Earth Island Speakers Bureau

Speakers on Environmental Justice, Food Justice

  • Farzana Serang

    Executive Director, Castanea Fellowship

    As executive director of the Castanea Fellowship, Farzana Serang brings together diverse, cross-sector leadership working to build racially just, healthier, and sustainable food systems. Castanea Fellows are seed keepers, doctors, farmers, business developers, and labor organizers who come from a variety of regions and experiences. Farzana previously worked with the San Francisco Foundation, the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFED), PolicyLink, National Congress of American Indians, and the Democracy Collaborative. She holds a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Berkeley.

    See also: Food and Agriculture

  • Sarah Diefendorf

    Executive Director, EFC West

    As executive director of EFC West, Sarah Diefendorf works to empower environmentally vulnerable communities throughout the United States and Africa. She trains Indigenous peoples and rural and low-income populations in leadership, entrepreneurship, and management skills to help them protect their health, safeguard their natural resources, and become resilient. Her areas of expertise include climate change and impacts on Indigenous communities; climate adaptation with Native American tribes; southwestern and California Native American tribes and sustainability/sovereignty, especially in the areas of pollution, waste, and water; grassroots engagement and empowerment, including environmental justice; challenges facing small, rural, and poor water systems; women and climate change in Uganda and Kenya.

    See also: Indigenous Communities

  • Audrey Mei Y Brown

    Operations Manager, Food Shift

    Audrey Mei Y Brown is a writer and activist working at the intersection of social justice, environment, food, and the arts in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work exploring food justice, environmental literature, and sustainable food systems naturally led her to Food Shift’s Alameda, California, office. Audrey graduated from UCLA.

    See also: Food and Agriculture

  • Jen Franco

    Culinary Director, Food Shift

    Jen Franco’s passion for nourishing people led her to become a certified natural chef at Bauman College, followed by eight years as an executive chef teaching holistic cooking and nutrition. At Food Shift, Jen directs all aspects of the culinary program: guiding apprentices, planning food recovery operations, food waste prevention, creating menus, and more.

    See also: Food and Agriculture

  • Yuka Nagashima

    Executive Director, Food Shift

    With more than 20 years of experience as a senior executive, Yuka Nagashima possesses skills in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); nonprofit leadership; and policy/government. Recent work includes DEI executive consulting, leadership at global nonprofit Astia, and developing an inclusive leadership curriculum for Stanford University. Yuka was raised in Japan and educated in Canada and the United States.

    See also: Food and Agriculture

  • Patricia Martin

    Executive Director, Save Our Soil

    Patricia (Patty) Martin is the executive director of Save Our Soil. Patty is a former mayor of Quincy, Washington, a low-income, minority agricultural community in Central Washington. She was integral in exposing the illegal use of hazardous and other industrial wastes in fertilizer, soil amendments, and animal feed. Her plight and that of local farmers standing against the agrichemical industry was first chronicled in a Seattle Times investigative series “Fear in the Fields: How Hazardous Waste Becomes Fertilizer” (1997) and then in Fateful Harvest: The True Story of a Small Town, a Global Industry, and a Toxic Secret (Harper Collins, 2001). Patty is also an expert on environmental justice issues, including federal agencies’ responsibility under Executive Order 12898 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the responsibilities of state or local government receiving federal funds under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Additionally, she can speak to solid waste and waste disposal requirements, air quality issues, and electrical usage of data centers (i.e., the cloud).

    See also: Food and Agriculture, Pollution and Plastic

  • Janet MacGillivray

    Founder, Seeding Sovereignty

    Janet MacGillivray is an environmental attorney and social change activist. She founded Seeding Sovereignty at Standing Rock to amplify the role of Indigenous knowledge for environmental justice and regeneration. Janet is a former whistleblower who has worked in legal and leadership positions at the Environmental Protection Agency and national and international organizations. At Seeding Sovereignty, Janet directs the Climate Justice Program and develops campaigns and advocates for systematically oppressed communities.

    See also: Energy and Climate, Indigenous Communities

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