Non-profit

Urban Tilth

Website:

www.urbantilth.org

Location:

RICHMOND, CA

Tax ID:

20-4124161

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $1,150,581
Expenses: $1,079,675
Assets: $448,475

Formation:

2005

Urban Tilth is a left-of-center environmentalist organization based in Richmond, California. Urban Tilth positions itself as an urban agricultural organization, thought it has ties to far-left environmentalist organizations and has frequently engaged in political activism. Founded in 2005, Urban Tilth manages seven community gardens throughout San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. The organization is allied with left-of-center and left-wing environmentalist organizations, including the Climate Justice Alliance, the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), and Communities for a Better Environment. [1]

Urban Tilth signed onto a petition in April 2019 endorsing the so-called Green New Deal, a left-wing environmentalist policy designed to move the United States away from conventional energy sources at a cost of $90 trillion over ten years. [2] [3]

Urban Tilth has received donations from left-of-center organizations and figures, such as billionaire left-of-center philanthropist Tom Steyer’s wife Kat Taylor and the California Endowment. [4] [5]

Leadership and Funding

Urban Tilth does not publicly disclose its donors. The organization has received grants from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and from the left-of-center California Endowment. [6] In November 2020, left-of-center philanthropist and wife of Tom Steyer Kat Taylor made a $100,000 grant to Urban Tilth and pledged $1 million to the organization as collateral for bond financing. [7]

Doria Robinson is the founder and director of Urban Tilth. [8] Tilth has been a left-of-center activist in Richmond for most of her life, supporting local campaigns to impose a tax on sugared beverages and create farming collectives. Robinson has criticized the idea of individual independence, calling on residents of Richmond to pull themselves up “not by our bootstraps, but together.” [9]

Dana Perls is the chair of Urban Tilth. Perls is also the food and technology manager at Friends of the Earth, a left-of-center environmentalist organization, and formerly worked as a community organizer with the left-wing organization Pesticide Watch. [10] Perls is an outspoken opponent of synthetic biological and genetic engineering research. [11]

Sihle Dilani is the treasurer of Urban Tilth. Dilani is also the head of financial management at the Movement Strategy Center (MSC), a left-wing nonprofit organization that provides support and funding to other left-wing organizations, especially those that identify as socialist. Dilani has formerly worked with pro-labor union organizations, including Sweatshop Watch and Garment Worker Center. [12]

Yenny Garcia is a left-of-center activist and board member at Urban Tilth. Garcia is also vice chair of the Richmond Community Police Review Commission, which handles complaints of excessive force against the Richmond Police Department. [13] [14] Garcia signed an open letter on June 16, 2020 to the Richmond City Council and Richmond Mayor Tom Butt (D) to defund the Richmond Police Department and redirect funding towards left-of-center social programming. [15]

Alliances and Programs

While it started as an urban gardening organization, Urban Tilth has since taken on a distinctly political message. In 2018, former Urban Tilth co-director Doria Robinson participated in an interview with the Sierra Club, describing how gardening near the Chevron plant had led to political activism by Urban Tilth members to pressure the city council into adopting environmentalist regulations. [16]

Robinson described the organization as moving from teaching gardening to instead teaching “environmental justice” and “climate change.” In the interview, Robinson called for the abandonment of large-scale agriculture, the imposition of left-of-center wage policy, and increased building code regulations. [17]

Richmond Our Power Coalition

Along with the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) and Communities for a Better Environment, Urban Tilth is a member of the Richmond Our Power Coalition. The Coalition subscribes to the “just transition” proposal from the left-of-center Climate Justice Alliance, which calls for a full transition to environmentalist energy sources accompanied by left-of-center social and economic policy changes. [18]

The Coalition has called for a number of left-wing policies to be implemented in Richmond under the APEN “Reparations Now” initiative. The initiative, which includes Urban Tilth, has stated that police officers exist to protect “property, capital, white privilege, white fragility, and white supremacy. [19]

The initiative has also published a list of left-wing demands for the Richmond city government, including demands to restructure and defund the Richmond Police Department and give the Richmond Police Review Commission the authority to fire any member of the police force in case of a complaint, including the chief of police. The demands also included calls to close down a juvenile detention center in Richmond and end all criminal background checks for social programs, employment, loans, and public education. [20]

