The Small Planet Fund makes annual grants to the organizations listed here, providing stable long-term support for their work. You can read about all of our core grantees in our book, Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet.
In 2005, the Fund also began distributing small emergency grants ($500 to $5,000) for social change organizations around the globe at critical points in their projects. Past grants have gone to La Via Campesina tsunami rebuilding efforts and to the Landless Workers Movement for their march of rural workers to the capital of Brazil.
Please note: Because of the volunteer nature of the Fund, we are unable to evaluate unsolicited grants.
A Story of What a Difference We’ve Made Together
Our 2007 grant to Vandana Shiva’s Navdanya network has helped the organization in its work to reverse a farmer suicide epidemic in India.
In the last decade, roughly 150,000 of that country’s farmers, trapped in debt because of dependency on purchased pesticides and seeds, have taken their own lives. With its Small Planet Fund grant, Navdanya was able to provide organic starter seeds and farming advice to persuade five hard-hit villages in central India to shed chemical farming and embrace organic methods and seed sharing—including giving up on disastrous genetically modified cotton. The villages are now celebrating their first organic harvests with fantastic results, Vandana reports, and in January 2008 they will hold a Festival of Hope. These villages are now inspiring countless others!
This is just one example of the life-changing ripples from the Fund’s relatively modest grants.
Core grantees receive support year after year. We regularly review our annual grantees. This is our current core group. Since our Fund’s founding, two of our grantees have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Family Farm Defenders
Family Farm Defenders was founded in 1994 and began as an outgrowth of two national grass-roots campaigns: demanding a national referendum to end the mandatory check-off on raw milk that funds the lobby and propaganda efforts of the corporate dairy industry; and to defend consumer “right to know” in response to the stealth introduction of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) into the nation’s milk supply.
The mission of Family Farm Defenders is to create a farmer-controlled and consumer–oriented food system based upon democratic institutions that respect and empower local people in the their quest for justice and dignity. To this end, Family Farm Defenders supports sustainable agriculture, farm worker rights, animal welfare, consumer safety, fair trade, and food sovereignty. It is Family Farm Defenders belief that healthy, safe, accessible food is a basic human right and that all communities should be able to control their own food system.
Landless Workers Movement (MST)
The MST (for its acronym in Portuguese) is one of Latin America’s largest social movements. Founded in the mid-1980s, the MST is helping make a constitutional right a reality: The Brazilian constitution guarantees that land be ‘serving a social function’ and if not, it allows for the ‘expropriation’ of the land. But in a country with one of the world’s most extreme inequality, much of the land is held by a small portion of the country and is, indeed, idle. By helping identify and settle landless families on formerly idle land, the MST has helped to create sustainable communities in nearly every single Brazilian state.
To date, the MST has settled hundreds of thousands of families on formerly idle land. In the process, the MST has reduced infant mortality, illiteracy, malnutrition, and joblessness within its settlements. The MST is also an active promoter of cooperatives and organic farming and launched the country’s first organic seed line, ecological rice, and organic sugar cane.
In the United States, contact Friends of the MST at firstname.lastname@example.org
Navdanya Farmers’ Network
Gutsy critic of the false promises of chemical farming and genetically modified seeds, scientist Dr. Vandana Shiva and her Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology are helping to protect indigenous Indian agricultural knowledge in the face of growing corporate monopolization of seeds and intellectual property rights. Founded in 1982, RFSTE, works on bio-diversity conservation and protecting people’s rights from threats to their livelihoods and environment. The Navdanya Network is a program of the Foundation to support farmers throughout the country in conservation and organic farming techniques.
The Green Belt Movement
Kenya–Nobel Peace Laureate 2004
The Green Belt Movement was founded in 1977 by Kenyan environmental, Dr. Wangari Maathai. Building a movement of grassroots, village-based and women-run nurseries, the Green Belt Movement has succeeded in planting more than millions of trees to avert desertification in Kenya. (In 2007 alone, the Movement planted more than 10 million trees in the country).
With the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, the Movement received international recognition for its visionary work in environmental conservation and community development and has expanded its programs to promote similar efforts internationally.
Center for Ecoliteracy
The Center for Ecoliteracy was founded in 1995 by Fritjof Capra, Peter Buckley, and Zenobia Barlow. The Center for Ecoliteracy is a public foundation dedicated to education for sustainable living.
The Center supports a grantmaking program for educational organizations and school communities; convenes networks of its grantees; sponsors projects consistent with its mission; administers donor-advised funds; and manages a publishing imprint, Learning in the Real World.
Learn more about the Center and its resources through their website.
Previous Core Grantees
The Garden Project
San Francisco, California
In 1992, The Garden Project was founded with a mission unlike any organization in the country: to provide job training and support to former offenders through counseling and assistance in continuing education, while also impacting the communities from which they come. Today, The Garden Project continues this mission – innovatively empowering both former offenders and at-risk youth through training and education while transforming the urban environment. The Garden Project model for community change is an integrated, community-wide, systemic response to crime, high rates of recidivism, and unemployment which links crime and poverty with stewardship of the environment and the community. The United States Department of Agriculture hailed The Garden Project as “one of the most innovative and successful community-based crime prevention programs in the country.”
