Shira’s Top Ten Revol-Oceanary Moments

This post comes to us from NAMA Community Organizer Shira Tiffany.
Choosing the ten most powerful moments from my first year at NAMA was a challenge. There have been so many moments when I felt the power of people coming together, connecting our stories and values, and acting for change. Here are some that stand out from my first 14 months with NAMA.

#1: Walk Out

New England Fisheries Management Council Meeting, Mystic, CT
September 30th, 2015

Fishermen bravely testified before the New England Fisheries Management Council on the Fleet Diversity Amendment and led students, seafood consumers and distributors, and other allies in walking out of the meeting. After years of working with the Council, fishermen and allies walked away from the broken “democratic” process and to show the Council’s failure to limit fleet consolidation under Catch Shares. Watch testimonies by fishermen Jason Jarvis, Shannon Eldredge, Stephen Welch, and more.

#2: Pescando Justicia Action
NORPEL, Fish Island, New Bedford, MA
9 pm, December 15th, 2014

One year ago today
workers at seafood processing plant NORPEL presented a letter to management listing eight demands, among them a $15 minimum wage. Workers and allies held a vigil in front of the plant. It was colder this time last year!
Leaders of Pescando Justicia (Credit: Pescando Justicia)

#3: Hauling in the Catch Aboard the F/V Holly & Abby
Out of Hyannis, Cape Cod, MA
4 am, July 28th, 2015

I ventured out on my first commercial fishing trip with Captain Stephen Welch. I learned A LOT. What I took away is how comfortable Stephen is behind the wheel and how much fishing means to him. It’s not just how he’s supported himself and his family, it’s how he’s mentored young people, and found meaning and purpose. He’s been fishing in the Gulf of Maine and Nantucket Sound for longer than I’ve been alive and has an incredibly vast wealth of knowledge. As long as he’s been hauling in nets, my highlight from that day is still true for him too. When you haul in your nets, what you find is always a surprise.


Sunrise from F/V Holly & Abby

#4: F/V Finlander
70 miles offshore from Saco, ME
Midnight, August 14th, 2015

Captain Tim Rider and his crew steam 70 miles offshore from Saco, ME to fish under the common pool management system. Fishing is an adventurous and exhausting way of life and this was no exception. Highlight: I didn’t throw up!
Cleaning up on the steam home: Crew Spencer Montgomery gets some help scrubbing down from crew Amanda Parks

#5: Fish Locally Collaborative Narrative Retreat
Penobscot East Resource Center, Stonington, ME
July 11th to 13th, 2015

Leaders of the Fish Locally Collaborative gathered to begin work on a collective narrative
to ground our work by crafting a manifesto of what we believe. The rich conversations wrapped my brain around all sorts of new questions.

Sharing a laugh in Stonington
From left to right: Kyle Molton, Brett Tolley, Meri Ratzel, Sarah Schumann, and Stephanie Webb

#6:  Swarm Training
Cambridge Co-Housing, Cambridge, MA
November 6th to 8th, 2015

Sarah Schumann, President of Eating With The Ecosystem, and I learned best practices of decentralized organizations among leaders working on issues from immigrant rights to climate justice to prison abolition. Hours of conversation with Sarah and others during our weekend-long immersion into working ON our organizations instead of IN them was a great kickstarter for this important and easily overlooked work.
Participants at Swarm Training
Did Sarah Schumann sneak out of this photo? She was nearby!

#7: First Ever Fish Camp

First Baptist Church, Boston, MA

November 8th, 2014

Fishermen, fishworkers, and students came together to share their experiences as producers, workers, and consumers and to talk about an ecologically sustainable, fair, local seafood supply chain. Attendees included Real Food Challenge student leaders from across New England, fisherman Tim Rider from Saco, ME, fisherman Shannon Eldregde of Chatham, MA, Jared Auerbach of Red’s Best in Boston, MA, fishworker leaders of Pescando Justicia in New Bedford, MA, and Jarvis Green of New Orleans, LA.

Fisherman Shannon Eldredge sharing her story

#8: Food Solutions New England Summit
Boston, MA
June 10th to 12th, 2015

The first ever Food Chain Worker Delegation to the New England Food Summit brought 11 incredible food chain worker-organizers from across the food chain to share their courage and tenacity in the fight for worker justice.

food chain worker power.png

#9: US Food Sovereignty Alliance 3rd Assembly
Des Moines, Iowa
October 12th to 15th, 2015

Organizations working for food sovereignty around the world gathered to be in solidarity and learn about agro-ecology. It was inspiring to share stories, songs, poems, meals, cooking, seeds, and take action with folks working for food sovereignty around the world. I listened to Wisconsin family dairy farmer Joel Greeno and Iowa family farmer Brad Wilson stories of resistance to corporate agribusiness. Miriam Miranda, Coordinator of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), shared about the movement of indigenous Garifuna fishermen and farmers defending and strengthening their land security and their sustainable, small-scale farming and fishing.

Andrew Kang Bartlett’s visualization of a conversation on Food Sovereignty at the Assembly

#10: Emerging Leaders Retreat
Hartford, CT
October 20th to 21st, 2015

Emerging Leaders in the Food Solutions New England Network made space together to dig into how racism plays out on various levels of the food system – internalized, interpersonal, institutional, and systemic – and how to work to dismantle racism. Incredibly important work and there’s so much more to do.

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Participants at the Emerging Leaders Retreat

Bonus Revol-Oceanary Moment!
#11: Celebrate the Fruits of our Ocean Seafood Throwdown

Roxbury YMCA, Boston, MA
October 25th, 2014

We hosted a sunshine and funfilled Seafood Throwdown with our partners Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, host Roxbury YMCA, and Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness, at the kick-off event for Roxbury Rising Against Diabetes. Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson was the MC!

Dancing the Cupid Shuffle with Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson

…and the Wobble