SLOW SEED SUMMIT SPEAKER BIOGRAPHIES
Learn more about our speakers at the 2022 Slow Seed Summit. Speakers are listed in alphabetical order by first name.
Amyrose is the founder of @virginiafreefarm which works to provide free nutrient dense food assistance to those in need. Her strong background in healthcare and her native heritage (Penobscot/Abenaki) is what prompted her to begin advocating for food sovereignty, security, and preservation of indigenous food culture through seed saving & distribution. She is focusing on teaching Indigenous lifeways and ethnobotanical knowledge to the region’s children, preserving heritage seed, and feeding the community in order to cultivate the next generation of land and water protectors. She works to create community-driven food systems based on collectivism, and a respect for nature.
In addition, Amyrose is the Urban Agriculture Collective Program Director, Virginia Home Grown’s 2022 featured garden expert & interim co-host, published author, Common Grain Alliance Board Member, and former Director of Farmer Training for the Mid-Atlantic.
Anjanette Wilson (she/hers) is a first-generation college student and first-generation Filipino American, who’s passion for environmental justice feuls her advocacy for a sustainable future. Anjanette found community in seed saving through traditional Filipino practices—while navigating the Filipino diaspora in environmental justice circles. She is a recent graduate from Western Colorado University where she received her Masters in Enivornmental Management with an emphasis on food justice and international seed sovereignty movements in the Philippines. Currently, Anjanette serves as the Development Coordinator at Global Seed Savers where she works to aide the dismantling of systems of oppression by preserving the Filipino Culture through seed saving.
Anjanette is an eager intersectional environmental justice advocate, young seed saver, and environmental management profesional who’s work parallels the community’s—helping reimagine the integration of culture, ecologically-minded, equitable, and just systems.
Steadily through the integration of culture, and with a sticky note and pen, Anjanette is ready to learn.
Anna Maria Rumińska
Anna Maria Ruminska, chef forager & reenactor, culinary consultant, gardener, ethnologist, cultural & food anthropologist, architect, designer, educator, founder of the @Chwastozercy brand, convivium leader of @Slow Food Dolny Śląsk, member of Polish Ethnological Association, placemaker, architectural educator, universal design consultant, native to Wrocław, Dolny Slask region (Lower Silesian), Poland.
Astrid Österreicher is working for Test Biotech – Institute for Independent Impact Assessment of biotechnology as a policy advisor on EU legislative processes. She has a background in international development with a focus on agriculture and food policies. She has both practical experience of working on mostly organic farms as well as several years of working in the political environment of the EU’s capital Brussels.
Bill McDorman ha dedicado su fructífera vida a la administración comunitaria de semillas. Durante más de 40 años ha sido un presentador apasionado y experto que inspira a su público con la importancia de guardar las semillas de base e insta a todos a aprender a guardar sus propias semillas. En 1981 cofundó Garden City Seeds en Missoula, Montana. En 1984 fundó Seeds Trust/High Altitude Gardens, una empresa biorregional de venta de semillas por correo que dirigió con éxito durante 28 años. Fue autor del libro “Basic Seed Saving” en 1994. En 2010, Bill y su esposa Belle fundaron la Escuela de Semillas, un programa de educación reconocido internacionalmente que ahora cuenta con miles de graduados de todo el mundo. Desde 2011 hasta 2014 fueron directores ejecutivos de Native Seeds/SEARCH en Tucson, Arizona. En 2015 fueron reclutados con su amigo John Caccia para iniciar la Alianza de Semillas de las Montañas Rocosas. Bill ahora pasa tiempo en su propio jardín cultivando granos antiguos y patrimoniales para la Heritage Grain Alliance. Su lista de semillas está disponible en Cornville Seed.
Daniel the founder and coordinator of Seed Savers Network in Kenya a national farmer’s organization with over 60,000 members. Seed Savers Network has established; an online seed exchange platform (www.seedsaverskenya.org), and 45 community seed banks, in a grassroots diversity assessment survey, SSN revealed 35 varieties that have gone extinct in the last 20 years in ten villages and documented 90 underutilized varieties facing extinction where interventions for their re-introduction and revival is ongoing in partnership with National gene bank. Wanjama is the vice president of Intercontinental Network of organic farmers organizations, a global farmers voice in organic agriculture sector. He is a board member of Kenya forum for agricultural Advisory services, an association of all extension services providers. Wanjama has extensive knowledge in designing and implementing rural development programs for the last 20 years with some years spent working for the government in the ministry of agriculture. My greatest concern are very low food safety standards and farmers right to seeds.