TransFair USA is the only third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States, auditing transactions between US companies and international suppliers from whom they source fair-trade certified products, in order to guarantee that farmers and farm workers behind the goods were paid a fair, above-market price.
Since TransFair USA opened its doors in late 1998 and began certifying Fair Trade coffee in 1999, fair-trade certified coffee has become the fastest-growing segment of the US specialty coffee market.
TransFair USA has leveraged limited resources to certify millions of pounds of Fair Trade coffee, 66 million in 2007 alone. This has provided coffee farmers in some of the poorest communities in Latin America, Africa, and Asia with over millions of dollars more than they would have earned selling their harvests to local intermediaries. Since its founding, farmers and farm workers in the developing world have earned over $115 million in additional income as a result of their efforts, including nearly $20 million in “social premium” funding earmarked for development projects in Fair Trade communities.
And Fair Trade in the US is no longer just about coffee: TransFair has also introduced Fair Trade Certified tea, cocoa, fresh fruit, and, most recently, rice and sugar to the US market.
Bangladesh–Nobel Peace Laureate 2006
The Grameen Bank and its founder Muhammad Yunus are pioneers in the worldwide microcredit movement. Initially dismissed for his radical idea of creating a bank for the poor, Muhammad Yunus has recently received some of the highest international honors, including in 2006 the Nobel Peace Prize. Founded by Yunus in 1976, the Bank provides credit to the poorest of the poor in rural Bangladesh, using social capital as collateral for those who have no monetary collateral. Since its founding, the Bank has loaned more than $6 billion and helped to lift millions of rural Bengalis out of poverty.
But Grameen is more than just a Bank. The Grameen “family” of business has grown to include phone companies and textile manufacturers and dozens of other initiatives. The Family of enterprises also promotes food security through home gardens and cultivation for sustenance.
Since our first year of giving, our grants have been used specifically for a scholarship program for daughters of Grameen Bank members who would otherwise not be able to afford schooling. Since 2002, we have helped send more than 100 girls through primary and secondary school.
A selection of past emergency grantees.
Tsunami Relief January 2005: Emergency support for tsunami relief, given to Via Campesina, a global network of grassroots networks of farmers and fisherfolk. The Via Campesina relief fund described its work as helping “fisherfolk and peasant communities in their own relief and reconstruction from the tsunami disaster.” viacampesina.org
Tyson Poultry Union
Poultry Packing Plant Union Drive February 2005: Emergency support for Maria Martinez and her union drive with Tyson Union Local 556 in Washington.
SOS Sumatra Campaign February 2005: Start-up funds for a new sustainable development project and fair trade efforts in Sumatra, a region devastated by the tsunami.
Landless Workers Movement
Workers March: Emergency support to the Landless Workers Movement to help organize their national march of rural workers and their supporters. The march gives voice to the landless to express that land reform continues to be critical to Brazil’s development and to promoting social equality, food security and a vibrant civil society. mstbrazil.org
National Farm Workers Service Center: Ongoing support to one of the nation’s most important farmworker unions, founded by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, for its center that promotes affordable housing and educational radio. nfwsc.org
Local Development: Emergency grant to this non-profit promoting food access and food justice in West Oakland, California. The grant helped the People’s Grocery increase neighborhood access to locally-produced fruits and vegetables. Along with a mobile market, the People’s Grocery provides job opportunities and skills development for area youth and works to uphold the human right to healthy and affordable food through community self-reliance. peoplesgrocery.org
Flagstaff Youth Gardens: Support for one Flagstaff Youth Gardens paid summer interns. The grant helped the Gardens develop peer-leadership and mentoring through their internship program, with one paid intern working with other youth in the small urban farm throughout the summer. www.flagstafffoodlink.com
Rooted in Community
2005 Conference Scholarship: Scholarship for youth attending the Rooted in Community conference building local self-reliance and accessible food systems and fostering awareness on the health hazards of our industrial food system. Says conference organizer Hank Herrera: “We had over 100 youth and adults at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center. The youth engaged in a variety of learning experiences, from visiting the offices of their Senators and Representatives to conducting taste comparisons of local versus industrial tomatoes on the street. They networked, learned from each other and had fun. With the help of the Small Planet Fund grant we were able to scholarships for every youth who needed one.” lejyouth.org
Education for Sustainable Living Program
India Exchange Project: Travel funds to India for environmental student leaders in the UC system to share their vision and work with Indian university students, who may be swayed by the hi-tech vision of corporate globalization. Brainchild of Satish Kumar and Vandana Shiva and student leaders.
Federation of Southern Cooperatives
Rural Hurricane Recovery and Relief for the Federation rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.federationsoutherncoop.com
Community Food Security Coalition
Support for attendees at the Coalition’s annual conference. foodsecurity.org