MISSION: The Women’s Environmental Institute at Amador Hill, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is an environmental research, renewal and retreat center designed to create and share knowledge about environmental issues and policies relevant to women, children and identified communities especially affected by environmental injustices; to promote agricultural justice, organic and sustainable agriculture and ecological awareness; and to support activism that influences public policy and promotes social change. (Original Mission from 2003)
In brief our mission brings together agricultural, food and environmental justice, one community at a time; one farm at a time and one person at a time and all of us together.
(1) Education Program;
(2) Farm and Farming Program;
(3) Growing Power Regional Farmer Training Center;
(4) Environmental Justice/Community Advocacy Program; and
(5) Eco-Retreat Center Program.
OBJECTIVES: These programs are dedicated to the following objectives: environmental, agricultural, food justice especially affecting women and children and economically challenged communities.
• to create knowledge, scholarship and educational materials for those working on environmental, agricultural and food justice issues, especially related to women, children, and disproportionately impacted communities;
• to become an information hub that organizes current research and writing on environmental, agricultural and food justice issues related to identified communities;
• to demonstrate leadership in civic involvement, global responsibility and stewardship around environmental, agricultural and food issues at both the local and global level
• to provide both on-site and off-site educational outreach in seminars and experiential learning workshops on practical activities related to sustainable organic agriculture, women’s environmental health, and socio/agricultural issues
• to develop strong affiliations with local environmental, farming and food justice groups and secondary and post-secondary institutions to create collaborative programming and projects
• to create an institute that will provide a model for environmentally-friendly construction, land stewardship and conservation practices, renewable energy, resource development, and organic food production and processing.
Karen Clark, Executive Director. Karen is a progressive Minnesota State legislator for 28 years, public-health nurse and OB-GYN nurse practitioner, community organizer, graduate of the JFK School at Harvard and ovarian cancer survivor of 7 years. Karen's passionate dedication to environmental justice is reflected in her legislative, community and personal priorities. Karen is a part-time instructor at the University of Minnesota and also at the College of St. Catherine's Graduate Program of Holistic Health Studies. Karen is a volunteer ED.
Jacquelyn Zita, Director of Education and Operations & Farm Manager. Prominent Women's Studies scholar and educator, Jacquelyn is the former Chair of the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota and serves as WEI's volunteer Director of Operations and Education and manager of WEI's Amador HIll Farm. Dr. Zita holds a BS in Biology and Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Washington University, St. Louis. Formerly President of the National Women's Studies Association, Jacquelyn brings experience as an educator and institution builder plus her extensive knowledge of women's biology, women's health issues, organic farming, and gender and environmental studies.
Anika Walz, Program Manager, is a native of North Branch and recently returned from her global adventures. She is a graduate of St. Catherine University in Justice and Peace Studies. Her post collegiate years have been dedicated to amassing skills and experiences in a number of areas all centered around social justice and the common good. Most recently she has been living and working in East Africa, as Program Director of Give Us Wings, an international non-governmental organization dedicated to sustainably eradicating poverty. She is passionate about all things organizing (people and spaces), growing things, cooking, and throwing parties - all of which make her ecstatic about her role with WEI.
Annelie Lindberg-Livingston, WEI Education and Curriculum Coordinator, graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a B.S. in Biology. She received her Master of Science in Integrated Biosciences from the University of Minnesota Duluth in July of 2012. Her thesis research project focused on insect ecology and evolution. Annelie taught as a graduate teaching assistant while earning her Master’s and served as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Minnesota Duluth during the fall of 2012, teaching an upper division Plant Biology course. She also worked as a farm assistant on a local fruit and vegetable farm, volunteered with the Duluth Community Garden Program, and worked at the Duluth Farmers Market. Between earning her undergraduate and graduate degrees, she worked at the Environmental Protection Agency in Duluth, conducting amphibian toxicology research. Annelie lives in St. Paul and spends a lot of time thinking about, preparing, and eating delicious meals.
