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Linda Novick O’Keefe

About

Linda Novick O’Keefe is the Chief Executive Officer of Common Threads. Her experience, desire to develop innovative solutions to social problems combined with her passion for food led her to start Common Threads with chef Art Smith and artist Jesus Salgueiro in May 2003. Their vision was for a non-profit organization committed to educating Chicago's youth about cultural diversity, the culinary arts and the importance of nutrition.   Common Threads reverses the trend of generation of non-cookers who have been raised on over-processed food. Linda believes that food access is not only a key indicator of larger social justice issues, but also a common concern with the potential to both strengthen individuals and fortify entire communities; Common Threads is teaching children where poverty, race and access to quality food intersect. The program helps to combat the childhood obesity epidemic that is ravaging particularly the African American and Latino communities while honoring many families’ cultures.   Under Linda's leadership, Common Threads has grown from the basement of St. Paul the Redeemer Church, in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood to expand its programming into close to 400 schools nationally in Chicago, Miami, DC, LA, NY, Austin, New Orleans and Jacksonville, and has broadened its curricular focus to include in-school, after-school, summer camp, parent outreach and education and teacher training programs.
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