Factory Farm Summit: Speaker Bios
Dr. Loka Ashwood Dr. Ashwood is a rural sociologist concerned with agricultural and environmental justice. She grew up on a farm in west central Illinois and was a founding member and former president of Rural Residents for Responsible Agriculture, a group that led the effort to successfully stop a Professional Swine Management facility that would have held over 18,000 pigs. Loka currently is writing a book about profit’s authority over democracy in the context of nuclear power production and eminent domain. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics in Rural Sociology at Auburn University.
Barbara Sha Cox Barbara a retired nurse and the founder of Indiana CAFO Watch, a grassroots citizens group that searches for and reports any abuse of laws by factory farms. Barbara first became an activist when her fourth-generation family farm was threatened by a large-scale Mega Dairy. Barbara’s fight to keep a factory farm away from her 240-acre family farm has resulted in Barbara traveling the state helping other rural Indiana people in similar situations.
Danielle Diamond Danielle is the Executive Director of the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project and is an attorney who has worked extensively as a community organizer and environmental policy advocate, addressing the critical problems arising from industrial livestock production. She published “Illinois’ Failure to Regulate Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in Accordance with the Federal Clean Water Act” in the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law in 2006 and is also the primary author of the pending Citizens’ Petition for Withdrawal of the Clean Water Act NPDES Program Delegation from the State of Illinois. In addition, Danielle continues her work in environmental policy as a Research Associate with the Department of Anthropology at Northern Illinois University (NIU), a position she held before joining SRAP. Previously, she worked in private practice specializing in land use, zoning, and municipal law with the firm Diamond & LeSueur, P.C. In Danielle’s spare time, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her son, Samuel.
Rick Dove Rick has been a part of the Waterkeeper movement since 1993. He was one of the founding members of the Waterkeeper Alliance and served on its first Board of Directors.Rick now advises the Waterkeeper Alliance’s Pure Farms, Pure Waters campaign in North Carolina. This campaign has served as a nationwide model for its effectiveness in the prevention of environmental abuses of industrial animal factories.
Mary Dougherty Mary is a Mother, Author, Chef, Photographer, and Activist. In 2013, Mary became a community organizer when an industrial hog operation threatened her community. Living on the shores of Lake Superior, Mary worked with community members and First Nation members to lead the opposition against the corporate hog farm. She co-founded the group Farms Not Factories, which is a citizen network that believes in environmental stewardship, civic engagement, natural resource conservation, local control, and sustainable agriculture are inherently connected and vital to building strong, prosperous rural communities. Mary and her community launched Words for Water as a gathering place for people who value the Lake Superior Basin and its fragile ecosystem.
Scott Dye Scott is a Regional Representative for the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project. Scott owns a 130-year-old family farm along Willow Branch in northern Missouri, where he was raised. In 1994, Scott was confronted with the environmental, economic, and social impacts of animal factories when an 80,000-head hog factory, now owned by WH Group Limited, moved in next door. WH Group Limited, an international China-based meat conglomerate, now controls 25% of all U.S. pork production. Scott is a founding captain of Missouri Stream Team #714, a volunteer water quality monitoring group composed of local family farmers. The group has garnered multiple state awards for leadership, stewardship, public education, and outstanding service.
Katie Engelman Katie manages Social Media for the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project. She grew up in a small rural Illinois town. She attended college in Northern Wisconsin where she majored in Environmental Studies and Sustainable Community Development. She has spent many hours volunteering and learning on small-scale family farms throughout the Midwest. In 2013, Katie became an AmeriCorps VISTA service member, which brought her to Oregon to work with a regional food bank. There she helped operate a small urban farm with local teens.
