Isabel Arrollo, executive director, El Quinto Sol de América, CA Wednesday, 10:45-12:15 pm: Health, Equity, Organizing from Fork to Field
ISABEL ARROLLO is the executive director for El Quinto Sol de America. Previously, Isabel served as the program director for El Quinto Sol de America, program coordinator at ACT for Women and Girls, and program director at United Way of Fresno County. Currently Isabel is a member of the board of directors of ACT and the Young Emerging Latino Leaders of San Joaquin Valley. Isabel holds a BA in communications–public relations from the University of the Pacific.
Sarah Bell, program director, Schmidt Family Foundation/The 11th Hour Project, CA Tuesday, 11:15-12:45 pm: Policy as Levers for Wealth Equality in the Agrifood System
SARAH BELL is program director for The 11th Hour Project, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation, and directs the Foundation’s program in ecological agriculture and regional food systems. She sits on the boards of Pie Ranch in Pescadero, CA and the Environmental Grantmakers Association, and holds a BA in both English literature and French from the University of Colorado. An enthusiastic supporter of permaculture and former student at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, Sarah lives in San Francisco with her husband [...]
and two sons.
Jill Birnbaum, vice president, State Advocacy and Public Health, American Heart Association; executive director, Voices for Healthy Kids, TX Tuesday, 11:15-12:45 pm: Legalities of Funding Policy Change
JILL BIRNBAUM is an advocate for nutrition, tobacco control, and health care reform policy who has worked at the federal, state, and local levels. She began her work locally in Minnesota, and now serves as the vice president of State Advocacy and Public Health at the American Heart Association (AHA). Her grassroots experience, combined with her national role, gives her unique insights into public health policy at all levels of government. Jill currently serves as the executive director of Voices for Healthy Kids, a unique advocacy [...]
collaboration between the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation working to engage, organize, and mobilize people to improve the health of their communities and reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. In addition, she serves as the principle investigator on two CDC-funded projects at the AHA: The Collaboration to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke (DHDSP) and National Implementation and Dissemination/National Organizations (DCH).
Ludovic Blain, executive director, Progressive Era Project; director, Color of Democracy Fund, CA Tuesday, 11:15-12:45 pm: Legalities of Funding Policy Change
LUDOVIC BLAIN is the director of both the Progressive Era Project (PEP) and Color of Democracy Fund (CDF), collaborations of California’s leading individual and institutional donors building a more progressive California by investing in communities of color. Through PEP and CDF, he builds donor, labor, and foundation alignment to build progressive infrastructure in the Golden State. Previously, Ludovic was program manager for the Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative, where he trained more than 140 experts of color in [...]
building public support and policymaker commitment to close America’s immense racial wealth gap. He was the founding director of the Center for Social Inclusion’s StopDogWhistleRacism.com, which exposed implicit and explicit racism during the 2008 election.In addition to his work in the U.S., Ludovic has earned a reputation as an international change-maker. He worked with Denmark’s ruling party to oppose a right-wing strategy that used racism and xenophobia to erode public support for progressive policies. His has worked with community leaders in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. He has also led capacity-building work in Haiti, in Canada, and in The Gambia, where he received honorary citizenship. Ludovic holds a BA in political science from the City College of NY, and he has received numerous awards for his academics and activism. He is a graduate of the Industrial Areas Foundation 10 Day Training and the Rockwood Leadership Institute. He serves on several boards, including those of the American Values Institute, NYPIRG Fund, and Proteus Fund.
Renata Brillinger, executive director, California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN), CA Wednesday, 2:00-3:30 pm: The Problem Is the Solution: Climate Change and Agriculture
RENATA BRILLINGER is the co-founder and executive director of the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN). She has 17 years of experience in sustainable agriculture policy and food systems projects and has held numerous nonprofit administrative positions since 1992. Prior to CalCAN, she was program director at the Climate Protection Campaign, focused on renewable energy and on agriculture. For seven years she served as the Director of Californians for GE-Free Agriculture, a coalition of sustainable agriculture and [...]
environmental organizations that provided education on genetic engineering in agriculture. She serves on the steering committee of the Center for Sustainability at CalPoly University in San Luis Obispo and the advisory board of UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute.
Sallie Calhoun, owner and operator, Paicines Ranch, CA Monday, 9:30-4:00 pm: Leveraging Research and Advocacy While Building Power…
SALLIE CALHOUN, along with her husband, Matt Christiano, purchased the Paicines Ranch in central California in 2001. Part of an original land grant, the Paicines Ranch has been a working ranch since the mid-1800s. Sallie operates the ranch, implementing holistic management to improve the health of the grasslands, producing grass-fed beef, and creating an event center in restored ranch buildings. Previously, Sallie and her husband ran a software company, which they sold in 2000. Since then, she has been involved in the fields of regenerative agriculture, local economies, and philanthropy. She is passionate about [...]
California native grasses and shifting culture toward local food systems. Sallie is a former board chair for Holistic Management International. Born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, Sallie received her BSEE degree from Rice University. Sallie currently lives in Saratoga, CA where she is an avid tennis player and hiker, and enjoys traveling. Her two children, having graduated college, also live in the Bay Area.
