Justice Begins with Seeds 2013 – Speakers

Justice Begins with Seeds International Conference 2013

Seattle, Washington


Keynote speaker: Dr. Vandana Shiva

Environmental activist and anti-globalization author. Shiva, currently based in Delhi, has authored more than 20 books. She was trained as a physicist and received her PhD in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, in 1978 with the doctoral dissertation “Hidden variables and locality in quantum theory.

She is one of the leaders and board members of the International Forum on Globalization, (along with Jerry Mander, Edward Goldsmith, Ralph Nader, Jeremy Rifkin, et al.), and a figure of the global solidarity movement known as the alter-globalization movement. She has argued for the wisdom of many traditional practices, as is evident from her interview in the book Vedic Ecology (by Ranchor Prime) that draws upon India’s Vedic heritage. She is a member of the scientific committee of the Fundacion IDEAS, Spain’s Socialist Party’s think tank. She is also a member of the International Organization for a Participatory Society. She received the Right Livelihood Award in 1993, and numerous other prizes.


Plenary Speakers: Wenonah Heuter, Food & Water Watch

Wenonah Hauter is the Executive Director of Food & Water Watch. She has worked extensively on food, water, energy and environmental issues at the national, state and local level. Her book Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America examines the corporate consolidation and control over our food system and what it means for farmers and consumers. Experienced in developing policy positions and legislative strategies, she is also a skilled and accomplished organizer, having lobbied and developed grassroots field strategy and action plans. From 1997 to 2005 she served as Director of Public Citizen’s Energy and Environment Program, which focused on water, food and energy policy. From 1996 to 1997, she was environmental policy director for Citizen Action, where she worked with the organization’s 30 state-based groups. From 1989 to 1995 she was at the Union of Concerned Scientists where, as a senior organizer, she coordinated broad-based, grassroots sustainable energy campaigns in several states. She has an M.S. in Applied Anthropology from the University of Maryland.


Phil Bereano

Phil Bereano, Professor Emeritus of Technical Communication and Adjunct Professor Emeritus of Women Studies and American Ethnic Studies, has been a member of the University of Washington faculty since 1975. He taught previously at Cornell University where he earned two degrees, a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering and a Master of Regional Planning. He also holds a law degree from Columbia Law School. His work blends scholarly excellence with societal activism.

Phil is a recognized expert on the ethical and social considerations of technologies, especially genetic engineering (having begun working on genetics policy issues in 1977), including helping to define the notions of genetic discrimination/privacy. He was one of the developers of the concept of “technology assessment” in the 1970s (in 1975 he was on the team that assessed the then-futuristic notion of “mobile telephony”).

Bereano is also an outspoken defender of civil liberties with respect to information technologies and computer databases (including bio-informatics). He is a member of the National Board of the American Civil Liberties Union and chairs its Committee on Databases and Civil Liberties. In 2009 he received the William O Douglas award from the ACLU’s Washington State affiliate for “sustained contributions to the cause of civil liberties.”

Phil has taught in France, Spain, Norway, and The Netherlands, and was co-developer of the world’s first courses on “women and technology” and “ethnicity and technology.” He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and in 1994 he received the University of Washington’s Outstanding Public Service Award.

In addition to his many scholarly articles, Phil has emphasized writing popular essays and op eds that demystify many of the issues surrounding modern technological developments. This is consistent with his commitment to transparency and public participation in social and governmental decision-making.


Y. Armando Nieto: Community Food and Justice Coalition

Armando Nieto is a seasoned executive and development professional, with experience in management and organizational development, membership development, annual giving, foundation prospecting and grantwriting, and special events. Successful capital campaigns include the Environmental Defense Center Cordero Adobe Campaign and Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center. He has been Associate Producer of the Kenny Loggins Christmas Unity Telethon since 1999, and prior to joining the CFJC, Armando served as C.E.O. of Redefining Progress, Managing Director with the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, and Executive Director at Eagle Eye Institute in Somerville, Massachusetts, Earth Share of California and the Environmental Defense Center.
In 2005 Armando set up the Communications and Community Engagement Department at the Coalition for Clean Air and since 2005 he has served as organizing member of Summit 2007: Diverse Partners for Environmental Progress, and facilitator and report co-author for the related Western Regional Roundtable in Oakland and Southwest Regional Roundtable in Albuquerque, NM. Professional affiliations include Hispanics in Philanthropy, the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, North American Association for Environmental Education, and Golden State Environmental Education Consortium. He is president of the Tulare County Community Water Center and has served on the Advisory Boards of Just Communities, the PG&E ClimateSmart External Advisory Group, and the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy.


