Research for Resilience: How Farmer Centered Research Powers Ecological Solutions

April 25, 2017, 5:36 pm

A farmer in the highlands of Riobamba, Ecuador collects quinoa.


“The more we build bridges to understand each other, the further we will propel research and solutions.”

– Jane Maland Cady

Jane Maland Cady, Director of the International Program, joined Food Tank to host a webinar on April 12, titled “Research for Resilience: How Farmer Centered Research Powers Ecological Solutions.”

The talk discussed how to increase food security in some of the most chronically malnourished places around the world through tapping into the undervalued wisdom of local farmers and the underestimated power of ecological solutions.

Since the early 1980s, The McKnight Foundation has funded agricultural research around the globe with the goal to help farmers feed their families and communities. McKnight’s Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP) funds collaborative research between smallholder farmers, leading local researchers, and development practitioners to explore solutions for sustainable, local food systems. CCRP focuses its support in twelve countries on two continents where poverty and food insecurity have created “hunger hot spots.”




JMC_mk0784_cJane Maland Cady
International Program Director



Moving on Clean Energy Momentum

April 10, 2017, 9:00 am

Solar panels on a barn roof.

Signs of progress in our clean energy economy abound. Businesses are creating new jobs; consumers are saving money and have more choices, while renewable energy is becoming a greater part of the energy mix. These were among some of the key findings in this year’s
Solar Jobs Census and Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. Together, the facts show how innovation in our energy choices has benefited communities & families. Read the rest of this entry »


New Approach, Same Goal: A Clean and Resilient River

March 21, 2017, 2:17 pm

Aerial view of the Mississippi River in Minnesota.


McKnight is proud of its 25-year history of commitment to the Mississippi River. The river has a unique and extensive impact on the economic and social fabric of Minnesota, the Midwest, and river communities down to the coast of Louisiana. We know that McKnight grantees have made a difference and improved the quality of life for these communities, and we are deeply grateful for the years of hard work and dedication.

We recently took a step back to assess the Mississippi River program’s strategies for supporting a clean and resilient Mississippi River. The last time McKnight conducted a river program refresh was in 2009, and much has changed since then. On the positive side, soil health has captured the interest of Midwest farm organizations, and many farmers are incorporating water-protecting practices because of the corresponding benefits to soil health and crop yields. Additionally, food companies are heeding the demands of consumers for sustainable production practices, and they are in turn exploring opportunities to incorporate on-farm sustainability practices into their supply chains. Read the rest of this entry »


Artists as Must Haves: Why Our Communities Need the NEA

March 17, 2017, 10:00 am


CREATE: The Community Meal, a living artwork in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood about food,
food access and food justice by Seitu Jones/Public Art St. Paul. Photo: Andy King


In my office, I’ve hung a quote on poster paper that reads: “Artists are MUST HAVE, not nice to have. They are essential, not peripheral.” It’s a conviction our board and staff share as McKnight’s arts program places working artists at the core of our focus.

Millions of Americans agree that artists and the arts are essential. But once again, the public good derived from the arts in communities all across the country has come in question with the potential elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), along with the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Read the rest of this entry »


McKnight’s Pathway Schools Initiative to Sunset

January 13, 2017, 1:30 pm

Students at Community of Peace Academy in St. Paul, part of the Pathway Schools Initiative. Photo: Steve Foley


In 2011, McKnight adopted an ambitious goal — to dramatically increase the percentage of third grade readers in the Twin Cities. Since then, the Foundation has partnered with a select group of district and charter schools in the Twin Cities, the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute, and an independent evaluator, SRI International, to meet this goal by aligning and improving the quality of school leadership and literacy instruction from PreK-3rd grade. We dubbed this effort the Pathway Schools Initiative, and after careful consideration, McKnight’s board of directors has made the difficult decision to sunset the initiative at the conclusion of our partners’ current grant periods — the 2017-18 school year for most. Read the rest of this entry »