Dr. Jillian Fry Dr. Fry is a project director at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) and a faculty member in the Departments of Environmental Health Sciences and Health, Behavior, and Society at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Jillian coordinates CLF’s response to requests for technical assistance from communities impacted by CAFOs, and has summarized the relevant public health literature and regulatory gaps for policymakers and citizens through numerous letters and presentations. Dr. Fry led a study on how local and state agencies respond to citizen concerns related to CAFOs, which led to publishing two journal articles that describe barriers preventing more robust involvement by health departments and other agencies. Jillian earned her Master of Public Health degree from the University of New Mexico, and her doctorate from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Daisy Freund Daisy is a Director on the ASPCA’s Farm Animal Welfare team. In her role, Daisy develops and implements education and advocacy campaigns that improve conditions on industrial farms and drive transparency in animal agriculture so that consumers can make informed choices. Daisy joined the ASPCA in 2012, bringing to the job a diversity of experience in food systems and communications, including farming, restaurant management, public relations, and journalism. Before joining the ASPCA, Daisy worked at Glynwood Farm providing daily care to their cattle, goat, and sheep herds as well as their laying hen and broiler chicken flocks. Prior to that, Daisy managed Heaven Restaurant, a social enterprise in Rwanda offering food sourced locally from cooperatives and hospitality and culinary training for Rwandans. While there, Daisy completed her master’s thesis on the Ankole-Watutsi breed of cattle native to Rwanda. Articles she has written on farm animal welfare have been published in The Atlantic and Grist.
Sarah Geers Sarah is a staff attorney for Midwest Environmental Advocates. She was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and developed a great appreciation for Wisconsin’s beautiful natural resources by paddling, hiking, and camping around the state. Sarah earned bachelor’s degrees in Conservation and Environmental Science, and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School.
Jim Goodman Jim and his wife Rebecca run a 45-cow organic dairy and direct-market beef farm in southwest Wisconsin. His farming roots trace back to his great-grandfather’s immigration from Ireland during the famine and the farm’s original purchase in 1848. A farm activist, Jim credits more than 150 years of failed farm and social policy as his motivation to advocate for a farmer-controlled consumer-oriented food system. Jim currently serves on the policy advisory boards for the Center for Food Safety and the Organic Consumers Association, and is a board member of Midwest Environmental Advocates and of the Family Farm Defenders. Jim also blogs and works with the National Family Farm Coalition. He is the past chair of the USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education Administrative Council and a member of the USDA National Research, Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Board. Jim’s writing and speaking focus on the principals of Food Sovereignty the fact that food, like health care or education, is not a commodity, but rather a basic human right.
Rebecca Goodman Rebecca and her husband, Jim, have run Northwood Farm, a small certified organic dairy in SW Wisconsin, for 35 years. She is a registered nurse by profession but has now left that all behind to be a full-time farmer and direct marketer of beef (dairy steers) and organic cheese. With no formal agricultural education, she credits all her farming knowledge and skill to her husband and her own experience. She finds that getting outside to do chores twice a day cures whatever ails her. She serves on the boards of the Family Farm Defenders and Dane County Farmers’ Market (a 43-year-old market that is the largest producer-only market in the U.S.) and Wisconsin Organic Advisory Council. The farming practices used at Northwood Farm provide a format for her and Jim’s activist natures. They take as many opportunities as they can to bring truth to the powerful through speaking, writing, and travel. They fear that organic agriculture will follow the same path as Big Ag and refuse to accept the conventional wisdom of growth being the only measure of success.
Pete Hardin Pete started The Milkweed in June 1979. Over the following three+ decades, the paper has become the standard for dairy reporting in the United States. Hardin brings 30+ years of experience and contacts in the U.S. dairy industry to the pages of The Milkweed. Pete lives with his wife and two children on a small farm near Brooklyn, Wisconsin (about 15 miles south of Madison). He holds a master’s degree in Agricultural Journalism from UW-Madison, atop a B.A. in English from Earlham College (Richmond, Indiana). Pete hails from Sussex, New Jersey – once a bustling dairy community. His extensive contacts and travels around the nation make Hardin one of the most knowledgeable reporters covering the dairy industry.
Leslie Hatfield Leslie is the Senior Partnership and Outreach Advisor at GRACE Communications Foundation, where she advises on communications matters and collaborates with like-minded organizations on the development and refinement of external communications. Leslie has contributed to The Huffington Post, EcoWatch, Alternet, Edible Hudson Valley, Acres USA, and others, and served as lead author of the publication Cultivating the Web: High Tech Tools for the Sustainable Food Movement. Leslie earned her B.A. from The Evergreen State College, and her M.A. in Public Communication from American University. Every few years, she teaches a master’s-level food policy elective at The Evergreen State College.
