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Request for Proposals - Strategic Planning Consultant

About Ecological Farming Association (EcoFarm)

EcoFarm is a 40 year-old non profit organization based in Santa Cruz, CA. Our 2020-21 budget is $600,000, and we have two full time staff, three part time staff, and two to three seasonal part time contractors. EcoFarm’s primary program is our annual conference, which has historically taken place on the Monterey peninsula in January, with the 2021 version happening online due to the pandemic. Our mission is to nurture safe, healthy, just, and ecologically sustainable farms, food systems, and communities by bringing people together for education, alliance-building, advocacy, and celebration. Since the 1980s, EcoFarm has been fueling the heart of the organic agriculture movement in California for beginning and seasoned farmers and ranchers, mission-driven food companies, food justice activists, and sustainable agriculture as a whole. 

Current context

2020 has accelerated numerous changes that were taking place already and opened new doors, while posing new challenges. For example:
  • Our business model of being almost entirely reliant on event registration and sponsorships provides enviable amounts of unrestricted funding, yet has left us economically vulnerable, and in need of new funding sources.
  • We seek to develop new programming to complement our annual conference, and need guidance on how to prioritize based on our core competencies as well as a strategic analysis of opportunities. 
  • Our staffing structure has been based on the seasonality of event production, and in 2020 went from being office-based in Santa Cruz to remote-oriented with staff all across the state and country. We need support in developing a more sustainable staffing structure that allows us to meet our expanded goals.
  • There is a rapid and growing realization that we must build a more inclusive organization and community, and that our structures and focus will need updating to reflect a changing context.


EcoFarm is searching for a consultant or team of consultants to guide a strategic planning process. The consultant will support the organization in answering the aforementioned questions / needs, and support the organization in planning for the next 3 years.

Process and Scope of Work

EcoFarm intends to undertake a strategic planning process this summer, with the completion of a Strategic Plan document by November 2021. This timing is intended to allow us to prepare for its presentation at EcoFarm Conference in January 2022 as well as to begin fundraising for 2022. We intend for the timeframe of this plan to be three years in duration, from 2022 to 2024. 
The strategic planning process is guided by a five-member committee, comprised of the executive director, other staff, and board members. 
The strategic planning process should include interviews or focus groups with board members (7), staff and core consultants (7), as well as members of our conference planning committees, Diversity Advisory Group, and potentially other important stakeholders (like conference attendees.) We hope to hold an in-person retreat for the board and staff focused on the Strategic Plan, in August or September, COVID conditions permitting, which the consultant would facilitate.
The following is a list of elements of the plan that we would like to have completed by November 2021. Staff and board will be working closely with the consultant on the following components:
  • Goals, Objectives, Actions, Outcomes, and Indicators
  • Identification of new programming directions
  • Budget and Funding Strategies
  • Landscape analysis of EcoFarm’s role in sustainable agriculture movement
  • Staffing Needs 
  • Review of Mission, Vision and Values (optional)
  • Policy landscape analysis (being completed by staff)
  • Racial Equity capacity building plan 


The deadline for receipt of proposals is May 21, 2021. We expect that the selected consultant will begin work in July with a Final Strategic Plan document ready for distribution in November 2021. 


We have a maximum of $20,000 budgeted for consultants for this project.

Selection Process

Committee will select a consultant based on experience, skill set, approach, and price.

Proposal Submission

By May 21, 2021, please submit your proposal by email to Andy Fisher at
At minimum, please include:
  • Proposed timeline with milestones
  • Deliverables
  • Detailed budget, including number of hours or range of hours per deliverable and hourly rate(s)
  • Your approach to strategic planning
  • Your experience working with groups in the food and farming area
  • Your experience working on issues of racial equity and social justice with white-led, or mixed-race groups
  • The names and qualifications of proposed persons working on this project
  • Three client references 
If you would like to schedule a brief call to discuss this project before submitting a proposal, please email Andy Fisher at
Women, BIPOC and LGBTQ individuals are encouraged to apply, because we believe that these communities must be centered in the work we do. We strongly encourage applications from people with these identities or who are members of other marginalized communities.