Please give a warm welcome to Avalon Gupta VerWiebe (she/they), our recently hired Equity, Inclusion, and Accountability organizer! Avalon has been with the organizer since starting their practicum in January and has taken on several other roles in the organization including communications, and creating a workplace employee handbook.

Although Avalon was born in Syracuse, she spent much of her early life here before moving to Louisville, Kentucky at the age of 11. This past January, she moved back to Syracuse to begin her master’s degree at Syracuse University’s Falk College in their Food Studies program. While completing her degree, she has focused on engaging in transformative justice work in various roles including labor union work with the United Food and Commercial Workers and urban agriculture work at various community gardens. “I believe it’s important to engage in transformative justice and radical change while building authentic relationships.” 

Avalon got involved in SOFSA because of the Lender fellowship but quickly realized her passion for the organization. Through the fellowship, she heard about SOFSA’s monthly BIPOC affinity meetings Chop, Chat, Chill. “I loved attending because I appreciated the space to connect with the community doing real work to connect and improve the food system.” Eventually, she was asked to join the Equity, Inclusion and Accountability Committee and was recently offered her new position! Her new role enables her to focus on further incorporating a racial equity lens into SOFSA’s work and also offers her the chance to engage with the wider community and build meaningful connections. In addition to being a rockstar graduate student, SOFSA team member, and Lender Fellow she’s also on the team for Syracuse Urban Food Forest, and an avid food justice warrior!

Since coming back to the Syracuse community, Avalon has enjoyed all the festive fall activities CNY has to offer! You can also find Avalon exploring local cultural markets like Han’s Asian Grocery or Samir’s and enjoying their tasty olives. Feel free to reach out to Avalon with any questions about her work with SOFSA and if you feel so inclined ask for food recommendations around the city!

SOFSA is building itself into a powerful catalyst for change in the food system and other related spaces in the Syracuse Onondaga community. I feel like SOFSA offers a space for collaboration that is often hard to come by, and thus can exert real influence on the food system, and that’s why I continue to do this work.

Avalon Gupta VerWiebe, Equity and Inclusion Organizer