What Affirms YOU? The Nature of “The Work” & What WE Do!💜

Dear Loved Ones,

As an advocate for the well-being of ALL children, I invite you to join us in making a meaningful impact in the lives of young people across Oakland and beyond through your support of Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project.

Our motto, “Acta Non Verba,” translates to “Deeds, Not Words.” It embodies the spirit of our commitment to affirmative actions, justice, and equity for children in our community. We are reaching out to you, who share our passion for affirming the potential and future of every child.

Acta Non Verba is not just a farm; it’s a sanctuary where children are affirmed, cherished, and empowered. We believe in cultivating more than just vegetables; we cultivate hope, resilience, and a sense of belonging among our young participants.

This year, we launched our fundraising campaign, “THIS is an AFFIRMATIVE Action” and “Affirm This.” Our goal is to raise $100,000 by December 31st to continue uplifting the quality of life for young people in East and West Oakland and beyond. The funds will be instrumental in sustaining our programs, expanding our reach, and providing invaluable experiences for the children we serve.Why Your Support Matters:

This year has been a challenging one for everyone at Acta Non Verba… Myself included.

It has been through our love and affirmation for each other and community, that I truly believe that we have been able to survive and THRIVE at Acta Non Verba.

Something that you may not know about me is that I am an Auntie to three *unofficial* nephews, I-, N-, and  C-, all under the age of 5. One day recently, I- threw a ball and it went far afield; disappointed that the ball didn’t go where he wanted it to go, the younger brother says to the older brother: “That Happens Sometimes.” …and I was MOVED!  In acknowledging the challenges our children face, ANV believes in actively doing our part to create positive change in Oakland and beyond –regardless of internal missteps and outside factors.  



This spring, ANV absorped the legendary City Slicker Farm, its staff, programs and land. Although this was an enormous challenge, the very work we are doing in Oakland has reaffirmed my faith in community. Please acknowledge with me, each member of our Staff and Board of Directors who listened, held my hand, fed my heart, soul (and stomach) through it all.

Donate to Acta Non Verba Today! https://bit.ly/ANVKids2023

Staff made me laugh with stories of team-members attending the gym together or identifying UNIDENTIFIED Flying Objects or tales of our young-leaders learning, experiencing and accomplishing things that they never thought they’d even TRY…

I want to shout out our CSA and Camp Families! The stories of what you all are doing with the incredible BEETBOX CSA produce are inspiring and a lot of times, HILARIOUS! Tales of campers driving their adults to DISTRACTION by siging the camps songs over and over… YEAR-ROUND.

Or, being at the checkout counter at a pet store rocking some of ANV’s DOPE Swag and having the clerk exclaim: Acta Non Verba!! My niece goes there!! Or being at an airport in a different state (NOT rocking ANV swag) and having a TSA agent say: “Hi Ms Kelly! We miss Camp ANV!” AFFIRMS this work for me!!

My nephews also keep exclaiming to each other the sentiment to, “Do Your Work!” (which I needed broken down… because they’re BABIES, so what is “work”?? It turns out that this is a Montessori term that the boys have learned and we love it!) and we invite you to join us in doing the necessary work of affirming children, childhood, justice, and equity in Oakland and throughout the world.

Donate to Acta Non Verba Today! https://bit.ly/ANVKids2023

This summer, we had Taco Tuesday at camp, and our Camp Chef, in cahoots with the cooking class did the MOST!! Everything was PERFECT, smelled incredible, looked restaurant quality and I… Was powerless to stop myself. I… Got a few tacos… and as I was attempting to make a silent getaway with my savory prizes, I was waylaid by a camper I call: “Best Fren’” he just wanted to let me know that lunch that day was really great and that we should have tacos more often… and my stomach was rumbling and the wind was trying to blow the napkin off of my taco PLATTER, and I’m smiling and happy that he’s happy… Then the wind gives one final gust –and my secret was out. “Best Fren’” caught a glimpse of my taco smorgasbord and his eyes went round and he says:


“OH! You ALREADY KNOW! You got THREE TACOS! LOLOLOLOLOL!!” I have never felt more SEEN!!😂

I tell this story to illustrate the abundance and joy that Acta Non Verba fosters in the community. The affirmation that we are all people, there is more than enough to go around – (and tacos are GOOD)! The fact that we hire trained professionals, grow and purchase the highest quality ingredients for our meals, and put deep intention into planning every minute of each day that a young person is in the presence of ANV AFFIRMS our commitment to children in Oakland.

Those are ANV’s Deeds. This is how WE affirm that Black, Brown, Indigenous — ALL children world-wide deserve a safe, beautiful, abundant, delicious, nutritious childhood. Let’s do our work.   

