Scaling Up Community Resilience in the Shadow of Chevron - with Doria Robinson of Urban Tilth

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - 11:00am - 12:15pm

Join us to learn from community resilience leader Doria Robinson about the model of Urban Tilth, a high-impact grassroots organization that builds resilience in Richmond, CA, a diverse community in the San Francisco Bay Area. Urban Tilth hires and trains residents to work with schools, community-based organizations, government agencies, businesses, and individuals to develop the capacity to produce 5% of the community’s food supply. 

In addition to its share of unemployment, violence, drugs, and gangs, Richmond is also home to a Chevron refinery which exploded in 2012, covering the city in soot and rendering that summer’s entire crop inedible. Youth working with Urban Tilth brought the contaminated produce to a Chevron community meeting and demanded accountability, quickly becoming activists. Despite the need for constant soil testing to avoid contamination from the refinery, urban agriculture is spreading throughout the city, supported by the local government. 

Urban Tilth began in 2005 with one person’s vision of growing food along the 42-block Richmond Greenway, a former railway converted to a trail in the center of the city and the dividing line between gang territories. More than ten years later, Urban Tilth now employs 9 people year round and 62 people during the height of growing season, operating 13 school and community gardens across the city, as well as a 3 acre farm in the center of town. 

Learn more in Rob Hopkins’ interview with Doria Robinson.


Presenter Bio: 

Doria is 3rd generation resident of Richmond, California and the Executive Director of Urban Tilth, a community based organization rooted in Richmond dedicated to cultivating a more sustainable, healthy, and just food system. Urban Tilth hires and trains residents to develop the capacity to produce 5% of our own food supply. 

Raised in a strong church community where her grandfather was the minister, Doria spent weekends and summers on the church’s 500 acre ranch in Fairfield California. It was on the ATOT ranch where she was taught her first strong lessons on the power of cooperative economics by her grandfather Elder Vernon V. Robinson. Doria has also worked on organic farms in Western Massachusetts where she attended Hampshire College, at Veritable Vegetable a women owned organic produce distribution company, Real Food Company and Mixed Nuts Food Co-op. 

Doria is a Certified Permaculture Designer, Bay Friendly Gardener, Nutrition Educator and Yoga Instructor. She is the founder of Sanctuary Yoga, the"A Girl and Her Bike" BLOG; co-founder of the Richmond Food Policy Council and a collaborator in Rich City Rides and the realRICH - cycling, and civic pride organizations in Richmond, California. 

In 2014 she led the charge to develop Urban Tilth’s first 3 acre urban farm in Richmond, relaunch the Farm to Table countywide CSA using hyper local produce and seeded the Richmond Food Policy Council’s effort to install salad bars in every Richmond school in order to increase access for all Richmond kids to healthy whole foods. 

Doria currently lives in the neighborhood she grew up in in Richmond with her wonderful 12 year old twins.

Transition US

Newsletter Signup