Exercising Leadership

"Reaching Resilience: Food and Farming in the Upper Midwest," Chicago, 2014

Fresh Taste and SAFSF hosted “Reaching Resilience: Food and Farming in the Upper Midwest,” Chicago, 2014

Fresh Taste exercises leadership in food system philanthropy, regionally and nationally. Several Fresh Taste members are actively involved with Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF), a national affinity group promoting food system philanthropy. Bruce Karmazin of The Lumpkin Family Foundation previously served on SAFSF’s steering committee, and Brad Leibov of Liberty Prairie Foundation serves on the SAFSF’s board and helped organize SAFSF’s inaugural funder policy briefing in Washington, D.C. Fresh Taste’s director, Karen Lehman, and Brad also served on planning committees for several of SAFSF’s annual Forums. Through our involvement we successfully negotiated for SAFSF’s 2015 Forum Digging Deeper to take place in Chicago, and staff was heavily involved in planning the successful Chicago forum. Fresh Taste members continue to work with SAFSF at all levels.

We exercise leadership locally as well. Sarah Knobloch, formerly of Kinship Foundation, and Mike Davidson of the Chicago Community Trust have both chaired the Environmental Grantmakers Group within Forefront (previously called Donors Forum). Several current and past members of Fresh Taste participate in EGG, including Brad Leibov (Liberty Prairie Foundation), Arthur Pearson (The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation), and Karen Lehman (Fresh Taste).

Fresh Taste has taken the lead in convening funders in six Upper Midwest states to explore the uniquely regional work necessary to ensure that the Great Lakes remains a resilient food producing region for generations to come. This Upper Midwest funder group first convened at Reaching Resilience: Food and Farming in the Upper Midwest, a two-day conference that we organized in April 2014 to initiate a regional dialogue and then continued to meet several times a year. The Upper Midwest project has grown to become an integral focus of Fresh Taste’s work.

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