Skip to Content

Noyes News, March 2006

   

Grantee Stories

2005 Noyes Award Winner
The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) is the 2005 recipient of the $100,000 Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation Award. ICCR was selected for its leadership on corporate responsibility and shareholder activism. Sister Patricia Wolf, ICCR's executive director, said:

We are so grateful for this award and proud of our members that take up this work daily. All ICCR initiatives are motivated by a desire to build a more just and sustainable society by integrating social values into corporate and investor decisions. We are making an impact on corporate behavior and helping people around the world.

The Noyes Award, initiated in 1998, is designed to strengthen and sustain key organizations working to advance social justice. ICCR is the 20th award recipient.

   

   

A 2005 Bannerman award winner, Everardo Cortez, who helped form the Farmworker Association of Florida(FWAF) in 1983, began organizing in Tamulipas, Mexico, in the 1950s, holding the government to its promise to give land to small farmers. FWAF is dedicated to improving the housing, wages and working conditions of its multi-racial membership of Mexican, Central American and Haitian workers. Everardo has played key leadership roles in all aspects of the organization for over 20 years, including training new leaders, lobbying at the state capitol, creating a community health clinic and founding PEP Labor Crews, a citrus harvesting cooperative.

   

    Better Safe Than Sorry
The Environmental Research Foundation and the Science and Environmental Health Network, leading proponents of the precautionary principle, are sponsoring a series of Precaution Academies. These intensive weekend-long trainings will prepare participants to apply precautionary thinking to a wide range of issues in their communities and workplaces. The precautionary principle says that if there is a reasonable suspicion that an activity will cause harm, and scientific uncertainty about cause and effect, there is a duty to take action to prevent harm. It's the scientific formulation of "better be safe than sorry."

The first Academy is in New Jersey, March 31 to April 2, with others scheduled May 19-21 in Chicago, June 23-25 in Seattle and Sept. 8-10 in Minneapolis. A few scholarships are available for the later dates. The Academy is intended to serve the needs of citizen activists, government officials, public health specialists, small business owners, journalists, educators and the engaged public. Nonprofit groups can also request free, one-day workshops tailored to their needs. For more information, e-mail Sherri Seidmon.

   

   

Miami Activists Score Win
Power U Center for Social Change
and residents of Overtown in Miami have won the first round in their battle to prevent luxury condominium units from displacing long-time residents of the historically African American community. The Crosswinds development proposes 1,200 luxury condo units that would cost more than $300,000, clearly out-pricing surrounding residents with average yearly incomes of $13,000. The City of Miami approved the project in January of 2005, despite community protest, insisting that the project will revitalize Overtown. The project would be built on property purchased more than 20 years ago to benefit Overtown residents, small black businesses and local developers. Overtown residents are challenging the City's decision not to require an environmental review of the project. In late January, a federal judge ruled in the residents' favor, refusing to dismiss their suit. Crosswinds and the City of Miami argued that they had no obligation to show the destructive environmental effects of the project on the community. "This is an important message to Crosswinds and other potential developers: There is an Overtown community, and developers must be responsible to it," said Denise Perry, Power U Center's executive director.

   

   

Native Actionhas been fighting to protect and preserve the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana since 1984. Current proposals to drill 75,000 coalbed methane wells threaten to pollute the Tongue River, ruin ranch and farm land, and destroy the Northern Cheyenne land and culture. Since 1995, Eastern Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining has been collaborating with the Southwest Research and Information Center and New Mexico Environmental Law Center in efforts to prevent renewed uranium mining on the Navajo reservation. Both fights have implications far beyond the Navajo and Northern Cheyenne reservations. Government arguments in defense of corporate interests involve deliberate attempts to erode tribal sovereignty and remove any impediments to unrestricted mining of energy resources in Indian Country. The film's New York City premiere is March 18 at the National Museum of the American Indian, The 2:00 p.m. showing will be followed by a conversation with Roberta Grossman, film director; Gail Small; and Winona La Duke of the White Earth Land Recovery Project. For more information Katahdin Foundation.
(Photo courtesty of Katahdin Foundation)

   

   