Cathy Cha, program director, Immigrant Rights and Integration, Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, CA Tuesday, 11:15-12:45 pm: Legalities of Funding Policy Change
CATHY CHA is the program director for Immigrant Rights and Integration at the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. Cathy manages the Fund’s efforts to promote opportunities for immigrants to become fully engaged citizens. Cathy co-founded the national New Americans Campaign to increase citizenship, and the Asian American Pacific Islander Civic Engagement Fund. Cathy convenes the California Civic Participation Funders, which seeks to increase voter engagement in immigrant and other disenfranchised communities. In addition, she is on the [...]
steering committee of the Four Freedoms Fund, the national immigration collaborative, and co-chair of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR).As the daughter of Korean immigrants, Cathy is dedicated to improving the lives of immigrants and their families. She has experience in community development, with a focus on low-income and immigrant communities. Prior to her work in philanthropy, Cathy worked in the nonprofit and private sectors. Cathy has a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley.
Peter Chestnut, legal counsel, La Montanita Co-op, NM Tuesday, 11:15-12:45 pm: Policy as Levers for Wealth Equality in the Agrifood System
PETER C. CHESTNUT of Chestnut Law Offices, P.A. in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been practicing law since 1975. Mr. Chestnut received his Juris Doctor from the University of New Mexico School of Law. He serves as general counsel for several Pueblos and advising cooperatives in New Mexico, a role he began more than 25 years ago. Mr. Chestnut served on the board of directors of the La Montanita Food Cooperative in New Mexico from 1980-1990 and has been on the La Montanita Finance Committee since 1990. He also served on boards of regional and national cooperatives in the natural foods sector earlier in his career. [...]
Structuring capitalization articles for cooperative bylaws has been an area of attention, especially in recent years.
Jeffrey Creque, co-founder, Marin Carbon Project; director, Carbon Cycle Institute, CA Monday, 9:30-4:00 pm: Leveraging Research and Advocacy While Building Power…
JEFF CREQUE is a co-founder of the Marin Carbon Project. He currently serves as director of rangeland and agroecosystem management at the Carbon Cycle Institute, where he focuses on planning and implementation of strategies to increase soil carbon for multiple ecosystem benefits, including climate change mitigation, and drought resilience. Jeff holds a PhD in rangeland ecology and has more than thirty-five years of experience in organic and bio-intensive agriculture, rangeland management, and watershed restoration.
SCOTT CULLEN is the executive director at GRACE Communications Foundation. He is also an environmental attorney and previously worked on coastal and marine conservation issues with the The Nature Conservancy and on energy issues with various nonprofits. Scott has also served on several county, state and federal advisory committees and is a member of the board of directors of the Environmental Grantmakers Association and the Sustainable Agriculture and Food System Funders Network, as well as the Vermont Law School Environmental [...]
Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, small farms advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension Fresno County, CA Monday, 9:30-4:00 pm: Leveraging Research and Advocacy While Building Power…
RUTH DAHLQUIST-WILLARD is the Small Farms and Specialty Crops Advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in Fresno and Tulare counties. She holds a PhD in entomology as a joint degree from the University of Idaho and the Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Costa Rica. She currently conducts research and extension programs addressing issues faced by socially disadvantaged farmers in Fresno and Tulare counties, including many immigrant and refugee farmers from diverse ethnic [...]
groups. Dr. Dahlquist-Willard has coordinated extension efforts to assist these growers in applying for water and energy savings programs, such as the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP). Other extension efforts focus on assisting small-scale farmers with regulatory compliance and improving production of specialty crops such as Asian specialty vegetables and herbs, jujubes, moringa, and blueberries. Her research interests include integrated pest management for small-scale diversified farms, emerging drought-tolerant crops, and processing for value-added products.
Alexa Delwiche, executive director, Center for Good Food Purchasing, CA Wednesday, 10:45-12:15 pm: Health, Equity, Organizing from Fork to Field
ALEXA DELWICHE is the executive director of the Center for Good Food Purchasing. She previously served as managing director, and as the first staff member of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council from 2011-2015. At the LA Food Policy Council, she spearheaded the development, launch, and implementation of the Good Food Purchasing Policy. From 2009-2010, Alexa was the food policy coordinator for the Los Angeles Food Policy Task Force, working with the Task Force to produce and present to the Mayor of Los Angeles a [...]
framework for building a more equitable and sustainable food system for the Los Angeles region–the “Good Food for All Agenda.” Previously, Alexa worked for the United Farm Workers and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Alexa has a Master’s of Public Policy from UCLA.
Erin Eisenberg, director of philanthropy, TomKat Foundation, CA Monday, 9:30-4:00 pm: Leveraging Research and Advocacy While Building Power…
ERIN EISENBERG is the director of philanthropy at TomKat Foundation, overseeing all of Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor’s charitable giving. In this role, Erin executes on the Foundation’s mission to support the conditions for healthy human and natural life by making grants to good money, good food, and good energy systems. Through this work, Erin is building a grants portfolio that supports nonprofits that make the environmental and economic case for sustainable animal agriculture, shift large demand toward healthy food, bolster access to beneficial banking services, and support the ecosystem that will unleash the advanced [...]
energy economy. Before joining the TomKat Foundation, Erin served as executive director at CitySeed in New Haven, Connecticut, a nonprofit building an equitable, local food system that promotes economic development, community development and sustainable agriculture. In that role, Erin worked with multiple stakeholders on a Connecticut-wide marketing plan for local food, public policy promoting farmland preservation and the local food economy, and research on improving the distribution and processing of local farm products. Erin began her career at the Boston Children’s Museum, starting in the president’s office and eventually overseeing the construction of the Museum’s $47M LEED-certified master plan. Erin earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a BA in history from the University of Notre Dame. She and her husband live in San Francisco with their daughter.
