Margaret Morgan-Hubbard Honored with Visionary Leadership Award
Environmentalist, educator, and founder and CEO of ECO City Farms, Margaret Morgan-Hubbard ’67 has been named the 2022 recipient of Bennington College’s Elizabeth Coleman Visionary Leadership Award.
This annual award recognizes an engaged Bennington alumni who has successfully demonstrated leadership and confident willingness to step forward and take risks in order to solve problems and achieve results in the areas of education, government, the arts and sciences, or industry.
“Margaret Morgan-Hubbard is a visionary leader who embodies the values and achievements of the quintessential Bennington graduate,” said President Laura R.Walker. “By addressing systemic inequities and educating future generations of farmers and consumers, her work has helped combat environmental destruction, build stronger communities and promote innovative ideas."
“For many decades now, I have found ways to contribute to building a more just world. As I learned at Bennington, I am not finished; I am still learning, evolving and becoming,” said Margaret Morgan-Hubbard. “I founded ECO City Farms to make my vision of change manifest in the world. The three farms we created on marginalized urban land, the healthy chemical free food we've grown and continue to grow, the community nutrition and youth programs we offer, the diverse youth and adults we train, the CSA's and the Farmers Mercado we've launched and staff, all have significantly altered our community and County, and people's vision of what's possible. The farms are now sustainable community gathering places where ideas are continually generated, new approaches found, and next steps taken. Yet for me, what has been accomplished to date is not enough. So many gross inequities and injustices remain to be addressed—in our local food system, in our economy, in our education and health systems, and throughout the larger society.”
ECO City Farms is a nonprofit urban teaching and learning farm in Prince George's County, Maryland that grows great food, farms and farmers in ways that protect, restore, and sustain the natural environment. Working with area children, youth, and adults, ECO educates and trains the area's next generation of area urban farmers and eaters.
Morgan-Hubbard has created a multi-cultural, inter-generational and enduring green community institution in her community. Most recently, in 2022, she helped create and launch an 11-acre incubator farm at Watkins Regional Park for 10 new and beginning farmers. The farmers qualify as low-resourced, historically underserved individuals, mainly BIPOC women. Margaret has raised all the funding for the infrastructure and the operations of each farm yearly for thirteen years. Before that, she started the first area urban farm in an abandoned elementary schoolyard.
As a place-based institution and permanent feature of the (85% non-white) County’s foodscape and watershed, ECO City Farms cannot pick up and leave the County or community. The farms are inexorably tied to the landscape and the evolving needs and fate of the local environment and population. Like many nonprofits, ECO fills a niche that business and government are unable to fulfill.
Morgan-Hubbard says that to enact real change in our communities and environment, we are in dire need of “Clear, bold, diverse and compassionate leadership—not polarizing vitriol about some fictive past that evades the truth about who benefited and who suffered along the way. We need to create constructive pathways for personal, family and community change.”
Before establishing ECO City Farms, Morgan-Hubbard was the director of the Engaged University at the University of Maryland, where she was responsible for the design, development, implementation and assessment of an “engaged university” strategy, particularly for the communities that surround the university. She was also the director of the Office of Communications at the US Environmental Protection Agency, led a national environmental organization and managed DC’s Low Income Weatherization and related Block Grant housing programs.
In line with her commitment to enacting positive environmental change, Morgan-Hubbard is also a state-certified compost site manager, an active member of the Port Towns Community Health Partnership, and a recipient of the National Capital Area Chapter American Planning Association’s Distinguished Leadership of a Citizen Planner award. Morgan-Hubbard holds a BA from Bennington College, a Masters from Columbia University, and a second Masters from New School for Social Research, where she also completed her coursework for the PhD.
Morgan-Hubbard was honored at a presentation during Bennington College’s Alumni Reunion, held September 16-18 on the College’s campus.
This is the ninth year of the Elizabeth Coleman Visionary Leadership Award. Past recipients include Healthy Humor co-founder Deborah Kaufmann ’74, cardiologist Jennifer Mieres ’82, Bash the Trash co-founder John Bertles ’81, human rights and racial justice lawyer Gay Johnson McDougall ’69, chef and activist Ben Hall ’04, The Chocolate Factory Theater co-founder Sheila Lewandowski ’97, Voices Unbroken founder emeritus Victoria Sammartino ’99, and the late Holly Block ’80, former executive director of the Bronx Museum.
About the Elizabeth Coleman Visionary Leadership Award
The Elizabeth Coleman Visionary Leadership Award was established in honor of Bennington’s ninth president and former director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Action (CAPA) to recognize a living member of the Bennington College community.
The selected individual will be an engaged alumni who has successfully demonstrated leadership and confident willingness to step forward and take risks in order to solve problems and achieve results in the areas of education, government, the arts and sciences, or industry. Established by the parents of a Bennington College graduate, the $10,000 award has no restrictions on how it may be used.
The 2022 honoree will be invited to campus to meet with current students, allowing them to connect with an exceptional leader who is affiliated with the College.