“America is not a pile of goods… America is a dream of greater justice and opportunity for the average man and, if we can not obtain it, all our other achievements amount to nothing.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

“Ecological agriculture allows us to make peace with the earth, soil and the society.” ― Vandana Shiva

The river moves from land to water to land, in and out of organisms, … you cannot separate the land from the water, or the people from the land. ― Lynn Noel

The 21st Century will be the era of nurture capital, built around principles of carrying capacity, care of the commons, sense of place and non-violence. ― Slow Money Principle III.

“When people, land, and community are as one, all three members prosper; when they relate not as members but as competing interests, all three are exploited. …” ― The Land Institute

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life.” ― Wendell Berry


Whether putting on our mud boots and meeting the Ayers Brook goats who are the start of building quality goat dairy herds in Vermont, or, tasting different lettuces developed by High Mowing Seeds, partnering to develop sustainable MBA courses, or seeing the wonder in a child’s eyes as they see seeds they planted become carrots they can eat, we Trustees of the Lydia B. Stokes Foundation are engaged and having fun as we learn about the people, the lands, and the relationships in which we are involved.  So many opportunities now exist to support the emergence of a new paradigm, a Sufficiency economy, and it is exciting to see our Mission expressed ever more clearly in both our grants and our investments.

The Next Evolution: Fruition

Over the last 25 years, the Lydia B. Stokes Foundation has worked toward a vision of societal change and transformation. That vision is one of distinct transition from the Age of Oil to the Age of Soil, in which soil germinates the rebirth of economics, health, food, and culture woven together in community.  It is now, with the Foundation’s maturation of its philanthropic grantmaking and investment policies, the time to pass along our sense of commitment and our dedication to this larger picture. This is not about a spending down or the dissipation of a certain set amount of money.  It is about metamorphosis: one form emerging from another.  Our matured focus is to nest our remaining capacity and legacy into the work of our grantees, metamorphosing our form completely into their groundwork; helping nurture them to build more cohesive, sustainable and dynamic communities.

Our Mission

The Lydia B. Stokes Foundation is committed to the Quaker philosophy of peace and justice. The Foundation supports building resilient, healthy communities by focusing on social and economic justice, regenerative organic agriculture, viable, healthy ecosystems, quality of life issues, development of local food systems, local energy security and peace initiatives.

This vision of interconnected Life and Living Values inspires our grant making and investment decisions.

Soil Not Oil

Humans have severely disrupted Nature’s balanced “carbon triad” of soil, atmosphere, and oceans by burning fossil fuels and using industrial agricultural practices that overload our planet’s systems.

20-30% of all the excess greenhouse gasses (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) heating up our planet come from fossil fuel dependent industrial agriculture, whether cows, corn, or strawberries.

Regenerative organic agriculture, including holistic planned grazing, sequesters excess carbon, potentially back to pre-industrial levels of 280 ppm, while expanding the soil’s water holding capacity, providing healthy, nutrient rich food and restoring diverse, healthy ecosystems.  Holistic planned grazing restores grassland health and diversity, while sequestering carbon and methane. We must shift to diversified polycultures, practice holistic planned grazing and banish factory farms; we must change how we farm, ranch, and eat. Living soils are essential to life.