Dr. Ann Lopez: AFEDES

Dr. Ann López is an emerita professor and has taught courses in biology, environmental science, ecology and botany in the biology department at San José City College for many years. She is an independent researcher whose research addresses the human side of the binational migration circuit from the subsistence and small producer farms of west central Mexico to employment in California’s corporate agribusiness. Dr. López has worked with over 33 farm worker families in the Salinas and Pajaro valleys. She has also studied 22 of their family farms in the west central Mexico countryside, and has received recognition and awards for her work. Her book entitled The Farmworkers’ Journey summarizes the results, arguments and conclusions of her research and was published by UC Press in June 2007.


Devon G. Peña, Ph.D

Devon G. Peña, Ph.D. Professor of American Ethnic Studies, Anthropology, and Program on the Environment at the University of Washington; Founder and President of The Acequia Institute. Dr. Peña has served as the elected Secretary of the Sangre de Cristo Acequia Association (2006-13) in Colorado. In that capacity he led a major participatory action research (PAR) project to establish and convene the “First Congress of Colorado Acequias” that is working to implement and amplify the 2009 “Colorado Acequia Recognition Law” (HB1233-09). This law restores vital “first principles” of acequia customary governance and recognizes acequia ditch corporations as political subdivisions of the state. It allows acequia farmers to manage community irrigation ditches and water resources as a “common” instead of requiring strict adherence to the Doctrine of Prior Appropriation. The recognition law restores the role of “one farmer, one vote,” requirements for mutual aid and cooperative labor, and the principle of “shared scarcity.” Peña is currently launching a project to convene a conference on “Payments for Ecosystem and Economic Base Services of Acequia Agroecological Landscape Mosaics.” A widely published author of numerous books, anthologies, encyclopedias, and journal articles, Peña continues research on the ethnobotany and agroecology of urban agriculture along the entire length of the Pacific Coast with a focus on people from the “post-NAFTA Mesoamerica diaspora.” He also continues working as an acequia farmer, seed-saver, plant-breeder, and philanthropist through the family’s non-profit educational and research foundation, The Acequia Institute. The Institute is located on a 184-acre acequia farm in the San Acacio bottomlands and on the historic San Luis Peoples Ditch in southern Colorado. He lives and works at the farm with his wife, Elaine H. Peña during the irrigation to harvest cycle every year and continues with applied projects in restoration ecology, permaculture, shifting mosaics of annual-perennial polycultures, and plant-breeding and seed-saving programs for the conservation of the genomic diversity and integrity of local land race heirloom varieties of the “Three Sisters” – maize, beans, and pumpkin/squash in the Upper Rio Grande headwaters bioregion.


Eric Holt-Gimenez

Eric Holt-Giménez, Executive director of FoodFirst/Institute for Food and Development Policy.

Professor in Environmental Studies, Area Studies, Development Studies; emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches integrating political economy, agroecology, political science, anthropology, sociology, geography, conservation biology, and ecology; focus on experiential learning, self-directed and group projects, community fieldwork, participatory and action research.
Eric is the editor of the 2011 Food First book, Food Movements Unite! Strategies to transform our food systems, the author of the 2009 Food First Book Food Rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice.


Ignacio Chapela

Ignacio Chapela is a microbial ecologist and mycologist at the University of California, Berkeley. He is best known for a controversial 2001 paper in Nature on the flow of transgenes into wild maize populations, as an outspoken critic of the University of California’s ties to the biotechnology industry, as well as a later dispute with the University over denial of tenure that Chapela argued was politically motivated. Chapela is also notable for his work with natural resources and indigenous rights.

In the late 1980s, Chapela did his PhD dissertation research at Cardiff University on the ecology of microbial wood-rotting fungi. He continued research on a number of areas of fungal ecology through the 1990s, as a visiting scholar at various research institutions, private companies, and NGOs, finally settling at UC Berkeley, where he has been on the faculty the Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management (ESPM) since 1996.
He has worked on the symbiosis between leafcutter ants and their cultivated fungi. His research seems to indicate that some leaf-cutter ants have “domesticated” a single lineage of fungi for over 30 million years; Chapela is currently studying this symbiosis from evolutionary and agricultural perspectives, as well as looking for ways to manipulate it.


