NATHAN AABERG joined the Liberty Prairie Foundation as the program director for Food, Farms, and Environment in 2014. Through his leadership role at the Foundation, Nathan works to advance land conservation and open space protection while also helping to build a resilient and sustainable food system in the Chicago region. Nathan brings to the Foundation expertise in conservation, land preservation, facilitation, strategic planning, education program development, and project management.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Nathan helped to lead Conserve Lake County in several roles, including as the director of development, the associate director, and the interim executive director. During his 10-year career at Conserve, Nathan helped the organization transform from a local conservancy into a major county-wide land trust, preserve over 440 acres of open space, play an invaluable leadership role in the Liberty Prairie Reserve, develop key advocacy positions that shaped the consensus for an innovative and environmentally-sensitive Illinois Route 53 Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee report, and more than double Conserve’s annual operating budget.
Nathan developed a career in the environmental field after a number of experiences, including volunteering for restoration workdays at the North Park Nature Center in Chicago. This led to his work as a grant writer and newsletter editor with Friends of the Chicago River, an urban river restoration group. Prior to Friends of the Chicago River, he worked for Mitsubishi International where, among other things, he managed the export of Winnebago motorhomes to Japan.
Nathan completed a BA degree in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a master’s degree in East Asian Studies from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. Nathan also lived in Japan for one year, studying at Nanzan University and living with a Japanese family. A favorite memory from that time was joining the family in harvesting rice from their nearby field.
A native of Chicago, Nathan and his family have lived in the Prairie Crossing conservation community in Grayslake since 2004. Nathan and Mayumi have two sons and one daughter. He enjoys playing soccer, reading, travel, and blogging on the intersection of faith and environmental issues.
Avery C. Anderson Sponholtz directing philanthropy for the Globetrotter Foundation and the #NoRegrets Initiative, NM
AVERY C. ANDERSON SPONHOLTZ is responsible for directing philanthropy for the Globetrotter Foundation and the larger #NoRegrets Initiative (NRI), whose work is focused on improving the health of agricultural soils and agricultural communities in North America. She has a BA from Hamilton College (2003) and a Master’s degree from the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (2008). Prior to joining the NRI team, Avery was the president of Impairative LLC, a consulting company dedicated to activating authentic relationships between the people, land and animals in our emergent food system by strategically pairing philanthropy with regenerative opportunities. Avery worked for the Quivira Coalition, a non-profit dedicated to building resilience on Western working landscapes, first as a program director from 2008 to 2012, and then as the executive director from 2012 to 2015. She was a Wyss Conservation Scholar and an Audubon TogetherGreen Fellow. Avery was a founding board member of the National Young Farmers’ Coalition, and currently serves on the boards of the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association and Holistic Management International.
Lorena Andrade executive director, La Mujer Obrera, TX
LORENA ANDRADE is the director of La Mujer Obrera, a local independent organization located in El Paso, Texas, dedicated to creating communities defined by women. Andrade began working for LMO in 1998 and became its director in 2011. Andrade helped organize the women displaced from the garment industry as a result of the implementation of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As the organization grew Andrade collaborated with committees within the organization to identify, develop, and implement programs grounded in the history of women workers and Mexican indigenous heritage. She also participated in developing the social enterprise side of La Mujer Obrera, which includes: Rayito de Sol daycare center; Café Mayapan, a restaurant; and LumMetik Trading Co, which focuses on fair trade. The organization’s programing includes Familias Unidas, community organizing, Museo Maychen, a community garden, and annual cultural events.
ERIN AXELROD specializes in accelerating the spread of land-based businesses in the Next Economy. She does this through a range of initiatives including client work with LIFT Economy, where she is a partner, a regenerative agriculture investor network (RAIN), the Force for Good Fund and Restorative Ocean Economies and Building Resilient Communities Field-Building Initiatives. She also co-teaches an online 9-month Next Economy MBA program (www.lifteconomy.com/mba) geared towards empowering entrepreneurs with the skills and network to transform our economic systems towards the benefit of all life. She also lives at Land Restoration Project, Freestone Ranch, just outside of her hometown of Petaluma. When not working, she loves to forage wild mushrooms, huckleberries, elderberries and bay nuts to make nutrient dense foods for her friends.
Christie Badger consultant and independent organic inspector, National Organic Coalition, PA
CHRISTIE BADGER is an independent organic inspector. She has been a National Organic Coalition (NOC) consultant since 2015, working with NOC to facilitate their National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) work and attend the DC fly-in and annual meeting. In her role with NOC, she facilitates standards discussions, conducts research, and helps to write and deliver comments for the NOSB meeting. As an independent organic inspector since 2014, Christie specializes in inspecting dairies and poultry, as well as consulting with transitioning operations.
DUGAN BAD WARRIOR ranches with his wife and three daughters on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. He started Zuya Sica Ranch in 2007 with 22 cows and today runs a cow-calf operation of over 400 commercial Angus cows in the rolling breaks of the Moreau River. Zuya Sica Ranch is focused on profitability through sustainability: healthy land, healthy animals, healthy family.
ENRIQUE “KIKE” BALCAZAR is an organizer with Migrant Justice. He immigrated to the United States from Tabasco, Mexico when he was 17 years old. He joined his parents on a dairy farm in rural Vermont and worked for years on farms across the state. Enrique joined Migrant Justice and became a leader in the successful campaign to expand access to driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. He became part of the organization’s Farmworker Coordinating Committee and is now an organizer and spokesperson. Enrique is a principal architect of Milk with Dignity, a worker-led program securing human rights and economic justice in dairy supply chains. In 2017, during a campaign calling on Ben & Jerry’s to join the program, Enrique and fellow organizer Zully Palacios were arrested by ICE agents while leaving the Migrant Justice office. A wave of protests won their release from detention, though Enrique remains in deportation proceedings. Enrique continued to lead the Milk with Dignity campaign to victory, signing a historic contract with Ben & Jerry’s in October, 2017. Enrique is a recipient of the Mario Savio Young Activist Award and the Discount Foundation Legacy Award. He accepted the National Education Association’s “César Chávez Civil and Human Rights Award” on behalf of Migrant Justice.
Stacey Barbas senior program officer, The Kresge Foundation, MI
Thursday, 9:00-11:00 am: Leveraging Philanthropic Capital Under New Farm Bill Policies to Build Regional Food Economies Biographical profile
STACEY BARBAS is a senior program officer on the Kresge Foundation’s health team. She is responsible for managing a portfolio of approximately $20 million that focuses on increasing health equity by addressing conditions that lead to poor health outcomes. Her portfolio includes grants that address healthy food systems that benefit low-income communities, and she is a lead staff person on Fresh, Local, and Equitable, a $12 million initiative with the Foundation’s arts and culture program that funds projects around the country that use food-oriented programs to contribute to economic revitalization, cultural expression, and health in urban low-income communities. Stacey’s professional career in the nonprofit health and human service fields spans thirty years. She joined the Kresge Foundation in January 2008 after serving for five years as executive director of the Michigan AIDS fund, a statewide nonprofit grantmaking organization. She received a master of science in administration and management from Central Michigan University. She serves on the steering committee of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food System Funders and chairs the Policy Committee.
Sienna Baskin director, Anti-Trafficking Fund, NEO Philanthropy, MA
SIENNA BASKIN is director of the Anti-Trafficking Fund at NEO Philanthropy, currently funded by the Oak Foundation. Sienna’s role is to conduct due diligence and make grants to prevent human trafficking and aid its survivors in the United States; and develop and implement the strategic framework for the portfolio incorporating anti-trafficking, migration, labor rights, economic/social justice, and human rights concerns. Sienna oversees a capacity building program for grantees, collaborates on donor education events, and writes on human trafficking in supply chains, temporary guest workers, and sex workers rights. Her goal is to strengthen the anti-trafficking field, and engage a broad range of donors in field building and aligned grant making.
Before joining NEO Philanthropy, Sienna Baskin was managing director of the Urban Justice Center’s Sex Workers Project, where she worked for 9 years. While there she developed mission and strategy to protect the rights of victims of trafficking; acted as chief counsel in impact cases; managed human rights documentation research; and was a principal media spokesperson on the issue. She has served on the steering committees of local and national networks on human trafficking, including the New York State Bar Association’s Taskforce on Human Trafficking and the Freedom Network.
