Sponsored by the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders, the John Merck Fund, and Animal Agriculture Reform Collaborative
National elections grab the media spotlight, thereby elevating the profile of many issues. For food, farming and fisheries systems, elections can provide the opportunity to create a national dialogue, shift the narrative, build power where members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees sit, and develop community-based leadership at every level to lead us towards long-term change.
Join us to learn from grassroots, advocacy organizations who are engaging strategies to elevate food and farming issues at the national level during the 2020 elections. Speakers will give an overview of what is happening across some key electoral states and the changes they are seeing now as compared to previous election cycles.
Attendees will get a brief overview of the legal framework of the strategies outlined from the Alliance for Justice, and we will have time for Q&A.
Registration for this webinar is limited to funders only. Funders are considered those organizations using grantmaking or investments as a core strategy to fulfill their mission and who make grants or invest more than $50,000 annually.
Abby Levine, director, Bolder Advocacy Program
Adam Mason, state policy director, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Christine James, executive director, The John Merck Fund (moderator)
Niaz Dorry, executive director, National Family Farm Coalition
About the Webinar Speakers
ABBY LEVINE, Bolder Advocacy Program, Alliance for Justice Abby provides legal guidance that encourages grantmakers to support advocacy and other nonprofit organizations to participate in policymaking decisions through an understanding of federal tax and election law. Abby’s work includes creating curriculum, teaching workshops, providing technical assistance, writing plain-language legal guides, and describing federal legislative and regulatory developments that impact nonprofits. Prior to joining Alliance for Justice in 2004, Abby served as the Public Policy Analyst at the National Council of Nonprofit Associations (NCNA), where she monitored and analyzed issues affecting the nonprofit sector, such as challenges to nonprofit tax exemptions and advocacy, state budget cuts, government grants streamlining, and corporate governance. Abby received a B.A., from American University; and J.D., from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
ADAM MASON, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Adam is the state policy organizing director at Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI). He directs the Farming and Environmental Organizing Project at Iowa CCI, working with staff and members on grassroots organizing campaigns to support family farmers and rural and urban Iowans in confronting the impacts of corporate agriculture and factory farms, ensuring the enforcement of environmental rules and regulations, and pushing for better policies that put people and planet first. Adam grew up on a small family farm in northwest Iowa, and graduated with a degree in political science and German from Central College in Pella, IA.
CHRISTINE JAMES, The John Merck Fund Christine, executive director, John Merck Fund, will serve as moderator and speak about why they are funding work around elections. Christine came to The John Merck Fund in 2008, after 20+ years working for small, community-based human service and environmental nonprofit organizations in Maine and Massachusetts. She has a BA in art history from Bowdoin College and an MA in public policy from Tufts University’s Urban & Environmental Policy program. Just prior to coming to JMF, she was executive director of EarthWorks, a small urban greening organization based in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Her work in Maine included four years as executive director of an educational organic farm and two years working on clean energy and climate change issues. Prior to becoming Executive Director, she was JMF’s Director of Programs from 2008 to 2017, when she oversaw the foundation’s environmental grants programs: Clean Energy, Health and the Environment, and Regional Food Systems.
NIAZ DORRY, National Family Farm Coalition Niaz has been a community organizer for over 30 years. The life changing moment came in 1994 when as a Greenpeace campaigner she switched from organizing in communities fighting for environmental justice to organizing fishing communities. From the start she recognized the similarities between family farmers’ fight for a more just and ecologically responsible land-based food system and that of community-based fishermen fighting to fix the broken sea-based food system. She has been serving as the coordinating director of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance since 2008. One of the first things NAMA did after Niaz took the helm was to join the National Family Farm Coalition as its first non-farming member. The two organizations entered into an innovative shared-leadership model on May 1, 2018, putting Niaz in the new role of serving the work of both organizations and further cementing the relationship between land and sea.