FOOD ACCESS COMMUNITY ADVOCATES COHORT (CAC)
WHAT IS THE CAC?
Nebraska Appleseed’s Food Access Community Advocates Cohort (CAC) is a 9-month advocacy training program made up of impacted community members who meet at least once a month to participate in advocacy trainings and actions. Cohort members are Nebraska community members who have personally experienced food insecurity and are passionate about making positive changes in our state. This cohort is a new model that Nebraska Appleseed piloted in 2022-23 to engage and prepare impacted community members to be long-term advocates. A new cohort will launch in September of 2023. Cohort members are given a monthly stipend to compensate them for their time learning advocacy skills. Those interested in joining a future cohort can fill out our interest form below.
Through the CAC Experience, Cohort Members Learn:
- How to effectively tell their stories,
- What policy opportunities exist to improve food access on state and federal levels,
- Tactics to reduce stigma around food insecurity, and
- Ways to leverage their voices to make real change for Nebraskans.
YEAR 1: THE 2022-23 COHORT
In 2022-23, we piloted the Food Access CAC with seven community members. Through this cohort, members brought attention to food access issues and solutions that personally impacted them through direct advocacy and awareness raising efforts. Members practiced what they learned during CAC trainings by contacting elected officials, writing letters to the editor, giving media interviews, speaking at a Nebraska SNAP proposed regulations hearing, and engaging in-person with state senators and federal members of congress.
YEAR 1 RESULTS
- 5 CAC graduates (all who use SNAP and/or experience challenges accessing food)
- 11 in-person or virtual cohort meetings over 9 months
- 132 combined hours of sharing, learning, and advocacy
- $3,245 in community compensation & expenses reimbursed
- 2 trips with cohort members to Washington DC
- 6 state or federal policies influenced or passed
- 9 earned media stories
- 17 meetings with elected officials
IN THEIR OWN WORDS:
“The CAC was a very positive experience for me and made me feel very motivated to keep doing advocacy. It made me feel like we all did something and took action. Having preparation [from the CAC] made me feel like I was advocating from a place of knowledge.”Shelley, CAC member
“The CAC gave me an opportunity to feel like I belonged in a community. It made me feel like I could make a positive difference. Being placed in a cohort with like-minded people and ambitions was a positive experience for me.”Kayla, CAC member
INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE?
We hope to recruit members for the CAC each year in August and start our trainings in early September. If you have struggled to put food on the table, feel free to complete our interest form to learn more about this and other opportunities to advocate. Impacted advocates are compensated for their time and expertise.
If you are interested in joining a future cohort we can keep you updated when our next round of applications go live!
If you are a non-profit partner interested in learning more about our cohort model, please contact Megan to find a time to connect.