Big Green is a USA 501c3 non-profit that believes growing food changes lives. We created a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) to democratize and decentralize grantmaking for food and gardening organizations in the US.
The Big Green DAO is a first-of-its-kind project to radically reconceive and restructure grant-making, disrupting embedded power structures by putting nonprofits in the driver’s seat. The Big Green DAO is controlled by its grantees and donors. Everyone gets the same vote.
Big Green is a national 501c3 non-profit in the USA. Since 2011, we have been teaching people to grow food. Growing food improves nutrition security and mental health, increases time spent outdoors, and cultivates a deeper appreciation for our collective impact on the climate.
We now support schools, families and communities across the country to grow their own food through training, grants, garden bed donations, and providing materials directly to teachers and growers to create and support their garden programs.
A DAO (decentralized autonomous organization), is a blockchain-based organization governed by code instead of people. It’s community-owned by its members with a built-in treasury that nobody has permission to use without approval of the group.
The Big Green DAO is a first-of-its-kind project to radically reconceive and restructure grant-making, disrupting embedded power structures by putting nonprofits in the driver’s seat.
The Big Green DAO committee is made up of organizations working in food and tech. All of our members have all been awarded grants and will play a key role in guiding the direction of Big Green DAO.
Wande Okunoren-Meadows is a nationally recognized early childhood advocate with over 25 years of experience leading and championing community-based programming. As a disruptive innovator, she calls for designing meaningful solutions through collaborative partnerships that listen first, engage second, and support last.
As the Executive Director of the Little Ones Learning Center, Wande found that families had significant barriers to accessing nutrient-dense, sustainable, fresh food. She mobilized an internationally recognized grassroots effort to bring farm stands to the community, and her fight against inequity spawned a new venture to increase opportunities in historically under-represented communities. Hand Heart and Soul Project (HHSP) was founded to serve Clayton County through actionable training, resources, and support.
Wande is an advisor on many early care and equity initatives, such as Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s first Early Education Subcommittee, and is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, including the Fan Brooke Award for Grassroots Leadership from the Georgia Association for the Education of Young Children.
Wande is a graduate of Emory University. She currently resides in Lithonia, Georgia with her husband and three children.
Veronica Dimas, known as “Vero,” is the Executive Director for the Brownsville Wellness Coalition, a 501C3 nonprofit. She was born and raised in Brownsville, TX and studied legal and social work at Texas Southmost College in Brownsville. She worked in the legal field for over a decade before following her passion for local food systems and obtaining her Master Gardener certification.
In 2014, Vero became the farmers’ market manager for the Brownsville Wellness Coalition, a 501C3 nonprofit with a mission to cultivate healthy food and lifestyles, and in 2016, Vero was appointed Executive Director.
As Executive Director, Vero created and directs five additional programs for the organization, including urban farms, community gardens, a mobile fresh food market, “La Cocina Alegre,” a healthy cooking and nutrition education series, and movement and exercise programs.
Vero is an advocate for healthy food, food security, and mental health. She is bilingual and serves on several local boards and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s SNAP working group. Vero lives in Brownsville, Texas and is the mother of four daughters. Her passions include community service, gardening, walks, and visiting farmers’ markets around the country.
A-dae (Kiowa/Cochiti) was born and raised in Cochiti Pueblo, NM and comes from the Toyekoyah/Komalty Family from Hog Creek, Oklahoma on the Kiowa side. A-Dae works as Director of Programs in Native Food and Agriculture for First Nations Development Institute and is the Co-Founder and Director of the California Tribal Fund. A-Dae previously worked for the University of Arkansas Indigenous Food and Agricultural Initiative. She wrote extensively about food safety, the Produce Safety Rule and tribes, and the protection of tribal traditional foods. A U.S. Fulbright Scholar, A-Dae received her BA in Public Policy from Princeton University, and received a JD from Arizona State University’s College of Law and an LLM in Food and Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas. President Obama recognized A-dae as a White House Champion of Change in Agriculture. She sat on the National Organic Standards Board, the Sustainable Ag and Food Systems Funders Policy Committee, and the steering committee for Funders for Regenerative Agriculture. She is a member of the California Foodshed Funders group and a board member at the California Institute for Rural Studies.
