Neelam Sharma  photo

Neelam Sharma

Executive Director, Community Services Unlimited Inc

Neelam Sharma serves as Executive Director of Community Services Unlimited Inc. (CSU), a non-profit based in South Central Los Angeles. Neelam met CSU founders when she visited Los Angeles from London on behalf of the Panther organization she was a founder of in Britain in the mid 1980’s. She first became a community activist as a pre-teen in response to an attempt by fascists to organize in Southall, London, where she grew up and since then was always engaged in grass roots community organizing. When she moved to South Central Los Angeles from London in 1997 she began to volunteer with CSU and she found that her own difficulties in accessing fresh, high quality, affordable food in her neighborhood was a generalized experience for South LA residents. Her need to feed her own family good food became her work and was driven by her broader understanding of the basic human right to high quality, culturally appropriate food as a critical element of social justice and a basic human right. Neelam has mostly lived in the South Central community CSU serves, and has two children who attended neighborhood schools. She was a founding member of the Healthy School Food Coalition, the parents’ coalition responsible for passing the soda ban in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the first in the US, as well as the Los Angeles Food Justice Network (precursor to the LA Food Policy Council) and the California Food and Justice Coalition. As a result of her experience and success working and organizing with residents to expand urban agriculture, build models for grassroots economic development, and improve community health, Neelam is recognized as a national leader on the intersection between community economic development, youth empowerment and food justice. Neelam loves dancing, reading and story telling and is excited about what the future has in store.