Effie Rawlings, Children’s area and youth programming for the Gill Tract Community Farm

Date grant awarded: August 21, 2016

Gill Tract in Berkeley has been at the center of a 20 year struggle. Under constant threat from development, this historic farm land is a resource for the community in the fullest possible sense, and includes Gill Tract Community Farm an exemplary urban farm in the northern portion of the land. These farms are much-needed for many reasons – from providing fresh, organic produce to those who don’t often have access – to supporting educational events for the community, and Gill Tract is ideally placed to serve the surrounding community.

Effie Rawlings, a community organizer and activist living in Berkeley, California, is one of the founders of the farm, which represents a shining model for saving historic farmland and forming a collaboration between activists and a government-run institution (UC Berkeley).

Building on the success of the farm, and in partnership with a nearby preschool, Effie is planning to introduce a new children’s area and youth programming to the farm. The farm will give children a safe space for hands-on lessons about where their food comes from and allow them to produce sustainably farmed, healthy produce for their families. It will also provide a much needed connection to nature that is so often missing for young people growing up in urban environments.

After working alongside the community farm, Youth Leadership Team Member Susan Silber has selected the project to receive a flow fund grant of $1000. Susan says “I have seen first-hand the positive effects that Effie and the Farm have on my community and would be honored to support them. Effie has talked about wanting to provide more children/youth programming for the farm for quite a while now, and I am thrilled to be able to support this vision.”