Tarah Heinzen Tarah joined the Food & Water Justice program as a staff attorney in 2015. Before joining Food & Water Watch, Tarah spent five years as an attorney at the Environmental Integrity Project, leading programs focused on enforcing laws that regulate factory farm water and air pollution and restoring the Chesapeake Bay. She graduated cum laude with a certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2009. Prior to law school, she spent two years as a grassroots organizer for the Sierra Club in Iowa, working to reduce factory farm pollution. She graduated cum laude from Macalester College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Geology. Tarah works out of Food & Water Watch’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Lynn Henning Lynn emerged as a leading voice calling on state and federal authorities to hold livestock factory farms accountable to water and air quality laws. With her husband, she farms 300-acres of corn and soybeans in Lenawee County, Michigan within 10 miles of 12 CAFO facilities. Because of her work to stop pollution from factory farms and to hold state and federal agencies accountable to enforcing laws, Lynn won the 2010 Goldman Environmental Prize – the environmental equivalent of the Nobel Prize. When Lynn isn’t testing water downstream of factory farms, she enjoys spending quality time with her grandchildren. Read more about Lynn Henning’s Goldman Prize here.
Elisabeth (Eli) Holmes Eli is an attorney at Blue River Law, located in Eugene, Oregon. Prior to starting Blue River Law, Eli was a staff attorney at the Center for Food Safety where she managed the Center’s animal factory civil litigation and administrative docket, addressing issues ranging from potentially harmful animal feed additives to enforcement actions against animal factories. Eli continues to represent the Center for Food Safety on an Of Counsel basis in a landmark RCRA lawsuit against four industrial dairies for contamination of groundwater.
Dr. John Ikerd Dr. Ikerd is Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri. John was raised on a small dairy farm in southwest Missouri, and he received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Missouri. He has worked in private industry with a large meat packing company and spent 30 years in various professorial positions at leading state universities in North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Georgia, before retiring from the University of Missouri in early 2000. He spent the first half of his academic career as a livestock marketing specialist and the latter half focused on issues related to sustainable agriculture. Since retiring, he spends most of his time writing and speaking about issues related to the sustainability of agriculture. John and his wife, Ellen, reside in Fairfield, Iowa, with their two dogs and three cats. Over the past 20 years, John has met with community members concerned about Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in 16 states, four Canadian provinces, and most recently, in Wales, UK. His “truth” about the impacts of CAFOs on rural communities is based on extensive research from a wide variety of sources and his experiences in rural communities listening to arguments presented by people on both sides of this controversial issue. John has authored five books: Sustainable Capitalism, A Return to Common Sense; Small Farms Are Real Farms; Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability in American Agriculture; and Essentials of Economic Sustainability. More comprehensive background information about John Ikerd, contact information, and selected writings about CAFO issues are available at: http://web.missouri.edu/~ikerdj and http://www.johnikerd.com
Dan Imhoff Dan is a public speaker who lectures and conducts workshops on a variety of topics, from food and farming to environmental design and conservation. He has appeared on hundreds of national and regional radio and television programs, including CBS Sunday Morning, Science Friday, and West Coast Live. His books have gained national attention with coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle, Newsweek, the San Jose Mercury News, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune. He has testified before Congress and spoken at numerous conferences, corporate and government offices, and college campuses, including Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, the University of California at Berkeley, and Yale University. Dan is the president and co-founder of Watershed Media, a non-profit publishing house based in Healdsburg, California. He is the president and a co-founder of the Wild Farm Alliance, a ten-year-old national organization that works to promote agriculture systems that support and accommodate wild nature.
Tressie Kamp Tressie earned a degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a law degree from Cardozo Law School in New York City. She enjoyed working for state and federal environmental agencies and non-profits during her time in New York, and she also spent a summer in Wisconsin as a Midwest Environmental Advocates Law Clerk. After practicing law out east, Tressie returned to Wisconsin to be closer to family, the UW Arboretum, and the shores of Lake Monona. She most recently worked as a policy analyst for the state, focusing on alternative transportation and air quality programming.
Gayle Killam Gayle was the editor and principal author of the second edition of River Network’s “The Clean Water Act Owner’s Manual.” She originally created River Network’s online Clean Water Act course and co-authored “Tracking TMDLs, a Field Guide for Evaluating Proposed Watershed Restoration Plans,” and “Permitting an End to Pollution, How to Scrutinize and Strengthen Water Pollution Permits in your State.” Gayle received her master’s degree in resource economics and policy from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences and her bachelor’s degree in economics from Yale University.