Torri Estrada, managing director, Carbon Cycle Institute, CA Monday, 9:30-4:00 pm: Leveraging Research and Advocacy While Building Power…
TORRI ESTRADA is executive director at the Carbon Cycle Institute (CCI) and directs its policy and climate justice work. Torri has worked with nonprofit, community-based, and public institutions to advance solutions to social and environmental justice, climate, and environmental issues for more than twenty years. Previously, Torri was the program director at the Marin Community Foundation, where he managed the Foundation’s environmental grantmaking program and climate change initiative. He was also a program officer at the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, where he managed its [...]
environmental justice, media reform, reproductive rights, and civil rights portfolios. Torri was the co-founder and a senior policy fellow with the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water; served as director of the Latino Issues Forum’s Environment and Sustainable Development program; and was a program director at Urban Habitat, where Torri managed the Brownfields and Community Revitalization project and co-developed its Leadership Development program. Torri currently serves on the board of Communities for a Better Environment. Torri holds an MS in environmental sociology and policy (with an emphasis on environmental justice) from the University of Michigan, and a joint BS/BA degree in environmental science and policy and ecological anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley.
Ellyn Ferguson, reporter, CQ Roll Call, DC Tuesday, 2:00-3:45 pm: Election Reflection—NOW is the Time… For What?
ELLYN FERGUSON has covered Congress, agriculture, and related issues for nearly 30 years in some form or fashion. She joined CQ Roll Call as a policy reporter in 2009 after serving as a Washington-based regional reporter for Gannett-owned papers beyond the Beltway for nearly 20 years. Ellyn grew up mostly in the South and graduated from the University of Florida. Over the years, she worked for several papers in Florida, including the Miami Herald, before coming to Washington. As a child, she liked mythology because the multi-layered stories people spun sought to explain human nature and the way of the world; she thinks that was good [...]
preparation for covering Congress. To Ellyn, covering the federal legislative process is like peeling back the layers of grand and not-so-grand stories about policy, bills and people. She expects the saga of the 2018 farm bill to offer up many opportunities to explore food, business, and politics.
Laurel Firestone, co-director and attorney-at-law, Community Water Center, CA Monday, 6:30-8:30 pm: Water and Agriculture Policy Dinner
LAUREL FIRESTONE co-founded and co-directs the Community Water Center (CWC), a nonprofit environmental justice organization based in California’s Central Valley. The CWC works with low-income communities and communities of color to secure access to safe, reliable, and affordable drinking water. In January 2016, she was listed as one of nine most influential people in California water policy by Environment & Energy Publishing. Laurel has received a variety of awards and recognitions, including the Gary Bellow Public Service [...]
Award by the Harvard Law School in 2013, and is regularly asked to testify and speak on a variety of water equity topics. She served on the Tulare County Water Commission from 2007‐12, and co‐chaired the Governor’s Drinking Water Stakeholder Group from 2012‐14. She continues to serve on a variety of state policy advisory committees, as well as to partner with universities to develop research and clinical programs to ensure the human right to water. In 2009, Laurel authored the comprehensive Guide to Community Drinking Water Advocacy and continues to author both scholarly and practical publications related to equitable, transparent, and effective water policy topics. Laurel graduated with honors from Harvard Law School and holds a B.A. magna cum laude in environmental studies from Brown University.
Kat Gilje, executive director, Ceres Trust, CA Wednesday, 10:45-12:15 pm: Health, Equity, Organizing from Fork to Field
KAT GILJE is executive director of Ceres Trust. Ceres Trust, whose name honors the ancient goddess of agriculture, provides grants that support healthy and resilient farms, forests and communities, and the ecosystems upon which we all depend. Ceres Trust focuses on grassroots leadership and organizing, equity, and movement building toward systemic and transformational change. Grant areas include education for farmers in organic, sustainable and resilient farming systems; efforts to promote food crop biodiversity and public access to seeds; graduate student and farmer-led research in organic agriculture; protection and proliferation [...]
of our vital pollinators; protection of people, farms, and ecosystems from pesticide poisoning and from GMO contamination; protection of our forests from genetic engineering and use as biofuels; research by independent scientists; and documentary films and art (supported for public education purposes on key issues related to the Ceres Trust mission, and as tools of cultural change). An agronomist and community organizer trained by Voices for Racial Justice in Minnesota, Kat previously was co-director of Pesticide Action Network North America; co-founder/director of Centro Campesino; and senior associate at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. She currently serves on the steering committee of the Bay Area Justice Funders Network, the Health and Environmental Funder Network, and as chair of Genesis, a faith and values-based organizing group in Oakland, California.
Patricia Griffin, partner, Nueva Vista Group, LLC, DC Tuesday, 2:00-3:45 pm: Election Reflection—NOW is the Time… For What?
PATRICIA GRIFFIN is a recognized go-to expert on progressive issue campaigns, and knows how to take bold, complex ideas from inception to completion. She has a keen understanding of coalition-building, traditional and non-traditional government relations, and advocacy around federal policy and appropriations. Tricia has worked on a number of food system policy issues, including the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, Farm to School, Snap Ed, and coalition work focused on incentives, access, food security, and sustainable agriculture. She sits on the board of Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture.
Kaying Hang, director of Health Programs, Sierra Health Foundation, CA Tuesday, 9:00-10:45 am: Got Power?! Building Power to Transform Food and Ag Policy
KAYING HANG serves on the senior management team for Sierra Health Foundation and the Center for Health Program Management as the director of health programs. In this role, Kaying oversees programs including the Sacramento Region Health Care Partnership, the Healthy Sacramento Coalition, the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund, and the steering committee on Reduction of African American Child Deaths. Kaying had served as the interim director of health programs since February, and previously was a senior program officer when she [...]
joined the foundation in 2013.