Jeffrey Smith

The leading consumer advocate promoting healthier non-GMO choices, Jeffrey M. Smith, is the author of the world’s bestselling and #1 rated book on the health dangers genetically modified organisms (GMOs). His meticulous research documents how biotech companies continue to mislead legislators and safety officials to put the health of society at risk, and the environment in peril.
His first book Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating masterfully combines the art of storytelling and investigative reporting. His second book, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, is the authoritative work on GMO health dangers. It includes 65 health dangers, linking GMOs in our food to toxic and allergic reactions, infertility, and damage to virtually every internal organ studied in lab animals. The book expertly summarizes why the safety assessments conducted by the FDA and regulators worldwide teeter on a foundation of outdated science and false assumptions, and why GM foods must urgently become our nation’s top food safety priority. Former UK environment minister says the revelations in Genetic Roulette may “change the global course of events this century.”


George Kimbrell: Center for Food Safety

CFS Senior Attorney George Kimbrell practices environmental and administrative law with a focus on the impacts of new and emerging technologies. His legal and policy work spans a broad range of CFS program areas, including: genetically engineered foods; transgenic plants, trees and animals; food labeling; organic standards; factory farming; aquaculture; pesticides; nanotechnology; and synthetic biology. George received his law degree magna cum laude from Lewis and Clark Law School, where he subsequently has taught sustainable food and agriculture law as an adjunct professor. George joined CFS upon completing a clerkship with the Honorable Ronald M. Gould, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy is the founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots movement of more than 650,000 American farmers and citizens dedicated to reforming policies relating to food, agriculture and the environment. Murphy has been called “the most crucial and politically savvy actor in the on-going efforts to help move American agriculture into the 21st century” as a result of his “Sustainable Dozen” campaign, which resulted in four candidates being placed in high level positions at the USDA and his efforts to reform food and agriculture under the Obama administration.
In 2006, Murphy moved back to Iowa to help stop a factory farm from being built near his sister’s farm. After seeing the loss of basic democratic rights of rural Iowans, Murphy decided to stay in Iowa to fight for Iowa’s farmers and rural residents and expose the flaws of industrial agriculture to help create a more sustainable future for all Americans.
In 2007, Murphy organized the Food and Family Farm Presidential Summit, where 5 of the 6 Democratic candidates pledged their support to help save family farm agriculture and he filmed then Senator Barack Obama’s now famous promise to Iowa farmers to label genetically engineered foods.
Previously, he has worked as an environmental and food policy lobbyist and political strategist. His writing has appeared in the Nation, the Hill, Huffington Post and the New York Times. Dave is known as the “big dude from Iowa” by friend and foe alike and is a board member of the Iowa Organic Association.


Magdaleno Rose-Avila: Director in the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs for the City of Seattle

The son of immigrant parents and one of 12 children, Magdaleno Rose-Avila began his working life in the onion fields of southeast Colorado at the early age of 11. By 13, he was traveling the migrant stream picking fruits and vegetables. Today, he serves as Director in the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs for the City of Seattle Throughout his career, Rose-Avila has been a United States Peace Corps Country Director in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Paraguay and Micronesia. He has run congressional campaigns and worked for the Democratic National Committee, worked for Colorado Legal Services and The Colorado Migrant Council, taught theatre and sociology at the University of Colorado, and sociology at Colorado College. Between 1985 and 1993 he worked in a variety of administrative and leadership positions for the Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights organization Amnesty International USA. He was the Western Director for Amnesty International to Abolish Death Penalty, and served as the inaugural Executive director for the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation


Theodosia Ferguson

Theodosia H. Ferguson is the founder of Vital Systems, an education and facilitation consultancy that supports people aligning their values, passion and money for community profit and a regenerative economy. Because everyone must eat to survive, our activities are focused on one of the most vulnerable global issues of our time — food and farming infrastructure. In this arena, Theo is also a founding member
of Slow Money and facilitated the formation of Slow Money Northern California. She is active member of Slow Opportunities for Investing Locally Network (SOIL).

Vital Systems evolved from the non-profit Sustainable Ventures, which Theo founded and served as Executive Director. SV catalyzed values- based purchasing decisions through access to integrated information about environmental, social, governance, and financial sustainability.

In the private sector as a sole proprietor, Theo launched an export management consultancy representing renewable energy and resource management products and services to South and South East Asia and the People’s Republic of China. She has also incorporated and served as Executive Director of three other non-profit organizations working in energy, the arts and sciences and held positions in the public sector, including the City of Nuremberg, the California State Government, and the National Science Foundation.


