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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Leadership in Sustainability celebrates community leaders

2011 Leadership in Sustainability Awards Dinner 

The “Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy” invites elected and appointed officials, community leaders, government and agency representatives, philanthropists, community advocates, and anyone interested in issues of sustainability to its third annual Leadership in Sustainability Awards Dinner on Saturday, November 5, 2011 at the Mary Agatha Furth Center in Windsor. The event recognizes and celebrates Sonoma County community leaders who have displayed remarkable achievements in creating socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable communities. At this year’s event, keynote speaker Jakada Imani will deliver a message highlighting the importance of advocating for and empowering underprivileged youth.

“With everyone so focused on the economy these days, it is doubly important to take time to celebrate North Bay leaders who work tirelessly to innovate and carry out new approaches to sustainable environmental and economic practices at the local level,” said Tanya Narath, executive director of the “Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy”. “This year, we are more excited than ever to invite those interested in our sustainable future to help us honor those individuals and groups who never lose sight of our shared vision.”

The event includes a locally sourced, organic, zero-waste dinner, followed by a keynote address by Jakada Imani, executive director of the Ella Baker Center in Oakland, CA. The evening wraps up with the presentation of awards. “We’ll culminate the awards portion of the event with the coveted Trailblazer Award presented to an individual champion of sustainability in Sonoma County,” said Narath.

As director of the Ella Baker Center, an advocacy group named for an unsung hero of the civil rights movement who inspired and guided emerging leaders, keynote speaker Imani is a strategist and chief team member on some of the Center’s most high profile campaigns, including “Books not Bars”, a program to replace California’s current youth prison system with effective rehabilitation programs. Imani also helped lead the successful “Stop the Super Jail Campaign”, a two-year effort to stop Alameda County from building a new, massive, expensive and remote juvenile hall, and he helped lead the “No on Prop 21” Campaign to ultimately defeat the proposal that sought to try 14-year-olds in adult courts and place16-year-olds in adult prisons.

Winners Announced for 2011 Leadership 
in Sustainability Awards Dinner
The Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy has announced the winners of its 2011 Leadership in Sustainability Awards.  Both individuals and local businesses, the winners are a diverse representation of Sonoma County community leaders who have displayed remarkable achievements in creating socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable communities.

“At the Leadership Institute, we educate members of our community on why and how to create a sustainable future for Sonoma County. This year, our awards nomination process highlights a vibrant group of North Bay leaders who are innovating and executing sustainable environmental, social, and economic practices at the local level,” said Tanya Narath, executive director of the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy.   “We so enjoy taking this time to honor these individuals and groups who never lose sight of our shared vision.” 

The 2011 award winners include:
·         The Sonoma County Water Agency, for developing innovative energy solutions to operate a carbon-free water system by 2015.
·         Pepperwood Preserve, located northeast of Santa Rosa, for educating, engaging and inspiring our community through habitat preservation, science-based conservation, leading-edge research, and interdisciplinary educational programs.
·         Guayaki, headquartered in Sebastopol, for its market-driven-restoration business model, which directly links its customer’s yerba mate purchases to its partner farming communities in the South American Atlantic Rainforests.
·         Oliver’s Markets, with stores in Cotati and Santa Rosa, for its leadership in supporting locally owned businesses.
·         Bayer Farm, for transforming an empty urban plot in the heart of the Roseland neighborhood into a thriving community garden and community center.
·         Paula Shatkin, of the Russian River Slow Food Gravenstein Apple Presidia, for her leadership in preserving and enhancing the market for Sonoma County’s Gravenstein Apple.
·         Davin Cardenas, of the North Bay Organizing Project, for his leadership in organizing underrepresented communities to engage in the local political process.
·         Melita Love, of Farm to Pantry in Healdsburg, for founding an organization dedicated to gathering fresh, healthy food that would have otherwise gone to waste and distributing it to those most in need.
·         Don Wallace, of Dry Creek Vineyard in Healdsburg, for his leadership in sustainable agriculture.
·         Jessica Jones, for championing the Santa Rosa Junior College’s adoption of the Taillores Declaration--a policy statement that guides college campuses to fully consider environment, economy, and social equity in their operations and curriculum.

About the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy - The Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy, a Sonoma County non-profit for 12 years, educates and inspires local Sonoma County leaders to create public policy that is environmentally friendly and socially equitable for a healthy economy and a sustainable community. The group offers a 10-month training program each year, which has graduated over 350 local leaders and community members. 

For more information about the Leadership Institute, the 2011 Sustainability Awards Dinner, and for ticket and event sponsorship information, visit, or contact Amie Glass, Event Coordinator, Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy, 707-578-9133 or e-mail her at

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