As the North Star Fund's Food and Environment Program Officer, Abby Youngblood is responsible for leading the Community Food Funders project, which is a philanthropic organizing project providing resources and networking opportunities for funders in the New York, New Jersey and southern Connecticut region to invest in the transition to an equitable, ecologically sound and sustainable regional food system. She is also working with North Star staff to administer the Greening Western Queens Fund, a $7.9 million initiative to invest in energy-efficiency and environmental projects in the Western Queens community affected by a July 2006 electric power outage.
Youngblood has ten years of experience working on food systems issues. Before joining North Star, she was the Fresh Food For All Coordinator at Just Food, where she oversaw the expansion of a farm-to-food pantry program that provides nearly 50 New York City food pantries with 240,000 pounds of fresh local vegetables annually. In 2008, Youngblood served as the Community Supported Agriculture Coordinator for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York.
Before moving to New York City, Youngblood co-owned and operated an organic farm, Old Path Farm, in Sauquoit, New York. She is dedicated to increasing dialogue across urban and rural divides and has spearheaded the formation of an urban/rural alliance building committee to convene diverse stakeholders in the New York region around recommendations to legislators for the 2012 Farm Bill negotiations. Early in her career, Youngblood worked as the Program Coordinator for the Food Stamp Enrollment Campaign at the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. Her work on this campaign continues to shape her thinking on how to engage students, volunteers and people of faith to respond to hunger and food insecurity.
Youngblood is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College with a B.A. in Physics and of LEAD New York, a two-year leadership development program for professionals and producers involved in agriculture in New York State. She is currently pursuing a Master's in Public Administration at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Youngblood looks forward to the challenge of building a community of philanthropic support for the transformation of our region's food system. According to her, "We're faced with huge problems in our food system that are going to take a strategic and coordinated approach involving many foundations, not just one. And we have to explore ways of working beyond the philanthropic community, and also with government and private investors. I'm excited to be facilitating a process that draws on the knowledge of people with so many different perspectives and experiences. And the focused perspective that North Star brings is an abiding commitment to expanding economic and social justice."