Patrick O’Connor

Patrick O’Connor coordinates BASIL (Bay Area Seed Interchange Library) in the Berkeley Ecology Center.


Paula Garcia

Paula Garcia Chair of the Mora County Commission, an office for which she was recently elected on a platform of ethics in government, revitalization of the land-based economy, and protection of land and water resources. In her years of service to the NMAA, acequias have built a movement around the principle that “el agua es la vida – water is life” and have achieved major policy changes locally and statewide to protect rural water rights. Paula is a board member of La Asociacion de las Acequias del Valle de Mora, a council of acequias in the Mora Valley, and President of La Merced de Santa Gertrudis de lo de Mora. She is a strong advocate for the cultural heritage and the historic land and water rights associated with community land grants and acequias. She is serving her third term as the Chair of the Democratic Party of Mora County where she has diversified leadership and recruited women and young leaders to become politically engaged. Paula’s views on land, water, and community have been published and referenced in various op-ed pieces, articles, and book chapters. She has also spoken at numerous conferences at the local, state, and national level including being featured as a plenary speaker at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Conference and at a conference of the National Water Resources Association. Her experience on land and water issues was a valuable asset when she served on policy making boards including the New Mexico Water Trust Board, the Utton Transboundary Resources Center at the UNM Law School, and the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Water. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack recently appointed her to the Minority Farmer Advisory Committee.


Miguel Santistevan

Miguel Santistevan Born and raised in northern New Mexico with a love of family, friends, food, music, and mountains, Miguel Santistevan later earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of New Mexico and a Master of Science degree in Ecology from the University of California, Davis. He is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Biology at the University of New Mexico. His research interests are in the traditional acequia-irrigated and dryland agricultural systems of the Upper Rio Grande and Sangre de Cristo mountains. Miguel is certified in Permaculture and ZERI Design and has been a High School science teacher, director of youth-in-agriculture programs, and public radio show producer. He grows a variety of crops on his conservation farm with his wife and daughter in Taos called Sol Feliz while coordinating a living seed library program through the Agriculture Implementation, Research, and Education non-profit corporation that he co-founded. Miguel was recently been elected Mayordomo of the Acequia Sur del Río de Don Fernando de Taos for the 2010-2011 growing season of which he is a parciante.


Valerie Segrest

Valerie Segrest An enrolled member of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and works as the Community Nutritionist and Native Foods Educator for the Northwest Indian College’s Cooperative Extension Department. As an independent, creative and outspoken American Indian woman, she has developed a new perspective in addressing issues of health and social justice for indigenous peoples. Her goal is to restore health and well being to her tribe and other Native communities by combining traditional Native food and plant knowledge with modern scientific findings. While studying to be a clinical nutritionist, Valerie began to deepen her awareness and knowledge of the gifts of her Native ancestors. She became less interested in talking about calorie counting, carbohydrates, and protein intake and more driven to get people connected with the source of their foods. Now, Valerie is committed to creating culturally appropriate health systems in tribal communities and exemplifies dedication to tribal wellness through community-based research that impacts health disparities. In 2009, she co-authored the book Feeding the People, Feeding the Spirit: Revitalizing Northwest Coastal Indian Food Culture, which has become a tribute to the movement among tribal people in Western Washington to improve individual, family and community wellness through revitalizing their traditional foods. From this book, Valerie has developed a basic nutrition curriculum entitled “Honor the Gift of Food” that empowers students to develop their own healthy eating behaviors through sharing modern approaches to a traditional foods diet. She also creates and designs community gardens as well as researches and writes a monthly column for her blog and community newspaper on local and wild foods of the Pacific Northwest. In years to come, Valerie will work as the coordinator of the Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project to collectively develop innovative and effective ways to build community food security through exploring tribal food assets and access to local and healthy foods.


Ron Glass

Ron Glass is an Associate Professor of Philosophy of Education at the University of California Santa Cruz, where he chairs the doctoral programs for the Education Department.