Danielle Nierenberg is a world-renowned researcher, speaker, and advocate on all issues relating to our food system and agriculture. In 2013, Danielle Nierenberg co-founded Food Tank (foodtank.com) with Bernard Pollack, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. Food Tank is a global convener, thought leadership organization, and unbiased creator of original research impacting the food system.
Danielle has an M.S. in Agriculture, Food, and Environment from the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and spent two years volunteering for the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. Danielle is the recipient of the 2020 Julia Child Award.
Denisa Livingston (Diné) is a food justice organizer of Diné Community Advocacy Alliance, Slow Food International Indigenous Councilor of the Global North, Ashoka Fellow, steering committee member of the Slow Food Turtle Island Association, 2017-2018 Empowered-to-Serve National Ambassador of the American Heart Association and a social entrepreneur. Her mission is to improve and empower the lives of others. Denisa is passionate about servant leadership, creating new roles for society, and bridging community members to purpose and innovation.
Devon G. Peña, Ph.D. is Co-Founder and President of The Acequia Institute and manages the foundation’s 181-acre ‘almunyah’ in the bottomlands of Viejo San Acacio, CO. Since 1999 he has served as Professor of American Ethnic Studies, Anthropology, and the Program on the Environment at the University of Washington-Seattle. His next book is Mexican-Origin Foods, Foodways, and Social Movements: Decolonial Perspectives and is forthcoming in October 2016 from the University of Arkansas Press.
Edie Mukiibi, Vice President of Slow Food International, and our first keynote speaker of the summit, will be discussing the global state of the Slow Seed program. While living and working in Uganda, Mukiibi has focused his career on advancing ecological and organic agriculture and food systems throughout rural and urban areas in Africa. He serves as the executive director of Slow Food Uganda, has been a key stakeholder in the Slow Food Gardens in Africa program, and is an agronomist, food and agriculture educator, and social entrepreneur. Mukiibi is an advisory board member for Agro Ecology Fund and Food Tank. He was also included in the Forbes’ The Next 50 Awards: The Future of Gastronomy list.
Enrique Salmón is author of, “Eating The Landscape,” a book focused on small-scale Native farmers of the Greater Southwest and their role in maintaining biocultural diversity. He has also recently published, “Iwígara: The Kinship of Plants and People,” an ethnobotany of 80 plants important to American Indians. Enrique holds a PhD. in anthropology from Arizona State University. His dissertation was a study of how the bio-region of the Rarámuri people of the Sierra Madres of Chihuahua, Mexico influences their language and thought. Enrique has been a Scholar in Residence at the Heard Museum, on the Board of Directors of the Society of Ethnobiology, and has published several articles and chapters on Indigenous Ethnobotany, agriculture, nutrition, and traditional ecological knowledge. He teaches American Indian Studies in the Department of Ethnic Studies at Cal State University East Bay.
Fatuma Emmad es cofundadora, directora ejecutiva y agricultora principal de FrontLine Farming. Es presidenta de Mile High Farmers y coorganizadora del proyecto “Proteger los alimentos”. Trabajadores de sistemas . Es profesora del Programa de Maestría en Estudios Ambientales de CU Boulder. Fatuma nació en Denver y se crió en Denver y Etiopía. Fatuma ha trabajado en el cultivo de verduras orgánicas y autóctonas en su propio terreno como parte de una cooperativa de tierras, creando granjas para restaurantes, y como gerente de granjas comunitarias de varios acres en Milwaukee y Denver. Antes de dedicarse a la agricultura, Fatuma era politóloga y se ocupaba de cuestiones que afectaban a las comunidades agrícolas, como la presión de las semillas modificadas genéticamente en el sur y el este de África. Cree en la resistencia de los cuidadores de la tierra del mundo a las soluciones únicas para la productividad de los cultivos y trata de trabajar en el reencuadre de las ideas sobre la seguridad alimentaria. Actualmente es miembro del Consejo de Alimentación Sostenible nombrado por el alcalde, de la Comisión Afroamericana de Denver y de la Comisión de Equidad del Agua de Colorado, y es becaria de la Rocky Mountain Farmers Union en 2020 y 2021. Fatuma también ha recibido la beca inaugural Kathy Underhill, que reconoce a un miembro de la comunidad que está cambiando los corazones y las mentes en el espacio del hambre con la defensa, la política y / o el compromiso de la comunidad a través de la lente de la equidad de la salud. En 2021, Fatuma también fue reconocida como uno de los 50 líderes de todo el país para el fondo Black Voices for Black Justice. El Fondo de Voces Negras para la Justicia Negra apoya y reconoce a los líderes negros y a las organizaciones dirigidas por negros que están en primera línea para dar forma al movimiento urgente para construir un país justo, equitativo y antirracista.
