Mission: The women's environmental institute at amador hill is an environmental research, renewal and retreat center designed to create and share knowledge about environmental issues and policies relevant to women, children and identified communities especially affected by economic disadvantage and poverty.
Programs: In 2014, wei continued to participate in the 24th st. Urban farm coalition as the fiscal agent and employer for the highly successful 24th st. Urban farm (mashkiikii gitigan) as part of the phillips community healthy living project funded by blue cross blue shield through waite house. This is a partnership with four other phillips neighborhood based organizations and another rural-based native american identified organization. Mashkiikii gitigan is ojibwe for "medicine garden" and this urban farm works to create and nurture the culture and practice of local food production, healthy eating, healthy living and related activities along the 24th street wellness corridor and throughout the phillips community based on indigenous native american values and practices. The farm's site has been provided by the indian health board; water provided by indigenous people task force; seedlings, green house space, funding and supervision support provided by wei; soil and compost from the shakopee mdewaketan community; strong volunteer support from waite house, native american community clinic, ventura village community association, and many others; 4-h support and other additional funding from ventura village and others. Wei also continues to participate in both the coalition of 23 organizations making up the mn environmental fund's work-place giving campaign and as one of 7 members on the healthy legacy steering committee that is addressing public policy toxics reform. Wei also continues to lead the east metro environmental justice education and advocacy collaborative (east metro ejeac) as it moves forward in its commitment to develop support for research on industrially contaminated soil in the east metro that may contribute to health disparities in ethnic farming communities using that land. With our principle investigator at the u of m school of public health, this ejeac is particularly focused on east metro hmong and latino farming communities and has also received funding from mcneeley foundation for potential relocation options in st. Paul's eastside. Wei also began working with the u of m center for health disparities research on a "safe routes to school" project that focused on the phillips community (particularly the little earth of united tribes community). The project held several public forums, made recommendations to the center for health disparities research for policy changes that better protects children enroute to and from school and is working with migizi communications to create an educational video.
wei's 2014 farm program maintained its mission this year by providing over 2000 bushels of organically certified produce distributed to 75 csa shareholders and to farmer's markets and coops, and food shelves. Many participants benefited from wei's organically certified demonstration farm campus which provides informal visitor education for volunteers, work-share participants, farm interns, local resident farm crew, farm tour visitors, student groups, school, church and other groups visiting the wei farm campus, along with a rigorous farm internship program. Wei's farm program also provided land and farming opportunities for hmong women farmers as part of our ethnic cultural heritage farming project. Wei was honored in 2014 in assuming responsibilities for developing a minnesota women, food and agricultural network (wfan), which involved hosting two gatherings during the year and launching a social media network for women farmers in minnesota. The farm campus where the wei community eco-retreat center is located was open to the public during regular workday hours and available for community projects and groups allied with our mission. In 2014 wei held four annual events at the eco-retreat center on the farm campus that are open to the public, free of charge, as events which bring in local residents as well as people from surrounding towns and the twin cities area.
wei's 2014 educational program continued to develop its educational program through a 10-week summer lecture series as part of wei's organic farm school, a growing power farmer-training weekend, a new 9-week farmer training class organic farming 101, and various other classes and workshops. Scholarship funding for low-income participants in wei workshops, classes and trainings was successfully achieved for organic farm school and a range of other classes. A large amount of scholarship funds were raised for wei's fifth annual growing power training weekend which provided hands-on training for urban and rural farmers. This event was attended by more than a hundred people for two days of workshops and practical farmer training. Wei also co-hosted free of charge the danza de la luna ayotlmeztli, attended by approximately hundred participants over a four day gathering. Wei continued its work in the land stewardship project for our local area sunrise and amador townships which provides membership free of charge to local landowners interested in conservation efforts on their land.