Ferd Hoefner, senior policy director, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), DC Tuesday, 2:00-3:45 pm: Election Reflection—NOW is the Time… For What?
FERD HOEFNER is the policy director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), and has been the group’s senior Washington, DC representative since its founding in 1988. NSAC is the leading voice for sustainable agriculture in the federal policy arena, joining together the voices of more than 100 grassroots farm, food, conservation, and rural organizations from all regions of the country to advocate for federal policies supporting the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, [...]
and rural communities. Before his work with NSAC, Hoefner represented Interfaith Action for Economic Justice and its predecessor, the Interreligious Taskforce on U.S. Food Policy, on federal policy on farm, food, and international development issues for nearly a decade. He has also served as a policy consultant to Bread for the World, Center for Rural Affairs, Conference on Alternative State and Local Public Policies, Land Stewardship Project, Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs, and U.S. Catholic Conference, among others.
Alan Hunt, Ph.D., owner and principal, Local Food Strategies, LLC, NJ Wednesday, 8:30-10:15 am: The Farm Bill—What the Cluck?!
ALAN R. HUNT, PhD provides consulting services on local food systems, healthy food access, policy analysis and strategy, interdisciplinary research, and evaluation design through Local Food Strategies LLC. He is passionate about policy, coalition-building, and cross-sector stakeholder engagement. Alan has pursued projects that bridge stakeholder communities, including developing a narrative of “Retail Agriculture” for Farm Credit Council; co-developing a randomized controlled trial on nutrition incentives for Wholesome Wave to inform Congress and nutrition advocates on nutrition incentive policy; and supporting the 2005-2008 Farm [...]
and Food Policy Project, a 550 cross-sector alliance of sustainable agriculture, nutrition, and rural development organizations. His 2015 book, “Civic Engagement in Food Systems Governance: a comparative perspective on American and British local food movements,” identified that funder engagement is the critical component for sustained cross-sector policy advocacy on sustainable agriculture, local food systems, and healthy food access. Alan’s perspective is rooted in his experiences growing up on a 28-acre family farm in rural New Jersey during a time of rapid development. Grateful for the farmland preservation movement, he saw a need to address agriculture’s economic viability, which became his professional focus. After pursuing federal policy in that area while at the Northeast Midwest Institute and the Wallace Center in Washington, DC, he pursued a PhD in rural development at Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University (UK) as a Fulbright Scholar. Alan has worked from his family’s farm in Hampton, New Jersey since 2013 and is a trustee of the Musconetcong Watershed Association.
Janaki Jagannath, coordinator, Community Alliance for Agroecology, CA Tuesday, 9:00-10:45 am: Got Power?! Building Power to Transform Food and Ag Policy
JANAKI JAGANNATH coordinates the Community Alliance for Agroecology, a coalition of rural nonprofits that work to advance agricultural and environmental policy toward justice for communities bearing the burden of California’s food system. Most recently Janaki worked at California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. in Fresno, enforcing worker protections and environmental justice protections such as access to clean drinking water for farmworker communities in California’s agricultural heartland. Previously Janaki assisted in curriculum [...]
development for a new sustainable agriculture and food systems degree at UC Davis, a major step for the state of California in shifting paradigms of agricultural education. She has farmed in diversified and orchard crops across the state, including conducting training at the Refugee Entrepreneurial Agriculture Project in San Diego County with refugee women farmers. She operates a blog and website called the Marigold Society, aimed at lifting up the stories of small-scale diversified farmers who are growing against the odds of the environmental injustice and socioeconomic burden of the San Joaquin Valley. She is an artist, musician, and novice plant breeder. Janaki holds a BS in agricultural development from UC Davis and a producers’ certification in ecological horticulture from UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.
Christine James, director of programs, The John Merck Fund, MA Wednesday, 10:45-12:15 pm: Sharing Success: Funder Panel on Engaging in Policy Change
CHRISTINE JAMES is a program officer at The John Merck Fund (JMF). She came to the Fund in 2008 after more than 20 years working for small, community-based human service and environmental nonprofit organizations in Maine and Massachusetts. She has a BA in art history from Bowdoin College and a MA in public policy from Tufts University’s urban and environmental policy program. Just prior to coming to JMF, she was executive director of EarthWorks, a small urban greening organization based in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Christine’s work in Maine included four years as executive director of an [...]
educational organic farm and two years working on clean energy and climate change issues. At JMF, her work centers on food systems initiatives in New England, with particular emphasis on the farm-to-institution value chain and on environmental health issues, primarily chemicals policy reform.
Loretta Jaus, dairy farmer/member, Organic Valley and Land Stewardship Project; White House Champion of Change for Sustainable Agriculture, MN Wednesday, 2:00-3:30 pm: The Problem is the Solution: Climate Change and Agriculture
LORETTA JAUS and her husband Martin operate a 410-acre, rotationally grazed, 60-cow dairy in south-central Minnesota. In 1980, with degrees in biology and wildlife management, the couple settled in as the fourth generation on Martin’s family farm where their training created a natural backdrop for the farm’s conservation focus and subsequent transition to certified organic production—a move that nicely accommodated the family’s environmental, [...]
economic, and social objectives. Loretta currently serves on the boards of The Land Stewardship Project and Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Ag, and has had roles in Environmental Initiative’s Ag Leadership Dialogue project, and CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley’s Outreach and Education Programs. Loretta was named a 2015 White House Champion of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture.