Sarah Bell program director, The 11th Hour Project, CA
SARAH BELL is program director for the Food & Agriculture program at The 11th Hour Project, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation. She sits on the board of Pie Ranch in Pescadero, CA and is active in numerous funder affinity groups including SAFSF and Neighborhood Funders Group. With a B.A. in both English Literature and French from the University of Colorado, she is an enthusiastic supporter of permaculture and lives in San Francisco with her husband and two sons.
Lenore Beyer director of conservation programs, Kinship Foundation, IL
LENORE BEYER is the director of conservation programs at Kinship Foundation where she manages Food:Land:Opportunity, a multi-year initiative that looks to increase the supply of local food in the Chicago region, and supports the strategic planning for Kinship Conservation Fellows. Prior to joining Kinship, Lenore was the vice president of policy and planning at Openlands, a regional conservation land trust, where she planned and implemented Openlands’ policy and advocacy agenda and managed specific projects to protect land, water and natural resources. This included creation of the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, integration of farmland protection with local food initiatives, and transforming Chicago schoolyards into greenspace. Lenore was previously the executive director of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, a citizen advocacy organization. She also served as president of the Illinois Environmental Council and on the Endangered Species Protection Board in Illinois. Lenore has a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.B.A. from the University of Illinois.
Marcus Briggs-Cloud co-director, Ekvn-Yefolecv, AL
MARCUS BRIGGS-CLOUD, a Maskoke person, scholar, and musician, co-directs Ekvn-Yefolecv Indigenous Maskoke Ecovillage. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Marcus is the author of several academic peer-reviewed articles intersecting liberation theology, linguistics, ecology, race, and gender identity. He is currently a doctoral candidate in interdisciplinary ecology at the University of Florida. Marcus has served as a spokesperson at the United Nations on the topic of Indigenous language endangerment and has served as a language revitalization consultant to Indigenous communities globally. Marcus was nominated for two Native American music awards for his album “Pum Vculvke Vrakkuecetv” (To Honor Our Elders) and served as composer and choir director for the Vatican canonization liturgy in Rome, Italy for the first Native American saint, Kateri Tekakwitha. He is partnered to Tawna Little, a Kvlice Maskoke person from the Skunk Clan.
Caroline Brunton program officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, MI
CAROLINE T. BRUNTON is a program officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. As part of the Food, Health & Well-Being team, she provides leadership and oversight for on-the-ground execution of programming efforts by evaluating grant proposals, conducting background research, preparation of funding documents, grant portfolio monitoring, promoting community connections and providing grantee technical assistance.
Prior to joining the foundation, Caroline was with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia for 13 years. Most recently, she was associate director for policy for the Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects where she led strategic partnerships and policy initiatives for many of CDC’s environmental health programs. Prior to that, she was a public health analyst, responsible for program evaluation, strategic planning, and Congressional relations for many of CDC’s chronic disease, community, and children’s health programs.
Caroline holds a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Rhode Island, as well as a master’s degree in epidemiology from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctorate from Georgia State University.
Rosalie Sheehy Cates senior advisor, the giving practice and impact investing catalyst fellow, Philanthropy Northwest, MO
ROSALIE CATES is a senior advisor at Philanthropy Northwest and The Giving Practice. She helps investors learn about and adopt impact strategies, working often with foundations. She is seasoned at developing policies and helping investment committees to evaluate specific transactions. She is currently delving more deeply into new models for investment committee work.
Mariela Cedeño interim executive director, Mandela Partners, CA
MARIELA CEDEÑO is the Interim Executive Director of Mandela Partners (MP). For over a decade, Mariela has shaped strategies that build the assets of community members, entrepreneurs, farmers, and values-aligned stakeholders engaged in cultivating our local economy and food system. As part of MP’s leadership team, she catalyzed the development of MP’s economic ventures framework, entrepreneurship programming, and Community Capital Fund – which seek to increase access to low-cost, relationship driven capital. In her role as Interim Director, Mariela develops and promotes new models for investment, growth, and shared wealth that sustain and elevate community ownership, opportunity and health. Mariela’s lifework is firmly based on the belief that supporting under-resourced entrepreneurs is key to building thriving, sustainable, and healthy communities. She brings with her a wide breadth of in-the-field experience in economic development, business advising, accessible capital, and community engagement. Mariela holds B.A. degrees in Economics and International Relations with honors from the University of California, Davis, and an M.A. in Latin American Development for Vanderbilt University. She is currently a BALLE fellow and a NALCAB Colegio alumni.
Trisha Chakrabarti affiliated consultant, DAISA Enterprises, NY
TRISHA CHAKRABARTI is an affiliated consultant working with DAISA. Trisha leads DAISA’s project to explore Equitable Food-Oriented Development as a practice and the organizations that do this work on the ground. Prior to that, she was Director of Programs and Policy at Mandela Partners, where she led community-based programming and research in food access, clinical-community linkages, SNAP/EBT acceptance, and healthy retailing. Trisha has worked in community food programming at the San Francisco/Marin Food Bank, was a research fellow at Food First, and has led participatory food access research and advocacy initiatives with restaurant workers and systems-impacted youth. She grew up in the South Asian diaspora and sees a community-owned food system as a key indicator of political and economic self-sovereignty.
Alison Cohen senior director of programs, WhyHunger, NY
ALISON COHEN is a senior director of programs for WhyHunger, a global non-profit organization that mobilizes resources and supports grassroots organizations and allies in building powerful, strategic, and unified networks and alliances working at the root causes of hunger and poverty to build and strengthen social movements in the struggle for food sovereignty worldwide. Previously, Alison worked with Heifer International where she organized groups of small farmers throughout the Midwest and Northeast to build local, sustainable food systems where limited-resource families, communities and beginner farmers –both rural and urban — have access to healthy food and income-earning opportunities. Alison also served as the director of Heifer International’s first urban agriculture program based in Chicago, Illinois for five years. Alison has a master’s degree in Sociology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a bachelor’s degree in English and French literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For the past twenty-five years, she has worked with farming communities in West Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United States.
Veronica Coptis executive director, Center for Coalifield Justice, PA
VERONICA COPTIS joined the Center for Coalfield Justice (CCJ) staff in March 2013 as a community organizer and is now serving as the executive director. She grew up in western Greene County near the Bailey Mine Complex and currently lives in the eastern part of the county. Before joining the CCJ staff, Veronica served on the board of directors for CCJ and as an organizer with Mountain Watershed Association. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from West Virginia University and is chapter chair for the Pennsylvania Chapter of Sierra Club. She enjoys hiking and geocaching at Ryerson State Park and other areas around Greene County with her husband and daughter. Image credit: Joshua Franzos
Denisse Córdova Montes supervising attorney / lecturer in law, Human Rights Clinic, University of Miami School of Law, FL
DENISSE CÓRDOVA is a supervising attorney and lecturer in law at the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law. From 2012 to 2018, Denisse was based in Germany, where she coordinated the Gender and Women’s Rights Program at FIAN International, an international human rights organization that promotes and defends the right to food. At FIAN, she oversaw human rights fact-finding and advocacy in Africa, Asia, and Latin America around rural, peasant, and Indigenous women’s rights. She also supported social movements’ lobbying with the United Nations in Geneva, New York, and Rome in cases concerning access to land, water, adequate nutrition, and decent working conditions as well as in global standard-setting processes, particularly concerning rural women’s right to food.
Denisse received her B.A. from the University of Miami, M.P.H. from Boston University, and J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Denisse co-authored a chapter for the book Gender, Nutrition, and the Right to Adequate Food: Towards an Inclusive Human Rights Framework (Routledge, 2015). She was born in Lima, Peru and has spent the majority of her life in the U.S. and considers Florida her home.