Heather Swan’s poems have appeared in such journals as Poet Lore, Phoebe, The Raleigh Review, Midwestern Gothic and Cold Mountain and in several anthologies including Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations, Rewilding, and How to Love the World. She is the author of the poetry collection A Kinship with Ash (Terrapin Books), the chapbook The Edge of Damage ( Parallel Press), which won the Wisconsin Chapbook Award, and the creative nonfiction book Where Honeybees Thrive: Stories from the Field (Penn State Press) which won the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award. She teaches environmental literature and writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Jerusha Klemperer is the Director of FoodPrint.org, a website dedicated to helping people understand the full impact of their food on animals, planet and people. Prior to leading FoodPrint, she was a co-founder and the Communications Director for FoodCorps, an organization that works with local communities around the country to serve healthy food in schools, and before that led campaigns at Slow Food USA. She has a 15+ year career working for places with “food” in the title, working to support a food system that is better for the planet, more just, more humane and more delicious.
Jessika is a Ho-Chunk Nation tribal member from Baraboo, WI and a member of the Deer Clan. Jessika is excited to be able to share her lifework of growing and protecting our seed relatives, her desire to regenerate the soils of our Earth, and she is grateful for the opportunity to train and inspire future seed keepers. Jessika has worked as the Agricultural Division Manager for her nation and had previously served as a garden mentor within her Nation’s organic community gardens. She is a U.S. Army combat veteran and completed a Veteran-to-Farmer training program at the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania.
Joe Fassler is former deputy editor of The Counter, an award-winning newsroom that covered the forces shaping how and what we eat. His writing and reporting—which has twice won a SABEW award for business reporting, twice been a finalist for a James Beard Foundation Media Award, and been included in The Best American Food Writing—focuses on the stories we tell about food sustainability and ethics, including how narratives promoted by media, corporations, advocates, academics, and policymakers drive (or fail to drive) legislative and behavioral change. His 2021 investigative essay on regenerative agriculture’s overlooked, interlinked challenges —from hard-to-measure benefits to exclusionary land use implications—won an honorable mention at this year’s Covering Climate Now Awards.
Dr. John Hausdoerffer is an environmental philosopher, teacher, organizational founder, and writer from Gunnison, Colo. He believes that peace between humans begins with a spiritual connection with a just distribution of the “ecosphere” that forms our local and global home. His books “Catlin’s Lament“; “Wildness“; and (forthcoming) “What Kind of Ancestor Do You Want to Be?” imagine how environmental health must come from and result in the healing of deep histories of social injustice and cultural trauma. “Dr. John” calls for a new ethic that views all places as part of our home, all generations of all beings as part of our scope of responsibility, and all actions as potential expressions of human care for the world. As he often says, “environmental ethics insists on humans as more than bodies that consume bodies in a global economy, insists that we are wholehearted beings capable of understanding and caring for the complex local and global systems that sustain us.”
Dr. John is the founding Dean of the Clark Family School of Environment & Sustainability and Director of the Master in Environmental Management (MEM) program at Western Colorado University. His MEM Program requires students to build resilient, and thus peaceful, communities around the world. The MEM program requires each student to complete a 600-hour on-the-ground Masters Project for a community organization anywhere globally, resulting in 25,000 hours of annual expert student work throughout Gunnison and as far as Yosemite, Yellowstone, Alaska, Mexico, Kenya, India, Costa Rica, and Colombia. Dr. John’s MEM program seeks to complete 1000 of these projects for global communities by 2040, making the Gunnison Valley a destination and hub for training agents of change, and a launchpad for sending those change agents around the world for, as he calls them, “livelihoods based on their values.”
Finally, Dr. John believes that peace emerges not just from individual actions, books, or academic programs; he believes that peace emerges from systems of change. To this end, he has co-founded numerous organizations dedicated to more resilient community systems. He co-founded the Coldharbour Institute with Butch Clark on 350 acres of land east of Gunnison, Colo., to exemplify sustainable mountain living in the Rockies. He co-founded the Resilience Studies Consortium to unite environmental programs from small, liberal arts colleges to provide what he calls “multi-place, place-based education” for students who use the diversely unique regions of the U.S. as hands-on, interdisciplinary “learning laboratories.” He co-founded the Mountain Resilience Coalition, merging Aspen International Mountain Foundation, Telluride Institute, and Western’s Clark Family School of Environment & Sustainability as the facilitators of the United Nations Mountain Partnership’s North America, Central America, and Caribbean region. Finally, Dr. John co-founded Gunnison’s “Sister City International” partnership with the Himalayan community of Majkhali, India in order to find shared climate change solutions between two “Headwaters Communities” on two opposing sides of this great planet.