Esteban Kelly, co-executive director, U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, PA Tuesday, 11:15-12:45 pm: Policy as Levers for Wealth Equality in the Agrifood System
ESTEBAN KELLY is the executive director for the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC), and is a founder and core trainer with the Anti-Oppression Resource & Training Alliance (AORTA), a worker co-op whose consulting supports organizations fighting for social justice and a solidarity economy. He has served on numerous boards, including the USFWC, the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network, the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA-CLUSA), the LCA land trust, and NASCO. He is an advisor to Beautiful Trouble, a network [...]
of artist-activist trainers. He was a co-founder and first board president of the cross-sector Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA), and recently worked at the New Economy Coalition, first as development director and then as staff director. Esteban is a mayoral appointee to the Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council, where he co-chaired the Zero-Waste subcommittee before co-convening the Workforce & Economic Development subcommittee. During his eight years as a worker-owner at Mariposa Food Co-op, Esteban served on its first board of directors and as a staff delegate. He co-founded Mariposa’s Food Justice and Anti-Racism working group and created structures to institutionalized the grocery store’s staff collective while expanding food access in West Philly.
Eric Kessler, founder, principal, and managing director, Arabella Advisors, DC Tuesday, 2:00-3:45 pm: Election Reflection—NOW is the Time… For What?
ERIC KESSLER is a serial entrepreneur who has started, led, and advised organizations pursuing social change across the country and around the globe. As founder of Arabella Advisors, Eric has focused on helping clients achieve their philanthropic goals by devising strategies, mounting effective advocacy campaigns, evaluating impact, increasing operational efficiency, and designing and implementing impact investing portfolios. Now, with a CEO in place to run the business, Eric is focusing his energy on advising clients who are working [...]
to improve our food system through policies and business investments that promote nutritious, sustainable, and affordable food. He holds an Executive MBA from Georgetown University and a BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Earl Lui, program director, The California Wellness Foundation, CA Tuesday, 11:15-12:45 pm: Legalities of Funding Policy Change
EARL LUI is a program director at The California Wellness Foundation, where he currently manages grantmaking related to strengthening community clinics and safety-net partners, and fostering healthy environments. His responsibilities include reviewing letters of interest, requesting and evaluating grant proposals, conducting site visits, making funding recommendations, and monitoring active grants. Before joining Cal Wellness in December 2006, Earl was senior attorney at Consumers Union’s West Coast office in San Francisco, focusing on health care advocacy. He also worked for Consumers Union on financial [...]
services advocacy. Prior to that, he was an associate trainer for Coro Northern California, a leadership training program; a staff attorney for Public Advocates, Inc.; and an associate with the law firm of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro. Earl is currently co-chair of the steering committee for the Health and Environmental Funders Network. A member of the State Bar of California, he earned his law degree from the University of Michigan and his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Suzanne Lutfalla, 4 pour 1000, France Wednesday, 2:00-3:30 pm: The Problem is the Solution: Climate Change and Agriculture
SUZANNE LUTFALLA, PhD is a soil carbon sequestration scientist. She serves as the scientific officer of the ‘4 per 1000’ initiative, an international research program that aims to address the threefold challenge of climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, and food security by enhancing soil organic carbon stocks by 0.4% annually. She holds a PhD in environmental science, and her research interests focus on (a) understanding the mechanisms that explain long-term sequestration of carbon in soils, and (b) developing technical tools to estimate the carbon sequestration potential in soils across different scales and systems. [...]
She currently works at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and is also involved in the work of the Global Research Alliance on agricultural greenhouse gases (GRA). She has been awarded several prizes for her scientific work, including the prestigious L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science national fellowship.
Lupe Martinez, assistant director, Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment, CA Tuesday, 9:00-10:45 am: Got Power?! Building Power to Transform Food and Ag Policy
LUPE MARTINEZ is a long-time community leader in Kern County and the San Joaquin Valley. A former farmworker, he worked alongside Cesar Chavez for years with the United Farm Workers as an organizer, regional director, and vice-president. Now the assistant director of the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment (CRPE), he continues to fight for environmental justice in Kern County and beyond.
Jeanne Merrill, policy director, California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN), CA Monday, 9:30-4:00 pm: Leveraging Research and Advocacy While Building Power…
JEANNE MERRILL is the policy director for the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN), a coalition that advances sustainable agricultural solutions to climate change. She has more than 20 years of experience in agricultural, environmental, and energy policy advocacy at the state and national levels. Prior to her time with CalCAN, Jeanne was the associate policy director with the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (MFAI) in Wisconsin. Jeanne currently sits on the organizational council of the National Sustainable Agriculture [...]
Coalition (NSAC). She holds a BA in political science from UC San Diego and a MS in land resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alameda, CA.
Wendy Millet, ranch director, TomKat Ranch, CA Monday, 9:30-4:00 pm: Leveraging Research and Advocacy While Building Power…
WENDY MILLET is the director of TomKat Ranch and Educational Foundation. At TomKat Ranch, an innovative team of conservation biologists and livestock managers work together to implement conservation grazing and document the benefits for the ranch’s water, soil, climate and biodiversity. For more than 20 years, Wendy has worked to bridge a love of conservation and working landscapes with practical economic solutions and effective partnerships.