National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture
How do you create a powerful grassroots advocacy voice? The National Campaign, an alliance of hundreds of grassroots, state, regional and national organizations, does it by providing a forum for groups to come together to: share innovative ideas, prioritize goals and develop practical solutions to common concerns. Together, the groups formulate strategies to lift their collective voice up to federal decision-makers. Here's a few examples:

Organics - The Fastest Growing Segment of the Food Industry
The National Organic Program (NOP) is the division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that oversees federal certification of organic food. It grew out of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990, and was created with the goal of upholding the integrity of the organic label in the marketplace. Since the OFPA went into effect, it has been challenged by huge corporations seeking to lower standards. It was also challenged by an organic blueberry grower named Arthur Harvey in a case called Harvey v. the Secretary of Agriculture. Harvey asserted that the principles of the OFPA were violated by NOP regulations which, for example, allowed some synthetic additives for the processing of organic foods. The Harvey lawsuit raised seven objections to the NOP and, in January of 2005, the First Circuit Court of Appeals found three of his objections to have merit. How this decision plays out in the real world is not yet clear. Some organic food producers may either have to alter their practices or stop labeling their products as "100% Organic." There is strong opposition by some members of the organic food industry to such change.

The National Campaign's Organic Committee coordinated and promoted an inclusive dialogue about the implications of the Harvey case, and pressed for a transparent process to protect organic standards and keep the interests of consumers and farmers in the forefront. For more information Organic Committee .

   

Federal Commodity Programs - The Biggest Slice of the Pie

Federal commodity programs now consume 75 percent of the federal tax dollars spent on agriculture. While the program was first designed to support market prices and provide stable incomes for farmers, critics have overwhelming evidence that this program supports environmentally damaging overproduction, low market prices that drive farmers out of business and an expansion of exports. Last year the National Campaign launched the Commodity Policy Dialogue (CPD).

The CPD has resulted in a set of broadly supported principles that will help groups assess the effect of any specific policy proposal on the sustainability of agriculture, as well as to lay out a unified vision of what U.S. federal farm policy should achieve. CPD participants also developed a package of policy proposals with sufficient support to allow the National Campaign and its partners to advance them in the debate around the 2007 Farm Bill and beyond. A report is available at National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture.

In addition, the National Campaign is serving as a coordinator of the National Organic Action Plan (NOAP), a cooperative process through which stakeholders in the organic community will create a long-range plan for the organic movement. The scope will include social, economic, agricultural and policy goals for the future direction of organic agriculture.

People Influencing Money: Grassroots Appropriations Advocacy
The National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture and the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute regularly survey groups throughout the sustainable agriculture movement to identify programs to champion in a given year. This facilitates a coordinated grassroots advocacy effort working to optimize federal funding for programs that support sustainable agriculture – a challenge in the best of times and especially crucial as an already tight federal budget faces reductions.

For some programs, grassroots advocacy resulted in real gains. For example, after several years of trying, a new $1 million, direct-marketing grants program is being funded for 2006. President Bush proposed "zero-budgeting" the Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas program and the Organic Transition grants program, both of which emerged from the long and tortuous appropriations process with level-funding at $2.5 million and $1.9 million, respectively. The Conservation Security Program, which rewards farmers for good ecological stewardship, was also proposed for elimination, but kept alive by the strong support it enjoys at the grassroots and in the advocacy community.

How can you help? Send a note to your members and allies asking if they'd like to be on the National Campaign's action alert and resource database; when speaking at conferences, ask audience members to sign up to get updates on policy issues; circulate signup sheets; and urge people who care about building and protecting our federal policy gains to sign up. Anyone can help build the sustainable agriculture movement's power base. A first and easy step is to sign up at National Campaign or call 845-361-2501.

   

    Cornucopia Institute
The Aurora Dairy produces about ten million gallons a year of milk and specializes in processing "private-label" organic milk for many grocery chains, including Wild Oats, Trader Joe's and Costco. Organic watchdog group, the Cornucopia Institute filed a formal complaint about suspect organic livestock management practices associated with the Aurora Organic Dairy in Colorado.

