We had the good fortune of connecting with Elly Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elly, can you tell us about a book that has had a meaningful impact on you?
San Diego Food System Alliance (“the Alliance”) uses the power of collaboration to cultivate a healthy, sustainable, and just food system in San Diego County. The Alliance is a network of over 150 organizations working across sectors to promote collaboration, influence policy, and catalyze transformation in the food system. When we refer to a food system, we are referring to the set of processes and resources that take a food product from a farm or sea to plate. Our food system plays a critical role in our health, environment, and our local economy.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started working with the Alliance as a Facilitator in 2015 to work with the various organizations involved in the network to improve our local food system. I came from a nonprofit consulting background, supporting nonprofits with their organizational needs as well as designing and managing multi-sector system-change initiatives. Food system work was a new cause to me but it intrigued me. Food has always been an important aspect of my upbringing and sense of well-being. I moved to San Diego from Japan when I was 9 years old. One of my fondest memories of my childhood involves visiting the country-side of Japan, eating cucumbers and tomatoes off the vines from my grandfather’s farm. My personal happiness comes from being connected to our food sources and knowing that I’m doing my role in keeping local farmers and food makers in business and supporting our natural ecosystem. The food system is so complex and a fascinating field. I learn something new everyday and keeps me on my toes.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If it’s a Saturday and we are up early enough, I might take her to the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market to buy some fish and snack on fish tacos. Then, we would go hiking in Torrey Pines mid-morning. It is such a San Diego experience. In the afternoon, we’d probably go to the beach or the bay and play with my kid. At night, we would go eat lunch at a yummy Mexican place like La Vacinidad and drink Margaritas in Hillcrest.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to thank my family for being supportive every step of the way. I’m recently very thankful for my son and his capacity to be patient with me and overlook my inability to achieve an equilibrium in family life, work life, etc. My husband is an amazing chef and father. My mother is always there for me. I am so grateful for those around me. Professionally, San Diego Food System Alliance brings together organizational leaders committed to food system transformation in this region. I am inspired by the commitment of these amazing leaders, as well as our hardworking staff team and our board. I get my source of energy and motivation by working with these wonderful professionals.
Union Tribune (second photo)