Throughout his life, Dr. John’s dedication to peace has been driven by this question: what does the good life look like once we accept that all places are “here” and all eras are “now”? What does the good life look like if all peoples are considered as part of an equal humanity and if all species are considered as persons?
Karina Ocampo, broadcaster and journalist, is a member of the Sovereign Kitchen Community of Buenos Aires.
She wrote La ruta del maíz, a chronicle of a trip through Latin America in search of our Food Sovereignty. https://www.instagram.com/proyectomaiz/
Katherine Kassouf Cummings
Katherine Kassouf Cummings is a Lebanese-American writer and editor born to and living on the ancestral homelands of the people of the Council of Three Fires (Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa) as well as the Menominee, Miami, and Ho-Chunk nations. She co-edited the book What Kind of Ancestor Do You Want to Be? (University of Chicago Press, 2021) and serves as Managing Editor at the Center for Humans and Nature, where she leads the Questions for a Resilient Future and the Editorial Fellows program. She received her BA from Emory University, and she is an alumna of the University of Chicago’s program in editing.
Kaylena (Haudenosaunee/Seneca) is Turtle Clan from the Seneca Nation of Indians. She has grown up eating traditional white corn, which has given fuel to a career focused on strengthening Indigenous knowledge of traditional agriculture, Native foodways, and environmental health. Her work throughout the Americas has served to educate and strengthen vital links between Indigenous food systems, local economies, and climate change adaptation. She holds degrees from Brown University and the University of Oxford, and currently supports small-scale funding for traditional farming and local economic development initiatives throughout Turtle Island.
Linda Black Elk
Linda Black Elk is an ethnobotanist and food sovereignty activist specializing in teaching about culturally important plants and their uses as food and medicine. She is eternally grateful for the intergenerational knowledge of elders and other knowledge holders, who have shared their understandings of the world with her, and she has dedicated her life to giving back to these peoples and their communities. Linda works to build ways of thinking that will promote and protect food sovereignty, traditional plant knowledge, and environmental quality as an extension of the fight against hydraulic fracturing and the fossil fuels industry. Linda and her family have also been spearheading a grassroots effort to provide organic, traditional, shelf stable food and traditional Indigenous medicines to elders and others in need. She has written numerous articles, book chapters, and papers, and is the author of “Watoto Unyutapi”, a field guide to edible wild plants of the Dakota people. Linda proudly serves as the Food Sovereignty Coordinator at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota, where she passes ethnobotanical and food systems knowledge on to her amazing students. When she isn’t teaching, Linda spends her time foraging, hiking, hunting, and fishing on the prairies and waters of the northern Great Plains with her husband and three sons, who are all members of the Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires of the Lakota.
Scholar activist and agriculture advocate, Dr. Lindsey Lunsford, inspired by her alma mater, Tuskegee University, is setting the tone for the upcoming generation of rural and urban agriculturalists. Dr. Lunsford is unique in that she worked full-time as a Sustainable Food System Resource Specialist through Tuskegee University’s Carver Integrative Sustainability Center, while still being enrolled in the Tuskegee University Integrative Public Policy and Development Doctoral Program. Dr. Lunsford’s doctoral research focused on the restorying of African American food systems and foodways for the pursuit of cultural justice and food sovereignty.
Although, still early in her career, Dr. Lunsford demonstrates noteworthy performance and accomplishments in her programming and research aims. Dr. Lunsford was recently named among the nation’s Top 20 Emerging Leaders in Food and Agriculture. Dr. Lunsford, currently studies policy advocacy for strengthening grassroots efforts from state to international levels. Lunsford’s leadership focuses on educating underserved populations on self-sufficiency and healthy lifestyles while encouraging the larger community to pursue sustainable and equitable food-oriented development.
Liz Carlisle is an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at UC Santa Barbara, where she teaches courses on food and farming. Born and raised in Montana, she got hooked on agriculture while working as an aide to organic farmer and U.S. Senator Jon Tester, which led to a decade of research and writing collaborations with farmers in her home state. She has written three books about regenerative farming and agroecology: Lentil Underground (2015), Grain by Grain (2019, with co-author Bob Quinn), and most recently, Healing Grounds: Climate, Justice, and the Deep Roots of Regenerative Farming (2022).
Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray
Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray has a diverse background, beginning with a Masters in Project Management. She has been working to protect traditional seeds and foods for the last 20 years. She has been a delegate of Terra Madre 2006, 2010, and 2016 in Torino Italy, Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 in Shillong, India, and the International Congress in Chengdu, China in September, 2017.
She co-founded Kanenhi:io Ionkwaienthonhakie (We Are Planting Good Seeds), in the Mohawk Community of Akwesasne, in New York, which built a substantial community greenhouse, established a community farmers’ market on the reservation, and supports the Akwesasne Freedom School, community gardens, and individual family farms. Gray is now living in New Mexico, and is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute, working with youth and elders to protect and revive traditions in agriculture and sustainable living in South America and throughout Turtle Island. She has worked with such well known activists as Vandana Shiva, Percy Schmeiser, Oscar Olivera, Jeffrey Smith, Winona LaDuke, Paul Stamets, and Andrew Kimbrell to educate and motivate people into action in protecting our Mother Earth against environmental contamination.
Ingeniero Agrónomo, Agroecólogo y Guardián de Semillas. Fue asesor técnico de las cooperativas de semillas de FeCoAgro de San Juan, proveedoras del Plan Nacional ProHuerta. En el Alto Valle, formó parte del equipo docente que desarrolló el Plan de Estudios de Técnicas Agroecológicas para Zonas Áridas y Semiáridas del CPE Neuquén, facilitando temas de Soberanía Alimentaria y Autoproducción de Semillas a docentes de huertas escolares, desde donde promovió la realización de Ferias de Semillas desde las Escuelas y desde la Comunidad. Realizó el relevamiento y valoración del resguardo de semillas, promoviendo el rescate y la autoproducción y el intercambio de semillas de variedades locales a través de diversos cursos y talleres en Neuquén, Río Negro y otras localidades del país. Forma parte de la Red de Cuidadores de Semillas de la Confluencia y de la Red de Semillas Soberanas del Alto Valle, que promueve el escalamiento de la producción de semillas de variedades locales para la libre circulación y provisión de la Agricultura Familiar en el marco de la Agroecología y la Soberanía Alimentaria. Como docente de Escuelas Agrotécnicas, forma parte del Equipo de Co-formación del Primer Diseño Curricular de la Escuela Media de Neuquén, desde donde se incorporan al currículo Conocimientos y Saberes sobre Soberanía Alimentaria, Revalorización de Variedades y Razas Locales, Bienes Comunes y Buen Vivir.
Nathan Lou is a San Diego native that has a passion for food and medicine sovereignty. Through his educational endeavors, which include an AS in Agriculture and BS in Natural Resources, Nathan has developed a strong understanding about social inequalities in food access and environmental impacts. In February of 2018, Nathan founded Mongol Tribe Inc, a grassroots 501c3 organization whose mission is focused on holistic health and wellness initiatives, enriching community and ecologic development through hands-on education and experiences with regenerative, sustainable land management practices. Through Mongol Tribe’s Sovereign Seeds Program, Nathan supported the founding of the Ocean Beach Seed Library in March 2019, which continues to provide a diversity of seeds to the community. Mongol Tribe is currently partnered with the City of San Diego’s Promise Zone and is working to develop a public edible arboretum in partnership with the San Diego Public Library Department.
Nikki Brighton, is a forager, writer, and activist, well known for her passion for food, the environment and community. She hosts inspiring immersive experiences in her hometown of Howick, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, and is often invited to far flung places to help others identify edible weeds and live lightly.
An enthusiastic locavore, Nikki loves nothing better than shelling new season beans in summer and delighting friends with entirely local meals, using unusual ingredients. She is a prolific blogger and uses every opportunity to raise awareness about local food, abundant living, seed security and community. She puts a lot of effort into the local REKO farmers markets movement, the Midlands Barter Markets, is a committed Slow Food member and has compiled a recipe book – Mnandi, which celebrates the cooks and gardeners of Mpophomeni township and which includes a section on commonly eaten wild food.