Cornucopia's senior farm policy analyst was invited to visit Aurora's "replacement" cow ranch and was stunned when he discovered that the facility had never received organic livestock certification. Organic certification is the backbone of the USDA's organic program. Certification requires annual visits by an accredited certifying agent who helps the producer develop sound organic management practices and ensures that a careful paper trail documents organic food production. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) responded to the complaint by launching an investigation of the approximately 6,000 cow dairy. Later this month, the Cornucopia Institute will release a consumer guide identifying which organic dairy products are produced from the highest quality sources of milk. Its rating system, based on ten months of industry research, will allow consumers to select products reflecting their organic values.

A September New York Times article described efforts by John Mackey, the CEO of organic foods retailer Whole Foods, to set in-store product standards for compassionate care of animals in agriculture. The move followed discussions with the Cornucopia Institute, which has been pushing for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) enforcement of rules requiring the pasturing of dairy cows. Loopholes in the federal organic law are being exploited by factory farms and their large corporate partners. The giant farms, with herds numbering up to 6,000, are confining their milk cows to small drylots, or buildings and feeding them concentrated rations instead of pasture. The management strategy allows them to squeeze more milk from the animals while milking them three times a day. It's also a huge cost-cutting approach that threatens to run the nation's family-scale organic dairy operators out of business. These smaller farmers, who built the coveted reputation of the organic label, have been dutifully following organic production rules and are now being placed at a competitive disadvantage.

A November New York Times article cited the Institute's work as an advocate for organic integrity and family farmers. The Institute has filed formal complaints with the USDA against the confinement practices of organic factory farms and is prodding the National Organic Standards Board to pass guidelines closing the pasture loopholes.

   

   

Want to learn about sustainable production practices? The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group's (SSAWG) video series, Natural Farming Systems in the South, provides an easy, economical way to take a virtual tour, chocked full of special learning opportunities from some highly successful farming operations in the region. Compiled in partnership with the USDA's Risk Management Agency, these broadcast-quality videos focus on featured farmers who relate, in detailed plain-spoken terms, the whole farming system and each component unique to their particular operation. The series includes video on small-scale organic vegetable and flower farms, management intensive grazing of beef cattle, pastured turkey and cut flower production. These broadcast-quality videos can be purchased for $15.00 on SSAWG's web site.

   

    Community Controlled Food Flourishes
Just Food helps bring fresh, regionally grown, affordable food to neighborhoods all over New York City, including the South Bronx, which now boasts of six community supported agriculture (CSA) projects. CSA members purchase "shares" in a farm's harvest, providing capital before the start of the growing season, and organize food distribution sites in places like school cafeterias and church basements. In return, CSA members receive fresh, locally grown, usually organic produce throughout the harvest season at prices lower that what local supermarkets offer for similar quality. The CSA model helps reduce the financial risk of small-scale farming and brings organic produce into communities often lacking access to supermarkets and farmers' markets. Just Food's newsletter provides recipes and instruction for canning, pickling and freezing. Today, there are approximately 37 CSAs operating in New York City. Each group has its own relationship with a farmer and offers slightly different products at different prices, many offering sliding scale fees to enable more low- and moderate-income people to join.

To learn more about Just Food and the community controlled food movement it is spawning, check out these articles: Community Farmers Cultivate Cross-Cultural Exchange, by Heather Haddon (Norwood News Vol. 19, No. 3 Feb. 9 - 22, 2006) [PDF]; New York's Grocery Gap, by Gail Robinson (November 21, 2005) [PDF]; South Bronx to South Bay: The Culture in Agriculture, by Roger Repohl (November 7, 2005) [PDF]; Fresh Food Cheap: How the Bronx is Eating Well, by Lisa Gross (New York Press Vol 18 Issue 44 - November 2-8, 2005) [PDF]. For information on joining a CSA in New York City, visit justfood.org/csa.

   

   

The National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF) released its 2005 national agenda for action report, Reclaiming Choice, Broadening the Movement: Sexual and Reproductive Justice and Asian Pacific American Women. The report is the result of extensive research and input from NAPAWF's constituents and supporters nationwide: "With the publication of this Agenda for Action, NAPAWF hopes to reinsert APA women and girls into the national dialogue about abortion rights, health care, welfare reform and violence against women." The Agenda for Action includes an economic and political profile of APA women, thier reproductive and sexual health trends, and barriers that prevent APA women and girls from receiving appropriate health care services. "A Call to Action" presents NAPAWF's eight priority areas, and offers recommendations for policymakers, advocates, allied organizations and community leaders to address these issues.

