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2020 Ethical Leadership Award Recipient
Nikiko Masumoto (she/her) is an organic farmer, memory keeper, and artist.
She is Yonsei, a fourth generation Japanese American, and gets to touch the same soil her great-grandparents worked in California where Masumoto Family Farm grows organic nectarines, apricots, peaches and grapes for raisins.
She activates her facilitation, leadership, and creative skills as a performer and leader in the following organizations: co-founder of Yonsei Memory Project, board of Trustees of Western States Arts Federation, board of directors of Art of the Rural, and perennial volunteer change-worker. Though she grew up on her family’s peach farm, she came to farming herself through a journey that included a B.A. in Gender and Women’s Studies at UC Berkeley and a MA in Performance as Public Practice at UT Austin.
In an agricultural world where 86% of farmers are men, most landowners are white, and few are queer, she employs art and creativity to access her power as an organic farmer.
An emphasis on creating deeply engaging and transformative experiences has fueled her work on the farm and in her community. She’s co-authored two books: The Perfect Peach (a cookbook) and Changing Season.
You can catch a slice of her performance work in a TEDx talk from 2015.
She is the co-founder and co-director of Yonsei Memory Project, a movement to give power and life to Japanese American memory keeping. She has completed fellowships with Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture (Farmer Entrepreneurship Intensive), National Arts Strategies (Creative Community Fellows) and the Institute for the Future (Future For Good fellow).
Nikiko has served on the board of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts and Central California Asian Pacific Women.