Ron is the Principal Investigator and Director of a University of California multi-campus research program initiative, the U.C. Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California (CCREC). CCREC builds partnerships among researchers, community-based organizations, and policy makers to mobilize responses to the crises in the economy and jobs, health and nutrition, education, and the environment. One of these partnerships, Growing Equity from the Ground Up, is establishing an urban farming and gardening training program in Oakland, CA, that will prepare cadres of transformative community leaders for equity. (http://ccrec.ucsc.edu)

Ron also serves as an Acting Associate Director of the Data and Democracy Initiative (DDI) of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interests of Society. DDI develops tools to support dynamic relationships between digital media and democratic practices to facilitate online deliberation, participatory decision-making, and rapid mobilization among people of diverse backgrounds on critical social, political, and economic issues. (http://democracy.citris-uc.org/)

Ron is a philosopher of education who concentrates on moral and political issues, particularly how individual and public learning processes are involved in the formation of, and challenges to, dominant ideologies such as racism, sexism, and classism. Believing that the point of philosophy is not simply to understand the world but to change it, he has long been deeply involved in various nonviolent movements and struggles for justice and he has collaborated with a broad range of communities and organizations as they strive to make democracy work for them. Prior to being on university faculties, Ron directed the San Francisco-based Adult Education Development Project, and collaborated with Paulo Freire and Myles Horton, the world-renowned educators for democracy.

Ron has been the recipient of numerous honors, including an Outstanding Teaching Award from the Stanford University School of Education, a Dondrell Swanson Advocate of Social Justice Award from Arizona State University, and a Martin Luther King, Jr., Living the Dream Award from the City of Phoenix Human Relations Commission. He received a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education and an M.A. in Philosophy from Stanford University, a C.Phil. in Philosophy of Education from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Ed.M. and an A.B. with honors in History and Science from Harvard University.


Adam Scow

Adam Scow is the California Campaign Director at Food & Water Watch where he is responsible for developing strategy for local, state, and national campaigns. He has led numerous successful campaigns at the local and state level to protect California’s water as a human right and public resource. He has served on the planning committee for the annual California Water Policy Conference and is a board member of San Francisco Tomorrow. Previously, Adam researched federal farm policy and water transfers in Washington D.C.


Jose Oliva

Jose Oliva was born in Xelaju,Guatemala, on November 15, 1972 to Myriam Gonzalez a popular educator. As a result of Jose’s mothers’ involvement in social justice issues, they were forced to flee Guatemala in 1985. Once in the U.S. Jose went to work at the Midwest Latino Research and Policy Center at the University of Illinois in Chicago under the direction of Dr. Aida Giachello. He then was called to be Executive Director of Casa Guatemala where he began to organize day laborers in Chicago’s street corners.
He founded the Chicago Interfaith Workers’ Center and then became the Coordinator of Interfaith Worker Justice’s National Workers’ Centers Network. Then in 2008 he became the coordinator for the Workers’ Alliance for a Just Economy a program of the Center for Community Change. Currently Jose is the Networks Director for the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United the national organization of restaurant workers.


Julia DeGraw

Julia DeGraw is the Northwest Organizer for Food & Water Watch. Julia is a northwest native passionate about protecting the Northwest’s essential food and water resources. She works with local groups to prevent the privatization of public water municipalities and to stop companies from bottling Northwest water. She is also building regional support for more federal funding to maintain and improve our public water infrastructure and to pass smarter regulations for our food and fish resources. She also coordinates the Northwest coalition fighting to stop liquified natural gas exports in the Northwest and supports GMO food labeling campaigns in the region. She was a featured speaker at the Portland March Against Monsanto attended by some 6,000 participants.

Prior to joining Food & Water Watch, Julia worked with the Gifford Pinchot Task Force where she launched a campaign to protect rivers in Southwest Washington state. She also completed Green Corps’ one-year program to train the next generation of organizers. While with Green Corps, Julia took part in many campaigns including an international campaign against Coca Cola’s illegal water bottling practices in India. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Sociology from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin.


John W. Roulac

John W. Roulac is the Founder and CEO of Nutiva®, the world’s leading brand of organic hemp foods and coconut oil.

Nutiva® was awarded one of Inc 500/5000’s fastest-growing companies in America in 2009 and 2010. A longtime advocate for holistic living, he is the author of four books on hemp and composting (with a million+ copies sold). He helped jump-start the modern home-composting movement in the early 1990s, successfully sued the U.S. DEA to keep hemp foods legal in 2001, and has founded three nonprofit ecological groups.


