So I’m now doing food policy on behalf of the food bank, working on anti-hunger which is absolutely my background growing up in Kenya and having family in Ethiopia and knowing what hunger was. I was like, “What the hell are we doing with so much a hunger problem in this community?” You know, 90,000 folks in just Worcester County alone are food insecure. We’re the richest country in the world and yet we cannot find a way to feed all of our people with what they need. It’s mind blowing. So working on hunger I built up a relationship with the congressman so it was already like this is great this is just an extension of work because that’s one of his biggest issues. And then also looking at the food system, and farmers’ markets, and urban agriculture, and federal feeding programs to state legislative programs, local stuff. So we’re working on urban agriculture culture next week at city council. Just being able to work on all levels of government and then connecting people from the food pantry level to foodies who are all obsessed with local food and bringing all those people together. That’s the work that I’m up to now.
Martha Assefa was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. She moved to Kenya with her parents and older sister at the age of 3 and lived there until she was 18. When she was 18, she moved to North Carolina to attend Guilford College where she studied community and justice studies. She eventually moved to New England and received her graduate degree in Women in Politics and Public Policy from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Martha moved to Worcester and has been a part of countless accounts of community and political organizing. Today, she serves as the Worcester Food Policy Council Manager. In this interview, she discusses the influence her family had on her and her experiences as a Worcester activist.