Ecological Farming Association (EcoFarm)
Santa Cruz, CA
Integrating Racial Equity and Social Justice into Regenerative Agriculture
Social studies/humanities and/or agricultural background
Experience/interest in event planning, adult education, training and technical assistance, or project management,
Knowledge and comfort with organizational systems, such as databases.
Proficient in MS Office, Google Suite (primarily Google Sheets and Docs), Gmail, Social media,
High personal standards for the quality and timeliness of work, proactive problem solver, and collaborative team player; excellent communication skills.
Openings: 1 of 1
Focus Area: Agri-food Systems
Education & Outreach; Food Systems; Regenerative Agriculture; Climate Mitigation & Adaptation
Education & Outreach
Goals & Needs
The Ecological Farming Association hosts the largest sustainable agriculture conference west of the Mississippi for 1500 farmers and advocates every January. It has played a key role in the development of the organic movement in California, and continues to be an important convenor and influencer in the state. EcoFarm's mission is to promote ecological and just farms and food systems by bringing people together for education, alliance building, advocacy, and celebration.
The fellow will have an exciting leadership opportunity to shape EcoFarm’s programming as it relates to equity and regenerative agriculture. Starting when they arrive in September, they will work closely with the Program Director and various stakeholder committees to coordinate the implementation of programming oriented to our BIPOC audience, including Spanish language workshops, equity-oriented workshops, pre-conferences and affinity groups. As the fall continues, they will help to identify and recruit attendees and scholarship recipients from underrepresented communities, developing outreach and communication tools and techniques, including contributing to the development of flyers, factsheets, email communications, blogs, social media updates, and other multimedia resources within targeted groups. During the conference, they will assist in ensuring the event goes smoothly, and providing support for the community members at the conference. After the conference, they will be engaged in a multi-month community engagement and planning process to develop content and plans for the 2025 event.
Farmers in California are on the frontlines of climate change. Their production techniques can be environmentally problematic: draining aquifers, releasing excess carbon and methane, and shipping their products long distances. The flip side of this coin is that these farmers are vulnerable to climate disruptions, as water scarcity, wildfires, reduced chill hours, and fluctuating weather patterns render production more challenging. Farmers of color and farmers with limited resources tend to be the most vulnerable, given their lack of access to capital, information, and their limited infrastructure.
By partnering in the empowerment of people marginalized by social inequity, we hope to develop healthy and inclusive communities. The Fellow’s work will support the conference lineup with an eye to creating sessions at the intersection of climate change and racial equity, researching potential topics and speakers.
Capacity Building Projects
The Grizzly Corps fellow will work at Ecological Farming Association. EcoFarm is a non-profit in its own right, but over the course of its 43-year history has gained the participation of dozens of non-profit groups, universities, farmers, and public agencies through its multiple committees (conference planning, Diversity advisory group, advanced farmer, and Spanish advisory). While the fellow will work at EcoFarm, they will be serving the informational and community building needs of the entire food and farm sector.
Because our conference comes in the middle of the Fellow’s term, we will split up their work into two related projects. The first effort will be to implement decisions made by the staff, and various planning committees around conference content. They will be charged with as well to conduct outreach, to develop affinity group meetings, and to liaison with our multiple farmer and food justice audiences to ensure that the conference meets their needs to the extent possible. This effort will inform the second half of the Fellow’s work plan.
After a bit of downtime and reporting on the January 2024 event, the Fellow will begin to plan the content and structure for equity-related workshops and auxiliary content for the 2025 conference. We have never had a staff person in this capacity, and see it as essential to developing a comprehensive global approach to transforming our conference. We expect that coming out of this fellowship, we will have a more robust program, more extensive contacts in the BIPOC regenerative farming community in California, greater awareness of what it takes internally to reach these audiences, as well as institutionalized planning and perhaps an advisory committee.
Specific outcomes include: a) increased attendance of Spanish-speaking farmers and other BIPOC growers at the 2024 conference; b) increased engagement by the aforementioned communities with EcoFarm leading to improved content related to equity and regenerative agriculture; and c) a comprehensive plan to strengthen equity-related content and participation of diverse farming and food justice stakeholders at the 2025 conference and beyond.
Organizational & Community Highlights
EcoFarm is a small, friendly, and casual non-profit organization in which the fellow will have substantial input into the organization’s programming, as well as enjoy mentoring opportunities with staff, Board, and committee members, many of whom fill key leadership roles in the field. The fellow’s supervisor has worked extensively with students. The executive director is a national leader in the community food movement, with extensive connections and knowledge in the field. This is an unparalleled opportunity to get to know many of the players in the sustainable agriculture field in the state.
EcoFarm is committed to:
Examining and changing our policies and practices to break down institutionalized white supremacy in our organizational practices, culture, and programs;
Creating space and building capacity for learning and dialogue about racism and racial justice in agriculture and the food system among our community;
Amplifying the voices of our black, indigenous and people of color allies in the food system.
The fellow will work from our new office near downtown Santa Cruz no fewer than 3 days/ week and can choose to work remotely otherwise. The office is accessible by public transit. The fellow must be willing to attend occasional staff and Board meetings in Santa Cruz and/or the Bay Area. Otherwise, no travel is required except for one week at the EcoFarm Conference in January in Pacific Grove, CA. Santa Cruz is a fun and vibrant college town, with ample opportunities for cultural enrichment, music, outdoor activities, and connecting with local farmers. It’s located near the offerings of the Bay Area, yet maintains a small-town feeling in a beautiful setting.