Melanie Cheng: Founder, FarmsReach

Melanie is the founder of FarmsReach.com, a platform to connect farmers with each other and with those who serve them. Since Fall 2011, Melanie (via FarmsReach) has been working with organic seed dealers, breeders and advocates to identify new solutions to optimize the sustainable seed supply chain, and help production farmers access organic and non-GMO seed. In 2002, she operated the first farmers market-to-restaurant co-op in San Francisco, and developed the OmOrganics.org website – still an active resource for consumers to learn about organic agriculture and find sustainably grown foods in the SF Bay Area. In 2010, Melanie was curator of the Food Systems track at the international Social Capital Markets conference, and authored the Building Regional Produce Supply Chains white paper. Before entering the agriculture industry, she developed training and educational materials for Cisco Systems and a university book publisher.


Renee Anderson: Interaction Designer, FarmsReach

As a user experience strategist and designer, Renee has been involved in creating interfaces and experiences for digital products and services for over 15 years. She has worked with a wide variety of clients, industries, and projects; in digital and in real-time, and in the merging of the two; from individual to social to community to systemic. Her role with FarmsReach is to translate farming business requirements and goals into software design that is easy and fun to use. She leads the overall software design effort, plans and maps out how the software should behave, creates testing environments to validate designs with target audiences, and helps manage the software development process.


Luis Magaña

Luis Magaña, is an organizer for project voice works in the San Joaquin valley town of Stockton, an area rich in ethnic diversity, by utilizing emerging community issues and neighborhood campaigns to highlight underlying structural injustices.
He was the organizer of one of the most successful worker strikes supported by Cesar Chavez. In 2006 launched an independent campaign for governor of the state of Michoacan Mexico.


Lorette Picciano

Lorette Picciano has served as Executive Director of the Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural (RC), a Washington, DC-based alliance of more than 70 culturally diverse community based organizations representing small producers and farmworkers in the US and Mexico, since 1992. She works with the RC’s diverse Board and members to promote just and sustainable development in rural areas. As of 2012/13, she is participating in her 7th Farm Bill Debate. RC has, for more than 30 years, been a leading organization working to secure civil and human rights in the agriculture and trade sectors, and especially in the movement to secure equity for all farmers and farmworkers from the US Department of Agriculture. Rural Coalition also connects with its sister communities in North America and globally, and is a member organization of the international farmers movement, La Via Campesina.

In the 2008 Farm Bill debate, she coordinated Farm and Food Policy Diversity Initiative, a collaboration of almost a dozen organizations representing socially disadvantaged producers and farmworkers in a unified effort to assure equal access to the programs of the US Department of Agriculture for farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers. As a result the initiative, more than 30 sections of new policy were included in the farm bill to benefit socially disadvantaged producers.

Her education includes a BS in Agriculture and Life Sciences from Cornell University, and an M. Ed. from the University of Hawaii, where she was a participant in the Food Institute of the East-West Center and did fieldwork in the rural Philippines. Prior to joining the Rural Coalition, she worked since 1980 in Washington DC with several interfaith organizations on equity in food and farm policy, food security and fair trade issues. She also serves on the Boards of Directors of Agriculture Missions, Inc., and the emerging Solidarity Economy Network, and on the Steering Committee of the USDA National Small Farms Conference.


Courtney Pineau: Assistant Director, Non-GMO Project

Courtney has been involved in the sustainable food movement for the past fifteen years. Prior to working for the Non-GMO Project, Courtney attended the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, where she earned her MBA in Sustainable Business with a concentration in food systems. At the Non-GMO Project, Courtney works alongside a small, but mighty team to develop outreach and communications strategies that support the organization’s mission of building and protecting a non-GMO food supply. When not at her desk, Courtney can most often be found working in the garden on her homestead or playing in the mountains with her husband and teenage daughter.


Trudy Bialic: Director of Public Affairs for PCC Natural Markets

Trudy Bialic is the Director of Public Affairs for PCC Natural Markets, a consumer-owned retail grocer with nine stores in the Seattle area. During her years as editor of PCC’s Sound Consumer, she was a member of the Oregon Tilth and National Organic Standards Board, and now serves on an advisory committee to WSU’s Agricultural College. She helped draft language for Washington’s 522 ballot initiative, and is co-chair of the Yes on 522 Steering Committee.


Senator Maralyn Chase

Senator Maralyn Chase (D-Shoreline), Washington State Senate. Senator Chase was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2002 and the Senate in 2010. She is the ranking member of the Senate Trade, Economic Development & Innovation Committee and serves on the Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee. Senator Chase is a staunch believer in the power of economic development and of an educated populous. She is a defender of senior citizens, the developmentally disabled and low income people everywhere. Senator Chase works on a variety of issues including tax reform, international trade policy, environmental health, economic growth and job creation, government operations, tribal relations and food/product safety issues. She is currently co-chair of the Yes on 522 Campaign, Washington State’s GMO labeling bill.


