Leigh Adcock is a powerhouse in the food movement. She has been executive director of Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN) since 2008. Prior to that, she was a board member for the organization for 2 years, and served from 2003 – 2008 as executive director of the Iowa Farmers Union. Leigh has been instrumental in expanding WFAN’s scope to a national level, increasing membership more than six-fold, increasing funding from under $30,000 to $250,000 per year, and creating successful programs such as Women Caring for the Land SM, a conservation program for women farmland owners, and Harvesting Our PotentialSM, the on-farm apprenticeship program which this grant proposal seeks to expand. She is also co-creator of the Plate to Politics project, a collaboration of WFAN, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) and The White House Project, designed to recruit and train more rural and farm women all over the U.S. to run for public office at all levels, from the community to the White House. She grew up on a 360-acre conventional grain and beef cattle farm in northwest Iowa, which she currently co-owns with her mother. She and her husband and two teenage sons live on an acreage north of Ames, IA. Read more
Happy end of 2012! Let’s put all that behind us, shall we?
After a year that included arguably more food mishaps and misdeeds in history, there is clearly no time like the present to voice what we the people really want for our families, friends, and our planet. Corporate greed has gone too far and the need for grassroots, community action is greater than ever.
The time has come, really it has. At the risk of sounding very West Coast, I’d like to quote my yoga teacher the day after the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings: “Now is not the time for you to figure out your purpose,” she said, “It is simply time for fierce love and kind action.”
So what does love and kindness have to do with the food movement? Well, it’s a good place to start. Read more
Adam Brock is an urban permaculturalist currently serving as Director of Operations at The GrowHaus, a nonprofit food justice center based in a half-acre greenhouse in Colorado’s most polluted zip code. He is a graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a concentration in Ecological Design and has been active as an urban agriculture practitioner and advocate since 2008. Adam is a member of Denver’s Sustainable Food Policy Council and collaborates with numerous sustainability- and social justice-oriented groups in the Denver area.
Adam’s passion for permaculture design extends into creative endeavors, including a sincere effort to create a regionalized cuisine in Colorado and work with hip hop artists to communicate good food ideas.
What issues have you been focused on?
Our work at The GrowHaus is about creating a hub for new ways of relating to our food, particularly in our neighborhood where the food system is pretty much broken. We believe in a holistic model that tackles food production, food distribution and food education simultaneously to rebuild our food system from the ground up.
Permaculture is a big part of our mission and organizational culture – we teach permaculture classes for all kinds of people, and it informs everything from how we grow food to how we relate to our neighbors. Read more
Denise O’Brien is a farmer and community organizer from Atlantic, Iowa. She has farmed with her husband, Larry Harris, for 37 years in the southwest of the state and maintains 16 acres of fruit and vegetable production. Denise also raises turkeys and chickens for market.
For over 30 years Denise has helped develop agriculture policy on the state, national and international level working specifically on local food systems and conservation issues. She is the founder of Women Food and Agriculture Network and recently returned home after a year working as an USDA agriculture adviser in Afghanistan.
Denise has spent years as an activist farmer, raising children and crops, milking cows and being politically engaged. Now, she wants to restore prairie, save seeds, support women landowners and encourage the next generation of women activists. Read more
At a time when our nation’s family dairy farmers are in jeopardy of losing their farms and the independent dairy industry is in a state of volatility due to the price of milk paid to farmers, higher feed costs, corporate consolidation in the supply chain–and what many believe is a flawed pricing strategy–it was a huge loss when on August 7, 2012, Bryan Wolfe, a dairy farmer and activist, was tragically killed working his haybine on his farm in Rome Township, Ohio. He was 55.
According to Arden Tewksbury, Manager of the Progressive Agriculture Organization (Pro-Ag), Bryan was a well-known and respected dairy farmer activist who continually worked to obtain a fair price for all dairy farmers. He felt very strongly that a cost of production formula should be developed (like S-1640; the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act) to ensure all dairy farmers would have a fair chance to survive this RAT RACE that many dairy farmers are experiencing. Read more
Recently pesticide manufacturer Arysta LifeScience agreed to stop selling the cancer-causing strawberry pesticide methyl iodide in the United States. It was a tremendous victory for the 200,000+ farmworkers, farmers, rural residents and environmentalists that worked over the past several years to pull a chemical that one scientist called “one of the most toxic chemicals on earth” off the market.
One of the central figures of this battle from the get-go, both behind the scenes and in the media spotlight, has been Paul Towers, Organizing & Media Director for Pesticide Action Network (PAN). Read more
Happy end of 2011! Whew. What a ride.
On behalf of Civil Eats we’re proud to have made it through our third full year of delivering some of the good food communities’ top stories and posts from the front lines of the food revolution. Occupy your food system people! Read more
Albert Straus is a dairy farmer and President of Straus Family Creamery located on the beautiful shores of Tomales Bay and the Point Reyes National Seashore, 60 miles north of San Francisco. He is an outspoken advocate for sustainable, non-GMO dairy production, farmland protection and environmental stewardship.
Albert’s family farm, which has been operating for more than 65 years, began when his father, Bill Straus, began farming there 1941 with just 23 cows. Ellen Straus, Albert’s mother, read the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson in the early 1960s and began the family’s strong commitment to environmental sustainability.
In 1993, the farm became the first certified organic dairy west of the Mississippi River, making Albert an industry innovator and organic pioneer. The creamery, which he founded in 1994, is a leading producer of the highest quality organic milk, yogurt, butter, sour cream, and ice cream. In 2004, Albert introduced methane-digester technology to convert dairy waste into energy, which today not only powers the farm but also powers his car. The extensive sustainability program that Albert implemented at the dairy and creamery also includes a closed-loop water reuse system; production of milk in reusable glass bottles; and an employee carpool program.
What issues have you been focused on?
Primarily it’s the financial viability of our family farm. Specifically, the lack of availability of certified organic, verified non-GMO feeds for cows. There’s pressure on farmers to grow GMO crops for fuel and not for food. I’m also focused on helping consumers and farmers keep GMOs out of our food supply. Read more
Over 1,000 people have gathered in Oakland, California to attend the Community Food Security Coalition Conference today, an annual gathering that, as Nieto says, is “a real opportunity to organize and a call to action to take back our food system.” We are just steps from the tent city housing a lively group of Occupy-ers and the boarded Bank of America and Wells Fargo storefront windows along Broadway Street. In light of these converging movements and the urgency of communicating the needs of the 99 percent, it’s fitting to highlight and champion the work of Y. Armando Nieto, Executive Director of the California Food and Justice Coalition. A child of the 60s, he is a staunch supporter of rising up and speaking your mind. Nieto is also a veteran of the environmental movement and a seasoned executive and development professional who is applying his business acumen towards good food for all. Let him inspire you to rise up and take a stand for what matters most to you and your community. The time is now. Read more
Everyone from Willie Nelson to your average Zuccotti Park resident knows that we need to see policy that reflects our national needs for good, clean, healthy, and fair food. But, how and where to get involved in a piece of legislation as complicated and entrenched as the Farm Bill? To aid in your education, we’re excited to announce a special Kitchen Table Talks on Sunday, November 6, in conjunction with the Community Food Security Coalition’s annual conference. Join us in San Francisco for a lively conversation about the Farm Bill at our new location at 18 Reasons and we’ll take a look at this important piece of legislation from national, state and local levels, and answer your questions about what the it is, where it is headed and how you can get involved. Read more