Ben Lilliston is the Director of Corporate Strategies and Climate Change at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. He has a Bachelor of Philosophy degree from University of Miami (Ohio). He previously served as IATP’s Communications Director and Vice President for Programs. He has worked as a researcher, writer, and editor at a number of organizations including the Center for Study of Responsive Law, the Corporate Crime Reporter, Multinational Monitor, Cancer Prevention Coalition, and Sustain. He’s a frequently published writer, most recently as a contributor to Mandate for Change (Lexington), and previously as the co-author of the book Genetically Engineered Foods: A Guide for Consumers (Avalon).
Patty Lovera Patty is the Assistant Director of Food & Water Watch. She coordinates the food team. 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.
Steve Masar Steve is a communications consultant, providing public relations work and issue management counsel for public meetings and local and national media efforts. He also works with community groups across the nation, developing communications that support local anti-industrial agriculture efforts. With more than 15 years in nonprofit and international public affairs agency work, Steve’s experience covers the communications gamut from national media campaigns and crisis work to opinion writing, product launches and organization rebranding. A former communications director for the Center for Food Safety, Steve directed media and PR for the group on food policy issues and litigation efforts. Steve is also a former vice president at Edelman Public Relations and Ogilvy PR Washington DC where his clients included government agencies, national trade associations, international businesses and public interest groups.
Jeff Metoxin Jeff is the Director at the Tsyunhehkwa Organic Farm at the Oneida Nation. The Tsyunhehkwa program is founded on self sustainability and services for the Onedia Nation and the community. Tsyunhehkwa plays a pivotal role in the reintroduction of high-quality, organically grown foods that ensure a healthier and more fulfilling life for the Oneida Nation and to facilitate positive dietary and nutritional change.
Michele Merkel Michele is Co-Director of Food & Water Justice, the legal arm of Food & Water Watch. Michele was formerly the Chesapeake Regional Coordinator for Waterkeeper Alliance. At Waterkeeper, Michele helped to develop and implement the campaigns of 18 Waterkeeper programs that protect the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays. Prior to joining the Waterkeeper, Michele was co-founder and Senior Counsel of the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). At EIP, she was responsible for developing and implementing legal campaigns under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, focusing on industrial livestock production and municipal sewage issues. Michele previously served as an attorney in the Enforcement Division of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, where she worked closely with the Department of Justice to develop and bring actions for violations of federal environmental laws. Prior to joining EPA, Michele was General Counsel for Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. Michele works out of Food & Water Watch’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Naeema Muhammad is Organizing Co-Director of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network. The Network promotes health and environmental equality for all people of North Carolina through community action for clean industry, safe work places, and fair access to all human and natural resources. Naeema has worked tirelessly to hold the hog industry accountable for the pollution it produces that disproportionately impacts the lives of African Americans living in rural North Carolina counties.
Dr. Steve Oberle, Ph.D. Dr. Oberle is currently an organic apple and lavender farmer and part-time consultant from Bayfield, Wisconsin. He was born and raised in the woods and water of the Wolf River watershed in NE Wisconsin (Shawano-Menominee Counties). Relevant previous positions held by Steve include County Conservationist and Land Conservation Department Head, Taylor County, WI; Agricultural Management-Water Quality Educator, University of Wisconsin; and USDA-Extension Service Midwest Water Quality Regional Education Coordinator. Consulting assistance services to date include partnering with local citizens’ groups/organizations and units of government (towns/villages/counties/tribes) with environmental analysis/review and monitoring of larger-scale and concentrated animal feeding operations in Wisconsin. Steve’s educational background consists of: Ph.D., Soil Science (groundwater emphasis), UW‑Madison; M.A., Agricultural Economics (farm systems emphasis), UW-Madison; M.S., Soil Science (soil fertility/plant nutrition emphasis), UW‑Madison; and B.S., Agriculture (agronomy emphasis), University of Maryland-College Park. Throughout his career, Steve has attempted to share his education/experience in a variety of formats on diverse topics including, farming systems options for U.S. agriculture; water resource implications of Midwest agroecosystems; alternative weed management strategies; pesticides and water quality; interactions of sewage sludge with soil-crop-water systems; Gichigami and her sisters; CAFO or No CAFO; and agriculture, ecology, and a new path forward.
