You may already know the Ecology Center a little. We want you to know us a lot! We need your support to realize our ambitious plans. Please donate to the Ecology Center this holiday season.
By becoming a supporter of the Ecology Center, you are enabling us to continue doing what we do best: delivering information you can act on, supplying infrastructure you can count on, and providing leadership for lasting change. Become a member of the Ecology Center today!
Our driving mission is to inspire and build a healthy, just, and sustainable future in the East Bay, California, and beyond. The future that we envision is characterized by zero waste and zero toxics, equal access to healthy food, sustainable resource use, and a safe and stable climate. Do you want those things, too? If we can dream it, we can do it.
Our starting point is you. We help you acquire the information and skills you need to make environmentally responsible choices, and we provide infrastructure to make those good choices easy. Here are a few examples:
- At our weekly Farmers’ Markets in Berkeley and Albany, you have direct access to the most innovative farmers and the healthiest food. We are building an alternative food system based on health, justice, and environmental stewardship.
- Ecology Center Classes and Workshops are scheduled nearly every week, to help you expand your skill and knowledge base, leading to greater health, resilience, resource use, and effectiveness as a citizen.
- Our Farm Fresh Choice Produce Stands in South and West Berkeley are run by youth from the neighborhood. We sell organic produce at cost to our low-income neighbors, provide engaging nutrition education, and train the next generation of leaders and change agents.
- The Ecology Center Help Desk and Hotline has assisted thousands of East Bay residents over the years with friendly advice and referrals. Our staffers can answer a wide range of questions on environmental topics, from toxics to composting to activism.
We urge and enable residents to take collective action – to engage in community efforts, generate critical mass, and influence elected officials to pursue bold policy changes. We regularly host community events focused on environmental solutions and movement building, where residents get a chance to talk with leaders and experts and network with each other. We engage our members and subscribers to push for local, state, and federal policies that further our shared mission. Whether it’s keeping you informed on the Farm Bill, gathering petitions for the county-wide plastic bag ban, or turning out a crowd at City Council meetings to pass zoning initiatives that facilitate urban agriculture, we leverage the collective power of our members to make the East Bay cleaner, greener, healthier, and more resilient.
The Ecology Center leads. Here are a few recent pilot projects we have led:
- The Farmers’ Market EBT Project: When foods stamps shifted from paper stamps to an electronic benefits transfer card (EBT), shoppers on food assistance suddenly could not shop at farmers’ markets. The Ecology Center partnered with the state to pilot a way for farmers’ markets to accept EBT cards. We then expanded our project to help all farmers’ markets in California become EBT-accessible. It’s a win – win when food assistance dollars help California families and California farmers at the same time.
- East Bay Veggie Rx: The Ecology Center launched this project in partnership with Lifelong Medical, whose doctors gave 35 low-income, obese pregnant women “prescriptions” for fresh fruit and vegetables, plus nutrition education and cooking training. The women redeemed their prescriptions at our farmers’ markets and produce stands at such high rates that we’re expanding the project next year for more families. We focus on the areas where health, justice, and the environment intersect.
The Ecology Center convenes. In the last two years, we have pulled together several coalitions that are actively changing the landscape of Berkeley and California:
- This past spring we convened the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition, bringing
together nonprofits, institutions, businesses, faith-based organizations, neighborhood groups, government agencies, and residents to make Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan a reality. We are now forging alliances with Oakland’s Climate Action Coalition.
- The Ecology Center convenes and facilitates the Berkeley Food Policy Council, a citywide, multi-sector coalition working to create a healthy and sustainable food system through replicable food policies and programs and linking to state and federal efforts. The Council helped to pass the Berkeley Edible Gardens Initiative and the California Homemade Food Act.
- We are now laying the groundwork for the California Association of Farmers’ Markets to strengthen the alternative food system and increase income to small, sustainable farms. The association will focus on policy creation and advocacy, promotion, professional development, and increasing access for low-income shoppers.
The Ecology Center has been making the East Bay a better place to live for over 40 years. Maybe you already shop at our award-winning farmers’ markets. Maybe you’ve already called our hotline or downloaded one of our free fact sheets from our website. Please take that next step and become a member. Thank you for your support!
The Ecology Center Staff & Board
P.S. Membership comes with benefits: discounts on books and tools for sustainable living, plus fun opportunities to meet like-minded individuals and be part of a movement of positive, solution-oriented changemakers.