Faith Mitchell, president and CEO, Grantmakers in Health, DC Wednesday, 10:45-12:15 pm: Health, Equity, Organizing from Fork to Field
FAITH MITCHELL, PhD, is president and CEO of Grantmakers In Health (GIH), a Washington, DC-based philanthropic affinity group that supports and informs the work of health foundations and corporate giving programs across the country. From 2007 to 2012, she was vice president for program and strategy at GIH. Throughout her career, Dr. Mitchell has bridged research, practice, and policy to improve population health. She served 12 years at the National Academies, both at the Institute of Medicine, where she was responsible for the health disparities portfolio, and as a center director in the Division of Social and Behavioral [...]
Sciences and Education of the National Research Council. At the National Academies, she co-edited several major reports on topics that included urban governance, racial/ethnic trends, and health disparities. She has also held leadership positions at the U.S. Department of State, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and The San Francisco Foundation. Dr. Mitchell serves on numerous boards related to improving health and health care. She holds a doctorate in medical anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Jake Mogan, program associate, The 11th Hour Project, CA Wednesday, 10:45-12:15 pm: Sharing Success: Funder Panel on Engaging in Policy Change
JAKE MOGAN is a program associate within the Oil & Gas Program at the 11th Hour Project, where he works to reduce the public health and ecological impacts of extractive energy systems in the U.S. He holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master of Social Work degree from Boston College. Before joining the 11th Hour Project, Jake contributed to the development of a faith-based health initiative at the Boston Public Health Commission and supported community outreach for an oncology program at the Cambridge Health Alliance.
Kelly Mulville, director of farming and education, Paicines Ranch, CA Monday, 9:30-4:00 pm: Leveraging Research and Advocacy While Building Power…
KELLY MULVILLE has designed for, consulted with, and presented to grape growers, farmers, and ranchers throughout the western U.S., Spain, New Zealand, Australia, and China–in addition to farming and working with livestock for most of his life. His work focuses on combining the principles of holistic management with experience in viticulture, orchards, and crop farming to design and create farming practices that are resilient, productive, and profitable such that they may contribute to the restoration of ecosystem health, beauty, and productivity. His education includes studies in ecological horticulture, viticulture, and holistic [...]
management. Kelly manages Paicines Ranch and runs an agricultural design service.
Brent Newell, legal director, Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment, CA Monday, 9:30-4:00 pm: Leveraging Research and Advocacy While Building Power…
BRENT NEWELL works with the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment’s (CRPE) team of attorneys and community organizers to deliver CRPE’s unique style of environmental justice advocacy–’on tap and not on top.’ Brent has 16 years of environmental justice litigation and policy experience on air quality, pesticide, climate change, factory farm, and civil rights issues and has served as CRPE’s legal director since 2008. Brent joined CRPE as an Equal Justice Fellow at the Delano office in 2000 and implemented a project to help rural [...]
communities protect themselves from unregulated factory farm air pollution. By the end of 2003, Brent founded the San Joaquin Valley Air Quality Project–which led to him earning the Breathe California Clean Air Award for Leadership in 2008–and led a coalition of allies that ended California’s agricultural exemption from air pollution regulations. Brent litigated a series of cases over ten years through which he forced California to adopt regulations to reduce volatile organic compound emissions from pesticide use and held factory dairy farms accountable for Clean Air Act violations. Brent currently focuses on CRPE’s climate justice campaign, where he leads CRPE’s effort to reduce factory dairy farms’ methane emissions. He also works to ensure that California’s climate policies achieve environmental justice, which includes carbon pricing reform and stopping cap and trade. A lifelong Californian, Brent graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1992, and earned his JD at the University of Oregon School of Law. Brent lives in Sonoma County, where he grew up.
Janelle Orsi, executive director and co-founder, Sustainable Economies Law Center, CA Tuesday, 11:15-12:45 pm: Policy Levers for Wealth Equality in the Agrifood System
JANELLE ORSI is an activist, lawyer, writer, cartoonist, and co-founder/executive director of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, which facilitates the growth of more sustainable and localized economies through education, research, legal services, policy advocacy, and coalition-building. Janelle is the author of Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy: Helping People Build Cooperatives, Social Enterprise, and Local Sustainable Economies (American Bar Association 2012). Lately, Janelle has been working on combating gentrification [...]
and displacement by decommodifying housing through innovative ownership models; spreading models for non-hierarchical nonprofit organizations; transforming the legal profession to create greater equity and access to the law; and establishing community-owned renewable energy projects. She recently created an organization called Coopivore that aggregates consumer buying power to support worker cooperatives in the food and farming industries. Janelle makes cartoon videos to envision a just and sustainable world and to demystify everything about the law, and has recently explored the fascinating legal life of compost, cemeteries, seeds, the home care industry, and countless other things.
Pablo Rodriguez, executive director, Communities for a New California, CA Tuesday, 9:00-10:45 am: Got Power?! Building Power to Transform Food and Ag Policy
PABLO RODRIGUEZ has twenty-two years of experience developing successful mass civic and electoral participation campaigns throughout the United States. Pablo is based in Sacramento and oversees the Communities for a New California (CNC) Education Fund’s integrated leadership development and mass voter engagement strategy, which serves Riverside, Imperial, Fresno, Tulare, Merced, Stanislaus, and Sacramento counties. The integration of CNC Education Fund’s grassroots leadership development and mass [...]
non-partisan voter engagement creates an environment in which CNC Education Fund serves as a trusted messenger able to build relationships with families living in the San Joaquin and Coachella Valleys. Since 2011, CNC Education Fund’s year-round nonpartisan civic engagement programs have spoken with over 150,000 voters via live phone calls and directly at their homes. Prior to joining Communities for a New California, Pablo served as a public policy consultant and communications director at a Sacramento political strategy firm. His responsibilities included the development and implementation of federal political strategy, issue research, communications, and national community organizing projects. Pablo also previously served as director of the Dolores Huerta Community Organizing Institute, where he developed trainings for mass base-building and direct political action campaigns for organizations throughout California. In addition, he developed service-learning programs with San Jose State University, the National Association of Social Workers, and Loyola Marymount University (LMU). In partnership with LMU, he also initiated the development of the first micro-finance program focusing exclusively on farm workers in the United States.