Steve Hallstrom

Steve Hallstrom is co-owner of Letus Farm, an 80-acre organic spread on the Chehalis River near Oakville, Washington where he oversees full-time farming internships for four students every year. A past president of the Seattle chapter of the Audabon Society, Steve was fortunate to work with legendary environmentalist Hazel Wolf. He is a member of the Yes on 522 steering committee.


Kate Davies

Kate Davies MA DPhil is core faculty in the Center for Creative Change at Antioch University Seattle and clinical associate professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Washington. In the mid-1980s, her research was the first to show that the vast majority of exposure to persistent organic pollutants comes from food. Since then, she has continued to work on pesticides, environmental health and social change. She has worked with many non-governmental and quasi-governmental organizations including the Royal Society of Canada, the International Joint Commission, the Institute for Children’s Environmental Health, the Collaborative on Health and the Environment and the Sustainable Path Foundation. She has received several awards for her work, published many articles and taught in the UK and Canada, as well as the US. Her first book, The Rise of the U.S. Environmental Health Movement, was published by Rowman & Littlefield in March 2013.


Tom Malterre

Tom Malterre, MS, CN is Functional Medicine trained nutritionist who has co-authored the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, and Nourishing Meals. He has attained two nutritional science degrees from Bastyr University and has been training physicians and other practitioners on the importance of organic diets for optimal health and wellness. As a faculty member, and scientific roundtable member of the Autism Research Institute, Tom has lectured across the US and Canada, and is constantly reviewing scientific data to provide fresh insights in to optimal health.


Chris Hardy

Chris Hardy has farming roots from early childhood growing up in Iowa working on his Grandpa’s 400 acre organic farm. Chris went on to travel extensively, working with farming communities as far away as Pakistan. As a farmer actively engaged in permaculture education and the local food movement in Southern Oregon, he oversees 10 acres of certified organic vegetables, perennials and seed production. He also manages the Ashland High School Garden in collaboration with the Rogue Valley Farm to School Program.
Chris has served on the Rogue Valley Growers Market Board of Directors for over three years, actively helping to develop and expand market opportunities for regional farmers. He is a founding member to GMO-Free Jackson County, and recently was guest speaker at the Iowa Organic Agriculture Conference. GMO-Free Jackson County is working to protect the rights of Southern Oregon’s farmers from the encroachment of Genetically Engineered crops across the region’s predominantly small and organic farming community.


Anne Mosness

Anne Mosness is a former fisherwoman, President of the Women’s Maritime Association and Food and Society Policy/Kellogg Leadership Alliance Fellow. She organizes educational events and writes and speaks marine feedlots, GE fish, nonrenewable resource industries and other activities that pose risks to sustainable fisheries and coastal ecosystems.


Brook Brouwer

Brook Brouwer grew up on Lopez Island, WA. He graduated with a B.A. in Biology from Colorado College in 2008. In January 2012 he began working towards a PhD in Crop Science, in Dr. Stephen Jones’s lab at Washington State University, Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center. Brook’s research is focused on: Variety Improvement and Unique Market Outlets for Barley and Legumes in Western Washington. Brook is testing barley quality for craft malt production, food and feed utilization; collecting and evaluating western Washington heritage dry bean varieties; as well as selecting and breeding new varieties for organic production in Western Washington. In the past, he has worked on diverse livestock farms herding cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens and turkeys as well as conducted nutrient cycling and botany research in mountain, river and island ecosystems.


Don Comstock

Don Comstock, Ph.D., is a political economist and member of the faculty of The Center for Creative Change at Antioch University Seattle where he teaches the theory and practice of social change and the economics of sustainability. He currently writes and speaks about the global economy and education for social and environmental justice. Don brings to the classroom extensive experience in community economic development, non-profit management, and participatory action research. He founded and managed public and not-for-profit community development organizations and consulted with small businesses, non-profits and public agencies. Don is the co-founder of a community development corporation (CDC) as well as the Washington Association for Community Economic Development (WACED). He also was a board member and National Secretary of the National Congress for Community Economic Development (NCCED), the national organization of CDCs. He received his B.S. from the University of Southern California, an M.A. from the University of Denver and Ph.D. from Stanford University and taught at Stanford, Washington State University and The Evergreen State College before joining Antioch University.


