Celebrate All We Achieved Together in 2021
What a year it has been. While COVID, climate change, entrenched racial injustice, and corporate greed continue to undermine an equitable and resilient future, there are bright spots we can celebrate. And because of partners like you, we have a lot to be thankful for.
Making California-Grown School Meals A Reality
This year, California became the first state in the nation to offer free breakfast and lunch to all 6.2 million K-12 public school students, thanks to the leadership of our state government and over 200 coalition partners. And now because of California, other states like Wisconsin and Massachusetts are following suit with similar School Meals for All policies! It’s more important than ever that the food we provide to our students is also the best for our economy and our planet.
As we begin the New Year, we will seek to build upon the foundations of School Meals for All to improve food quality, advocate for resources for schools to purchase more fresh California-grown food, support school nutrition staff, and bolster integrated Farm to School ties between the classroom, cafeteria, and community.
Uplifting Historically Marginalized Voices Through TomKat MeDiA
Storytelling can be a powerful force for change. But too often those who speak out in the name of justice are marginalized from decision-making positions. This year, in an effort to uplift emerging and unheard voices to both entertain and inspire through action campaigns, Kat relaunched TomKat MeDiA. We are proud to collaborate with Marcela Davison Avilés, who serves as Managing Partner.
In time for Hispanic Heritage Month 2021, and in partnership with the Steinbeck Center at San José State University, we proudly presented Camino Chronicles—two world premieres of D´Colonial Californiano for orchestra and flute composed by Gabriela Ortiz and The Road, an album of new American folk music by Michael G. Ronstadt and Petie Ronstadt.
Growing a Regenerative California
With some of the worst fires recorded in California in 2020 and an enduring drought, “Climate-Smart Agriculture” and “Regenerative Agriculture” are increasingly being recognized as effective tools for both mitigating and adapting to climate change.
While both approaches share similar strategies and practices, a truly regenerative operation is achieved only when farmers, ranchers, and landowners use holistic planning, sensitive monitoring, and adaptive management to work with natural systems to grow the productivity and resilience of the economic, environmental, and social systems they exist within.
Helping to grow a truly regenerative food system is at the heart of what TomKat Ranch does. In partnership with Point Blue Conservation Science and other luminaries in the field, TomKat Ranch discovers, demonstrates, de-risks, and broadcasts the practices, tools, and technologies that inspire and empower agricultural producers to practice regenerative agriculture in their communities.
Helping Farmers and Families by Growing the Table
Since Sept 2020, Growing the Table has partnered with hundreds of community organizations, farmers, and aggregators to provide culturally relevant produce—gorgeous produce like jicama, Hmong onions, persimmons, spaghetti squash, and bok choy—to families at no cost to them.
Thanks to generous individuals and institutional donors, we will have nourished families with nearly 850,000 lbs of produce and 46,600 freshly prepared meals from Black, Indigenous, Brown, and women-owned farmers in 18 regions across the state.
The pandemic presented an opportunity to start healing through harvest, to help end supply chain disruptions by localizing our food distribution, to transition from emergency food aid to an equitable and resilient food system.
We are proud of all that we have accomplished together, and we look forward to continuing to work towards a more resilient and equitable post-Covid food system.
Watch some of our partners in action on our Growing the Table YouTube playlist
Impact For a Better Tomorrow
Radicle Impact invested over $6M in 2021 in Good Food, Good Climate, and Good Money companies, bringing its portfolio to 67% led by women or BIPOC founders (flipping the normal venture industry statistics). During the year, portfolio companies were named to Fortune’s Impact 20 List and Forbes Fintech 50 (MoCaFi), Worth’s 2021 Worthy 100 Entrepreneurs (Evrnu), Inc.’s 2021 Best in Business Awards (Air Protein, Urban Footprint, Eat Just, Inc.), 2021 Fast Company World Changing Ideas (OhmConnect) and Expo West 2021 Nexty Award (Forager). Radicle was also named to Impact Assets IA50 2021, a list of private capital fund managers delivering social and environmental impact as well as financial returns.
Radicle Impact underwent its first impact audit this year, engaging BlueMark, a Tideline company, to independently verify the alignment of its impact management practices. BlueMark’s assessment findings cover both areas of strength and areas for improvement.
Equitable Banking is Possible
While there is plenty of work ahead for financial institutions and lawmakers to center racial equity, environmental well-being, and true community prosperity, there are examples that give us hope. Beneficial State Foundation lays out how some banks are leading the way, explores how banks can intentionally empower systematically excluded communities, and establishes a roadmap for better banking. Here are five notable milestones toward economic justice from the last year:
- Community development financial institutions (like Beneficial State Bank) were awarded additional funding to support communities affected by COVID-19.
- Advocates pushed forward legislation supporting public banking in California and postal banking nationally—steps that help broaden financial services for all.
- Banking practitioners and partners launched programs to find solutions for increasing access to credit and capital.
- The CFPB further opened the door to fair lending by proposing a new rule on the collection of small business loan data.
- Lawmakers listened to the experiences of bank workers as a part of an effort to expand the rights of those working in financial services.
Thank you for your partnership to create a more prosperous California for All. We look forward to working with you in service of restoring social, racial, and gender justice, and environmental well-being for an equitable and inclusive world.
Food insecurity in Santa Cruz is underpinned by the fact that the region suffers from some of the highest rates of individuals experiencing homelessness in California. Growing the Table partners, the Homeless Garden Project and the Homeless Person’s Health Project, bring fresh, organic produce to recently housed individuals like Adrella and Yolanda. They told us […]