How YOU can Affirm This:

Your generosity, affirmation, and hope make a significant difference in the lives of the children we serve across the city of Oakland and beyond. Together, let’s affirm a brighter future for the youth of East and West Oakland.

Thank you for your continued support of Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project and for your commitment to making a positive impact in the lives of young people and their families in Oakland.

With gratitude and affirmation,

Kelly D. Carlisle Founder/ Executive Director





Donate to Acta Non Verba Today! https://bit.ly/ANVKids2023 



Affirm This: Helping Children THRIVE by Sparking Joy through Nature!💚

Dear Friends,

As I prepare to welcome my first child into the world this month, I’ve been reflecting a lot on what children need to grow & THRIVE. They need a community of supportive adults and peers; they need access to healthy foods, fresh air, and green space; they need a safe place to be kids; they need JOY and AFFIRMATIONS of their JOYOUS EXISTENCE. They need — the programs and opportunities that Acta Non Verba provides, with YOUR help!

One of my favorite memories occurred during Summer Camp ANV 2021. One of the campers ran up to me and said, “Ms. Sydney, Ms. Sydney! I just tried a blueberry for the first time!!” Echoing his excitement, I responded, “Oh my gosh, how exciting! Did you like it?” And he said, “YES! I think I’m going to go get another one!” The look of pure joy on this boy’s face as he tried something new, while in a safe and supportive environment like Camp ANV, will forever stick with me.

Donate to Acta Non Verba Today! https://bit.ly/ANVKids2023

Another favorite from my 3+ years at ANV happened during our 2022 Camp ANV Family Camping Trip. At the end of the summer camp season, we headed up to Mt. Diablo State Park with 50 kids and their family members. On our first night, we watched the sunset over the valley, and the kids all waved goodbye to the sun. As the sun disappeared below the horizon, one young camper exclaimed, “I just saw the sun go down, it was so cool!! It was my first time seeing that!”

It’s these little moments of joy that children (and adults!) will remember for the rest of their lives. It’s these moments of connection that spark young leaders to care about nature, about food justice, about each other.

EVERY child deserves access to experiences in nature, healthy foods to nourish their growing bodies, and safe and supportive spaces to just be kids. This is what I wish for my daughter, as she enters the world; this is what I wish for ALL kids. Help ANV provide this access across Oakland:

     🍅 $200 sends one child to a week of After School Program
     👩‍🌾 $750 sends one child to a week of Camp ANV
     🌟 $4,500 sends one child to an entire SUMMER of Camp ANV, where the only limit is IMAGINATION!!

Donate to Acta Non Verba Today! https://bit.ly/ANVKids2023

Together, we can affirm and grow the next generation of farmers, environmental stewards, and changemakers.

Thank you for your affirmation of JOY and Discovery in the world!

In Joy and Hope,



Donate to Acta Non Verba Today!

Affirm This: Strengthening Food Sovereignty & the Local Food System by Elevating BIPOC Small Farmers!

Aaron De La Cerda in a red button down shirt and green/ tan park-rangers hat.
Acta Non Verba’s Deputy Director, Aaron De La Cerda








Dear Friends,

As we enter an abundant harvest and come to the end of yet another beautiful growing season we celebrate the strides we’ve taken in building food sovereignty within our community. We thank the land for providing for us, as well as our team, our volunteers, and supporters like you that have affirmed and allow Acta Non Verba’s teams to continue our critical work.

2023 presented yet another year of challenge, opportunity, growth and celebration; in this we were able to welcome another four young farmers and 1.4 acres in West Oakland into the ANV family, partner with three new family owned and operated Farms, and distribute over 30 tons of organically grown produce to East Bay communities. 

Donate to Acta Non Verba Today!

Working with Acta Non Verba and our vibrant community has taught me a variety of ways that we can impact change within the larger food system starting right here in Oakland. Coming from Fresno, California where large scale agriculture reins supreme, I never imagined it was in East Oakland that I would come to learn so much about farming and what is needed to build food sovereignty.

To us, food sovereignty looks like the community’s deepening connection to fellow farmers like Maria Morales and Juan Silva of J&M Farm.

Maria M. of J&M Farm

Maria began farming organically 15 years ago and has come to steward 15 acres in Gilroy, California with her family. Through building Acta Non Verba’s BeetBox CSA program in relationship with farmers like Maria we are able to ensure there is a reliable means of getting healthy foods to our community.

When farmers faced hardship due to flooding rains earlier this year we were able to lean on our combined networks to ensure her family had the supplies they needed while continuing to ensure their farm had income. ANV and its supporters rallied to provide necessary supplies which we personally delivered to their home. Because of you we were able to be a support to the very people who grow our food, who protect our land, and share their knowledge with the next generation. 

