SAGE advances multi-benefit agriculture as a foundation for regional resilience, catalyzes place-based regenerative agriculture, and fosters vital, equitable food systems that connect urban and rural communities.
Thriving local agriculture and healthy, equitable food systems are an essential foundation for resilient cities and regions.
For over two decades, SAGE has worked to advance this vision in the Bay Area and beyond. We use a holistic, collaborative and strategic approach to make our agriculture and regions more resilient and equitable in the face of climate change and related urgent challenges.
SAGE works in two linked program areas:
Urban-Rural Connections: SAGE helps urban communities and rural areas develop common ground around healthy, equitable and resilient regional food systems.
Agricultural Revitalization: SAGE fosters regenerative farming that helps sustain and contain cities, protects natural resources, and supports diverse, beginning farmers.
Within these two program areas, our work and consultation services include the following kinds of projects and publications:
Founded in 2001, SAGE is an entrepreneurial nonprofit. We use a collaborative approach to develop pioneering projects and provide consultation services throughout California with a focus on the Bay Area. For our own projects, we generate big-vision ideas and implements them through collaboration with diverse stakeholders. For our consultation services, our partners and clients include public agencies, land trusts, farmers and agricultural associations, planning and economic consultancy firms, public-interest organizations, educators, health experts, and urban and rural community groups. In 2022, Sibella and long-time SAGE colleagues formed the SAGE Consulting Group (SCG), an innovative approach to expanding SAGE’s capacity and effectiveness.
Learn More about the SAGE Consulting Group
SAGE CONSULTING GROUP
The SAGE Consulting Group (SCG) was formed in 2022, as a program of Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE). We are a multidisciplinary and multi-regional collaboration of agriculture and food system professionals committed to advancing an equitable, inclusive, resilient agriculture and food systems, using a holistic systems approach to problem solving.
Vision. We work together to build a food and farming system that serves everyone in our communities, provides all people with an equitable opportunity to fully participate and build wealth, contributes to ecological health and is valued as essential to our shared prosperity, community
Mission. Provide collaborative, multidisciplinary expertise, skills, and wisdom to advance an equitable, inclusive, resilient food system.
Who we are: The SCG has expertise in many disciplines, including agronomy, natural sciences, sustainability, economics, accounting, law, nutrition, land use, community development, communications, market research, policy analysis and advocacy. We’ve worked at the federal, state and local levels, bringing perspectives from across the food and farm system. The senior participants have deep wisdom and relationships gained through decades of work in the field; younger members bring fresh perspectives, new skills and passion. The group envisions a mentorial structure that allows the participants to build collective expertise and wisdom about the food and farming system and accelerate the professional growth of younger colleagues.
What we do: SCG offers a cost-effective approach to projects, with junior professionals mentored closely by colleagues with greater expertise. The diversity of our expertise and experience, makes the SCG uniquely able to take a holistic systems approach that is independent, objectivity, and solution-oriented.
Founding Affiliates: Poppy Davis; Sibella Kraus (SAGE President); Kathryn Lyddan; Judith Redmond; Dorothy Suput; and Debra Tropp. (See short bios below.) Others are considering becoming Affiliates. We organize quarterly meetings for people interested in learning more.
For more information, please contact Sibella Kraus (Sibella@sagecenter.org).
Poppy Davis. Poppy Davis works with organizations around the country to develop and deliver financial and legal business management trainings for farmers, ranchers, and fishers and related enterprises and service providers. She also works with nonprofits, associations, local governments, and regional collaborations in roles including facilitation, strategic planning, board training, ethics training, building managerial capacity, and developing new programs. Poppy also teaches a class in agricultural tax law at the University of Arkansas School of Law.
Poppy began her career as a California Certified Public Accountant and later worked for the United States Department of Agriculture as the National Program Leader for Small Farms and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. While at the USDA she served as a member of the management team for the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, and co-founded the USDA 4 Veterans, Reservists & Military Families, and Women and Working Lands workgroups.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University of California at Davis, a Master’s in Journalism from Georgetown University, and a Juris Doctor with a Certificate in Agricultural Law from Drake University Law School. Poppy is a past fellow of the California Agricultural Leadership Program (Class 35). Her non-profit experience includes a year as the Executive Director of the Ecological Farming Association, and board service including Oregon Tilth (current) and previously the Farmer-Veteran Coalition, The Carrot Project New England, Red Tomato, The Center for Land Based Learning, and The Community Alliance with Family Farmers.
