Liz Sheehan-Castro and Martha Assefa thank you image
Outgoing director, Liz Sheehan-Castro and incoming director, Martha Assefa, take a break during a busy work day to say thank you to all of our partners working hard to improve healthy food access for our community.

With the MA legislature working on our state’s budget, annual food drives, the new Food Hub and the start of farmers market season, it’s been a couple of  crazy busy months here at the Worcester Food Policy Council – so busy that we haven’t even had a chance to formally announce a couple of pretty big changes. We’re making up for that now and would like to officially introduce our new Worcester Food Policy Council Manager, Martha Assefa. Martha has stepped seamlessly into her new position, and has been working closely with with our former director, Liz Sheehan-Castro, who has stepped up into a new role as Director of Advocacy for the Worcester County Food Bank. We’re very excited to welcome Martha to the fold, and looking forward to continuing our work with Liz in her new role.

Martha is a familiar face in Worcester and in the greater Massachusetts landscape. For the past five years, she has worked throughout the community in various roles, organizing political campaigns and providing advocacy through, among others, City Live/Vida Urbana, SEIU Local 509, and Raise Up Massachusetts, where her work was instrumental in involving Central Mass in the fight to pass the Earned Sick Time ballot initiative. She is a firm believer in the ability of strong networks to effect change, and has committed to working toward changes that make our world a more just, healthier and kinder place for everyone.

Martha Assefa at Pure Juz juice bar
Martha’s other gig, putting her priorities and principles into practice as a socially responsible local business owner

Here in Worcester, the community also knows Martha as the smiling face behind the counter of Pure Juz, which she owns and runs with her partner, Dante Comparetto. She and Dante don’t just call themselves responsible business owners, they put their beliefs into practice in everything they do at Pure Juz, from sourcing ingredients for their healthy, whole juices locally to making their wall space – and fence space – into a gallery for local artists. If she’s not at the State House, or walking in a Walk for Hunger, or organizing canvassers to push in the Fight for $15, or taking on challenges in any one of a dozen other important issues around food policy and justice issues, you’ll find Martha’s smiling face behind the counter at Pure Juz, putting her principles into practice.

We’re excited to move forward with Martha at our head, taking on the challenges of increasing food accessibility and healthy food access for our community. Welcome, Martha!

1 reply added

  1. Kitty Van Evera May 11, 2016 Reply

    Yeah Martha! So proud of your political activism. I think often that food shelves were set up to be temporary & observe our customers depend on it monthly. There are also those unforeseen food emergencies. You are so good at putting your values into action, as is Dante.
    Much love, Auntie Kitty❤️?

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