Ted Wind, Facility Maintenance and Groundskeeper & WEI Farmer and CFJC Aquaponics Apprentice. is one of WEI’s year round part-time, many skilled farmers. He is gaining training in organic farming, composting and is developing the first aquaponics unit at WEI’s Amador Hill farm. Ted helped construct the units and will lead the launch of the project in 2012. Ted has 8 years experience in civil technologies, worked for the MN Department of Transportation, studied plumbing and to be a boiler operator, has an architectural drafting certificate from Minneapolis Drafting School, does carpentry, and was a custodial worker at Waikaigan Center in Minneapolis. Ted is an enrolled member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe. He brings his children into the farm life, including his teen-age daughters who have become avid members of the Future Farmers of America at their school.
Rashi Mangalick, Administrative Intern, is a community organizer and activist. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Madison in 2011 with a B.A. in Economics and Sociology. She worked for several years with the Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) in Wisconsin as well as New Mexico, organizing students and training them to run political campaigns on social and environmental issues. In her free time, Rashi loves dancing, traveling, trying new foods, and cooking. She will be attending law school this fall.
Gina Sapp, WEI Farmer and CFJC Herb Apprentice, has a BS in Education and an Associate’s degree in Physical Therapy Assistance. She was a Chisago County Master Gardener for 10 years, and she and her husband own a small farm in Almelund, MN where they raised Scotch Highland Cattle and chickens for many years. They currently farm a home garden and orchard for their personal use. Gina has been active as a volunteer in medical missions work, and participated in a trip to Guatemala where the team served the medical needs of the indigenous Mayan population. She is also an active member of her home church in Almelund, and serves on the Sunday School and Adult Education committees, among others.
Andrew Robins, WEI Farmer, lives nearby Amador Hill, is an avid biker to and from the farm, will graduate from highschool in Spring, 2012 and is interested in studying to be a network specialist in IT . Andrew has learned many organic farming skills and is already an experienced young farmer.
Fardin Oliaei, East Metro EJEAC Principal Investigator. Fardin has a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences, MS in Biology and BS in Chemistry. She is respected nationally and internationally for her scientific research, her writings and lectures on air pollutants, persistent bio-accumulative toxic pollutants, PBDEs, flame-retardants, dioxin, plus newly identified environmental contaminants. She served as the Lead Scientist and Coordinator of Emerging Contaminants at the MN Pollution Control Agency and is best known locally for her research findings on PFCs. Her research emphasizes the impact of these contaminants on human health and the ecological risks associated with toxic exposure. Dr. Oliaei has taught at several Minnesota colleges and universities and currently serves on the Board of the Forum of Women in the Environmental Field and on the Advisory Group on Fate and Exposure Modeling for the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SFTAC). Dr. Oliaei recently received her Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School at Harvard University which she attended as a Bush Fellow.
Emily Moore, EcoAware Project Coordinator, WEI Representative for the Healthy Legacy Project and Project Coordinator for US EPA Small Environmental Justice Grant Project. Emily recently retired from 20 years at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, where she worked most recently as a pollution prevention specialist helping individuals reduce toxicity in their workplaces and homes by adopting environmentally preferable products and practices. She holds a B.S. in chemistry and an M.A. in biochemistry from the University of Michigan and has taught in high schools and colleges in California, Indiana and Minnesota.
Suyapa Miranda, WEI’s Environmental Justice Education and Advocacy Collaboratives Development Apprentice and East Side Neighborhood EJEAC Community Organizer, is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas with a BA in Modern and Classical Languages. She is coordinating WEI’s right-to-know exposure to toxic substances project with Hmong farmers, Hmong Health Care Professionals, Latinos and other communities of color in the East Metro and East St. Paul. Suyapa has over 10 years advocacy and community organizing experience. She currently serves as a Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Service Board Member, as an East YMCA board member and on the League of Women Voters Development Committee.
