Governance at the Farm
At its heart, the UC Gill Tract Community Farm seeks to play an authentic role in the food sovereignty movement. As such, the joint governance and stewardship of the land is an essential element of the project.
On this page, you can find details about: The Partnership, The Stewardship Assembly, The Stewardship Council, The Working Groups, Selection/Certification of the Stewardship Council, Stewardship Council & Assembly Meeting Process, and How an Emergency Stewardship Assembly Is Convened
The UC Gill Tract Community Farm is a partnership between the community and the University of California, Berkeley. Since September 2013, a collaborative effort of several community groups, students, UC Berkeley faculty, and cooperative extension academics, has been under way to create an innovative urban agriculture research and extension program on an area of the Gill Tract under CNR’s operational control for the next 10 years.
October 13, 2013 marked the launch of this new partnership with a Family Field Day that included workshops, kids’ activities, and an open house. A second field day on April 26, 2014, symbolizes a deepening partnership, with community members and students organizing a planting day on 1.5 acres of land that the College of Natural Resources has allocated for the project.
The Stewardship Assembly is meant to create an opportunity for broad participation in decisions that most fundamentally impact the UC Gill Tract Community Farm and its management. The Assembly reviews the work and decisions of the Stewardship Council through their meeting notes, and ratifies all decisions made by the Stewardship Council, and formally decides on all proposed changes to Structure, Decision Making, and Statements of Mission, Vision, or Values.
The Assembly meets quarterly, but can be called on an emergency basis. Anyone who is on the roster can attend. The roster includes those active in one or more of the working groups, and members of the Stewardship Council. The Assembly has the power to select and recall members of the Stewardship Council and can adjust the composition of the Council at any meeting. There is no quorum requirement for a Stewardship Assembly meeting. The communications working group shall schedule the Stewardship Assembly meetings and provide logistical support for meeting announcements, minutes, agendas, and other relevant communications.
The Stewardship Council is a multi-stakeholder committee, selected by the Stewardship Assembly, that equitably represents a diversity of interests in the Gill Tract, including University representatives, students, members of community organizations, local residents, and policymakers.
The Council meets monthly and receives regular updates from the Working Groups, streamlines collaboration between Working Groups, sets the broad policies and goals that Working Groups implement, and decides on proposals from Working Groups. The Council is selected by the Stewardship Assembly. Rotating leadership roles are encouraged, but there is currently no proposal for formal rotations or term limits. Council members may designate their own alternate for a given meeting. The alternate should be a member of the Stewardship Assembly. Council meetings require a quorum of 80% (rounded) of Council members.
Meeting agendas should be posted online for comments and input 72 hours before each Stewardship Council meeting. Proposals should be posted 1 week in advance. After each meeting, the minutes of the meeting shall be distributed to the Working Groups for discussion.
Working groups carry out task-based and day-to-day operations and report back to the Stewardship Council and Stewardship Assembly. New Working Groups or changes to the Working Groups structure, such as consolidation of Groups, may be proposed by the Stewardship Council or an existing Working Group. Proposed Working Groups are ratified by the Stewardship Assembly and then added to the roster.
Each working group has at least one, preferably two, coordinators who convene meetings, keep a working group attendance/participation roster and make sure that the group is keeping up with its responsibilities. Coordinators will also maintain a roster of those people considered active in the working group, and update it at least once a year to remove people who have ceased to be active. Each working group decides for itself what constitutes “active membership”, based on our values. Working groups shall announce upcoming meetings to the Stewardship Assembly, and make records of minutes available online.
Current Working Groups include: Mission/Vision/Values, Farm Management, Communications, Outreach, Education & Events, Research, Finance/Fundraising.
Certification of The Stewardship Council
A Stewardship Council is selected annually by the Stewardship Assembly. A list of nominations is taken at the beginning of this annual selection process, and names of those that have accepted the nomination are posted. This list can be amended at any time during the Assembly meeting by a new nomination or a nominee’s withdrawal. Working groups are strongly encouraged to offer nominations (as a Working Group) for people who will “represent” them on the Stewardship Council.
The Assembly does not consider “candidates” on an individual basis, but rather a proposal of a full “slate” of possible representatives, evaluating individuals in terms of the overall composition of the Council. Once a proposal has been made, the Assembly follows the normal decision making process, to narrow down or alter the list.
There are no term limits for serving on the Stewardship Council.
The existing Stewardship Council is certified at each Stewardship Assembly meeting. This is done by re-proposing the current Council as a “slate”. While unlikely, the composition of the Council could then be altered or reconfirmed through the decision making process.
The Council proposal should be evaluated according to the following guidelines:
An equitable balance of University and community stakeholders including: University faculty and staff, UC Berkeley students, members of community organizations, local residents, policymakers, members of Working Groups, and members of marginalized communities.
Composed of members that are available for Council meetings and are able to find appropriate alternates in the event that they cannot.
Prioritizes nominations of Working Group members in order to represent those Working Groups on the council.
Prioritizes those that have demonstrated a commitment to the project through regular participation.
UC/Community balance, gender equity, representation from youth and elders, racial and ethnic diversity.
Potential council members should display a commitment to the Mission, Vision and Values.
Stewardship Assembly Meeting Process
An agenda for the Stewardship Assembly shall be compiled and disseminated by the Stewardship Council and placed online at least a week before the meeting, for comments and input. Each agenda shall include a ratification of new decisions from the Council and any new Working Groups that have been created. Any member may flag any such decision for review or discussion at the Stewardship Assembly. A decision that is being reviewed must pass through the Assembly using the decision making process to stand. Any decision not flagged for review is automaticallly approved and ratified. Each agenda shall contain a reconfirmation of the current Stewardship Council or the selection of a new Stewardship Council. Any change to the mission, vision, and values statement, the structure or decision making of the project must be formally proposed and decided upon through the decision-making process at a Stewardship Assembly meeting. There shall be a period of open discussion for people to share ideas and suggestions, which may generate a new working group, new work for an existing working group/the council, etc.
Calling An Emergency Stewardship Assembly Meeting
The Council will convene an emergency Stewardship Assembly if they receive a petition requesting that they do so that is signed by 25% or more of the assembly members on the roster at the time of the petition. The petition shall include a proposed agenda, any proposals to be considered, and the order of discussion. Stewardship Council will set an Emergency Assembly at the earliest possible date, which shall follow the agenda proposed in the petition.