Francisco (Paco) Ollervides Paco is the Leadership Development Manager with River Network. Paco is a biochemical engineer and a bioacoustician by training. He has conducted field work assessing the impacts of boat noise on gray whale behavior. His work has been featured in The Eye of the Whale by Dick Russell (Simon and Schuster, 2001), in El Largo Viaje de la Ballena Gris (Eva Van den Berg, National Geographic España, 2006) and in academic journals. Paco holds both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Department at Texas A&M University. For over 14 years, Paco has enjoyed helping nonprofit organizations think and act strategically by improving their efficiency and efficacy. He focuses his work on the Great Lakes, providing capacity building and organizational development support to organizations across the region working for clean and healthy rivers.
John Peck John grew up on a 260-acre farm in central Minnesota, has a B.A. in Economics from Reed College and a Ph.D. in Land Resources from UW-Madison. He has been the Executive Director of Family Farm Defenders for the last decade, and is also a part-time instructor of Economics and Environmental Studies at Madison Area Technical College (MATC). His graduate research focused on community-based management of common property resources in Zimbabwe. He attended the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and participated in global justice events surrounding the WTO meeting in Seattle in 1999, as well as FTAA meetings in Quebec in 2001 and Miami in 2003. He has been part of solidarity delegations to Ainaro, East Timor in 2005 and Oaxaca, Mexico 2008, and also participated in the 2007 Nyeleni Food Sovereignty Conference in Selengue, Mali, the Fifth Conference of La Via Campesina in Maputo, Mozambique in 2008, as well as the 2009 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Maria Payan In addition to her consulting work with SRAP, Maria is Executive Director and a founding member of Peach Bottom Concerned Citizens Group. She has worked for years to educate people about and advocate for socially responsible agriculture through forums, films, community events, and even after-school programs for children. Maria has been instrumental in working with communities to fight the expansion of industrial animal facilities throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and New York. She is committed to keeping independent farmers viable, while striving to preserve our natural resources and rural heritage for future generations.
Diane Rosenberg Diane is Executive Director for Jefferson County Farmers and Neighbors in Fairfield, Iowa. She has a long and diverse career in writing, event promotion, and community organizing, working with nonprofits and educational institutions for over 25 years. She grew up in a suburban community where her father was a “fruit man” selling fresh produce from his truck, and a respect for farming was instilled at a young age. Diane became immersed in the CAFO issue after she founded a weekly newspaper in Iowa in 2003. She used her publication to educate about the injustice of factory farms that were threatening her community. Diane has been working extensively to help citizens understand nutrient management plans.
Annie Speicher Annie is a Chicago Emmy-nominated producer/editor from Indianapolis. She received her Bachelor of Science from Indiana University and has since worked at various post-production facilities including Optimus, Avenue, and Luminair Media. Throughout Annie’s career, she has worked with notable clients such as Sears, LG, and Levy Restaurants. Annie has edited several television shows including America’s Chefs on Tour, Grannies on Safari, and Mexico: One Plate at a Time featuring Rick Bayless. She is proficient in both Avid Media Composer and Final Cut Pro, and enjoys the art of storytelling through her editorials. Annie is a filmmaker with Hourglass Films.
Terry Spence Terry owns and operates a second-generation family farm in northeast Missouri, where he was born and raised. He has been active in factory farming issues since 1993, when the Missouri legislature exempted three counties in northeast Missouri from complying with the state’s anti-corporate farming law and allowed the raising of hogs by Smithfield Pork. With this exemption came 1.7 million hogs, and 80,000 of them were located near his farm. Terry is President of both Citizens Legal Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) and Family Farms for the Future (FFFF). He is also a certified level III volunteer water quality monitor for Missouri Stream Team #714. Over the last 10 years, he has actively organized and worked with groups throughout Missouri and other states facing the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) problem. Terry has presented testimony to the U.S. House Subcommittee on CAFOs and numerous Missouri Clean Water Commission Hearings and Missouri Air Conservation Commission Hearings. He has also worked with various environmental organizations on both state and national levels. Terry was selected as one of the Thirty Heroes representing each of the 30 years of the Federal Clean Water Act, and he received the 2010 Justice Award from the Missouri Attorney General for dedication and commitment to environmental protection. Terry has been featured in The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Audubon Magazine, multiple books, and a variety of other state and local press.