Aside from criminal justice policy, the initiative has demanded the implementation of a number of left-wing policies on racial issues, including cash reparations payments to African Americans, taxpayer-funded public college for African American students as a form of reparations, government-funded childcare for African American children, the mandatory celebration of Juneteenth, and mandatory public education on African American history. [21]

Other Projects

Under Robinson, Urban Tilth has opposed the Chevron oil refinery in the Richmond area, with Robinson calling it “very hazardous” despite steps taken by Chevron in 2014 to reduce emissions and increase safety precautions at the refinery. Even other left-of-center environmentalist activists, such as Henry Clark of the West County Toxics Coalition, have criticized the continued focus on the Chevron plant, claiming that the Chevron modernization project has demonstrated continued commitment to the Richmond community. Robinson called such community investment measures “hush money” and has led demands to prevent Chevron from supporting local Richmond political candidates. [22]

Urban Tilth has also partnered with the Richmond Mayor’s Office to create the Food Policy Council, which aims to shape and promote food policy in Richmond. One of the Council’s main projects, the Healthy School Food Campaign, works to put salad bars in schools to educate children on healthy eating habits. [23] The Council also hosted two film series in 2013 and 2104, featuring films that advocated for so-called “food justice” and environmentalism. [24]

Urban Tilth has also organized Farm to Table CSA, a local nonprofit produce cooperative through which residents pay weekly to receive a box of locally grown fruit and vegetables. The project received seed funding from left-of-center organizations including the Rudolf Steiner Foundation, the Battery Foundation (Battery Powered), and the Richmond Community Foundation[25]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Urban Tilth began to offer free organic produce to low-income families in the Richmond, California area, partially using a USDA grant to deliver weekly produce boxes to families. The program was provided in partnership with far-left organizations, including APEN and Communities for a Better Environment. In fall 2020, Urban Tilth set up pop-up markets to offer free produce as well. [26]

In July 2020, Urban Tilth was awarded an additional $28,000 grant from the federal government to sell produce to Richmond’s Agricultural Marketing Service as part of a multi-million-dollar grant package for coronavirus relief in the East Bay area of California. [27]

