Co-Founder and Board Chair of the Common Market Philadelphia
Haile Johnston is a Philadelphia native whose passion is to identify and implement entrepreneurial methods for addressing the diverse needs of communities. Haile uses his creativity and community inclusion toward the development of sound public policy and innovative programming. He and his wife Tatiana are the founders of a community based nonprofit organization, the East Park Revitalization Alliance, which focuses resources on educating children about the transformative qualities of nutrition, physical activity and environmental enhancement. By partnering with numerous organizations external to their neighborhood, the group has greatly improved the quality of life within their community cleaning vacant properties and planting over 700 trees. With a focus on capacity development and job creation, the non profit employs nearly twenty adults and youth from the neighborhood during the peak summer months. Haile’s community and environmental justice work led him to a position as the Environmental Interventions Coordinator for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Division of Chronic Disease Prevention. Haile’s concern for the health of his community, especially the youth, guided the creation of programs to improve access to and awareness of nearby park facilities and recreational opportunities. Nutrition education, food access and physical activity have been focal points in his effort to combat the epidemics of obesity and diabetes in his Philadelphia community. Following his ardor for public service, Haile became a candidate for Philadelphia City Council in the spring 2007 primary election. He maintained a message of positivity and a new vision for leadership in his bid to represent some of Philadelphia’s most ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods. He placed second in a three-way race trying to unseat a two-term incumbent and received endorsements from several progressive organizations. Haile was successful in his effort to increase civic and political participation in diverse communities by promoting progressive values. Haile is also the board chair and a founder of the Common Market Philadelphia, a nonprofit distribution program for locally grown food. This collaborative effort of many of the region’s leading food access and local food advocacy agencies has developed distribution infrastructure which connects local farms to Philadelphia’s communities and institutions. The Common Market opened in May of 2008 and is currently supplying Philadelphia area hospitals, universities, public and private schools and eldercare facilities with locally and sustainably grown nutritious foods. The Common Market is “your trusted source for local farm food.” A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Haile has utilized his formal training in entrepreneurial management for social good. His creative approach at program development, community building and resource attraction have led to both the rapid growth of his nonprofit organizations and the improvement of his neighborhood. Haile is currently the Pennsylvania State Director of the Center for Progressive Leadership (CPL) where he seeks to build on his experience to promote progressive values and improve capacity within diverse communities. CPL is a political training institute that develops diverse leaders who can effectively advance progressive political and policy change.