Fostering Successful Social Movements: OAEC Consulting

Photo courtesy of Hawai’i SEED

Social movements may be sparked by passion, but their longevity depends upon planning and clear goals. In our experience, successful movements start with a methodical analysis of what is possible, who potential allies are, and what the barriers to success might be.

OAEC staff help leaders fighting for social and environment change develop strategies for success by regularly serving as facilitators and strategic planning consultants for coalitions, alliances and organizations whose missions are closely aligned with our own. Over the past two decades, for instance, OAEC’s Executive Director Dave Henson has worked with dozens of organizations on everything from legalizing appropriate technologies to fighting biological contamination from genetic engineering.

Learn about the inspiring work of some of the organizations Dave has consulted with this year:

  • Agrarian Trust: Our rural economy needs more farmers who will care for soil and water and provide healthy food for hospitals, schools and distribution centers. Yet the high cost of farmland and infrastructure is a barrier for many potential agricultural entrepreneurs. The Agrarian Trust is working to expand the financial, legal, and technical assistance networks central to the political and economic success of the next generation of American farmers. This past Spring, Dave served as facilitator and advisor for the Trust’s strategic planning process.
  • Californians for Pesticide Reform: CPR’s mission is to protect public health, improve environmental quality and support a sustainable and just agricultural system by building a diverse movement across California to change statewide and local pesticide policies and practices. Since 2005, Dave has been assisting CPR through their annual strategic planning process towards reducing pesticide use across the state, protecting farmworker communities and the environment.
  • Hawai’i SEED: The Hawaiian Islands are ground zero for GMO testing. Most genetically modified seed corn, used on hundreds of millions of acres around the world, is produced there. Hawai’i SEED supports cleaner, healthier and more sustainable farming practices for the Islands’ communities. Every January, Dave facilitates an annual gathering of GMO-free groups from each of the Hawaiian Islands, helping them craft legislative and educational strategies against GMO’s and associated pesticides.
  • National Pollinator and Pesticide Strategy Meeting: This September, organizations from around the United States working to address threats to pollinators, including the domestic honeybee, will come together to address the increased use of toxic pesticides (especially neonicotinoids) that threaten pollinator populations and cause colony collapse. Dave is facilitating this strategic planning process. Some of the organizations involved in this good work include Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety, and Xerces Society.


OAEC offers training in facilitation and agenda planning.

Join us for Facilitation for Group Decision-Making, a course led by OAEC staff member and professional facilitator Adam Wolpert.

Learn more >


Movement Generation at OAEC


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