also moved forward in the formation of food policy councils. Triangle United Way, Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation, Duke University, Community Food Lab, Fertile Ground Co-op, IFFS, and many other hunger- and poverty-fighting organizations convened to explore how their collective power could be harnessed to define and shape a community food system that is fair and just, healthy and sustainable, and contributing to a thriving local economy. Increasing media attention, including a recent week-long series of local and national programs on WRAL-TV, has generated an awareness of the significant complexities of hunger.
About Inter-Faith Food Shuttle: Moving Forward by Feeding, Teaching and Growing
A Feeding America food bank, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle recovers healthy food –over 40% is fresh produce— that would have gone wasted, and redistributes it to partner agencies. However, the similarities to food-banking end there. With its tagline “We Feed. We Teach. We Grow.” as a guiding principle, IFFS’ grassroots approach empowers families in low wealth communities with job skills and education to build their self-sufficiency. Under Bullard’s leadership (with a lean staff of 40 and several thousand volunteers), the Food Shuttle evolved their programs from simply feeding the hungry to teaching skills for self-sufficiency, including culinary job skills, buying and cooking healthy food on a budget, and even how to grow food. Recognizing that the inundation of cheap processed food has distanced the average family from where fresh whole food comes from, IFFS has created agricultural programs, such as the Teaching Farm where volunteers learn how to grow their own food using innovative techniques including aquaponics, hydroponics, and vermicomposting.
While these programs work at the individual level, Bullard has also pushed for work at the systems level by identifying and focusing on two specific geographic areas to build food security and create food systems change: Southeast Raleigh and Southwest Central Durham. “There is a wealth of diverse talent and passion in these communities,” says Bullard. “As leaders, it should be our job to remove systemic obstacles and bad policy so that this talent can flourish.”
IFFS programs in these areas include mobile food markets, urban teaching gardens, school pantries, a mobile Food Truck, and grocery store tours to learn how to eat healthy on a budget. This activity was impetus for IFFS becoming the southern anchor for the Raleigh Food Corridor, a project along two miles of Blount and Person streets linking diverse communities and activities through food. Similar work in other counties is possible.