10-02-14 PRL: EAC Loses Only Agricultural Representative – felt ineffective in communicating needs of farmers and ranchers

Peter Martinelli, (board member from ’99 – ’07), …said there was a shift away from collaboration with agriculturalists  “… from agriculture and environmentalism working together and more towards a preservationist agenda…”

Environmental Action Committee loses agricultural representative


The only board member of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin who works in agriculture resigned this month, believing she wasn’t filling the role in the way she set out to. “I felt that I wasn’t effective in communicating the needs of the farmers and the ranchers out here,” said Mimi Luebberman, who runs Windush Farm, where she raises sheep for wool on 26 acres in Chileno Valley. “I wasn’t meeting my own goals in communicating with people.”

Ms. Luebberman sat on the board for about three years. She declined to elaborate further on the reason for her resignation, simply saying, “I really respected my board members. It was an experience I’ll never forget, that’s for sure.”

The E.A.C., founded in 1971, has long had an agriculturalist on its board, including Tomales dairyman Al Poncia and rancher Sonny Grossi in the 1990s. Peter Martinelli, who grows row crops on his 22-acre Fresh Run Farm in Bolinas, sat on the board from about 1999 to 2007. But he said there was a shift away from collaboration with agriculturalists during his tenure. “It tended to drift away from agriculture and environmentalism working together and more towards a preservationist agenda… I think I was decreasingly useful to that organization,” he said.

The E.A.C., has been involved in hot-button issues at the intersection of agriculture and conservation for decades. Recently it has sustained criticism by some members and former members for its position on Drakes Estero and Drakes Bay Oyster Company. The nonprofit has stridently opposed aquaculture in the waters, where oysters have been cultivated commercially since the 1930s but which was designated a marine wilderness in 2012 at the termination of the farm’s reservation of use.

At a public hearing in May, the nonprofit’s executive director, Amy Trainer, opposed provisions in an update to the county’s Local Coastal Program that excluded some agricultural housing from being appealable by the public to the California Coastal Commission, though ranchers and groups like the Marin County Farm Bureau said greater leeway for housing would help multiple generations live on the land.

Bridger Mitchell, the board president, said in an email that Ms. Luebberman “has been an articulate voice for matters concerning agriculture and education and a stalwart supporter of EAC events and I thank her for her service and dedication. EAC looks forward to continuing to engage with West Marin farmers and ranchers on agricultural and environmental issues of mutual concern.”

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1 Comment

  1. Milly Biller

     /  October 3, 2014

    I am not surprised that the (only, lonely) Ag representative on the EAC board has resigned. She has my respect for putting up with their rhetoric and lies for as long as she did. That the EAC has ” drifted away” from any concern for Ag issues is as understated and polite as it is possible to conceive. Amy Trainer needs to stop lieing


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