Chuck Ross, secretary, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, VT Speaking time TBA; Participating Tuesday – Wednesday
CHUCK ROSS was appointed as the secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets in January 2011 by Governor Peter Shumlin. Prior to his role as secretary, he served for 16 years as the State Director U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy and six years as a state legislator from Hinesburg, VT. As state representative, Ross served as chair of the House Natural Resource and Energy Committee. He has also served as a trustee at Fletcher Allen Health Care; a trustee at the [...]
University of Vermont; on the board of directors at Shelburne Farms; and on the advisory board of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and the advisory board of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Vermont. In addition, Ross has served on many state and local government boards and commissions. He served as the president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) from 2013-2014. Born in Burlington, Vermont, he graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in geography in 1978 and from the University of Washington with an M.A. in geography in 1982. He resides in Hinesburg where he continues to help run the family farm with his brother and sister.
Karen Ross, secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture, CA Tuesday, 8:30-9:00am: Welcome and Special Address…
KAREN ROSS was appointed secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture on January 12, 2011 by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. Secretary Ross has deep leadership experience in agricultural issues nationally, internationally, and in California. Before joining CDFA, Secretary Ross was chief of staff for U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a position she accepted in 2009. Prior to that appointment, she served as president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers from 1996-2009, and as vice-president of [...]
the Agricultural Council of California from 1989-1996. Before moving to California, Secretary Ross served as Director of Government Relations for the Nebraska Rural Electric Association and as Field Representative for U.S. Senator Edward Zorinsky.
Secretary Ross is passionate about fostering the reconnection of consumers to the land and the people who produce their food, and to improving the access of all California citizens to healthy, nutritious California-grown agricultural products, celebrated for their diversity and abundance in serving local, national and global markets. During Secretary Ross’ tenure, the Department has focused on core functions to protect and promote California agriculture in a time of significant budget reductions, and has emphasized change-management to position the agency to more effectively and efficiently serve its stakeholders in meeting the challenges of the 21st century. Secretary Ross has strengthened partnerships across government, academia, and the nonprofit sector in the drive to maintain and improve environmental stewardship and to develop adaptation strategies for the specific impacts of climate change. She has initiated programs to provide greater opportunities for farmers and ranchers to engage in sustainable environmental stewardship practices through water conservation, energy efficiency, nutrient management, and ecosystem services.
Secretary Ross grew up as a 4-H kid on a farm in western Nebraska. She and her husband, Barry, own 800 acres of the family farm where her younger brother, a fourth-generation farmer, grows dryland wheat, feed grains and cattle. The Secretary has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is a graduate of the Nebraska Ag Leadership Program. She has served on numerous boards and committees in California agriculture and with various academic institutions.
Ricardo J. Salvador, Ph.D., director and senior scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists, DC Wednesday, 8:30-10:15 am: The Farm Bill—What the Cluck?!
RICARDO SALVADOR, PhD is the senior scientist and director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. In this role, he works with citizens, scientists, economists, and politicians to transition our current food system into one that grows healthy foods while employing sustainable and socially equitable practices. Before coming to UCS, Dr. Salvador served as a program officer for food, health, and well-being with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Prior to that, he was an associate professor of agronomy at Iowa State [...]
University. While at ISU, Dr. Salvador taught the first course in sustainable agriculture at a land-grant university, and his graduate students conducted some of the original academic research on community-supported agriculture. He also worked with students to establish ISU’s student-operated organic farm, and with other faculty to develop the nation’s first sustainable agriculture graduate program in 2000. Dr. Salvador was named a 2013 NBC Latino Innovator and received the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2014. Dr. Salvador earned a BS in agricultural science from New Mexico State University. He holds an MS and PhD in crop production and physiology from Iowa State University.
Mark Schultz, associate director, Land Stewardship Project, MN Wednesday, 8:30-10:15 am: The Farm Bill—What the Cluck?!
MARK SCHULTZ is Land Stewardship Project’s associate director, and policy and organizing director. In January 2017, Mark will take on the role of executive director at LSP. Mark has led numerous successful campaigns in farm and rural policy and organizing while building an effective membership organization in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. LSP’s campaigns range from local campaigns that stop proposed factory farms and frac sand mines; to winning sustainable ag policy at the state level; to the development, passage, implementation, and usage of proactive federal policy like the Conservation Stewardship Program and the [...]
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. A key to LSP’s successful approach, established by Mark, is the practice of organizing LSP steering committees composed of LSP members directly impacted by issues (e.g. the Farm Bill), who set LSP policy priorities and decide and lead the strategies to build and wield power to advance them. Mark also initiated LSP’s membership and individual giving program, leading to continuous growth in LSP’s membership and individual giving over the past 11 years. For the past six years, much of Mark’s work in Minnesota has focused on working with other base-building organizations to align progressive power across the state in a new, multi-racial, multi-sector, and statewide movement for environmental stewardship, prosperous communities, and economic, racial, and social justice.
