Georgia Organics Launches Farmer Advocacy — The Grime

By Michael Wall

Michael Wall is Georgia Organics’ Director of Advocacy and former Director of Farmer Providers.

As a non-profit, Georgia Organics updates its strategic plan each 5 years to make sure it stays on observe with its mission, values, and farmer-focused programming.

Usually, the board of administrators, key constituents, and necessary companions are interviewed to evaluate the altering panorama that Georgia Organics operates inside, and the wants of the group that Georgia Organics makes an attempt to serve.’

One of many stunning components that emerged from these discussions in the newest strategic plan was a powerful path for Georgia Organics to re-launch its advocacy efforts, this time with a singular deal with farmer prosperity.

To that finish, and after months of conversations and planning throughout the Georgia Organics places of work, Lauren Cox was promoted to Director of Farmer Providers, and Michael Wall moved over to the brand new place of Director of Farmer Advocacy.
It should be famous that advocacy just isn’t a brand-new effort for Georgia Organics.

Roughly 10 years in the past, Georgia Organics had an Advocacy Director, Jennifer Owens, who addressed small-scale poultry processing, early Farm to College efforts, and plenty of different necessary subjects. Additionally, the Atlanta Native Meals Initiative, one other Georgia Organics initiative below the management of now Director of Applications Suzanne Girdner, additionally engaged in coverage work that gave rise the Metropolis of Atlanta’s city agriculture laws and later town’s first City Agriculture director place.

Wall and different members of the farmer providers workforce, together with Donn Cooper and Tenisio Seanima, and the board of administrators, equivalent to farmer Joe Reynolds of Love is Love Farm Collective, have labored on advocacy up to now, particularly across the Farm Invoice, SARE and NRCS funding, and the Natural Value Share Reimbursement Program.

The strategic plan was accredited by the Georgia Organics board of administrators on Nov. 8, 2021, and contains a number of key themes that pertain to advocacy, partnerships, and motion constructing, particularly round farmer prosperity, racial justice, and local weather change.

For instance, one of many plan’s objective states that Georgia Organics work would:
“Develop an influential community of advocates who champion natural and regenerative farmers.”

Different key themes from the Strategic Plan abstract associated to Farmer Advocacy work:

  • Transfer from program constructing to motion constructing. Step absolutely into our position as a convening and advocacy group. 

  • Foster robust partnerships, and collectively pursue collective affect methods.

  • Change into an integral a part of Georgia’s local weather change options.

A abstract of the strategic plan is under.

Thus far, Georgia Organics Farmer Advocacy work has been based mostly on robust current partnerships and former advocacy expertise, particularly across the Farm Invoice with companions such because the Nationwide Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the Natural Commerce Affiliation. In March, Wall and natural farmer and board member Sed Rowe traveled to Washington, D.C., and met with federal lawmakers concerning the Farm Invoice and the wants of Georgia’s natural farmers.