   

   

   

Last September, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health 's (NLIRH) Mujeres Latinas in Accion held a Latinas for Justice breakfast in Chicago that attracted more than 200 women and men. The meeting, co-sponsored by the Chicago Foundation for Women, was part of NLIRH's national campaign to raise awareness and facilitate dialogue on the Supreme Court nomination process. Local and national Latina leaders spoke, including Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers, a labor leader and organizer. A self-described "75-year-old Catholic mother of eleven…" Ms. Huerta exemplifies a tireless social justice activist who connects the issues. In her supportive words on reproductive health and rights, she also stressed the importance of creating a solid, all-inclusive grassroots foundation that respectfully addresses the needs of the community as a whole.

   

    Rev. Rebecca Turner, executive director of the Missouri Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (MORCRC), was recognized in the latest Faith & Choices newsletter of the national Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. MORCRC has been a consistent religious voice in the fight against the state's new teen endangerment law. According to Rev. Turner, "the intent of the law is to intimidate clergy and health providers who care for teens." The fear is that the law can incriminate anyone who talks to a teen about abortion, including information on where to find reproductive health services. Also at stake is the future of the All-Options Clergy Counseling program, started in 1991 by the MORCRC and now offered throughout the country. This program prepares clergy to help women explore their options in the context of their own faith. In a reassuring twist, Rev. Turner says, "Where once the news was along the lines of 'religious people are opposed to abortion, but a few clergy disagree,' now the news was 'legislators want to pass this bill, but clergy say it violates clergy privilege and freedom of religion.'"
   

   

The Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance is a coalition committed to envisioning and realizing a new future for communities along the southern reaches of the Bronx River. The coalition members include: Mothers on the Move, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, Pratt Center for Community Development, Sustainable South Bronx, Tri-State Transportation Campaign and Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice. Together they hope to decommission the Sheridan Expressway and open the 28 acres to positive community uses. A Community Visioning Process is starting soon. Community stakeholders will meet to develop a comprehensive blueprint for use of the land now occupied by the Sheridan Expressway.

     

Post Hurricane Katrina

 

The Gulf Coast Justice and Solidarity Tour in November 2005 brought representatives from 35 organizations to areas of Mississippi and Louisiana devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Southwest Workers' Union, Project South, Grassroots Global Justice and Louisiana Environmental Action Network convened the tour to build and reinforce community to community relationships, deliver needed relief donations and offer their solidarity in developing a strategic plan to collectively support a just community-led reconnection, reconstruction and return. Local host organizations included Southern Echo, Little Rock Missionary Church, People's Institute for Survival and Beyond, Community Labor United/ People's Hurricane Relief Fund, Commonground and the United Houma Nation. Organizers and participants see the tour as one step toward building a broad movement for justice in the Gulf and beyond. In the words of participant Emery Wright of Project South: "It will take a powerful movement to demand justice for the Gulf Coast and the stakes are high. There is a united front forming … We must all get on the Bus."


North Carolina state agencies are hearing loud and clear from the Katrina Survivors Support Group, led by New Orleans residents housed in the state. A coalition of nonprofits working for justice in the state, including North Carolina Fair Share Education Fund, sponsored a meeting that included a free dinner; a chance to share stories, concerns and ideas; and the development of an agenda to present to state agencies. At a follow-up roundtable, representatives from nine state and county agencies charged with hurricane relief explained their current efforts, and listened as survivors cataloged their needs and concerns. At the top of their agenda was the need for a central place to access information on assistance for all NC agencies providing Katrina support, a central toll-free number and creation of a NC Katrina Liaison, with key input from survivors on the job description and qualifications. The NC governor's office has agreed to broaden the scope of an existing toll-free number and to create a six-month liaison position, with possible extensions. The Support Group and the allied NC organizations are actively involved in developing the job description and a proposal for an advisory committee of survivors.


The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health's (NLIRH) newsletter, Instantes, featured the Feminist Women's Health Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta has over 20,000 Katrina evacuees, most of whom are low-income, underserved and/or immigrant. As the women from this newly formed community begin to seek health services at the Center, their stories of sexual assault and, in some cases, rape are beginning to surface. Although denied by authorities, these violent acts were committed in the Convention Center or in other shelters. The Dekalb Rape Crisis Center, along with other local organizations, is providing a variety of services and referrals.


