NAME: Mai Err Chang
TIME AT CDFA: 8 months
PROGRAM: California Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP)
POSITION TITLE: Program Coordinator (Associate Governmental Program Analyst)
USUAL DAILY ACTIVITES ON THE JOB? My daily activities change depending on the season of the grant period. That requires coordinating with financial, grant partners and evaluators to write reports, review grant objectives and support with program problem-solving to ensure grantees receive the support they need to deliver a nutrition incentive program through California.
HOW DO YOU WORK FOR THE CALIFORNIA FOOD SUPPLY? I coordinate grant programs to support CA organizations and agencies to deliver a nutrition incentive program throughout CA. I see myself as a liaison between the government and the community who serves the local population, which includes CalFresh recipients and California farmers.
THOUGHTS OF WORKING AT INSPECTION SERVICES? The most enjoyable part of my work is learning about the various nutrition incentive programs across CA. I hope to learn more about the impact CA nutrition incentive programs have made in specific communities, continue to hear from the community partners and learn from fellow farm-to-fork programs.
MEMORABLE MOMENT ON THE JOB? It would be the first in-person site visit as it was also at a local farmers’ market, which is one of my favorite farmers’ markets in Sacramento for their abundance of California-grown fruits available. During our visit, there was a long line of participants redeeming their nutrition incentives.
PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE? “How do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?” – bell hooks. There is so much nuance to build a community and take care of the people in it. No matter at what level, I remind myself to keep the work I do human and environmental-centered.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SAY? From a Hmong kid of an immigrant family to a nutrition and cooking educator in Sacramento public school, I’ve learned to value a culturally focused and veggie-forward approach to fill in California’s food system. I am proud of the programs the Office of Farm to Fork has established. Seeing a list of culturally relevant produce and hearing about nutrition incentive program participants’ increase in vegetable purchases are all of the little changes necessary to make a huge difference.
X X X