Jamaal Craig executive director, Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, PA
CHEF NEPHI CRAIG has 20 years of culinary experience in America and around the world in London, Germany, Brazil, and Japan. Nephi Craig is an enrolled member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe and is half Navajo. Chef Craig is also the founder of the Native American Culinary Association or NACA, an organization/network that is dedicated to the research, refinement, and development of Native American Cuisine. Chef Nephi Craig provides training, workshops and lecture sessions on Native American Cuisine for health to schools, restaurants, universities, treatment centers, behavioral health agencies, and tribal entities from across America and abroad. Chef Craig recently served as Executive Chef of the Sunrise Park Resort Hotel. During Chef Craig’s nine-year tenure at Sunrise Park resort, Craig and his White Mountain Apache culinary team achieved many national and international benchmarks in establishing a culture of Indigenous Foods across North America. Executive Chef Nephi Craig is currently the Nutritional Recovery Program Coordinator & Executive Chef at the Rainbow Treatment Center and Café Gozhóó on the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona.
TIM CROSBY leads the Thread Fund, which focuses on investing multiple forms of capital to generate social and environmental returns alongside financial returns. Tim is coordinator of the Cascadia Foodshed Financing Project, participant in the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, founding board member of Partners for Rural Washington, and partner with Social Venture Partners. Tim’s previous positions include co-chair for the Sustainable Agriculture and Food System Funders, director of Slow Money Northwest, board chair for the Washington Sustainable Food and Farming Network, board chair and interim executive director for NW Sustainable Energy for Economic Development, and program officer and trustee for the Carolyn Foundation. He also has 15 years of experience as a professional photographer and graphic designer. Tim coached club soccer for 11 years and lives in Edmonds with his wife and two daughters. He holds an MBA in sustainable business from Pinchot University and a BA in anthropology from Kenyon College. Tim will talk fly fishing with anyone.
Betty Cruz founder and All for All project director, Change Agency, PA
SCOTT CULLEN is the executive director at GRACE Communications Foundation. Scott helps manage the foundation’s philanthropy and focuses on sustainable food and agriculture work. He is an environmental attorney and previously worked on coastal and marine conservation issues with The Nature Conservancy and on energy issues with various nonprofits. Scott has also served on Board of Directors of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, the Sustainable Agriculture and Food System Funders Network. Presently, he is on the Steering Committee of the Global Alliance on the Future of Food as well as a Trustee of the Vermont Law School.
Kim Dempsey deputy director, Social Investment Practice, Kresge Foundation, MI
KIM DEMPSEY is deputy director of the Social Investment Practice at The Kresge Foundation. In that role, Kim works with Kresge program teams and external borrowers, financial intermediaries, banks and policymakers to identify areas where lack of capital is a barrier to helping vulnerable people improve their life circumstances.
She structures social investments using debt, equity, and guarantees and helps monitor those commitments. Kim played a central role in Kresge’s first social venture capital initiative, a partnership with the California HealthCare Foundation to finance companies that have technology- or service-based solutions that help health centers better serve patients.
Prior to joining Kresge in 2014, Kim worked at Capital Impact Partners (formerly NCB Capital Impact), a national non-profit community development financial institution. She held a number of positions in the organization including director of strategy and innovation. Most recently, Kim was senior director of lending and managed the team originating loans to organizations in underserved communities. She was also responsible for leading the strategic and tactical planning for multiple market sectors and contributing to the development of new products and services.
Bridget Dobrowski joined the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders in 2009 and has held many different roles and responsibilities during that time. She has a master’s in environmental science and management from the Bren School at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before grad school, her professional work experience included time with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary; interning with the Sonoran Institute in Montana and the Environmental Defense Center in Santa Barbara; and working as a biological field technician for the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service in Montana, Idaho, and Utah. She grew up half in Montana and half in Ohio, giving her the perspective to confidently say she always wants to live in the West, without thinking everyone else should feel the same way.
In addition to her professional work with environmental and food system issues over the last 15 years, Bridget has a passion for theater, yoga – especially AcroYoga, building & fixing things, sewing, crocheting, cooking, and helping friends whenever she can.
Linda Jo Doctor program officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, MI
LINDA JO DOCTOR is a program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. As a member of the food, health & well-being team, her work focuses on systems that impact health equity. She leads efforts to build an equitable food system; to increase access to good food for children, families, and communities; support entrepreneurship and food-related social enterprises; and create opportunities for living wage jobs. She is a founding member of the National Convergence Partnership and currently serves on the steering committee of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders. Previously, Doctor was deputy director for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Program Office housed at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She also directed the Division of Prevention at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where she provided leadership for statewide health promotion and prevention programs and interagency initiatives. Doctor received her Master of Public Health from Boston University School of Public Health. She received her Bachelor of Arts in social work from the University of Cincinnati College of Community Services. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in philanthropic studies at the Lily Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.
SARAH DOLL is the national director for Safer States, a highly successful strategic campaign that utilizes collective state and local action to secure policy protections and create pressure for market transformation and federal reforms to reduce the threat of harmful chemicals in our daily lives. She has over twenty years of experience in managing successful environmental health campaigns. Prior to Safer States, Sarah worked for the Oregon Environmental Council, the City of Portland, and for Congressional Representative John Conyers Jr. on Capitol Hill.
Helen Dombalis executive director, National Farm to School Network, CO
HELEN DOMBALIS serves as Executive Director for the National Farm to School Network. In her role, Helen collaborates with stakeholders nationwide to explore and execute farm to school innovation, programming, and advocacy to advance racial and social equity and to grow and sustain the farm to school movement. A native of Raleigh, NC, Helen received a Master of Public Health and a Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is now based in Colorado.
Niaz Dorry coordinating director, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance & National Family Farm Coalition, MA
NIAZ DORRY is the coordinating director of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance and National Family Farm Coalition based in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the oldest settled fishing port in the U.S. Niaz first began working with small-scale, traditional, and indigenous fishing communities in the U.S. and from around the globe as a Greenpeace oceans and fisheries campaigner 26 years ago. She believes protecting access to fishing rights and re-regionalization/re-localization of a seafood system that holds indigenous, and small and mid-scale fishermen at the center of it are essential to effective marine protection strategies. Time Magazine named Niaz as a Hero For The Planet for this work. Niaz’ work and approach have been noted in a number of books and publications including Fishermens Voices, SAMUDRA, Against the Tide, Deeper Shade of Green, The Spirit’s Terrain, Vanishing Species, The Great Gulf, Swimming in Circles, A Troublemaker’s Teaparty, and The Doryman’s Reflection. She is a graduate of the Rockwood Leadership Program’s Leading From Inside Out as well as Art of Leadership trainings and a Highland Foundation fellow at the Institute for Non-profit Practice. On May 1st, 2019 Niaz began coordinating the work of both NFFC and NAMA under an innovative shared leadership model. Before joining NAMA in 2008, Niaz served as the interim chief operations officer for the Healthy Building Network.
Zach Ducheneaux chairman of the board, Akiptan CDFI, Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, SD
ZACH DUCHENEAUX is part of the third generation to operate the family ranch on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in north central South Dakota. He and his brothers are now raising the fourth generation on the same ranch. A former tribal council representative for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe—also among the third generation to have done so—he now works for the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC), a nonprofit charged with improving the life circumstances of Indian agriculture producers. Zach also serves on the Board of Directors of the Northwest Area Foundation; and through the work of the Foundation, strengthened his perspective that solutions should be based on the affected population, not those who would solve their problems from afar. The resulting examination of the realm of Ag Finance is now the main focus of his work.
Farhad Ebrahemi founder and president, Chorus Foundation, NY
FARHAD EBRAHIMI is the Founder and Chair of the Chorus Foundation, which works for a just transition to a regenerative economy in the United States. The Chorus Foundation supports communities on the front lines of the old, extractive economy to build new bases of political, economic, and cultural power for systemic change. Through his work with Chorus, Farhad is most interested in the question of how philanthropy might play a role in putting itself out of business. Which is to say, how can the redistribution of consolidated wealth support the transition to a world in which such wealth is no longer extracted and consolidated in the first place? It is in this context that Chorus will be spending down its entire endowment by 2023. Farhad’s family history has been defined by multiple cultures, nationalities, political revolutions, and refugee experiences. To say that his parents talked politics at home when he was growing up would be an understatement, and the experience of being a first-generation Iranian American throughout the 1980s had a profound impact on Farhad in ways that he’s still unpacking. These early experiences – combined with a lifelong love of punk and subversive art in general – have defined a political trajectory that’s informed both his personal and professional outlook. Farhad serves on the boards of the Democracy Alliance and the Wildfire Project. He’s also a musician, a lover of film and literature, and a bicycle snob. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics with Computer Science, and he currently lives in Brooklyn.