Nikki is listed as an influential woman in the Mail & Guardian 2021 Power of Women https://powerfulwomen.mg.co.za/nikki-brighton-60-2021/
Dr. Rebecca Webster is an enrolled citizen of the Oneida Nation. She is a founding member of Ohe∙láku (among the cornstalks) a co-op of 10 Oneida families that grow 6 acres of traditional, heirloom corn together. She and her husband also own a 10 acre farmstead where they primarily grow Haudenosaunee varieties of corn, beans, and squash. Their philosophy is that every time an indigenous person plants a seed, that is an act of resistance, an assertion of sovereignty, and a reclamation of identity. With these goals in mind, an Oneida faithkeeper named their 10 acre homestead Ukwakhwa: Tsinu Niyukwayayʌthoslu (Our foods: Where we plant things). Based on their farming practices, they started a YouTube Channel called Ukwakhwa (Our Foods) where they share what they learned about planting, growing, harvesting, seed keeping, food preparation, food storage, as well as making traditional tools and crafts. Most recently, their family formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Ukwakhwa Inc., to help advance their goals of helping share knowledge with the community.
Rosebud Bear Schneider
Rosebud Bear Schneider
Ruben Sebastian Cruz
Ruben is a seed saver of the Huasco Alto Valley, Sociologist and defender of the Diaguita indigenous territory whose work has been dedicated to know and protect the water and glacier ecosystems that give life to the Huasco Valley, mainly against the threat of transnational extractive mining projects. He currently works on regenerative projects, food heritage conservation and native seed house as head of the Intercultural Indigenous Office of the Municipality of Alto del Carmen, third region of Atacama, Chile. Bajo Huasco Community in resistance, Slow Food Chile National Network.
Born in Nakuru, Kenya, Samson Kiiru Ngugi is a steering Committee member of Slow Food Youth Network Global and a trained multiplier of Knowledge Centre for Organic Agriculture (KCOA) in Eastern Africa. After graduating from University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo (Cn, Italy) in 2014, he returned to Kenya where he coordinates the implementation of Presidia projects, Farmer Managed Seed Systems, Slow Food agro-ecological gardens and development of the Slow Food network in the country.
Sandra Corbo Ortega
Referent of the Slow Food Maldonado Community. Native and Creole Seed Guardian of the Maldonado Seed Bank for Land and Water. Keeper of Seeds of Native Flora of Uruguay of the Seed Bank of the NGO. COENDU (Conservation of Native Species of Uruguay).
Shelley Buffalo is an enrolled member of the Meskwaki Tribe, also know as the Sac & Fox of the Mississippi in Iowa. Shelley served her community as Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Coordinator and now offers consultancy for food sovereignty and local foods initiatives. She is an advocate for indigenous food ways, food justice, and rematriation. A mother of two sons, Shelley made a living as a house painter and artist before finding her passion in farming and seed saving.
The Meskwaki are unique in that their land based community is a settlement, not a reservation. Established in 1857 with the purchase of 80 acres near Tama, Iowa, the Meskwaki Settlement has grown to approximately 8,400 acres.
Twilight is a veteran journalist and editor whose work has appeared in the New York Times, NBC News, NPR’s The Salt, the Guardian, and many other outlets. She has worked as an editor for Civil Eats since 2014—first as the managing editor and currently as a senior editor. She was raised on a small organic coffee farm and is an avid gardener and forager.
Dr. Vandana Shiva will deliver our final keynote, discussing women, seeds and community. Dr. Shiva is a scholar, author, scientist and food sovereignty activist. She is the founder of Navdanya, an earth, women and farmer-centric led movement working to protect biological and cultural diversity. Additionally, Dr. Shiva is the founder and director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy. She has received countless awards for her activism to protect our foodways, including the Right Livelihood Award, the Order of the Golden Ark, Global 500 Award of the UN, Earth Day International Award, the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace, and the Sydney Peace Prize.
Johannesburg born; Vanessa completed a Bachelor of Architecture Degree at the University of the Witwatersrand working briefly as an architect before following her passion for environmental justice. Vanessa has worked with various civil society organisations over the years including the Gauteng Environmental Justice Networking Forum, the GreenHouse Peoples Environmental Centre Project in the Johannesburg inner city, the African Centre for Biodiversity, Institute for Zero Waste in Africa, Young Insights in Planning, and the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance. In 2015 she began contributing to information materials for Biowatch SA and formally joined the staff in February 2017 as the Advocacy, Research and Policy Coordinator.
Biowatch South Africa is an NGO established in 1999. Biowatch supports smallholder farmers, works together with other civil society organisations, and engages decision-makers to challenge the industrialised food system and demonstrate agroecology as a means of ensuring biodiversity while attaining food and seed sovereignty and social justice. See www.biowatch.org.za