Catherine Fleming has over 25 years of experience in Information Technology, having worked for some of the industry's top corporations and rising to VP level. Catherine is also a real estate developer and property manager and has been involved in projects spanning the Minneapolis Light Rail Extension Project, the City of Minneapolis’s Green Zone Task Force, MICAH (Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing), & the Environmental Justice Coordinating Council. She has acquired and rehabilitated ALF's (assisted living facilities) and mixed-use properties. Catherine is a senior partner in a healthy vending machine company and has interests in properties across the US. Currently, she serves as the Chief Financial Officer at Project Sweetie Pie, a nonprofit organization working to achieve justice in the environment, food, climate, and economics. Catherine is a proud North Minneapolis resident and a social advocate for her community.
SSG Lacy McDonald served honorably with the United States Army for 13 years with 2 deployments to Afghanistan. Currently, he volunteers full-time at Lake Middle School as a fitness coach and garden lead, providing weekly lessons to Lake’s center-based students. Additionally, he created a nonprofit organization called Outer Haven that provides outdoor urban education through fitness, camping, gardening, and archery. Lacy was a highly decorated Soldier being awarded the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Combat Action Badge, Army Commendation Medal with Valor, and nominated Soldier of the year in 2014 by the Chamber of Commerce of Aurora. Lacy has an extensive background mentoring and guiding the youth over the last 8 years. It is Lacy's goal to provide wisdom, character building, social-emotional support, and leadership skills for the youth today to become the leaders of tomorrow.
Dianna joined Big Green after nearly two decades working in public education in Wisconsin. She served as a high school teacher, curriculum coordinator, and middle school principal during that time. Dianna's background includes graduate coursework leading to a Master's Degree in Alternative Education, and licensure in Educational Leadership and Curriculum and Instruction. Her passion has been and continues to be working toward ends that help children reach their full potential, often through creative or alternate programming options.
Members can discuss potential projects on Discord and vote on the direct distribution of funds to non-profit organizations on Snapshot.
Food or gardening nonprofits can receive funding from the Big Green DAO. Successful applicants will also receive a DAO governance token to drive future funding. See the full list of requirements here.
A DAO (decentralized autonomous organization), is a blockchain-based organizational structure in which there is no central decision-making authority. Instead, governance decisions like how funds are used, are distributed and even automated.
A DAO is commonly described as an “internet-native business that is collectively owned and managed by its members.” In other words, it’s a digital collective or cooperative. DAOs typically have a central treasury, which no one individual has the authority to access or control without approval of a larger group, and decisions are made through proposals and voting, to ensure members in the organization have a voice.
The prevalence of DAOs has significantly increased in recent months and years, with new collectives arising all the time. DAOs currently exist in three primary fields: 1) skilled-based cooperatives, for example, Web3 development groups; 2) DeFi (decentralized finance) organizations like Uniswap or OlympusDAO; and 3) NFT (non-fungible token) and cultural collectives, for example Decentraland DAO, the largest metaverse on the Ethereum blockchain.
We believe philanthropy is the next frontier in the evolution of DAOs and that a decentralized philanthropic organization can disrupt embedded power structures by putting nonprofits in the role of decision-maker.
The Big Green DAO is leveraging blockchain solutions that engage community members and organizations in a collective decision-making role by utilizing ERC-20 governance tokens to exercise cooperative input and control over a treasury of grant dollars.
As a collective experiment, this project will run from November 2021 through September 2022, at which time its operational successes, shortcomings and impacts will be assessed and the continued tenure of the project evaluated.
An additional requirement of this experiment is that the Big Green DAO stays within the IRS rules of a 501(c)(3) non-profit under United States of America law, to ensure that donations from U.S. taxpayers are tax-deductible. If the experiment is successful, we will look for ways to expand the reach of the Big Green DAO to other countries.
This DAO supports organizations that are advancing food and gardening, including (but in no way limited to) food justice, school gardens, home gardens, urban gardens, food advocacy, and regenerative agriculture.
Ultimately, funds will be distributed at the discretion of the community.
The DAO committee is composed of Big Green’s trusted partners and the DAO’s first grantees. Each committee member is a representative of an organization working in food and each member organization has been awarded a $50,000 grant to support its mission.
We are not utilizing additional donations until a later phase of the experiment. If you wish to contribute now, we can hold your gift in restricted funds. If the experiment is successful and the DAO begins accepting additional donations to grow the treasury and support more nonprofit organizations, your donation will be added to the treasury and used for grantmaking at the discretion of the DAO members. If the experiment fails and it is decided the DAO will not continue to grow, your donation will be used for Big Green’s national garden programs. We will not be able to issue refunds.
If you wish to contribute, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you make it happen.
Big Green was founded in 2011 with a belief that growing food changes lives. We provide critical resources to the front lines of philanthropy. Through the Big Green DAO we believe we can decentralize decision making to make providing critical resources to the front lines faster and more democratic.