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"It has been a pleasure working with Curtis Consulting. We gave them a difficult assignment in an area with little prior research and outside their usual realm; they quickly honed in on the key issues and produced results. Their commitment to both sustainable agriculture and quality research work is clear."


Fred Broadwell
Formerly with Self Help Credit Union,
Sustainable Development Initiative


Policy Analysis

Creating effective policy solutions to advance sustainable food and farming systems requires understanding the underlying nature and complexity of the problem, determining the strengths and weaknesses of existing policies and regulations, and identifying potential solutions. Viable policy changes are advanced through effective coalitions that can mobilize public support and educate policy makers.

From Farm to Fork: A Guide to Building North Carolina’s Sustainable, Local Food Economy

Building on its successful statewide Farm to Fork initiative CEFS hired Curtis Consulting to research this 100-page guide to support new and transitioning farmers, create jobs in rural communities, increase access to food in low income communities and address diet-related health problems. The Guide includes 36 recommendations for action and spotlights an equal number of organizations and initiatives around the state working to build sustainable food economies. The Guide is intended to be a resource for decision-makers at the state and local level now and into the future; several of the reports recommendations, including establishment of a Sustainable Local Foods Advisory Council have already been adopted.

Barriers to Credit for Organic & Sustainable Farmers

In 2002, Self-Help Credit Union, a community development financial institution (CDFI) in Durham, North Carolina, hired Curtis Consulting to research and write a report investigating how CDFIs can play a role in encouraging organic and sustainable farming enterprises throughout the state. The report "Funding the New Harvest", discusses potential barriers that small organic farmers and sustainable agriculture enterprises face in traditional lending circles and makes recommendations for increasing access to financing. It also includes the results of a survey conducted by Self-Help of lending practices of more than 500 organic growers in the state. To read the report, visit www.self-help.org/communityimpact/sustainabledevelopment.asp.

Pesticide Policy Reform

From 1988 until 1996, Jennifer worked in the Natural Resources Defense Council’s San Francisco office in their Public Health Program. NRDC is a national nonprofit advocacy organization that is often referred to as “the law firm for the environment.” Jennifer worked with a team of attorneys and scientists in a coordinated and extremely successful effort to reform regulation of pesticides in the United States to better protect children and vulnerable subpopulations. NRDC’s efforts culminated in passage of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA).

As a part of the Public Health Program, Jennifer specialized in researching and promoting Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and sustainable agriculture as alternatives to hazardous pesticides. In this vein, her responsibilities included:

  • Monitoring and analyzing state and federal pesticide regulatory affairs,
  • Coordinating a coalition and co-authoring national legislation to promote adoption of IPM and sustainable agriculture
  • Researching and writing numerous reports
  • Serving on a variety of regulatory and academic advisory committees
  • Speaking to agricultural groups, state organizations, academic institutions on a regular basis
  • Engaging in media outreach, appearing many times on TV, radio and in print.