Kathryn Lyddan. Kathryn works with land trusts, nonprofits, and local governments on a wide variety of land conservation projects, including strategic planning, policy development, program design and real estate acquisition. Kathryn previously served as the Director of Conservation for the Marin Agricultural Land Trust where she managed MALT’s acquisition, stewardship, and climate programs.
In her prior position as the Director of the Division of Land Resource Protection at the California Department of Conservation, Kathryn developed and implemented state programs and policies to protect California’s agricultural resources, including the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC), the Farmland Conservancy Program, the Williamson Act and the Farmland Mapping and Monitoring.
From 2003 through 2016, Kathryn served as the Executive Director of the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust, permanently protecting Contra Costa’s prime farmland, and promoting local farming through regional marketing and agricultural enterprise zoning. Before joining BALT, Kathryn practiced public finance law for ten years, and throughout her career, Kathryn has maintained an active consulting practice, advising nonprofits, local governments and farming enterprises regarding conservation policy and practice.
Kathryn currently serves on the Board of the Zero Foodprint. She previously served on the City of Lafayette Planning Commission, California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment, Greenbelt Alliance Public Policy Committee, and the Bay Area Open Space Council Advisory Committee. Kathryn was a 2008 Roots of Change Fellow and a rural representative on the San Francisco Urban-Rural Roundtable.
Judith Redmond. Judith Redmond was one of the founding owners of Full Belly Farm and worked there for 32 years as the certified organic farm grew from 150 to 400 acres and annual gross revenues increased from $250,000 to almost $8 million. During that time, she built a 1200-member Community Supported Agriculture program, managed a weekly Farmers Market presence, and developed in-house financial management and regulatory compliance solutions. She also created the on-line shop and events platforms. The farm offers year-round educational programming including an internship program and year-round classes and tours. Full Belly Farm was a recipient of the prestigious 2014 California Aldo Leopold Conservation Award.
In addition to Full Belly, Ms. Redmond works for California FarmLink, a Community Development Financial Institution that invests in farmers and ranchers through lending, education, and access to land. Ms. Redmond is a frequent invited speaker at legislative briefings, conferences, panels, and gatherings. She currently serves on the Science Advisory Panel overseeing Climate Smart Ag programs of the California Department of Food and Agriculture as well as the Governing Council of the national Organic Farmers Association. She has worked with numerous non-profit organizations including the Community Alliance with Family Farmers where she was the Executive Director and California Climate Action Network where she is on the Advisory Board.
Living in an unincorporated rural area subject to severe wildland fire pressure, she became committed to local fire prevention, preparedness, and suppression. Since 2009, she has been Chair of the local Board of Commissioners for the Capay Valley Fire District. She is also in the leadership of the local community group that provides support to first responders.
Dorothy Suput. Dorothy seeks a world where humans are living within the planet’s limits. She does this by developing regional farm and food systems that serve this purpose. Dorothy is a collaborative leader of innovative organizations and programs, committed to economic and racial justice, and seeks measurable outcomes.
Dorothy has spent her career starting projects that fill specific needs and contribute to system change. She founded The Carrot Project, one of the first US organizations connecting private investors to local sustainable agriculture, which helped hundreds of start-up farms succeed. In turn, the farmers’ success positively contributes to their livelihood, water, biodiversity, climate mitigation efforts, and healthy communities and food while influencing how farms across the US get financing.
Dorothy co-founded the Agricultural Viability Alliance to bolster the ecosystem for business development services and steward the National Farm Viability Conference. They’ve effectively advocated for increases in funding for business development services with USDA. She serves on the board of the Flexible Capital Fund, which provides revenue-based financing in the natural resource and working lands space and the Northeast SARE Technical Committee. Dorothy holds a BS from Purdue University and a MA from the Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning program at Tufts University.
Towards creating a regenerative farm and food system, Dorothy seeks collaborations to develop programs or businesses, federal or state policy, and non-profit capacity and leadership. When not immersed in work that she loves, you can find her outdoors (hiking, traveling, gardening); reading fiction or history; and practicing German.
Debra Tropp. Debra Tropp spent more than 26 years at USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, retiring from full-time Federal employment in early 2019. Over the course of her USDA career, Ms. Tropp served in a variety of roles, including Agricultural Economist, interim grant manager for the USDA Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program, Branch Chief of Farmers Market and Direct Farm Marketing Research and finally, Deputy Director of AMS’s Local Food Research and Development Division, where she supervised an interdisciplinary team of economists, engineers, architectural design experts and marketing specialists engaged in applied food system research, technical assistance and educational outreach. She also served as the lead USDA delegate to the EPA Local Food, Local Places interagency initiative from 2016-2019.