MARA FLEISHMAN serves as the CEO of the Chef Ann Foundation (CAF), an organization founded in 2009 to focus on solutions to the school food crisis. After becoming involved in school food as a concerned parent, Mara served on the Chef Ann Foundation’s board of directors, and she later transitioned to executive director in March of 2013. Mara has nearly 20 years of experience working in natural products including 12 years with Whole Foods Market, where she served most recently as global director of partnerships. In addition to CAF, she has held board seats at The Growe Foundation, the Kitchen Community, and Naturally Boulder.
Allyson Frazier senior manager, Voices for Healthy Kids, American Heart Association, MA
ALLYSON FRAZIER is a senior manager with the American Heart Association. Allyson has worked in the field of public affairs for over twenty years. In over a decade with the American Heart Association, she has been responsible for planning and implementing advocacy campaigns on the local, state and regional level. Currently, she oversees grassroots strategy, media advocacy, public opinion research and policy development in support of Voices for Healthy Kids. Voices for Healthy Kids is a joint initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Heart Association working to make every day healthier for all children. Prior to joining the AHA, Allyson was the campaign manager of Clean Air Works, the successful campaign making Boston one of the first major cities to go smoke-free, and ultimately paving the way for a smoke-free state law. Her prior experience was in supporting the passage, implementing and monitoring of public health laws and regulations which provides her an excellent understanding of the process of implementing changes once a bill becomes a law. Allyson was awarded a Master’s in Social Work from Arizona State University specializing in community-based strategies and a BA from American University in international studies. Allyson is the proud mom of 3 wild kids raising them to change the world.
Chris Georgacas consultant, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, MN
CHRIS GEORGACAS is president and CEO of Goff Public, Inc., a public affairs and public relations firm. Over more than 35 years, his career has spanned national and state politics, government, media, business, philanthropy, and crisis management.
He leads Goff Public’s Native American practice, which has been working in Indian Country for 28 years successfully helping tribes protect their sovereignty and enterprises through strategic communications, government relations, litigation support, public opinion research and community relations.
Chris has served as managing consultant to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s Seeds of Native Health campaign, a $10 million effort to improve Native nutrition and food access through grantmaking, sponsored research, and educational initiatives. He also manages the Native Farm Bill Coalition, an advocacy alliance of more than 170 member tribes, Native organizations, and allies working to achieve greater inclusion in and access to USDA programs for Native nations and producers.
Chris regularly advises members of Congress; was the campaign chairman and principal strategist for a successful gubernatorial campaign; co-chaired a bipartisan state legislative reform task force; and has served on the boards of significant civic, public health, arts, and educational organizations. He was recently elected to the board of the National Indian Gaming Association.
Before joining Goff Public in 1998, Chris served in a variety of political and policy positions, including state Republican chairman in Minnesota, senior aide to two United States senators, and founder of a think tank’s policy prescription project.
WILL GLAZIK is a second generation organic farmer and crop advisor from the town of Paxton, Illinois. Will was raised on a mixed row crop and livestock certified organic farm before he studied Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. After graduation, Will went to work in agriculture retail sales prior to share-crop farming 640 acres. Currently, he is utilizing some no-till organic practices on his farm as well as consulting for organic row-crop transition farmers. Will is one of the co-founders of the IDEA Farm Network, which is a learning community for organic and conservation-minded farmers in the Midwest. He raises corn, soybeans, and wheat as well as specialty grains like open pollinated corn and wheat for brewers and distillers.
Lisa Anne Hamilton director, Climate and Energy Program, Center for International Environmental Law, DC
LISA ANNE HAMILTON is the director of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) Energy & Climate program. She leads CIEL’s efforts to use the power of law to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels, strengthen human rights in climate governance, and empower communities to assert and protect their own rights in the face of climate change.
Prior to joining CIEL, Lisa was a regulatory consultant whose work focused on leveraging the power of finance and securities laws to highlight climate risks and challenge investments in fossil fuel infrastructure. At the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), she supported a team of energy markets and financial analysts advocating for fair and full disclosure in the energy, mining, and utilities sectors. Lisa also worked alongside stakeholders to develop recommendations for the just transition for communities with retiring electric generation units. She has supported a number of initiatives to encourage the financing of renewable energy projects including a collaboration with the Pace Climate and Energy Center to advocate for the most just and environmentally effective methods to meet the requirements of the Clean Energy Standard in New York State.
Malik Hamilton purchasing supervisor, Pittsburgh Public Schools, PA
MALIK HAMILTON is a purchasing supervisor at Pittsburgh Public Schools. As the Purchasing Supervisor, Malik has an understanding of how each ingredient choice has an impact on health, sustainability, and program outcomes. Malik will be able to connect the national picture to what is happening on the ground in Pittsburgh.
Sarah Hayes senior material research and innovation manager, Patagonia Inc., CA (invited)
LILIAN HILL leads the Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture Institute as Executive Director with a focus on growing HTPI’s impact locally, regionally, and internationally. Lilian, along with her husband Jacobo, founded HTPI in 2004 as a way to develop community leadership and to provide opportunities for the Hopi community to develop sustainable solutions to the problems that exist on the Hopi reservation. In 2001, Lilian founded the Black Mesa Water Coalition, an organization working to address energy and water exploitation on the Navajo and Hopi Reservations. Lilian has traveled to Italy, Africa, India, Tajikistan, and Mexico learning, sharing her work, and promoting community sustainability models developed by HTPI. She has studied at the North American School of Natural Building and Northern Arizona University, focusing on Applied Indigenous Studies and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Lilian is a Certified Permaculture Designer and Natural Builder. In 2015 Lilian was awarded the Agricultural Humanitarian of Year Award by the Justin Willie Foundation and was recently accepted as a Skoll Foundation Fellow and has attended the 2019 Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford, England. Lilian is a member of the Tobacco clan and she lives in Kykotsmovi Village along with her husband and children in their hand-built Passive Solar Home. In her free time, she writes poetry, prepares delicious meals using locally grown fruits and vegetables, chases chickens and turkeys, runs sandy trails, and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Jen Jackson toxics reduction and healthy ecosystems program manager, San Francisco Department of the Environment, CA
JEN JACKSON manages the Toxics Reduction & Healthy Ecosystems Program at the San Francisco Department of the Environment. She and her team lead a variety of campaigns and programs and implement policies that reduce toxic pollution and improve environmental and public health, such as a first-in-the-nation reporting requirement for antibiotics use in meat and poultry production, an integrated pest management program, green purchasing program, an urban biodiversity program, and an extensive residential household hazardous waste disposal program. Prior to joining San Francisco in 2015, Jen worked in wastewater and stormwater pollution prevention for almost eight years in the public sector, and began her environmental career in the non-profit sector at Sierra Club and Save The Bay. Jen earned her master’s degree in Resource Management & Environmental Planning with a focus in water resources.
Christine H. James executive director, The John Merck Fund, MA
CHRISTINE H. JAMES is the executive director of The John Merck Fund. Christine came to The John Merck Fund in 2008 after 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 an MA in public policy from Tufts University’s Urban and Environmental Policy program. Just before coming to JMF, she was executive director of EarthWorks, a small urban greening organization based in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Her 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. Before becoming executive director, she was JMF’s director of programs from 2008 to 2017, when she oversaw the foundation’s environmental grants programs: Clean Energy, Health and the Environment, and Regional Food Systems.
Saru Jayaraman president, ROC United and ROC Action; director, Food Labor Research Center, NY
SARU JAYARAMAN is the co-founder and president of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) and director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley.
After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC, which now
has more than 30,000 worker members, 500 employer partners, and 23,000 consumer members in a dozen states nationwide. Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was listed in CNN’s “Top 10 Visionary Women” recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014, and granted a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2015.
In January 2018, she attended the Golden Globes as the guest of actor Amy Poehler, where she brought widespread attention to the issue of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry. Saru was one of eight women activists who attended the Globes as part of the #TimesUp initiative. Saru authored Behind the Kitchen Door (Cornell University Press, 2013), a national bestseller, and Forked: A New Standard for American Dining (Oxford University Press, 2016). She has appeared on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Melissa Harris Perry and UP with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the Today Show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.
