I founded Jeanne Merrill Consulting after 25 years of working with non-profit organizations to advance sustainable and equitable food and farm systems. Throughout my career, I’ve led initiatives on a wide range of issues from climate resilient agriculture, on-farm renewable energy, federal farm bill programs, to farmland conservation and healthy, local food systems.
I began my career in community organizing where I partnered with communities in California impacted by pesticides to win local and state protections. My organizing efforts continued in the early 2000s when I co-founded the Californians for GE-Free Agriculture coalition and campaigned with Greenpeace. During this time, we brought together progressive agricultural leaders to successfully challenge the commercialization of GE specialty crops in the state and I created a regional organizer training program for the national campaign.
In 2005, I received my Master's degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and remained in the area to focus on state and federal policy issues in the upper Midwest. Here, I helped activate a 5-state coalition to support the new Conservation Security (Stewardship) Program and advocated for its expansion in the 2008 farm bill. At the state level, I led our lobbying efforts to establish the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program, the first local food systems program of its kind in the region, and I partnered with labor leaders to advance clean energy policies during my time with the Center on Wisconsin Strategy.
Most recently, I served as co-founder and policy director for the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN) where we successfully advocated for the creation of the groundbreaking Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) programs. From 2014 to 2021, CSA program investment reached $500M+ to support 2,000+ on-farm projects that continue to provide financial and technical assistance to farmers transforming their practices today.
I have held a variety of non-profit board and government-appointed positions. In 2014, I became the first chair of the Climate Change Subcommittee of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), serving until 2020 and I was an elected member of its Organizational Council for six years. I served on several state advisory committees for the California Air Resources Board, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the California Department of Water Resources, and the California Energy Commission. In November 2022, I was appointed to serve on the U.S. EPA's Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee, representing the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
To this day, my greatest passion lies in empowering people with the tools needed to impact democratic change and work together as successful community leaders, advocates, philanthropists, policy advisors, and coalition partners. I approach each day with the relentless spirit of an organizer grounded in the deep expertise of a long-time policy advocate.
I am the daughter of an immigrant and a first-generation college grad. I live with my husband, daughter, and dog in Alameda, CA.
Jeanne in the news...
Michael R. Dimock
Executive Director, Roots of Change
"Whenever I need clear answers to climate smart agriculture policy questions, I call Jeanne. She is up on the facts, savvy about the politics, and always thinks strategically. She is my trusted source and go-to ally."
Co-Founder and Executive Director,
California Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN)
"Having worked with Jeanne for almost 14 years in her role as Policy Director, I am confident in her strategic instincts, efficiency, and ability to navigate challenging negotiations. She is hardworking, motivated, and unwaveringly committed to everything she takes on."
Co-owner, Full Belly Farm
"Jeanne will dig deep into the subject at hand, come up with a nuanced and profound analysis, have a discussion with you that is both broad and detailed, and then provide strategic recommendations and counsel that will prove to be tactical and foresightful."
Deputy Director, Natural Resources Defense Council
"With decades of experience working in politics and policy, Jeanne Merrill is a determined, savvy, and insightful advocate who knows how to deliver results. She has a deep understanding of the policy field and all its players (and their interests), maintains strong relationships with decision-makers, and is able to quickly pivot strategies with changing political environments. Not only is Jeanne a hard and fast worker who turns around deliverables with uncanny speed, but she is also a trusted leader in the policy world."