Lakisha McZeal is a Community Food Specialist at the Center for Community Health working on the Urban Food Environments team. Her work supports food pantries, neighborhood markets, urban farmers, and residents to improve food access in San Diego County. A lifelong resident of Southeastern San Diego, Lakisha has fond childhood memories of her father taking her to pick fresh produce from local backyard gardens, cooking for family and friends, and always making an effort to feed those who were in need quietly. Later she realized the lessons from her youth would spark a deep passion and love for service and community.

Lakisha held many roles before joining the Center, including Community Liaison for Project New Village (PNV), leading their efforts to build and cultivate a network of hyper-local backyard and neighborhood growers. Her experience with PNV expanded her interest in food justice and policy, as well as accelerated her own growth and development as an urban farmer.

Lakisha also has a background in labor relations, organizing adjunct faculty and instructors within the San Diego Community College District for the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Continuously moved by her lived experiences of growing up in a community without equitable access to good food, Lakisha has a long history of almost two decades of volunteer service throughout her community. As Volunteer Coordinator for the Crossroads Food Ministry, she served and worked alongside some of San Diego’s most vulnerable populations. She has also carried on her father’s tradition of helping people experiencing homelessness by preparing and serving dinner at Rachel’s Women’s Center for over ten years.

Lakisha enjoys feeling a strong sense of purpose and fulfillment, working with passionate people who positively influence the community.

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