Phoebe Seaton, co-founder and co-director, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, CA Monday, 9:30-4:00 pm: Leveraging Research and Advocacy While Building Power…
PHOEBE SEATON leads Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability’s state-level policy work, and is based in Sacramento. Before launching Leadership Counsel, Phoebe directed the Community Equity Initiative (CEI) at California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc., and was the policy coordinator for issues related to water and land use at California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. Phoebe initiated the CEI to address critical infrastructure and service deficits in low income, unincorporated communities in California, litigating civil rights and fair [...]
housing claims. She attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she received her BA in history. She then spent time in Guatemala, working to address human rights violations, and went on to complete her JD at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Seth Shonkoff, executive director, Physicians, Scientists, Engineers (PSE) Healthy Energy, CA Monday, 6:30-8:30 pm: Water and Agriculture Policy Dinner
SETH SHONKOFF, PhD is the executive director of the energy science and policy institute, PSE Healthy Energy. Dr. Shonkoff is also a visiting scholar in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, and an affiliate in the Environment Energy Technology Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. An environmental and public health scientist by training, he has more than 15 years of experience in water, air, climate, and population health research. Dr. Shonkoff completed his PhD in [...]
the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and his MPH in epidemiology in the School of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a contributing author to the human health chapter of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Dr. Shonkoff was also the lead author of the two human health chapters in the California Senate Bill 4 Independent Scientific Study on hydraulic fracturing and well stimulation, published in July 2015. He has worked and published on topics related to the intersection of energy, air pollution, water quality, climate, and human health from scientific and policy perspectives. Dr. Shonkoff’s current work focuses on the human health, environmental, and climate dimensions of oil and gas development in the United States and abroad.
Nikki Silvestri, co-founder and CEO, Silvestri Strategies, CA Monday, 9:30-4:00 pm: Leveraging Research and Advocacy While Building Power…
NIKKI SILVESTRI is the co-founder and CEO of Silvestri Strategies, a project design and management firm working to support thriving communities, economies, and natural environments. 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 in 2014.
Betsy Taylor, philanthropic advisor, Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions, MD Wednesday, 2:00-3:30 pm: The Problem is the Solution: Climate Change and Agriculture
BETSY TAYLOR is president of Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions. Her small consulting firm specializes in high impact philanthropy, results-oriented strategic initiatives, and in building diverse networks of leaders dedicated to addressing societal problems at the speed and scale required. Betsy helped found and served as vice-chair of the Environmental Grantmakers Association and previously directed the Merck Family Fund, Ottinger Foundation, and Stern Family Fund. She led several nonprofit groups, including the Center for a New American [...]
Dream, and helped launch the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, Iraq Peace Fund, State Voices, and several others. She is a trustee with Town Creek Foundation and serves on numerous boards. She received her BA from Duke University and her MPA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She and her brothers manage an organic hay operation. Betsy lives with her husband in Takoma Park, Maryland and is an avid gardener, native plant enthusiast, and mother of two adult children. In these turbulent times, she takes great solace in meditation, nature, and in friends. One current strategic focus is on the potential of regenerative agriculture to mitigate global warming emissions and ensure a more resilient future.
Ellen Teller, director of government affairs, Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), DC Wednesday, 8:30-10:15 am: The Farm Bill—What the Cluck?!
ELLEN TELLER is the director of government affairs at the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). Ellen directs the development and implementation of FRAC’s legislative agenda, working with Congress, national organizations, and FRAC’s diverse state and local grassroots network. Paramount to this agenda is improved access and participation for low-income individuals and families to domestic food and nutrition programs–SNAP (formerly food stamps), School Lunch and Breakfast, Summer Food, WIC, Child and Adult Care Feeding Program [...]
(CACFP), commodity programs (TEFAP and CSFP)–and anti-poverty programs. Ellen joined FRAC in 1986 as a staff attorney, and provided technical support to legal services attorneys on food law issues. She previously worked at the American Bar Association’s Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Ellen has a BA in political science and English literature from the State University of New York at Oneonta, and a JD from Western New England University School of Law. She is a member of the DC Bar and is the board chair of the Coalition on Human Needs. Ellen has been honored by the National WIC Association, the National Commodity Supplemental Food Program Association, the Congressional Hunger Center (Emerson Fellows’ Fairy Godmother Award), and the State University of New York at Oneonta.
Sarah Vared, interim director, ReFED; principal, MissionPoint Partners, CA Wednesday, 10:45-12:15 pm: Sharing Success: Funder Panel on Engaging in Policy Change
SARAH VARED is a principal at MissionPoint Partners and currently acts as interim director of ReFED. She was responsible for designing, fundraising for, and implementing the ReFED Roadmap, a funder-driven and multi-stakeholder collaborative effort to develop a roadmap to reduce food waste in the United States. Sarah continues to drive the organization in its 2016-2017 activities. At MissionPoint Partners, her portfolio includes expertise in investments related to sustainability, agriculture, efficiency, and resilience. Previously, Sarah worked for Pacific [...]
Gas and Electric Company, where her work included the development of innovative programs to reduce energy consumption through analytics and automation.
John Wick, co-founder, Marin Carbon Project; owner, Nicasio Native Grass Ranch, CA Monday, 9:30-4:00 pm: Leveraging Research and Advocacy While Building Power…
JOHN WICK is a rancher, research project developer, and venture philanthropist who actively identifies, develops, and manages a portfolio of ideas, individuals, projects, programs, and partnerships that hold promise to measurably lower Earth’s temperature and stabilize our climate. He co-founded the Marin Carbon Project.