Our Founder, Bev Sell
Bev has been a social entrepreneur and small business owner since 1973 with a background in Communicative Arts and Marketing. As a longtime Norfolk resident in Tidewater, she has been an integral member of the community as an advocate for marginalized groups and innovator for social change surrounding food insecurity, racial justice, wealth inequality, and sustainability. Considering her experience, she is well acquainted with local government officials and city departments, and and therefore is uniquely capable of connecting resources and citizens for effective positive change.
Currently, Bev is part of the Mayor's Commission to work specifically on economic opportunity and health & wellness. Though these are technically two separate committees, Bev sees them as two symptoms of the same cause and is working on implementing sustainable solutions that will address both (read more details below).
Experience & Leadership
Norfolk United Facing Race – Co-Founder, organizer and facilitator for groups dealing with race, reconciliation and responsibility.
Forward Norfolk – Political Action Committee member, worked with the committee drafting legislation for Norfolk to elect their Mayor.
Virginia Organizing Project – Community Organizer and Lobbyist, worked on issues such as Racial Profiling and Minimum Wage increase.
Five Points Partnership – Coordinator for the Five Points community-based organization in Norview, VA. Developed and managed a farm market for 15 years and launched Mobile Markets in Food Deserts
Mayor's Commission on Social Equity & Economic Opportunities- Instituted in July 2020, resolution 1798 states that the City of Norfolk is committed to acknowledging the disparities, advantages and disadvantages that exist among residents, communities and businesses, and creating institutional strategies, external programing, and services that promote opportunity and access for all residents. Each City Council member selected someone from their Ward to work with themselves and the Mayor, and Bev was the person they chose. As part of the resolution the council supports the continued examination and evaluation of persistent disparities in health, housing, education, employment and economic opportunity in the City of Norfolk. Within the council, Bev is on two different boards focused on economic opportunities and health & wellness, respectively.
Food Hub Concept
As mentioned above, she is working to implement a sustainable solution to tackle both economic and health issues together with her vision of a Food Hub system. The two part concept starts with the construction of regional Hubs to act as food storage and distribution centers specifically for farms within that region. These Hubs then work with a connected network of neighborhood markets, also within that region, to create a mutually beneficial situation for both farmers and residents. Without the privatization of food distribution that leads grocery stores to suffer in lower income areas, Bev believes we could see the eradication of food deserts in a relatively short span of time.