Cultivate 2012 Summit Begins Today – The White House Project Forms Partnerships for Food Justice

May 23, 2011

A three-day summit beginning today, May 23, 2011 brings together distinguished activists, thinkers and organizers to change the face of leadership in sustainable agriculture.  Sponsored by The White House Project (TWHP), Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN).

The White House Project, MOSES and WFAN begin today with the summit in Duluth Minnesota for the Cultivate 2012 conference and the visionary women who are attending the summit at the Johnson Foundation’s Wingspread retreat center. The three-day event will engage 33 leading women activists, thinkers, policy-makers and organizers in an effort to discuss national food security issues and provide cohesive strategies for expanding and enhancing the sustainable agriculture movement, healthy food and farming in the US.

Cultivate 2012 hosts an impressive range of attendees, such as Severine von Tscharner Fleming, the producer of the film “the Greenhorns,” Jenga Mwendo, who is reigniting food production in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, and Aurora Conley, who is working to preserve native stands of wild rice in northern Minnesota. The group includes distinguished authors, USDA members, leaders of national agriculture organizations, policy analysts, organic food farmers and established researchers–all of whom, together in one room, have a historic opportunity to make a huge impact on the current and future national food system.

Women are the critical driving force behind our agricultural industry. They are the core decision-makers in household food consumption and preparation, the fastest growing demographic to own and operate sustainable farms, and the largest percentage of nonprofit employees working on these farms. A growing number of women are embarking on a collaborative dialogue to increase their influence as leaders in the sustainable food and farming movement.

“I’m thrilled that this upcoming opportunity at Wingspread will bring together many of the key leaders and visionaries for women in sustainable agriculture, many who have never met before,” says Lisa Kivirist, director of the Rural Women’s Project of the Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service and a Wisconsin farmer. “The cross-pollination opportunities through networking and the sharing of ideas and resources will boost this movement and the leadership role women can play.”

“Our goal is to bring together the most creative, passionate women working on sustainable ag issues in the country, to craft a strategy for making our voices more widely heard,” says Leigh Adcock, Executive Director of the Women’s Food and Agriculture Network. “We will identify common policy goals that we can communicate at all levels, from the farmers’ market to the halls of Congress.”

With women in the US leading the largest growth sector in US agriculture, as well as leading the explosion of healthy food and farming initiatives at every level, an important goal of the conference is to acknowledge, celebrate, and bring attention to the immense efforts of these women.

“We are bringing together an extremely diverse group of visionary women and we are totally committed to coming out of this historic gathering with actionable items. I believe we will find ways to ratchet up women’s impact on policy and elections in 2012, shine a spotlight on the women who are already leading in this movement, and talk about how we can cultivate leadership in the huge and growing pipeline of young women in this movement,” says Liz Johnson, National Rural Program Director for The White House Project.

Cultivate 2012 is born of the collaborative efforts of The White House Project, the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), and the Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN), in coordination with The Johnson Foundation.

For more information, click here.