Anupama Joshi executive director, Blue Sky Funders Forum, NC
ANUPAMA JOSHI is the executive director of Blue Sky Funders Forum – a funder affinity group focused on expanding philanthropy to promote environmental literacy. Anupama has worked at the nexus of food systems, health and the environment throughout her career, and is an accomplished leader in the non-profit and social sector in the United States and abroad. She was previously executive director of the National Farm to School Network, which she co-founded in 2007, building a movement to incorporate local procurement, gardens and food and farm education in schools and early care sites across the United States. Anupama is a co-author of Food Justice (MIT Press, 2010). She has advised the United States Department of Agriculture on the Farm to School Census. Anupama currently serves on the board of directors for the Farmers Market Coalition and was previously a board member with FoodCorps and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers. Anupama provides mentorship to emerging leaders through the Community Food Systems Mentorship Program. She is a mom, loves to travel, and cook, and currently lives in Cary, North Carolina.
Sarah Kelley senior program officer, Island Foundation, MA
SARAH KELLEY directs the Environment program at the Island Foundation, where her work spans agriculture, food, and fiber systems; climate change and renewable energy; and land and water conservation. Sarah a leader in the emerging area of national work focused on sustainability in the textile and apparel industry, and the connections between regenerative food and fiber systems. She is the author of the 2017 report: “Common Threads: U.S. Foundation Opportunities in Sustainable Fiber and Textiles.” She also developed and implemented a program on equity, inclusion, and environmental justice for the Foundation. Sarah is a co-founder of the Southeastern New England Fibershed and a guest lecturer on sustainability in apparel production at Rhode Island School of Design. Prior to joining Island Foundation, she was the Executive Director of a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and expanding sustainable farming and access to local food. Sarah holds an M.S. in Plant and Soil Sciences from the University of Massachusetts and a B.A. in History from Yale. She is currently a 2018-19 RSF Integrated Capital Fellow, focusing on integrating investment and grantmaking strategies to drive change in the U.S. sustainable textile field.
Kendra Kimbirauskas sustainable agriculture program consultant, State Innovation Exchange (SiX), OR
KENDRA KIMBIRAUSKAS serves as the Sustainable Agriculture Program Consultant for State Innovation Exchange (SiX). Kendra works with national staff at SiX as well as in-state and national partners to promote progressive agriculture policies across the country. Kendra brings nearly two decades of experience in agricultural policy and rural organizing to her role. She grew up on a Michigan dairy farm and recently served as chief executive officer for Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP). Kendra has experience working alongside citizen groups, environmental advocates, and sustainable agriculture organizations to shape ecologically-responsible farm and food policies at the state level. Kendra co-founded what is now Oregon’s most influential small farm advocacy organization, Friends of Family Farmers, and served as the group’s registered lobbyist for three legislative sessions. Kendra spent time working as an organizer with the Sierra Club in Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, and Oregon. She also worked as a grassroots organizer for the Illinois Stewardship Alliance and served as the program and communications director for the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. Kendra and her husband live and farm in Oregon where they raise beef cattle, hogs, goats, chickens and turkeys on pasture.
Jamese Kwele director of Food Equity, Ecotrust, OR (formerly with The Food Trust, PA)
JAMESE KWELE is the director of food equity at Ecotrust, and formerly was the Senior Associate of Community Food Systems at The Food Trust in Pennsylvania, a National Farm to School Network Core Partner supporting the PA farm to ECE state effort working in partnership with the Pennsylvania Head Start Association. The Food Trust is building capacity and regional sustainability through a regional collaborative structure focused on three geographic areas of the state – Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Central PA. The Food Trust also released a strategic plan that highlights the policy strategies prioritized by the Ready, Set, Grow Task Force and other stakeholders across the state. Ms. Kwele will also be able to speak to the role of strategic partnerships and the stakeholders that guide the farm to ECE work in PA.
Jonathon Landeck managing director, New Field Foundation, CA
JONATHON LANDECK is an advisor to the Seeds, Soil & Culture Fund and managing director at New Field Foundation. Jonathon is an agronomist and non-formal educator by education and experience. Jonathon has held key management positions at the Organic Farming Research Foundation and the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, University of California – Santa Cruz.
Anna Lappé program director, food and democracy, Panta Rhea Foundation, CA
ANNA LAPPÉ is a national bestselling author, an advocate for sustainability and justice along the food chain, and an advisor to funders investing in food system transformation. A James Beard Leadership Award recipient, Anna is the co-author or author of three books and the contributing author to more than a dozen others. Named one of TIME’s “eco” Who’s-Who, Anna is the founder or co-founder of three national organizations, including the Small Planet Institute, which she launched with her mother Frances Moore Lappé, and Real Food Media, which partners with food movement allies to develop communications strategy and critical analysis for systems change. As a funder, she has led the grantmaking of the Small Planet Fund for more than a decade and created and runs the Food & Democracy program of the Panta Rhea Foundation. Anna is a founding Steering Committee member of the Castanea Fellowship and serves on the Advisory Boards of the Food Chain Workers Alliance and the Food and Farm Communications Fund along with her board service at the Mesa Refuge and Rainforest Action Network. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two daughters.
Tracy Lerman executive director, Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, NY
TRACY LERMAN is the executive director of the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. Tracy provides vision, strategy, and support for NESAWG’s organizational direction and programs. She also oversees the planning of the It Takes a Region Conference. Previously, Tracy was NESAWG’s Communications and Conference Manager. She has worked in the sustainable agriculture movement since 2003, as an organizer, policy advocate, and researcher. She previously worked at the Organic Farming Research Foundation as the National Organizer, mobilizing organic farmers on federal policy issues, and as a project consultant for Hudson Valley-based food and farming organizations. Tracy has a master’s degree in Community Development from the University of California, Davis and a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University at Albany. She lives in Kingston, NY.
Erica Lewis food service manager, The Caring Center, PA
ERICA LEWIS is the food and nutrition manager at The Caring Center, an early care and education program located in Philadelphia. With a great deal of passion, expertise in child nutrition, and a high level of trust and support from the executive director, Ms. Lewis is able to provide all children at the center with a morning snack, lunch, and an afternoon snack prepared in their on-site commercial kitchen. The center’s ability to offer these high-quality nutritious meals is also a result of their creative financing model where they are blending five early childhood funding sources, including federal Head Start and child care subsidy, state Pre-K, Philadelphia’s local funding dedicated to early childhood, and private pay from families. The center has also partnered with Common Market, a nonprofit regional food distributor, to serve farm fresh and locally grown foods. Children served in the program range in age from six weeks to ten years old and represent a culturally, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse population.
David LeZaks lead, Regenerative Food Systems, Delta Institute, WI
DR. DAVID LEZACKS leads the Regenerative Food Systems initiative at Delta Institute, a Chicago based non-profit, where he manages a portfolio of projects that focuses on building a more regenerative economy. He designs disruptive infrastructure that will unlock substantial capital flows into the regenerative agriculture sector. David holds a Ph.D. in Environment and Resources and an M.S. in Land Resources from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and a B.S. in Environmental Science from the Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University. David was born and raised in the Mitten State and spent his childhood exploring the natural wonders of the Great Lakes. When David isn’t training to be the next Captain Planet, you can find him with his family in Madison, WI gardening, beekeeping, cooking, fermenting, woodworking, and participating in any number of silent sports.
MAGALY LICOLLI was born in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico. She moved to Arkansas in 2004. Her interest in labor led her to become involved with poultry processing workers. She’s a co-founding member of the IWW charter in Arkansas with the goal of organizing poultry workers. In late 2015, Licolli became the Executive Director of the Northwest Arkansas Workers’ Justice Center. While being director, Magaly has led the poultry campaign in Arkansas, which gained notoriety around the nation. Throughout her work, Licolli has participated as Steering Council Member of HEAL Food Alliance, Co-Chair at the National Steering Council of Interfaith Worker Justice, and Builder member with Labor Notes. Her vision to ensure fundamental human rights of poultry workers let her to collaborate with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Worker Driven Social Responsibility Network to expand WSR model to the poultry industry. Licolli is a founding member of Venceremos, a newly formed, worker-based organization in Arkansas whose mission is to ensure the human rights of poultry workers..