References

  1. Urban Tilth. “About Us.” Urban Tilth Website. Undated. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.urbantilth.org/about-us/ ^
  2. Oakland Institute. “To Address the Climate Crisis, the Green New Deal Must Transform our Food System and Revitalize Rural America.” Oakland Institute Website. April 10, 2019. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/green-new-deal-transform-food-system-revitalize-rural-america ^
  3. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, Dan Bosch, Ben Gitis, Dan Goldbeck, and Philip Rossetti. “The Green New Deal: Scope, Scale, and Implications.” AAF. American Action Forum, February 25, 2019. https://www.americanactionforum.org/research/the-green-new-deal-scope-scale-and-implications/. ^
  4. “My Giving Pledge Promise Isn’t Enough: Why It’s Time for the Wealthy to Do More.” philanthropy.com. The Chronicle of Philanthropy, November 19, 2020. https://www.philanthropy.com/article/my-giving-pledge-promise-isnt-enough-why-its-time-for-the-wealthy-to-do-more?cid=gen_sign_in. ^
  5. Maxmen, Amy. “A Focus on Health to Resolve Urban Ills.” The New York Times. The New York Times, April 19, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/opinion/a-focus-on-health-to-resolve-urban-ills.html. ^
  6. Maxmen, Amy. “A Focus on Health to Resolve Urban Ills.” The New York Times. The New York Times, April 19, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/opinion/a-focus-on-health-to-resolve-urban-ills.html. ^
  7. “My Giving Pledge Promise Isn’t Enough: Why It’s Time for the Wealthy to Do More.” philanthropy.com. The Chronicle of Philanthropy, November 19, 2020. https://www.philanthropy.com/article/my-giving-pledge-promise-isnt-enough-why-its-time-for-the-wealthy-to-do-more?cid=gen_sign_in. ^
  8. Mark, Jason. “The Rebirth of Urban Ag Is a Coronavirus Silver Lining.” Civil Eats, April 16, 2020. https://civileats.com/2020/04/15/the-rebirth-of-urban-ag-is-a-coronavirus-silver-lining/. ^
  9. Schless-Meier, Adrien. “This Urban Farmer Is Growing Jobs in Her Richmond Community.” KQED. Civil Eats, January 22, 2015. https://www.kqed.org/bayareabites/92243/this-urban-farmer-is-growing-jobs-in-her-richmond-community. ^
  10. Urban Tilth. “Board of Directors.” Urban Tilth Website. Undated. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.urbantilth.org/about-us/board-of-directors/ ^
  11. Living Tree Community Foods. “Synthetic Biology and the Foundations of Existence: A talk with Dana Perls.” Youtube. September 11, 2017. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWBC1TY4xY4  ^
  12. Urban Tilth. “Board of Directors.” Urban Tilth Website. Undated. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.urbantilth.org/about-us/board-of-directors/ ^
  13. Urban Tilth. “Board of Directors.” Urban Tilth Website. Undated. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.urbantilth.org/about-us/board-of-directors/ ^
  14. City of Richmond California. “Community Police Review Commission.” City of Richmond Website. Undated. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/81/Community-Police-Review-Commission ^
  15. Hernandez, Rebecca. “Reimagine Public Safety.” Claudia Jimenez for Richmond Website. June 30, 2020. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.claudiajimenezforrichmond.com/reimagine_public_safety ^
  16. Becktold, Wendy. “Urban Tilth’s Doria Robinson on Richmond and Climate Adaptation.” Sierra Club, September 4, 2019. https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/urban-tilth-s-doria-robinson-richmond-and-climate-adaptation. ^
  17. Becktold, Wendy. “Urban Tilth’s Doria Robinson on Richmond and Climate Adaptation.” Sierra Club, September 4, 2019. https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/urban-tilth-s-doria-robinson-richmond-and-climate-adaptation. ^
  18. Climate Justice Alliance. “What Do We Mean by Just Transition.” Climate Justice Alliance Website. Undated. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://climatejusticealliance.org/just-transition/ ^
  19. APEN. “Reparations Now: Honoring the Movement for Black Lives.” APEN Website. Undated. Accessed July 24, 2020.  https://apen4ej.org/reparations-richmond/ ^
  20. APEN. “Reparations Now: Honoring the Movement for Black Lives.” APEN Website. Undated. Accessed July 24, 2020.  https://apen4ej.org/reparations-richmond/ ^
  21. APEN. “Reparations Now: Honoring the Movement for Black Lives.” APEN Website. Undated. Accessed July 24, 2020.  https://apen4ej.org/reparations-richmond/ ^
  22. https://insideclimatenews.org/news/20062020/chevron-black-lives-matter-twitter/ ^
  23. Brady, Paige. “Apply for a Free School Salad Bar.” Whole Foods Market Website. September 1, 2010. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/tips-and-ideas/archive/apply-free-school-salad-bar ^
  24. Urban Tilth. “Food Justice Film Series.” Urban Tilth Website. Undated. Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.urbantilth.org/rfpc/foodjusticefilms/ ^
  25. . Urban Tilth. “Farm to Table CSA.” Urban Tilth Website. Undated. Accessed July 24, 2020.https://www.urbantilth.org/csa/ ^
  26. Hashe, Janis. “Care Is on the Menu.” East Bay Express. Weeklys, January 20, 2021. https://eastbayexpress.com/care-is-on-the-menu-1/. ^
  27. Lemus, Marco. “Urban Tilth Receives Pandemic Relief, Among Other East Bay Companies.” Urban Tilth Website. July 18, 2020. Accessed July 24, 2020.  https://www.urbantilth.org/companies-in-richmond-and-around-the-east-bay-received-millions-from-the-government-to-help-combat-the-coronavirus-pandemic/ ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 2007

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $1,150,581 $1,079,675 $448,475 $236,940 N $1,136,281 $14,299 $1 $69,030 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $972,960 $774,821 $247,622 $100,139 N $945,775 $27,184 $1 $52,258
    2015 Dec Form 990 $833,263 $936,743 $185,914 $236,570 N $823,636 $9,627 $0 $72,716 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $578,499 $639,492 $183,666 $140,432 N $578,499 $0 $0 $60,324 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $575,792 $447,370 $128,822 $24,595 N $575,792 $0 $0 $57,810 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $518,815 $556,362 $27,468 $51,663 N $518,815 $0 $0 $64,437 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $492,870 $457,124 $21,131 $7,779 N $492,870 $0 $0 $49,610 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990EZ $109,245 $220,243 $13,453 $35,847 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Urban Tilth

    323 BROOKSIDE DR
    RICHMOND, CA 94801-0000