During her tenure at USDA, Ms. Tropp received the Secretary’s Honor Award in 2012 for her contributions to the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food task force, was invited to participate in the Presidential Management Council’s Fellowship Program in 2014 (serving a six-month stint at the Department of Labor’s Division of Strategic Investments) and completed a Certificate of Public Leadership in 2018 at the Brookings Institute.
Since leaving USDA in January 2019, Ms. Tropp has continued to provide training, technical assistance and grant support on local/regional food system issues to communities, government agencies, foundations, NGOs and private enterprises. In her local capacity, she currently serves as an appointed delegate to the Montgomery County, MD Agricultural Advisory Committee and belongs to the county’s Food Economy Working Group. On a regional and national level, she is a member of the leadership circle for the Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture, serves as a committee chair for the North American Food Systems Network, and has served twice as an advisory board member for the biennial National Farm Viability Conference. Ms. Tropp is a native of Northwest Indiana and currently resides in Kensington, MD.
Over our 20-year history, SAGE has emerged as a leader in the food and ag field based on our agile, creative approach, which allows us to push boundaries, forward innovative ideas, and seize timely opportunities. Enjoy our 20th Year Anniversary Brochure!
Sibella Kraus, Founder and President
As a visionary project developer, thought leader and speaker, Sibella’s boundary-pushing work to cultivate urban-rural linkages and revitalize agriculture near cities is rooted in her decades of experience in the Bay Area and beyond. Sibella develops and leads many of SAGE’s projects.
See Sibella’s full bio
Sibella works at the intersection of sustainable agriculture, local food, economic development and resilient metro-regions. She has long called upon cities to embrace the farms at their borders and in their regions, and on regional agriculture to elevate its vital linkages with nearby urban areas.
Sibella directs Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE) an entrepreneurial nonprofit that develops models and frameworks for revitalizing agricultural places near cities and connecting urban and rural communities through local food systems. She conceptualizes and leads impactful SAGE initiatives.
As part of her diverse career, Sibella directed, from 2006-2009, the Agriculture in Metropolitan Regions program at the University of California Berkeley, a stepping stone for the establishment of the Berkeley Food Institute in 2013. From 1991-2000, Sibella was founding director of the San Francisco Public Market Collaborative and created its signature project, the acclaimed San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market. In the early part of her career, Sibella co-led a leading produce wholesaler at the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market and was a cook at Chez Panisse.Sibella is an active participant in impactful coalitions including the Regen1 Alliance and the CA Resilient Food and Farming Coalition. She has produced numerous influential publications and presents SAGE work in convenings in the U.S. and abroad. Sibella has received national recognition for her accomplishments from agricultural, food, planning, public market, and public health organizations. Her selected awards include: Regional Food Economies Fellowship, Wallace Center (2018); Regional Food Leader, National Growing Green Award, NRDC (2014); Steward of Sustainable Agriculture Ecological Farming Association(2003); and Catalyst Award for Leadership Project for Public Spaces (2002).
Board of Directors
Partners & Clients
Our partners and clients include public agencies, land trusts, farmers and agricultural associations, planning and economic consultancy firms, public-interest organizations, educators, health experts, and urban and rural community groups.
List of Partners and Clients
- Agriculture and Land Based Training Association (ALBA)
- American Farmland Trust
- BAE Urban Economics
- Bay Nature Magazine
- California Coastal Conservancy
- California Community Colleges
- California Department of Education
- Nutrition Services Division
- California FarmLink
- California Food and Farming Network
- California State Parks Community Alliance with Family Farmers
- Cultivate LLC Ecological Farming Association
- Green Foothills
- Greenbelt Alliance
- GreenInfo Networ,
- Kitchen Table Advisors
- National Center for Appropriate Technology
- Peninsula Open Space Trust
- Resource Conservation Districts (multiple counties)
- Sacramento Area Council of Governments
- San Francisco Public Utility Commission,
- San Jose – Department of Housing, Office of Economic Development and Park and Recreation Department
- San Mateo County Health Department
- Santa Clara County Parks Department, and Planning Department
- Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority
- Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District
- The Health Trust TOGETHER Bay Area
- Trust for Public Land
- University of California Cooperative Extension (multiple counties) Urban Rural Strategies
- Wallace, Roberts & Todd
Funders & Supporters
American Honda Foundation California Department of Food and Agriculture Chez Panisse Foundation
East Bay Community Foundation
Mary A Crocker Trust
Newman’s Own Foundation Occidental College – Urban and Environmental Policy Institute
San Francisco Foundation
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission USDA – Risk Management Agency Wells Fargo Foundation
Whole Foods Fremont