Adam Liebowitz director, Community Food Funders, NY
ADAM LIEBOWITZ joined North Star Fund in 2013. He directs Community Food Funders (CFF), a philanthropic organizing project for funders in the NY-NJ-CT area to invest in the transition to an equitable, ecologically sound, and economically robust regional food system that emphasizes local growing, processing, and distribution. CFF facilitates roundtable discussions, funder briefings, site visits, collaborative projects, and social gatherings to foster information-sharing and networking among funders. Adam also administered and coordinated North Star Fund’s Greening Western Queens Fund and Community Fund for Sandy Recovery. Prior to joining North Star Fund, Adam worked as an independent consultant to nonprofit organizations and private firms specializing in food systems planning and food access projects in New York. Before that, he trained youth at The Point CDC in community organizing around environmental justice issues and led the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts. Adam created an urban agriculture and food justice program that included cooking and nutrition classes, public health outreach, the establishment of a local CSA, and vegetable gardens across multiple sites.
Patty Lovera food and water program director, Food and Water Watch, DC
PATTY LOVERA is the food and water program director for Food & Water Watch. Patty has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Lehigh University and a master’s degree in environmental policy from the University of Michigan. Before joining Food & Water Watch, Patty was the deputy director of the energy and environment program at Public Citizen and a researcher at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. FWW’s food policy work includes fighting factory farms, food safety and meat inspection, and the need for antitrust policy to address growing consolidation in the food and agriculture system.
Dawn McGee CEO, Good Works Ventures; president, High Stakes Foundation, MT
DAWN MCGEE is the President of the High Stakes Foundation. She is also the CEO of Goodworks Ventures, a Montana based company investing in high social impact companies and supporting visionaries who are creating a sustainable future for Montana. She loves to be outside and to play music with friends.
Elsie Meeks board chair, Native American Agriculture Fund, SD
ELSIE MEEKS serves as the Chairperson of the Native American Agricultural Fund and as an Independent Director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines. She also currently serves on the board of Lakota Funds and Oglala Sioux Lakota Housing. She served as state director of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in South Dakota from 2009 through 2015. Prior to joining USDA, Ms. Meeks was the president and CEO of First Nations Oweesta Corporation. She was active in the development and management of Lakota Funds, a small business and Microenterprise development financial institution on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Ms. Meeks served on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights completing a six-year term. She is a past director of the Northwest Area Foundation based in St. Paul, MN. She has served as a director or council member of several national Native American organization and is the recent past Chair of the Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’ Center for Indian County Development. Elsie and her husband, Jim live on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota where they have ranched for the nearly forty years. They are enrolled members of the Oglala Lakota Tribe.
Erin Meyer founder and director, Basil’s Harvest, IL
ERIN MEYER is the founder and director of Basil’s Harvest. Erin’s passion is connecting chefs, health professionals, educators, and farmers in supporting how food is grown, prepared, and eaten through experiential education. As a dietitian and chef with a MS degree in sustainable food systems, Erin uses her previous experiences as a certified diabetes educator, food service entrepreneur, and an executive director of a nonprofit to lead the development and expansion of farm to institution food systems that emphasize equitable access to local regenerative foods, dietary shifts for community health, and environmental protection.
In addition to being a food systems entrepreneur, Erin loves to start the day on her yoga mat, cook for her daughters, be on her bike, watch all Oscar-nominated films, and eat vine-ripened cherry tomatoes in the field.
Karla Miller program director, The Northwest Area Foundation, MN
KARLA MILLER is a program director at the Northwest Area Foundation. Karla works with the Foundation’s president/CEO to develop strategies, objectives, and outcomes for the organization’s program activities. She prepares and presents information to the board of directors and she manages program officers’ work, grant budgets, and the program-related investment portfolio.
She has been a small-business owner and worked in finance for First Bank System and West Central Wisconsin Community Action Agency. She was managing director of one of the country’s first community development financial institutions, Shared Capital Cooperative. Throughout her career, she has been instrumental in acquiring funding for causes close to her heart, including numerous food-related initiatives for co-ops and low-income food entrepreneurs, small-town revitalization, low-income families and refugees, and anti-poverty organizations.
She holds an MBA in finance and administration from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, and a bachelor of international relations, in with focus on cross-cultural communications from the University of Minnesota.
Karla’s passion for food-related initiatives and entrepreneurship extends beyond her work with the Foundation. She lives on a small farm in Wisconsin with her husband and cat. They primarily grow flowers, Macintosh apples, and asparagus. She’s also gained global acclaim for the “funky fiber” hats she crochets.
David Montgomery professor and author, University of Washington, WA
DAVID R. MONTGOMERY is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies.
An author of award-winning popular-science books, he has been featured in documentary films, network, and cable news, and on a wide variety of TV and radio programs, including NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Fox and Friends, and All Things Considered. His books have been translated into nine languages.
He lives in Seattle, with his wife Anne Biklé and their black lab guide-dog dropout Loki. Connect with him at www.dig2grow.com or follow him on Twitter @dig2grow.
Liz Moran Stelk executive director, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, IL
LIZ MORAN STELK, executive director of Illinois Stewardship Alliance, is a veteran organizer with experience in sustainable agriculture policy and building powerful organizations. Liz previously served as a regional organizer with the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) in Montana where she worked with farmers and ranchers in seven states on local, state, and federal food and agricultural policy. A year working on Crazy View Farm in Wilsall, Montana with her husband David dramatically shifted the focus of her career in organizing and managing field campaigns. While selling salad mix to Crazy View’s devout following at a small town farmers market, she was energized by the idea that if every person who shops at farmers market were organized, we could change the food system. Before the farm, Liz organized home healthcare and nursing home workers with SEIU Healthcare Illinois and managed the field operations for the successful campaign to abolish capital punishment in Illinois. Liz co-founded and serves on the steering committee of the National Healthy Soils Policy Network, helping revitalize the Midwest Sustainable Ag Working Group (SAWG), and is a partner in the Regenerate Illinois collaborative. Follow @lizziestelk on Twitter.
Rosanna Marie Neil policy counsel, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, DC
ROSANNA NEIL serves as policy counsel at the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA) and helps to lead NAMA’s ocean, fisheries, and food policy work. Her advocacy work involves managing relations with congressional offices and collaborating with allies to address a range of issues, including industrial fish farming, seafood fraud, and economic impacts of fisheries policies on independent fishermen. Previously, Rosanna directed a nonprofit program called the Sustainable World Initiative, where she was actively involved in advocacy at the United Nations on human rights and environmental policy and played an influential role in shaping the global development agenda. Earlier in her career, she worked in private practice for several years, specializing in commercial litigation, international trade, international arbitration, and antitrust and competition, while maintaining a robust docket of pro bono cases. She also completed a year-long public interest fellowship at a civil rights organization. Rosanna earned a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Howard University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. During her legal studies, Rosanna was deeply engaged in international human rights and gained substantial clinical experience, including civil rights advocacy in Argentina, aboriginal rights advocacy in Australia, and anti-apartheid litigation in South Africa.
Robert Ojeda chief program officer, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, AZ
ROBERT OJEDA is chief program officer at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Robert was born and raised in Arequipa, Peru, where he grew up farming at his family’s farm. He joined the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona (CFBSA) in 2010, where he is currently Chief Program Officer. In his role, Robert oversees the CFBSA’s programmatic initiatives including hunger relief, and community health, education, and development. Robert has a master’s degree in International Agriculture and Rural Development and a Ph. D. in Adult and Extension Education from Cornell University. He has over twenty years of experience doing community organizing work in Tucson and overseas. He regularly teaches community organizing and development workshops to indigenous leaders from Latin America.
Wildstyle Paschall roving illustrator, The Learning Tree, IN
KATHERINE PEASE is managing director of impact strategy at Cornerstone Capital Group. Cornerstone helps families and individuals, foundations and endowments, multifamily offices and other registered investment advisors to develop and manage customized investment strategies aligned to their financial and values-based objectives. In her role as Head of Impact Strategy, Katherine works with clients, helps develop and monitor impact strategies, manages the firm’s impact measurement effort, and provides contributions to Cornerstone’s professional research team. She previously served as the Principal of KP Advisors, Inc., whose mission is to help foundations, nonprofits and investors develop thoughtful, innovative approaches to address the challenges they care most about by using a variety of types of capital and other resources to make the world more just, fair and equitable. Previously she served as Senior Vice President for Philanthropic Investment and Public Policy at Gary Community Investments and as Executive Director of the Gill Foundation. In addition, Katherine is a board member of Global Greengrants Fund and the Colorado Nonprofit Association and she serves on numerous philanthropic and nonprofit advisory boards.