Donate to Acta Non Verba Today!

In the 2020 pandemic we learned just how fragile our food system really is; that allowing large scale agriculture which fosters no human connection is not reliable or sustainable. The farm to consumer pipeline fell apart and so many people were without access to essential foods. Our work facilitates a direct connection between local farmers and families in the East Bay. We are building a replicable model of food sovereignty and we need your support. 

Maria and Friend at J&M Farm

We are able to accomplish such things due to the deep affirmation and contributions of supporters like you and we look forward to deepening the impact of our work in the coming year; to do this we need your help to raise 250k. This will allow Acta Non Verba’s Farm and Food teams to continue their work of educating, organizing, and taking action to strengthen our communities resilience through food sovereignty.



Thank you for your continued support and affirmation of good in the world.

Forever In Community, 

Donate to Acta Non Verba Today!


A Case for JOY Activism – Kelly D. Carlisle

Let’s start with my RAGE and a reminder of why we do what we do.

I know that I probably don’t have to tell you, but ANV is ALL ABOUT joy.

Every single thing Acta Non Verba does is INTENTIONALLY designed to bring maximum delight to everyone who interacts with us and participate in our programs.

Whether it’s our Camp For Grown Folx Benefit, which was such a hit with all ages last year, that we’re bringing it back – bigger and better than ever next month, our award-winning Camp ANV, which ensures that ALL children can experience the JOY of camp, or ANV’s BeetBox CSA, which connects our local community members with not only our THREE farms, but also farmers of color on the central coast and in the central valley!

We believe that ABUNDANCE and JOY are worth fighting for. And as a staff, board, organization and members of the community, we DO fight for them. Daily. What else are we LIVING for?

Now, about that rage…

A golden opportunity arose recently. It required someone attached to ANV who was under 24 years of age to manage it… and I had the perfect person in mind.

It required a video “audition” and I encouraged a young person that I care about and will protect till the death of me to make that video. 

The young person asked what they should talk about. I pointed them towards camp, which they are VERY familiar with. I said: “How about how transformative Camp ANV has been and how we are resisting oppression through joy?

The young person agreed and created an 10 minute video, with the understanding that this WASN’T the final product… That they were simply giving an EXAMPLE of their speech patterns and articulation.

The response was that our young person, someone who had seen and experienced TOO MUCH for someone not even 21 years old… was not ENOUGH of an activist. The requesting body had a LIST, of previously undisclosed activist THEMES that they “encouraged” our young person to pursue… and offered to “help” our young person tease out.

This young person was confused. As was I. 

Angry, but not surprised.

The young person asked for the help that was offered. There was no response until last week, when the requesting body let our young person down “gently” and offered a free ticket to… “The Show”. (My words, not theirs.) 

The reason I’m writing about this is because I have found that TOO OFTEN, folks want to hear about the pain and suffering of BIPOC.

…And that is certainly there. But what about the joy? What about the EXCELLENCE? What about the RESILIENCE?! What about Making a WAY out of No Way?! Is THAT not a form of activism and resistance?

Yes, the Climate, and YES, BLACK LIVES MATTER. And ABSOLUTELY, STOP. Asian. Hate.

But I would (and WANT TO) argue that JOY. Delight. Jubilation. Are forms of activism in their own right.

Our children need to KNOW THAT.

I mentioned to Aaron, ANV’s newly promoted Deputy Director (send him congratulations HERE!!) that in America, it’s hard to find ANYONE who actually likes, let alone LOVES Black Women. 

He replied that we have Janetria and Latrice to thank for that. They gave him hugs and always had snacks to share and were the dopest classmates he had in elementary school.

Joy. Sharing.  Education. Love. Openness.

ALL of these are forms of activism in a world that continues to try to diminish us and fights the concept of being bigger and better than we ARE.

AND so I ask again: What about JOY Activism?!

Aaron almost made me cry when he was able to name the two young Black girls who taught him that Black Women are PEOPLE and to be honored.

Janetria and Latrice I honor YOU. Thank you for the affirmation and validation to Aaron and, by extension, me. 

…and to this young person, who put their time, energy and heart out there: I am sorry. You NEVER have to bare your soul, pain and struggle for me, ANV or an audience.

We love you as you are and will protect you, yours and your JOY -always.

Aluta Continua  ~ The Struggle Continues. 