Noyes In Action

 

In January, Heather Findlay, great-granddaughter of Charles Noyes and chair of the Foundation's Board, and Vic De Luca, its president, presented a session at the Council on Foundations Family Foundation Conference in Hawaii, entitled There's More To It Than Compliance: How To Have An Effective Board. Here, Heather and Vic are fielding questions from the 65 session participants. Another presenter was Sarah DiTroia from the Center for Effective Philanthropy, who reported on the Center's foundation governance project. During the conference, Vic participated in a dialogue between Steve Gunderson, the Council's new president, and CEOs of a dozen foundations.

 

The Noyes Foundation was highlighted in two recent publications of the Council on Foundations. A board briefing fact sheet, What is the Best Size for Your Board, quoted Vic De Luca on how large boards help with diversifying a foundation's governing body.

Built on Principle – A Guide to Family Foundation Stewardship, quotes Vic on shareholder activism, diversity and exit interviews of retiring board members. The book also contains a quote from Edith Muma, Jessie Smith Noyes' daughter, on the benefits of broadening the diversity of the Noyes Board and a passage from the Noyes Diversity Brochure.


Bay Area Reproductive Rights Funders
The Bay Area Donors held its first meeting of the year, with more than ten foundations represented, including Noyes program officer for reproductive rights, Wilma Montanez. The meeting focused on the Campaign to Defeat Proposition 73, a proposition requiring parental involvement for minors seeking abortion services in California. Presentations were made by representatives from Planned Parenthood of California, ACLU of Northern California, and the Reproductive Health Technology Project. Many factors contributed to this victory, including years of preparation, the broadening of the coalition to better reflect the state's demographic reality, and a willingness by all the players to change the language and framing of this issue so that its message would resonate with a wide range of communities across the state. The defeat of Proposition 73 has given reproductive rights advocates around the country an impetus to continue their work.

Focus on Sustainable Labor Practices
In December, the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders sponsored a phone briefing, moderated by Kolu Zigbi, program officer for sustainable agriculture and food systems. Ron Strochlic, executive director of the California Institute for Rural Studies, reported on findings from interviews and surveys done of farm labor practices on twelve organic farms in California. Not surprisingly, having a satisfied workforce translates into benefits for farm owners, such as reduced training costs and higher worker retention rates. The good news - many positive workplace practices are no- or low-cost! Social Equity in Sustainable Agriculture is now available on the CIRS web site.

What the Staff's Been Saying and Doing

Vic De Luca spoke to the Connecticut Health Foundation's board on proxy voting and shareholder activism. He also is co-chair of the New York Regional Association of Grantmakers fundraising campaign, The New NYRAG: Tools for Philanthropy in the 21st Century.

Kolu Zigbi spoke at the First Annual Chicago Food Policy Summit. Her talk entitled, Food System Sustainability and Foundation Support: Jargon, Oxymoron, Mystery or Just a Piece of the Pie, explored the role of foundations in supporting the transition toward a more sustainable food system.

Kolu also is advising Island Press on a publication dealing with the future of sustainable agriculture. She is co-chair of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders group and is on its planning committee for this year's annual conference, which will be in Maine.

Wilma Montanez, spoke at the conference of the Young Women's Collaborative, which was held in Tucson, AZ.


Millie Buchanan, program officer for Toxics and Environmental Justice, is on the planning committee for the annual conference of the Neighborhood Funders Group which will be held in Durham, NC. The theme is Building Community, Building Assets: Race, Place & Equity.


Noyes Board member Betty Hung was one of 23 people of color honored by the Joint Affinity Group (JAG) of the Southern California Grantmakers. The JAG is comprised of members of Southern California Blacks in Philanthropy, as well as the Southern California Chapters of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy and Hispanics in Philanthropy.

Betty and the other honorees were selected because of their "important role in philanthropy this year" and their "leadership and accomplishment." Betty has been on Noyes' Board since 2004 and is the Directing Attorney of the Employment Unit of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and a founding member of the Los Angeles Taxi Workers Alliance.

