"Crafting a Food System that Feeds Our DNA"
We hear about “culturally appropriate foods” all the time these days. But, what does that really mean? Is it just a soundbite? Or a commitment to nourishing our diverse communities? It’s gonna take a movement and leveraging our collective power to make sure our food system can feed a cultural melting pot foods that nourishes our DNA.
Niaz moved to Gloucester, Massachusetts - the oldest settled fishing port in the U.S. - in 1994 when Niaz Dorry she decided to work on fisheries issues.
She has been a community organizer for over 30 years working on environmental, social, and economic justice issues. The life changing moment came in 1994 when as a Greenpeace campaigner she switched from organizing in communities fighting for environmental justice to organizing fishing communities. From the start she recognized the similarities between family farmers’ fight for a more just and ecologically responsible land-based food system and that of community-based fishermen fighting to fix the broken sea-based food system.
She has been serving as NAMA's coordinating director since 2008. One of the first things NAMA did after Niaz took the helm was to join the National Family Farm Coalition as its first non-farming member. The two organizations entered into an innovative shared-leadership model on May 1, 2018, putting Niaz in the new role of serving the work of both organizations and further cementing the relationship and interdependence between land and sea.
Time Magazine named Niaz as a Hero For The Planet for her work with small-scale, traditional, and indigenous fishing communities to fight against the corporate takeover of the ocean and privatization of the marine environment and fishing rights. Niaz' work and approach have been noted in a number of books including Against the Tide; Deeper Shade of Green; The Spirit's Terrain; Vanishing Species; The Great Gulf; Swimming in Circles; A Troublemaker's Teaparty; Zugunruhe: The Inner Migration To Profound Environmental Change; Raising Dough: Public History and the Food Movement; The Complete Guide to Financing a Socially Responsible Food Business; Blue Urbanism: Exploring Connections Between Cities and Oceans; and, The Doryman's Reflection.
She is a graduate of the Rockwood Leadership Institute's Leading From Inside Out and the Institute for Nonprofit Practice's Core Certificate Program.
Prior to coming to NAMA in spring of 2008, Niaz served as the interim COO of the Healthy Building Network. She currently serves on the Food Solutions New England's Steering Committee.