Acta Non Verba announces RJ Martin, AAMS® as ANV’s Youth Financial Investment Advisor

RJ Martin began his career at Edward Jones in 2012. As the son of an educator that taught special-needs children for over 20 years, he has taken the same care and attention he learned from his mother and has applied those skills in guiding his clients as a financial advisor. He is a true educator at heart, and his first and foremost goal is to provide financial education for my clients and his community. He does not believe there is a one-size-fits-all investment strategy, so I work to create a customized strategy to fit the needs of his clients who are at various points of their personal and financial lives.

RJ’s interest in entrepreneurship began at an early age. When he was a teen, he ran a profitable online business selling merchandise, and paid his way through college by investing in the stock market and operating his own landscaping business. His commitment to the community began as an undergraduate when he developed a financial literacy campaign designed to educate and inform under-served communities and individuals.

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from North Carolina State University. After graduation, he spent the early years of his career as a revenue agent for the United States’ Department of Treasury, an internal auditor for RBC Bank and a fraud and investigations associate for PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLC. He received his AAMS designation in 2018 and also holds an insurance license.

RJ loves his work and helping clients develop financial literacy and build financial wealth. Building trust and long-lasting relationships with his clients is of the utmost importance to him.

Acta Non Verba is excited to have RJ as a resource to help our youth and their families navigate the sometimes murky world of investing and financial literacy. We are grateful to RJ Martin for assisting ANV in its mission to try to break the chains of generational poverty and underinvestment of the youth in our community and make a brighter future for all children for their futures.

Acta Non Verba Announces Shannon Wirth, FNP as Organizational and Program Medical Advisor

Shannon Wirth is a Family Nurse Practitioner dedicated to the service and support of her community.  A Bay Area native, she was educated at UCSC where she earned her Bachelor’s in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology, and later at Samuel Merritt University where she earned her Master’s of Science in Nursing.  Shannon has over ten years experience working in community clinics in Oakland and San Francisco, and is particularly dedicated to youth through her work in school based health.  Shannon is excited to embark on this partnership in support of youth at ANV!

Acta Non verba is thrilled to announce that Shannon will be working closely with our Executive Director and Program Directors to ensure that all of the organizations work is rooted in the latest science, knowledge and best practices to keep our staff and participants safe and well!

Phat Beets CSA Program is Becoming ANV’s BeetBox CSA (Letter)





August 11,  2020

Dear Phat Beets Community,

We thank you for your support of the Beet Box CSA, and want to give our community an update on the future of the Beet Box.  Since 2011, you have supported so many of our programs, farmers and communities, with your donations, purchases, and your volunteer time. It is without a doubt you have been the engine that has kept our CSA program alive, and allowed us to fulfill our mission: connecting small farmers of color to flatland communities and creating equitable access to healthy affordable produce.  Phat Beets has decided to move forward with a transition of our Beet Box CSA to Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project (ANV).

Acta Non Verba is an organization based in East Oakland, focused on serving youth and their families through urban farming.  We are confident that ANV will use the Beet Box to increase food access, support our farmers, patients and families at La Clinica, and low income Beet Boxers. At the same time, all Beet Box CSA profits will be deposited into local youth’s educational savings accounts; bridging the generational wealth gap and saving for their individual educational pursuits. 

In hopes of making the program better than ever before, we’d really appreciate it if you complete a short survey (https://bit.ly/ANVBeetBoxSurvey) letting us know how we can make your CSA subscription even more enjoyable. 

Here are some fast facts you need to know:

  1. There will be a price increase for Full, Half, Fruit and Fruit, Honey, & Nut Shares starting September 1, 2020.
  2. All CSAs will be picked up at OMNI until deliveries begin again – we will reach out when they do.
  3. The missed pickup window for CSA shares is 10am-12pm the following day (Wednesday or Sunday). Any shares not picked up will be donated to a local women’s shelter.
  4. Emails will be responded to within 2-3 days.  For urgent questions, you can reach us at BeetBoxCSA@anvfarm.org or call 762-BEETBOX (762-233-8269).

The Beet Box CSA distribution will continue at the Omni Commons in North Oakland, and ANV will maintain offices at the Omni. The CSA program is currently in transition until August 24th- and we thank you for your patience as we undergo this exciting time.   

Now, more than ever, our communities need health, power, and solidarity. Lettuce turnip ‘dem beets! 

In Gratitude,

Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project

Phat Beets Produce

ANV Brunch Challenge! Meet the Commentators

Meet The Brunch Commentators!

Kana Azhari (Coach Kay) is a healing artist, organizer and vegan chef.  She loves working with young people and believes in the infinite value, beauty and greatness of their spirit. Coach Kay is constantly finding gratitude in daily meditation, healthy diet, fasting, culture, dance/ movement and relaxation.  She works professionally with clients from around the world to improve their diets, lifestyle choices and self care practices.