Aisha Gomez, WEI’s Community Action to Renew the Environsment (CARE) Project Coordinator and Community Organizer for Phillips Neighborhood, a US EPA funded partnership with Hennepin County, is a University of MN graduate with a BS in Environmental Sciences Policy and Management with a minor in Sustainability Studies. Aisha has worked for the Phillips Community Energy Cooperative, as a community health surveyor for WEI’s Phillips Environmental Steering Committee Initiative (PESCI), written for the Sustainable Agriculture Department at the U of Minnesota and has held various food service and retail jobs. Aisha has volunteered in community radio, the Youth Farm and Market, HIRE MN, WEI and Open Arms MN. She is proficient in Spanish.
Laurie Allmann, Land Registry Project Coordinator. Environmental writer and spoken-word artist Laurie Allmann has a keen interest in bridging the gap between the scientific community and the general public. She was the recipient of a Minnesota Book Award for Far From Tame: Reflections from the Heart of a Continent (University of Minnesota Press, 1997); was a member of the writing team for the public television documentary series Minnesota: A History of the Land (1997, 1998), has been a regularly featured essayist/commentator for Minnesota Public Radio’s Voices from the Heartland series (1991-1993). As a freelance writer, she has written extensively on conservation topics for nonprofit groups and government agencies, authoring such publications as “Land Protection Options: A Handbook for Private Landowners” and “Natural Areas: Protecting a Vital Community Asset.” Her creative writing has also been adapted for stage performance, including the prose-poem “Collector Road,” the dramatic monologue “Citizens of a Sweetwater Sea,” and the one-act play “River Café.” She is honored to play a role in the work of WEI, helping to advancing its vital mission of environmental justice and sustainability.
2013 FARM INTERNS
Elizabeth Makarewicz, Originally from central Missouri, Elizabeth has spent the past six years living in the upper Midwest. After earning a Spanish and Anthropology degree from Beloit College in Wisconsin, she moved to Iowa to serve first as an AmeriCorps, and then as a FoodCorps service member with the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative. Through her service with FoodCorps she helped to build and tend gardens, procure food locally for school cafeterias, and teach nutrition and food systems education in three rural school districts. She is currently working towards a career in sustainable agriculture.
Michelle Johnson, graduated in May 2013 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Spanish, History, and Chican@ and Latin@ Studies. Her involvement with youth at Community GroundWorks Troy Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin in 2010-2011 was a transformative experience for her, making it evident that she would like to be involved with environmental and food system work for the long haul. Though originally from St. Paul, MN, she is spending the summer with her 99-year-old grandmother in the Detroit area. During this time she enjoys hearing stories from her grandma, reading, studying herbal medicine, and making plans to one day become a doula. Michelle is eager to collaborate with folks at WEI during the late-autumn season and to continue learning alongside the communities in which she is involved.
WEI BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Sharon Day, WEI Board Chair, is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force, a member of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe, an artist, musician, educator and community activist. Sharon directed the Ogitchidag Theater Project for youth and created the Manidoowahdak Odena Housing Village for families living with HIV/AIDS in Minneapolis. Sharon has years of executive director experience and is particularly skilled in creating collaborations of people from diverse backgrounds to work on social justice issues and ensuring Native American leadership opportunities. Sharon directs the Indigenous garden at WEI’s Amador Hill campus.
Hattie Bonds, WEI Treasurer, is Assistant Principal at Patrick Henry High School and Founding Board Member of Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota. Hattie is active in education and civil rights issues, including serving on numerous boards dedicated to educational advancement for low-income and students of color. Hattie has a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education from Lincoln University, Jefferson, Missouri; an M.A. in Educational Administration from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Missouri; a Post-M.A. Secondary Science Certificate from the University of Missouri at Columbia, Missouri; and Doctorial courses from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Tiffany Enriquez, Board Member, earned her B.A. in Art for Social Justice from the University of Minnesota and worked 10 years in experiential education with ages ranging from preschool to college, including two years as a co-teacher in Metro Urban Studies at HECUA and as an environmental justice educator for a local non-profit. Tiffany currently is the college and Career Coordinator at El Colegio High School, supporting primarily Latino and Native American students to transition from high school to post-secondary education. Tiffany has two young children who keep her on her toes from sunup to sundown and for whom she works relentlessley to improve educational outcomes for Minnesota youth.