Chris Korrow

Chris Korrow is a farmer, naturalist, photographer, filmmaker, and author. His film Garden Insects won two film festival awards and premiered nationwide on PBS. Frost Flowers has aired on PBS Kentucky for several years. Most recently, he has worked on a series of short films on food and local economy for the Whidbey Institute’s Thriving Communities effort, a series of conferences on community resiliency.

He is working on a new documentary, Dancing With Thoreau, a film about how and why we, as a Western society, can and should reconnect with nature. Korrow will weave film footage from dynamic natural environments together with commentary from teachers, naturalists, farmers, scientists, spiritual leaders, and representatives of the major religions to tell the story of how the cultivation of a spiritual outlook and practice can support a healthy and balanced natural environment, and in turn, how a connection with our natural environment strengthens our spiritual, physical, and intellectual pursuits.

Korrow’s has a new children’s book called The Organic Bug Book (SteinerBooks 2013), and is based on his award-winning film, Garden Insects. He is the author of The 30 Square-Foot Garden, A Guide for Observing Nature and Awakening to Nature.

For over 20 years, Korrow and his family the lived on a rural Kentucky farm in a solar-powered home and ran an organic/biodynamic vegetable business. They lived a sustainable lifestyle, growing most of their own food, with no phone, no electricity, and no hot running water. They are now based on Whidbey Island, Washington, living right in town. Korrow operates a one-third acre market garden inside the city limits of Langley, within walking distance of home.

Chris and his wife Christy have embarked on a new project to create an affordable, green, co-housing neighborhood on 10 acres of woods and meadow in their hometown of Langley.

Chris explores the intersections between nature, agriculture, community, and spirituality through his media company, Breathe Deep Productions. To find out more about his work, visit: Breathe Deep Productions.


Laurie Pyne

Laurie Pyne received her doctorate in optometry in 1989. During practice, she began to explore the mind-body connection as a basis for wellness which led to work in various energetic healing modalities and certification in Interactive Guided Imagery. She has presented programs to youth on their unlimited potential and the power our attitudes have in and over our lives and how to change them. While in Michigan, she was a Board Member of the non-profit Preserve the Dunes for many years, active in protecting and preserving the critical ecologically sensitive dune areas of Southwest Michigan. She has also served on the Board of Directors of International Bird Rescue (IBR) for 8 years and has led Development, Fundraising and Grant Writing activities for several years for them and other non-profits. Laurie also spent 4 months in Louisiana working with the IBR oil spill response team helping in the oiled wildlife response during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Passionate about life and bees, she has channeled her energy into beekeeping and bee and pollinator advocacy and is currently the President of the Olympia Beekeepers Association. Laurie is also developing her own body of work, a project entitled “Nature Teaches”.


Kathleen Hallal

Kathleen Hallal is a mother to three boys who have been diagnosed with autoimmune issues. She is a co-founder of Moms Across America, an organization created by Kathleen and Zen Honeycutt (whose boys have severe food allergies) to spread awareness among our population, especially parents. Moms Across America recently organized 155 parades across the US on July 4 to help educate the public about GMOs. Kathleen has her M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies. When her children were diagnosed with an autoimmune condition for which the medical community has very few answers, Kathleen began researching food and nutrition as a way to help her children. It all came together for her when she heard Iowa farmer Howard Vlieger speak about how GMO feed was affecting the health of farm animals, and that when the farm animals were fed conventional feed, their health issues disappeared. Kathleen removed GMOs from her family’s diet, and her children’s health improved. She resolved to commit herself to spread awareness about GMOs and how they are raised, and to promote labeling. She is the Leader of the OC/LA PANDAS group, Head of Health and Safety for her district’s PTA council, and Den Leader in her son’s Cub Scout Pack.


Katherine Zavala: Program Manager, Grassroots Alliances at IDEX

A native of Peru, Katherine has been with the IDEX programs team since 2005. Katherine travels regularly to Guatemala, Mexico and South Africa as part of IDEX site visits and selection of new grantees. Katherine is passionate about bridging global learnings from IDEX Partners with local US-based organizations and supports spaces for exchanges of experiences and information in food justice. Katherine?s most illuminating experience was volunteering with an indigenous women-led organization in Guatemala for 5 months, supporting their economic development and training programs. Katherine earned a Master?s in International Relations from San Francisco State University in 2005.