Anim Steel ’94 is The Food Project’s Director of National Programs. The Food Project, a nonprofit organization in Boston, MA began 15 years ago with a vision is to “create personal and social change through sustainable agriculture”; the founder saw farming as an activity that could bring urban and suburban kids together while teaching care for land and people.
Last year, The Food Project employed almost 100 teenagers from different backgrounds, grew and distributed 250,000 pounds of organically-grown produce, and operated a catering business and a famer’s market. Anim’s role is to help spread the vision nationally and globally by: building a network, sharing best practices, publishing a magazine (www.reapsow.org), hosting youth summits, and developing a cadre of young leaders. The Food Project’s national program helps young people create a more just, healthy, and sustainable world.
Anim’s four years at The Food Project represent a long-term commitment to social justice through increasing economic and educational opportunities and decreasing barriers to cross-cultural understanding. That commitment crystallized during his first job out of college. As an Assistant Director of Admissions at Williams, coordinating student of color recruitment, Anim found himself in a constant struggle with the deep disparities that exist in America’s educational system—as well as in people’s access to capital, health care, healthy food, etc.
That experience prompted an interest in community development that eventually led Anim to New York City, to a Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs and then to a position with the Bowery Residents’ Committee, where he helped to start a job training program for homeless adults. After pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Anim served as a consultant with the Economic Development Assistance Consortium in Boston. Working with community-based organizations all over the country, Anim began to see that food and agriculture could be powerful tools for economic development; what’s more, because it touches everything, food is a unique vehicle for driving ecological, social, and personal change.
Anim was born in Ghana and raised in West Africa and Washington, DC. At Williams, he majored in Astrophysics and History. He notes that he learned about The Food Project—and three previous jobs—through Williams connections, and he welcomes inquiries from other Ephs.