Nikki Silvestri: Linking Urban Communities with Carbon Sequestration [Ep. 23]

If you only have two minutes, click here for a highlight from the interview.


Nikki Silvestri is the Founder and CEO of Soil and Shadow, a project development firm designing economic and environmental strategies with human left in.

As the Co-Founder of Live Real and former Executive Director of People's Grocery and Green for All, Nikki has built and strengthened social equity for underrepresented populations in food systems, social services, public health, climate solutions, and economic development. A nationally recognized thought leader, her many honors include being named one of The Root's 100 Most Influential African Americans.

Nikki is a Faculty Member at the Food Business School (she co-designed and taught one of their inaugural courses, "Ethical Leadership in Food Business"). She is the Board Co-Chair of the Business Alliance of Local Living Economies (BALLE), and is an advisory board member of TendLab, a boutique firm unlocking the power of parenthood at work. She is the recipient of numerous awards including ELLE Magazine's "Gold" Award and OxFam America's "Act Local, Think Global" Award.

Nikki began her work in social change through the foster care system in Southern California, where she directed Foster Youth Empowerment Workshops. She has a master's degree in African American Studies from UCLA, and is originally from Los Angeles. She currently lives in Oakland, with her husband and son.

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In this interview, Erin and Nikki discuss a number of topics, including:

  • The institutions, philanthropists and organizations engaged in the Carbon Farming financing opportunities

  • The opportunities, questions and challenges Nikki holds about Carbon Farming & why we cannot miss this opportunity to engage with frontline communities

  • How the principles of “earth care, people care, fair share” and “observe, then interact” hold so much relevance for working with urban communities

  • The organizations and thought leaders that have influenced her thinking

  • The one thing listeners should do first when attempting to create jobs & opportunity for low-income communities

  • And much more

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Erin Axelrod is a Partner at LIFT Economy, helping to accelerate the spread of climate-beneficial businesses, specializing in businesses that address critical soil and water regeneration. She is a shepherdess, indigo farmer and regularly forages for wild food in her home in rural Sonoma County. LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life. You can follow Erin on Twitter @erinaxelrod or email her erin@lifteconomy.com.