Chef Liesha grew up in Oakland and began cooking at the age of nine. She joined the Navy when she was 17 years old and traveled the world cooking for thousands of sailors. After leaving the Navy she went on to work in restaurants and hotels before starting her personal chef service. She went on to earn a bachelors degree in nutrition from Arizona State University. She is a master food preserver, and an advocate for culturally relevant representation in health and wellness.DeAngela Cooks, M.A. is the co-founder of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) firm The Mosaic Collaborative, LLC.  DeAngela is a passionate public speaker of 20 years, professional master of ceremonies, an acclaimed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion workshop facilitator, and educator

Hailing from Southern California, she embraces her intersectional identities.  As a Black, queer, woman, who is a parent, and has been a minister and stand-up comic, she brings a wealth of experiences to her work; infusing education with elocution, wit and a splash of sarcasm. She has collaborated on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives with The County of Alameda, BayLegal, FoodCorps, Facing History and Ourselves, Chico State, Designory, Golden Crown Literary Society, San Francisco Department of Probation, the western regional housing authorities, and the Pacific Center for Human Growth, just to name a few. She has also been a guest lecturer and keynote speaker on the topic of multiculturalism for various organizations and conferences.

After knocking out her Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Religion, she decided to graduate with her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. I guess it’s safe to say she’s a sap.

During her downtime, you can find her encouraging parents to stop counting their toddler’s age in months and devising a scheme to become unidentifiable by her student loan providers. Her superpower is utilizing her humor to help people reflect their sameness while appreciating their differences.

To find out more about DeAngela’s speaking engagements,  workshops and event hosting, visit her website at www.TheMosaicCollaborative.com.

Matthew Raiford Grew up breaking the dirt and trading crookneck squash for sweet potatoes, raising hogs and chickens, and only going to the grocery store for sundries. After a military career then graduation from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Raiford returned to the farm in 2011 to continue the traditions of his Gullah-Geechee heritage and to create an authentic farm-to-fork experience for locals. He received certification as an ecological horticulturalist from the University of California’s Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.

He served until recently as the program coordinator and associate professor of culinary arts at the College of Coastal Georgia. In 2015, Raiford, the former executive chef at Little St. Simon’s Resort, and his partner, Jovan Sage, a food alchemist, opened The Farmer and the Larder on Newcastle Street, helping jumpstart the revival of Brunswick’s historic downtown. Raiford has appeared in Southern Living, Golden Isles, Paprika Southern, and Savannah magazines, and is a frequent presenter at food and wine festivals throughout the country.

ANV Cooking Challenge: Brunch! Celebrity Chef, Alice Waters & Griselda Cooney

Alice Waters is a chef, author, food activist, and the founder and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California, which first opened its doors in 1971. She has been a champion of local sustainable agriculture for over four decades. In 1995 she founded the Edible Schoolyard Project, which advocates for a free organic school lunch for all children and a sustainable food curriculum in every public school. She has been Vice President of Slow Food International since 2002. She conceived and helped create the Yale Sustainable Food Project in 2003, and the Rome Sustainable Food Project at the American Academy in Rome in 2007. Her honors include election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007; the Harvard Medical School’s Global Environmental Citizen Award, which she shared with Kofi Annan in 2008; induction into the French Legion of Honor in 2010; and induction into the National Woman’s hall of Fame in 2017. In 2015 she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama, proving that eating is a political act, and that the table is a powerful means to social justice and positive change. Alice was most recently awarded the honor of “Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana” in 2019.  Alice is the author of fifteen books, including New York Times bestsellers The Art of Simple Food I & II, The Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea, and, a memoir, Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook.

Griselda Cooney

The Edible Schoolyard Project

Senior Chef Teacher & Family Engagement Manager 

At the age of seven, I immigrated to the United States from Mexico. I moved to a farm in Sonoma County, and realized the new environment wasn’t so different from my old home in Jalostoticlan, Jalisco. My parents still planted, grew, and harvested the familiar foods from my homeland; from cactus, chili peppers and aloe to corn and tomatoes.

As a cook, I am self-taught and learned traditional Mexican cooking from my mother. I learned how to plan and prepare meals from fresh, humble ingredients, and to make use of everything in order to maximize flavor and minimize waste. I am a mother of three and come from a large family where cooking is shared and enjoyed by all ages. Within the past 12 years, working with The Edible Schoolyard Project, I have seen many different age groups, races, and backgrounds collaborate and have learned that teaching and learning in the kitchen is intertwined with all aspects of life.

Get your tickets here: bit.ly/ANVBrunch-Cooking-Challenge