Leah Penniman co-director, Soul Fire Farm Institute, Inc, NY
LEAH PENNIMAN, co-director of Soul Fire Farm Institute, Inc (Li*/Ya/She/He), has over 20 years of experience as a soil steward and food sovereignty activist, having worked at the Food Project, Farm School, Many Hands Organic Farm, Youth Grow and with farmers internationally in Ghana, Haiti, and Mexico. Li co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011 with the mission to reclaim our inherent right to belong to the earth and have agency in the food system as Black and Brown people. Ya’s areas of leadership at Soul Fire include farmer training, international solidarity, food justice organizing, writing, speaking, “making it rain,” and anything that involves heavy lifting, sweat, and soil. (*all gender pronoun in Haitian Kreyol)
Rhonda Perry program director, Missouri Rural Crisis Center, MO
RHONDA PERRY is a 5th generation livestock and grain farmer from Howard County, Missouri. She has been the Program Director of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center (MRCC) for 28 years. Rhonda coordinates MRCC’s Program Areas and organizes MRCC’s membership and supporters into taking action on the issues that most affect their lives—including supporting family farm agriculture and healthy local food production and access, protecting our natural resources, creating economic development that provides good jobs and vibrant rural economies, challenging the corporatization of agriculture, standing up for and utilizing our democratic power and institutions and connecting our members with the issues of other organizations and constituencies who also work to create positive change.
The Missouri Rural Crisis Center is a statewide membership organization with over 5,600 farm & rural member families. The mission of MRCC is to preserve family farms, promote stewardship of the land and environmental integrity, and strive for economic and social justice by building unity and mutual understanding among diverse groups, both rural and urban.
Carol Pickering associate partner, Dietel Partners, ME
CAROL PICKERING is an associate partner with Dietel & Partners. Carol works closely with all the Partners facilitating the development of strategies and program areas of interest to Dietel & Partners’ clients. She’s particularly knowledgeable about issues surrounding sustainable agriculture and food systems, fisheries, gun violence prevention, and archives.
Carol helps individuals and families find the connections between their philanthropic goals and the organizations and initiatives that work in alignment with those interests. She’s a reliable resource in asking and answering tough questions concerning portfolio strategy, policy and advocacy, and funder collaborations.
Her early career as a business journalist fueled her investigative skills. She was a reporter at The Writing Company in Portland, Maine and later joined the editorial boards of Forbes ASAP and Business 2.0 magazines as a staff writer. Her interests led her to join a start-up food company in 2006, where she developed an interest in Maine’s value-added food industry. She helped start the Maine Food Producers Alliance, a non-profit business association for Maine’s food producers.
Carol is an Executive Committee member of the Fund for a Safer Future, a Steering Committee member of the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network, and on the Board of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF).
She lives in Portland, Maine with her husband and two children, and is a proud member of the Sea Bags Women’s J/24 sailing team.
Dawn Plummer executive director, Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, PA
Tuesday, 6:00-9:00 pm: The Right to Food: Toward a Coordinated Reform of Food and Agriculture Biographical profile
DAWN PLUMMER is executive director of the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council. She has extensive experience serving as director, co-founder and coordinator of local, national and international networks, researcher, coalition builder, community organizer, fundraiser, event and program developer, and has worked for 19 years alongside leaders most impacted by critical issues of food, food systems, as well as economic, social and racial inequality.
Since 2014, Dawn has worked with her team to strengthen the Council as a regional mechanism for food systems decision-making, priority setting and cross sectoral collaboration that aims to build a just, equitable and sustainable food system. She has served in various leadership roles working on issues of poverty, food, sustainable agriculture, health, human rights and community development. Dawn has an MA from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.
Urvashi Rangan chief science advisor, GRACE Communications Foundation, NY
URVASHI RANGAN has been a scientific investigator, policy decoder, spokesperson, and advocate on a wide range of food safety and sustainability issues for the last 20 years. She is chief science advisor for GRACE Communications Foundation, providing scientific and communications support for programs and partners. She also consults with food advocacy groups and other funders on food safety, labeling, and sustainability issues. She helped funders in Herd develop a consensus around grass-fed baseline principles and has been active in educating groups about organic plus regenerative systems. Before GRACE and consulting, she spent 17 years at Consumer Reports and led several scientific investigations on food and other products with toxic hazards.
Michael Roberts president and CEO, First Nations Development Institute, CO
MICHAEL ROBERTS returned to First Nations Development Institute in 2002, and was appointed president in 2005. He previously had served as chief operating officer for the organization until 1997. In the interim, Mike spent five years in private equity, including advising angel investors, working for a $500 million telecommunications fund and for an early-stage Midwest venture capital firm. Mike has worked at Alaska Native corporations and for local IRA councils.
Mike serves on the board of First Nations Development Institute and is chairman of the board of First Nations Oweesta Corporation. He is also the board treasurer of SAFSF, and serves on the Investment Committee for the Three Affiliated Tribes. His past service includes numerous board or advisory committee positions for Native and other organizations. Most recently, in 2018, he was appointed as a trustee of the $266 million Native American Agriculture Fund.
Mike holds an MBA degree from the University of Washington, and a bachelor’s degree in architecture through the environmental design school at the University of Colorado. In April 2016, he received the Asset Builder Champion (ABC) Award from the Center for Global Policy Solutions and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.
JUDGE LAURA SAFER ESPINOZA is the executive director of the Fair Food Standards Council, which monitors and enforces the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ groundbreaking agreements with growers and food retail buyers to ensure fundamental human rights for farmworkers. The Fair Food Program has been recognized by the White House, the United Nations, Harvard Business Review, CNN International’s Freedom Project and numerous human rights organizations, as one of the most successful programs in the world today to uncover, eliminate and prevent modern-day slavery, sexual violence, and other systemic abuses.
Judge Safer Espinoza is a retired New York State Acting Supreme Court Justice who served for twenty years. She helped to design and became the first presiding judge of an innovative alternative to incarceration court for non-violent offenders.
Judge Safer Espinoza has an extensive history of work with government, human rights and legal organizations in the United States and Latin America. She has taught extensively in Latin America, in support of law reform and greater transparency.
Justice Safer Espinoza is a graduate of Barnard College and New York Law School. She is a recipient of the City University of New York’s Women in the Law Award and Encore’s ‘Purpose Prize’ Award.
Rev. Dr. Fatimah Salleh founder, A Certain Work, NC
REV. DR. FATIMAH S. SALLEH is currently the founder of A Certain Work, an organization dedicated to educating on issues of faith, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dr. Salleh was born in Brooklyn, NY to a Puerto-Rican and Malaysian mother and an African American father. She is the eldest of seven. Dr. Salleh received her Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also earned a Master’s degree from Syracuse University in Public Communication and a second Master’s in Divinity from Duke University. She is married to Eric Sorensen and they have four children.
ERIKA SCHREDER has worked on the Toxic-Free Future (TFF) staff since 1997 and leads our research program. Research topics have included testing flame retardants in air, tracing the path of toxic chemicals from the home to waterways, and biomonitoring pregnant women for BPA, phthalates, and other chemicals. In the past, she led TFF’s efforts to secure protections for salmon from pesticides and to advocate for organic and sustainable agriculture. She obtained an M.S. from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan and a B.S. in molecular biology from MIT. Prior to joining the Toxic-Free Future staff, she worked as a stream and wetland ecologist.
Neelam Sharma executive director, Community Services Unlimited, Inc., CA
NEELAM SHARMA serves as executive director of Community Services Unlimited Inc. (CSU), a non-profit based in South Central Los Angeles. Neelam met CSU founders when she visited Los Angeles from London on behalf of the Panther organization she founded in Britain in the mid-1980s. When she moved to South Central Los Angeles in 1997 she found that her own difficulties in accessing fresh, high quality, affordable food in her neighborhood was a generalized experience for South LA residents. Her need to feed her own family good food became her work and was driven by her broader understanding of the basic human right to high quality, culturally appropriate food as a critical element of social justice. She was a founding member of the Healthy School Food Coalition, as well as the Los Angeles Food Justice Network (precursor to the LA Food Policy Council) and the California Food and Justice Coalition. As a result of her experience and success working and organizing with residents to expand urban agriculture, build models for grassroots economic development, and improve community health, Neelam is recognized as a national leader on the intersection between community economic development, youth empowerment and food justice.