The Noyes Foundation Board of Directors

In January, Carol Kuhre and LaDonna Redmond began six-year terms on the Foundation's Board. Carol lives in rural Ohio and is the former executive director of Rural Action, having served in that capacity for 13 years. She now is a fund and organizational development trainer and consultant. LaDonna lives in Chicago and is the founder and president of the Institute for Community Resource Development (the Institute). She is an experienced community activist, now focusing on sustainable food security. Rural Action was a grantee from 1995 – 2002 and the Institute is a more recent grantee of the Foundation.

There are 16 members of the Foundation's Board: six family members and ten non-family members. Board members live in eleven states, from New York to California and from Minnesota to Maryland. The Board is composed of nine (56 percent) females and seven (44 percent) males. The race and ethnicity breakdown of the entire Board is ten whites (62 percent) and six people of color (38 percent).

 

The race and ethnicity breakdown of the nine non-family and non-tenured members is three white (33 percent) and six people of color (67 percent),


Noyes Numbers for 2005

$58,400,000 in investments under management

$2,979,020 in grants and contributions

326 total funding requests 100 grants awarded (does not include annual contributions and board discretionary grants)

77 percent of grantee organizations have budgets under $750,000 (42 percent with budgets of $250,000 or less)

38 percent of grantees led and governed by people of color


 


Noyes As an Investor

For more than a dozen years, the Foundation has worked to create harmony between its grantmaking and investment decisions. Last November, the Board of Directors approved a new social screening policy, reflecting the values of the Foundation. Additionally, in 2005 proxy votes were cast with 117 companies. The Foundation voted for the recommended board members of 72 companies (62 percent) and withheld votes for board nominees of 45 companies (38 percent) due to the lack of diversity among those boards. In addition, there were affirmative votes cast on eight shareholder resolutions dealing with executive compensation based on social criteria, human rights, corporate governance and predatory lending. There was one vote in favor of a company sponsored resolution to declassify the board and votes against two other company resolutions to make changes to their corporate structures.


Philanthropic News and Trends

Key Facts on Family Foundations

According to the Foundation Center, in 2004 there were more than 33,100 family foundations in the U.S. Of that number, the Center has financial data for 31,347, showing total assets of $209 billion and grants of $12.6 billion in 2004. The overwhelming majority of these foundations are small, with 63 percent having assets of less than $1 million. In addition, 65 percent of these foundations reported giving less than $100,000 in 2004. Based on the Foundation Center's numbers, in 2004 the Noyes Foundation was in the top two percent of family foundations in terms of asset size and in the top five percent in terms of giving.


What We're Thinking

Building a More Equitable Agriculture and Food System

by Kolu Zigbi

The Noyes Foundation values diverse social movements as a means toward: more equitable social policies and institutions; authentic leadership committed to community needs; fresh insights and new perspectives resulting in better solutions to social problems; and greater accountability.

The Foundation's staff and board have been thinking about ways to support even greater diversity among groups engaging in food systems change work. We've looked at the factors that have limited the Foundation's support to people-of-color-led groups in the sustainable agriculture and food systems field. As a result we expect to fund more organizations working on food and farm issues at a local level. At the same time, our overall strategy will continue – supporting organizing and advocacy for policy change. Our interest in collaborative work between groups in this movement, as well as alliances with groups in other movements, remains strong. We value the long-term relationships we've developed with many key organizations in the sustainable agriculture and food systems movement and will continue to make a high percentage of renewal grants.

The Foundation also looked at characteristics of the sustainable agriculture and food systems field that may make it difficult for more people-of-color-led groups to actively engage as leaders for food systems change. We plan to engage in a broader dialogue about the types of investments (of money, attention, time, talent) needed to build the diversity of this field at every level. Thankfully, there has been significant progress in building the diversity of this movement. One venue is the growing community food security movement, where the emphasis on food access provides an entry point for leadership by people from under-served communities of color. Another is the national focus on over-weight children and the nutrition-related illnesses they suffer. The reauthorized Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 mandates creation of school wellness plans and committees in districts across the U.S. by the start of the 2006-2007 school year. This is an opportunity to involve new leaders, including people of color, in consciousness raising and policy-making to support healthy food options and choices in schools.

From our vantage point, we are pleased to see evidence that key coalitions in the sustainable agriculture and food systems movement are preparing to more effectively build diverse leadership for a more equitable food system.