A Letter from Our Executive Director on His Retirement

Eric Holt-Giménez | 03.04.2019

When I left home fifty years ago, my mother hugged me, smiled, and said: Vaya con Dios—go with God. I was too young and too excited about my freedom to comprehend the mix of pride, love, and sadness behind that smile. I understand now.

I want you to know that after 13 years at the helm of Food First, the time has come for me to retire—with a smile.

At Food First, I’ve been privileged to work with frontline communities who taught me that giving up hope is not an option. I’ve found so much courage, creativity, and love in these relationships. It’s an honor to count myself among the countless who have been transformed by Food First.

That’s why I want to give back to the organization that has given me the gift of hope. To ensure a smooth transition, I want to raise $85,000 by June 30, 2019. Can you join me?

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Food First’s biggest advocates have also come together to donate $15,000 as a matching gift. That means every dollar you donate will be matched up to that amount. That’s right — $5 becomes $10, $100 becomes $200, and $1,000 becomes $2,000.

Your generosity will go straight to fighting the root causes of hunger and ensure Food First’s future for decades to come.

Because of your help, I’ve seen the rise of the food sovereignty movement; the global explosion of community-based food projects; and the launch of new agroecology courses and exciting food studies programs in dozens of universities over these past few decades.

I’ve witnessed first-hand the steady growth of public awareness—not only that we need to drastically change how we grow and distribute our food—but of how our food system can itself be a powerful lever for ending injustice.

With your unwavering support, we’ve stayed on the cutting edge of this vast movement of movements; incubating the Oakland Food Policy Council; helping organize the US Food Sovereignty Alliance; launching the We Are the Solution Campaign with women farmers in West Africa; spreading the global Farmer-to-Farmer movement; and producing path-breaking publications like Food Rebellions, Land JusticeA Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism, and Can We Feed the World Without Destroying It. We’ve taken people on dozens of educational tours around the world, and have given many college courses and community workshops.

This month Food First’s dedicated Board of Directors will oversee our transition process and by this summer I’ll be turning Food First over to a new executive director. Letting go of an organization that has become such an integral part of my life is the most difficult thing I’ve had to do since arriving at Food First. I’m sad, but filled with pride, and excited about the new chapter in the four-decade legacy of this remarkable organization.

I want you to be a part of this new and exciting beginning, since it is you who makes all this work possible to begin with.
You can donate by sending your gift in the mail today or donating online at www.foodfirst.org/newbeginnings.

As I prepare to leave this challenging and fulfilling post to my successor, I want to express my deepest gratitude. You make Food First possible. Thank you, I can never repay you. But I will take Food First’s message with me always.

¡Hasta siempre!

To apply for the Executive Director position, please visit: foodfirst.org/apply-for-the-executive-director-position