Neil Thapar (he/him) is Co-Director of Minnow and the group’s Director of Land and Financial Redistribution. At Minnow, Neil works directly with client farmers, indigenous communities, and Black and Brown-led organizations to develop the legal tools or infrastructure needed to acquire and collectively hold land and financial resources. He also redirects philanthropic assets to finance the shifts necessary to advance racial justice in the food and agricultural economy, in collaboration with The People’s Land Fund, Liberating Investment in the Food and Farm Ecosystem (LIFE), and other cause-aligned partners. In all his work, Neil emphasizes collective action, cooperation, and participation.
Prior to Minnow, Neil was the Sustainable Economies Law Center’s Food and Farm Program Director. In his role at SELC, Neil initiated the Save Seed Sharing campaign to promote people's rights to save and share seeds and to protect our seed commons. He also researched, promoted, and advised on legal structures of land ownership that promote affordability, community ownership, and long-term sustainable stewardship. From 2017-2020, Neil participated as an ally member of the California Farmer Justice Collaborative, a statewide group of farmers and advocates focused on empowering farmers of color to participate and represent themselves in California's food and farm system. SELC is a worker self-directed organization, and as a core member, Neil also contributed significantly to its financial and operational health.
Outside of his professional roles, Neil is a parent member of a childcare cooperative for families of color in Oakland and he organizes with the Community Democracy Project to bring participatory budgeting, through a People's Budget, to the City of Oakland where he lives.