Weeds, Words & Wisdom: An Intergenerational Conversation

We put three of our favorite environmental activists and policy advocates in the same virtual room together for a conversation. Here is what former Rep. Karen Clark, Women's Environmental Institute co-founder Jacqueline Zita, and sustainable agriculture student and activist Priscilla Trinh talked about in June 2021.

Ecolution reporting is made possible by Aaron’s Green Cleaning, a locally owned employee centered cleaning service using non-toxic, biodegradable products.

We hosted a conversation with former Rep. Karen Clark, Women’s Environmental Institute (WEI) director of education Jacqueline Zita, and sustainable agriculture student and activist Priscilla Trinh. All have been featured in the pages of Minnesota Women’s Press, and we wanted to bring them together in our series of intergenerational conversations, hosted by associate editor Lydia Moran.

They talked about their views about prioritizing the many pathways of activism, the role of media, self-care and patience, and why to not burn bridges.


How to prioritize and find balance in environmental activism


How identities play a role in developing relationships


The role of communications in today’s movements


How hearts and minds can be changed


Closing comment


The Women’s Environmental Institute (WEI) is an environmental research, renewal and retreat center designed to create and share knowledge about environmental issues and policies relevant to women, children and identified communities affected by environmental injustice; to promote agricultural justice, organic and sustainable agriculture and ecological awareness; and to support activism that influences public policy and promotes social change.

Karen Clark, executive director of WEI, earned her Bachelor’s degree in nursing from the College of St. Teresa, worked as a public-health nurse and OB-GYN nurse practitioner, a community organizer, earned a Masters of Public Administration degree from Harvard University. She served as a progressive Minnesota State legislator for 34 years representing three core-city South Minneapolis neighborhoods.

Jacqueline Zita, a professor emeritus of the University of Minnesota, is knowledgeable about organic farming, women’s health issues, and gender/environmental/social justice studies. She is developing a new school at WEI, near North Branch, called “Down to Earth: A School for Sustainability, Arts, and Justice.”

Priscilla Trinh is studying Sustainable Systems Management with double minors in Food Systems and Management. She is an organizer, involved in food sovereignty through Uprooted & Rising, and is engaged in growing connections w/ BIPOC producers in the area.  We got acquainted with her last year and did a video interview with her then. She is working with Angela Dawson, 40 Acres Co-op, who we profiled in an earlier video interview.