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Meet Christina Hall of Orange County Food Access Coalition in Santa Ana

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Hall.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Christina. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have always enjoyed volunteer work, especially the work I have done focused on social justice issues. When my daughter started a school garden and began volunteering at a local community garden, I joined her and learned so much about food insecurity and nutritional vulnerabilities that I decided I wanted to make it my life’s work. I went back to school and got a degree in Urban Sustainability and am now the Executive Director of OC Food Access Coalition, OC’s food policy council working to support and expand access to healthy food for the food insecure and nutritionally vulnerable in our county.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Overall, I suppose it has been a pretty smooth road. With that said, it was a little scary at first to decide to go back to school and change careers. 🙂

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Orange County Food Access Coalition – what should we know?
OC Food Access Coalition is a non-profit focused on changing the food system in Orange County so that it is more equitable. We convene a number of workgroups focused on different aspects of the food system such as farmers’ markets, K-12 nutrition, older adults, and urban agriculture (just to name a few). We work as a coalition and have over 100 partner organizations all working to reduce food insecurity.

Our agency also has two direct service programs. One is the Harvest Club, a backyard gleaning program designed to reduce food waste and provide nutritious produce to food pantries, community centers, etc. So far, this year we have harvested 80,000+ pounds of fruit that would have otherwise gone to waste. We also host a culinary and nutrition program called Food with Friends that is focused on our low-income seniors. The goal of this program is to reduce social isolation while teaching quick, easy and nutritious recipes. The thing we are most proud of as an agency is when we see community members empowered through our advocacy programs telling their stories and using their voices to make change and creating a better community for all.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I think perseverance is the most important quality that makes this work possible.

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