Seth Shonkoff executive director, PSE for Healthy Energy, CA
DR. SETH SHONKOFF is the executive director of the energy science and policy institute, PSE Healthy Energy. He 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 and has published more than 35 peer-reviewed journal articles and reports. 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 has co-authored multiple scientific assessments including the Human Health chapter of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report, two human health chapters in the California Senate Bill 4 independent scientific study on hydraulic fracturing and well stimulation; and an assessment of the public health dimensions of underground gas storage in the State of California. He completed his Ph.D. in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and his MPH in epidemiology in the School of Public Health from UC Berkeley.
Shuaib Siddiqui director of impact investing, Surdna Foundation, NY
SHUAIB A. SIDDIQUI serves as the director of impact investing at the Surdna Foundation where he manages Surdna’s impact investing portfolio, leading an effort to better align the foundation’s investment policies and practices with its mission. He works with the program teams to investigate ways to realize both social and financial returns through program and mission-related investing.
Prior to Surdna, Shuaib spent 9 years at Acumen where he most recently was the Director of Global Portfolio. He managed the organization’s global investment process, management of its global investment committee, and helped manage is $100m portfolio. He also directly managed a portfolio of companies and represented Acumen’s investment on several boards. Acumen, an impact investing pioneer, raises charitable donations and investor capital to invest in companies, leaders, and ideas that are changing the way the world tackles poverty.
Prior to Acumen, Shuaib worked for two years in the Quantitative Alpha Generation Group at Citadel Investment Group, a hedge fund based in Chicago, where he focused on developing trading strategies utilizing fundamental company data. Prior to that, he was an Assistant Vice President at Merrill Lynch working on The Global Analytic and Thematic Research team.
Meredith Storton lending manager, Food and Agriculture, RSF Social Finance, CA
MEREDITH STORTON works on RSF Social Finance’s lending team evaluating prospective borrowers, strengthening existing relationships, and deploying capital from RSF’s food &agriculture lending portfolios and capital collaboratives. Prior to joining the lending team in 2015, Meredith spent two years working with RSF’s investor clients. She has a BA in economics and history from the University of Virginia and spent her first few years out of school as an AmeriCorps volunteer.
Hallie Templeton senior oceans campaigner, Friends of the Earth, CA
HALLIE TEMPLETON is Friends of the Earth’s senior oceans campaigner, leading our strategic campaign to highlight the dangers of industrial ocean fish farming and expand support for sustainable seafood production alternatives. Previously, Hallie was a staff attorney in the Animal Protection Litigation group of The Humane Society of the United States, where she litigated against USDA for permitting domestic horse slaughter without environmental review, and EPA for not regulating air pollution from factory farms. Hallie has also worked on civil rights cases in the Georgetown Institute for Public Representation. She holds a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center and a B.S. in political science from the University of Central Arkansas. Hallie enjoys spending time with her cats, tending her indoor garden, riding her motorcycle, and has a passion for B-grade horror and action movies.
Rebecca M. Terk grassroots organizer, Dakota Rural Action, SD
REBECCA TERK has over a decade of experience in food and ag systems organizing. She staffs Dakota Rural Action’s Rural Vitality Committee, which focuses on issues related to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) as well as other potentially harmful industrial development in rural communities. Rebecca also serves as the registered lobbyist for Dakota Rural Action and spends nine weeks each year in Pierre advocating for family farmers and ranchers, natural resources, and sustainable ag and energy policy.
Mark Watson managing director, Boston Impact Initiative, MA
MARK WATSON serves as managing director of the Boston Impact Initiative Fund, which offers blended capital to address the racial wealth gap in Eastern Massachusetts. He is also the founder of Keel Asset Management LLC, a financial advisory firm that provides socially responsible financial planning and investment advisory services to nonprofits, public and corporate pension plans. Mark is an investment committee member of the Fair Food Fund; chair of the Triskeles Foundation’s Asset Management Committee; board president of Sustainable Cape, Inc.; and a former board member of the Social Venture Network.
Don Wedll lead project manager, Anishinaabe Agriculture Institute
DON WEDLL is a lead project manager for the Anishinaabe Agriculture Institute. Don grew up on a farm, went to Moorhead State University majoring in Mathematics. He then worked on Tribal issues in Minnesota and Alaska for some 35 years. He has taught courses on Tribal History, Tribal Government, at Central Lakes Community Colleges in Minnesota and taught mathematics for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His positions include the Director of Education, Principal of Nay ah shing School, Commissioner of Education, Commissioner of Natural Resources, Chief of Police, Economic developer, HIP director, Long Range Planning. He also chaired that National Tribal Operations committee for EPA, Member of EPA Science and Technology Committee, Member of EPA Senior Environmental Enforcement Committee, member of Minnesota Indian Scholarship Committee, member of Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, and Voigt Task Force.
Learn more at Anishinaabe Agriculture Institute / “Winona’s Hemp Mill” Project
Lea Zeise technical assistance specialist, Intertribal Agriculture Council, WI
LEA ZEISE, Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, began her food sovereignty work in her own community and has since supported tribal agriculture across Turtle Island. Highlights of her work include setting up Ohelaku (“Among the Cornstalks” in Oneida), a cooperative of Oneida ancestral corn growers, and establishing Braiding the Sacred, a network of hundreds of indigenous corn growers. Lea supports tribes in their agricultural endeavors as Intertribal Agriculture Council’s Eastern Region Technical Assistance Specialist. www.indianaglink.com and www.braidingthesacred.org
Kolu Zigbi program director, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, NY
KOLU ZIGBI is a program director with the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation. With the Noyes Foundation since 2000, Kolu has been responsible for funding in NYC as well as national funding for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. She increased visibility for food chain worker organizing, structural racism in the food system, and food justice. She created two three-year multi-funder partnerships which provided over $2 million for grassroots organizations led by Black, Latinx, Native American, and immigrant communities working along the food supply chain to build their capacity to shape local, state, and national policy. She co-founded Community Food Funders to support an ecologically sustainable and socially just foodshed for New York City. She is involved with CFF’s recently launched Seeding Power Fellowship, as well as the Castanea Fellowship. In 2014 Kolu was awarded a Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design where she explored equitable food-oriented development in the Southern US and internationally. Kolu is excited that Noyes recently eliminated issue silos to focus on place-based funding in New York State and one or two states in the Southeast, and national coalitions and initiatives with impact in those areas, to support community-led strategies for collective wealth-building and community governance. Noyes will dedicate one-quarter of its grants for Native-led and tribal organizations. Racial and gender justice will continue as guiding values.
Jen Zuckerman director of strategic initiatives, World Food Policy Center, Duke University, NC
JEN ZUCKERMAN joined the World Food Policy Center at Duke University as director of strategic initiatives in July 2017. The Center’s research, educational programming, conferences and policymaker outreach will focus on collaborative problem solving, an approach that is critical — and rare — in the food policy arena. Previously, Jen was with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation as the director of strategic partnerships where she led the Foundation’s efforts to bring new partnerships and resources to North Carolina while lifting up outside of the state the strong work taking place within North Carolina. She also served for ten years as the Foundation’s senior program officer for Healthy Living, working on increasing access to safe active environments and on providing sources for healthy, locally sourced food with a strong focus on early childhood development and food systems. Jen previously worked at NC State University’s Recreation Resources Service, where she helped parks and recreation agencies across the state develop partnerships for the benefit of community health. Jen has also worked in a variety of North Carolina nonprofits, including the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, Special Olympics North Carolina, and North Carolina Amateur Sports. She currently serves as the vice-chair of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems Advisory Board and the co-chair of the National Institute of Medicine Early Childhood Innovation Collaborative. Jen has also served on the steering committee for the North Carolina Institute of Medicine Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Task Force and the Statewide Prevention Task Force. She earned her undergraduate and masters degrees from NC State University in parks, recreation, and tourism management.