Gordon Stevenson Gordon is a 26-year veteran of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. His last assignment was serving as the Chief of Runoff Management until his retirement in January 2011. He had overall responsibility for voluntary, regulatory, agricultural, and urban programs related to nonpoint source water pollution abatement in Wisconsin. His professional expertise includes watershed-based water resource protection and control of diffuse water pollution sources. Gordon had been instrumental in development of policies and administrative codes for the State of Wisconsin involving both agricultural and urban nonpoint source water pollution. In particular, Gordon has been an architect of Wisconsin’s environmental programs that apply to Wisconsin’s extensive livestock industry. He wrote and issued the first permits for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in Wisconsin, developed technical guidance for abatement of agricultural pollutants in both surface water and groundwater and was the voice of the Department of Natural Resources to Wisconsin’s livestock producer community. In contrast, Gordon is also well-versed in environmental ethics, having generated a number of papers on this topic. From 1990 through 2003, he served as President of the Board of Directors of the Aldo Leopold Foundation. In the 1990s, he was elected for two terms to the Board of Supervisors for the Town of Vermont in Dane County, Wisconsin. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Midwest Environmental Advocates. Gordon holds degrees in American history and engineering from the University of Wisconsin. He has been a registered professional engineer and also has significant teaching experience.
Nancy Utesch Nancy is from Kewaunee County, Wisconsin, where there are more cows than people. Some of those cows belong to Nancy and her husband Lynn. The Utesch’s moved to Town of Pierce in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin, in 2004, acquiring 150 acres to pursue their grass-fed beef operation. When they moved to the county they were concerned with concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), but at that time there were only a few permitted operations in their area. They believed the tourism sector and the proximity to Lake Michigan offered protection against the proliferation of large farms in the county. Fast forward over a decade later and today over thirty percent of the water from tested wells in Nancy’s county is unsafe to drink, with high levels of nitrates, bacteria, or both. Nancy and Lynn founded the group Kewaunee Citizens Advocating Responsible Environmental Stewardship, a citizen organization that deals with environmental issues in their community.
Craig Watts Craig is a former contract chicken grower for poultry giant Perdue. He made headlines when he teamed up with Compassion in World Farming USA to expose animal issues rampant throughout the company’s operations. Craig has been outspoken about the power of giant meat companies, giving testimony on Capitol Hill and sharing his story on the Farm Aid stage with musicians Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Willie Nelson. Craig’s story also appeared in the New York Times and on Tonight with John Oliver. Craig was named Whistleblower Insider’s “2015 Whistleblower of the Year.”
Matt Wechsler Matt is an award-winning filmmaker from Chicago and the founder of Hourglass Films. His 2012 New York Emmy-nominated documentary, Different is the New Normal, aired nationally on PBS and was narrated by Michael J. Fox. In 2013, Matt was nominated for a Chicago Emmy Award for his work on Grannies on Safari: The Colors of Cuba. In July 2011, he won best director in the International 24 Hour Film Race Competition for his short film, Pacciu!. His passion for entertaining is the backbone of his filmmaking and he is always looking for new challenges and meaningful projects.
Mike Wiggens Mike serves as Chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Raised on the Bad River Reservation, Mike learned how hunting, fishing, and harvesting were essential to the Tribe’s cultural and spiritual traditions and why the Tribe’s ceded territory rights were important to protect for this generation and the next. Mike has been instrumental in the community fight to keep Reicks View Farms off the shores of Lake Superior.
Dr. Sacoby Wilson Dr. Wilson is an assistant professor with the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health (MIAEH) and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Maryland-College Park. Dr. Wilson is an environmental health scientist with over ten years of experience working in community-university partnerships on environmental health and justice issues. He has expertise in exposure science and applied environmental health including community-based exposure assessment, environmental justice science, social epidemiology, environmental health disparities, built environment, air pollution monitoring, and community-based participatory research (CBPR). For the past two years, he has been building a program on community engagement, environmental justice, and health (CEEJH) to engage impacted communities, advocacy groups, and policymakers in Maryland and the Washington, DC region on environmental justice issues and environmental health disparities.
Kimberlee Wright Kimberlee is the Executive Director of Midwest Environmental Advocates. She was born and raised in central Illinois, where she was inspired by the Land of Lincoln to strive for social justice. She was introduced to the wonders of the natural world by her grandmother, a master gardener and naturalist. Kimberlee received a law degree and a Bachelor of Science in rural sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since graduating from law school she has worked statewide in the public interest on issues ranging from elder law, environmental protection, conservation, and support for people affected by family violence.