Collie Graddick, Board Member and North Circle Advisory, an Agricultural Consultant with the MN Department of Agriculture(MDA) managing the MDA/ US Environmental Protection Agency’s Urban Pesticide Educational Initiative program. Formerly a regulatory advisor with MDA’ Seed, Noxious Weed and Pesticide Regulatory Program, Collie has worked with MDA for 12 years. Previously a County Extension Agent in Auburn, Alabama, and a marketing coordinator at Cargill-Nutrena, Collie earned a BS in Plant Science from Fort Valley State College in Georgia and an MS in Plant and Soil Science from Tuskegee University in Alabama.
Nancy Hylden, Board Member, joined the WEI Board in July, 2011. In addition to being an organic foodie, she is an avid runner and an enthusiastic amateur artist. Nancy is also an attorney at Faegre & Benson law firm in Minneapolis.
Elizabeth Kerwin, Board Member, is a Sister of St. Joseph and part of the Leadership Team of Loyola spirituality Center wher she has done spiritual companioning, retreats and workshops for more than twenty-five years. Prior to forming the leadership team, Liz was the Director of the Spirituality Center for eighteen years. She serves on the Justice Commission of the Sisters of St. Joseph. She is a founding member and continues on the Earth Partners working group of the commission. Liz has a MA in biology from the University of Notre Dame and taught high school and college science for many eyars. She is a gardener, singer, cook and reader and is passionate about the care of the earth and the health of all that lives on the earth.
Robert Lilligren, Board Member and Capital Campaign Committee Member, is serving his second termas the Council Member representing three inner-city neighborhoods (Phillips, Whittier, and Stevens Square) on the Minneapolis City Council, where he chairs the Committee on the Whole. Robert serves on numerous boards including the Empowerment Zone Board, Minneapolis Convention Center Board, Midtown Community Works Partnership, Minneapolis American Indian Center Capital Campaign Committee, Minneapolis Crisis Nursery, OutFront Minnesota Board Member, Native Amercan Community Development Institute (Charter Member) and is a founding Board member of bikeon.org. An avid environmentalist and bicyclist, Robert is a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and is the first American Indian to serve in the Minneapolis City Council.
Maria Regan Gonzalez, Board Member, is a South Minneapolis Community Organizer with La Conexion de las Americas. Maria graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies: Environment and Sustainable Development in Latin America and Spanish Studies and holds a postgraduate certificate in Rural Sociology from La Universidad Autonoma de Chapingo, Mexico. Over the years, she has collaborated with a number of communities including refugees, Latino immigrants, indigenous campesinos and Minnesota organic farmers with her work spanning local and international community food systems. She is passionate about health equity, food justice and the connection between indentity and food. She enjoys camping, exploring the outdoors, Latin Jazz and creating
Becky Lourey, Board Member (on leave) is a retired Minnesota Senator now working as a farmer, writer, and small business owner. Senator Lourey provided 16 years of leadership in the Minnesota State Legislature, first in the House and then in the Senate where she was an effective champion for numerous economic and social justice issues including affordable health care, sustainable agriculture, civil rights for all, disability issues, affordable housing, Native American rights and the environment. The mother of 12 children, Becky Lourey is known for her articulate grasp of many issues and her ability to forge alliances with diverse groups. She and her husband are owners of a small rural business that provides child care and living wages for their 50 employees. Currently, she is working on a book about global sustainability and world peace
WEI’S NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY
The Women’s Environmental Institute is committed to the policy that all persons have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance, veteran status or gender/sexual orientation.