About Us
"[CFS is] very defensive of truth...it is selfless, it is diligent, it's tenacious, and we couldn't have battled it to this point of defending the right [of farmers] except for the Center and its staff"
-Pat Trask
Alfalfa farmer and CFS plaintiff
Andrew Kimbrell
Executive Director

Andrew Kimbrell is an internationally recognized public interest attorney, public speaker, and author. He is the founder and Executive Director of Center for Food Safety. He also is Director of the San Francisco based Center for Technology Assessment, co-founder of Foundation Earth, and President of the Board of Humane Farm Animal Care (that administers the Certified Humane label).

As an attorney, Kimbrell has successfully challenged federal agencies in several historic court cases. He initiated the court challenge that resulted in a U.S. Supreme Court victory forcing, for the first time, EPA regulation of greenhouse gases and their impact on climate change. He also pioneered the legal strategy that led to the Supreme Court ruling that DNA is not patentable due to being a "product of nature." Through his leadership at CFS, Kimbrell has been at the forefront of legal challenges to genetically engineered crops and lawsuits forcing FDA to adopt new food safety regulations. His legal work has also helped maintain the integrity of organic standards.

As an author and public speaker Kimbrell has been a leading proponent of regenerative forms of agriculture and organic policies. He is the editor of the nationally renowned book Fatal Harvest, The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture and the author of Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food. Kimbrell's articles and editorials have appeared in The New York Times, Harpers, USA Today, and numerous other print and new media publications such as The Huffington Post

He has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress and has been a featured speaker at dozens of colleges and universities around the country and other public forums including Google Author Talks, Slow Food Nation, Bioneers and Ecofarm. He is featured in several documentaries including "The Future of Food," "FRESH," and a critique of genetic engineering, "Life Running out of Control." 

Kimbrell is also a noted expert on a wide range of technology and economic issues. His works in this area include his international best-selling book The Human Body Shop: the Engineering and Marketing of Life and the printed versions of his influential E.F. Schumacher lectures, "Cold Evil: Technology and Modern Ethics" and "Salmon Economics."

In addition to his legal degree Kimbrell also has a graduate degree in Psychology and has often written in the field including his book, The Masculine Mystique. Besides his public interest work, Kimbrell's passions include his love of piano (stemming from his earlier career as a concert pianist), poetry, baseball, and wilderness fly fishing.  

Kimbrell's many accolades include a spot on the Utne Reader list of the world's leading 100 visionaries, and The Guardian recognizing him in 2008 as one of the 50 people "most likely to save the planet."

Rebecca Spector
West Coast Director

Rebecca Spector joined CFS in 2000 and has been instrumental in growing the organization and creating its West Coast Regional Office in San Francisco. As CFS’s West Coast Director, she champions policy initiatives at the state and federal level and coordinates public outreach campaigns to promote healthy, safe and sustainable food systems. She has been working in the environmental and agricultural sector for more than 20 years, and her experience includes establishing regulations to limit the production of genetically engineered (GE) fish in California, and writing and sponsoring numerous legislative initiatives including state bills to require labeling of GE foods, labeling of GE fish, labeling of food from cloned animals, and farmer protections from GMO contamination. Previously, she served as director of development at Green Seal, the first U.S. product eco-labeling organization, and at Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet she spearheaded its organic cotton marketing campaign. Rebecca is associate editor of Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture and Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food. She has authored numerous articles and reports including “Livestock Cloning and the Quest for Industrial Perfection” in CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories and “Fully Integrated Food Systems: Regaining Connections between Farmers and Consumers” in Fatal Harvest. For ten years, Rebecca was co-owner of the first certified organic farm in Half Moon Bay, California, and created its community supported agriculture (CSA) and farmers’ market programs that served hundreds of families in the Bay Area. She holds an M.S. in Environmental Policy from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Abigail Seiler
Media and Communications Manager

Abigail Seiler is media and communications manager for Center for Food Safety and is responsible for developing strategy and content for press outreach across the organization’s programs.  In addition to writing press releases, blogs, and other materials, Abigail manages the Center for Food Safety Twitter account @TrueFoodNow.  Abigail earned an MA in Communication from the University of Maryland where she focused on the discourse of social movements around food and agriculture.  Prior to that she earned an MA in Anthropology of Food from University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies where she studied activism by farm workers across the globe. A Baltimore native, she graduated cum laude from the University of Maryland and is a published author.

Alexandria Coutu
Hawaii Office Administrator

Alexandria Coutu is the full-time Office Administrator for the Hawaii office. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Colorado with a degree in Marketing and International Business. This is her first full-time post college position. Prior to working for CFS, her previous work experience includes banking, digital marketing, social media marketing, event coordinating, and customer service. Born and raised in a small farming community just outside of Portland Oregon, our mission ties perfectly in with her passion for a sustainable future. In her spare time Allie enjoys yoga, snowboarding, backpacking, enjoying time relaxing at the beach, volunteering, and meeting new people.

Ashley Lukens, PhD
Program Director, Hawaii Center for Food Safety

Ashley Lukens is the Hawaii Program Director for Center for Food Safety. Her work focuses on issues of human and environmental health as they relate to the food system. She has her PhD in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where her research examined community-led efforts to develop culturally appropriate strategies for food system transformation. During grad school, she was also a Sea Grant Graduate Trainee, working at Kakoo Oiwi to document the impact of shifting land use practices in He‘eia wetland and the community-led efforts develop culturally appropriate ecosystem management strategies. Ashley is a founding member and the Vice President of the Hawaii Food Policy Council and continues to teach Political Science courses at UH Manoa and UH West Oahu.

Aurora Paulsen
Legal Fellow

As a CFS legal fellow, Aurora will focus on aquaculture, factory farming, and genetic engineering, among other sustainability and food safety issues. She holds a B.A. in linguistics from Reed College and a J.D. and certificate in environmental law from Lewis & Clark Law School. Aurora previously clerked for CFS and also has done environmental and animal protection litigation with Earthrise Law Center, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

While in law school, Aurora served as Editor in Chief of Animal Law Review, instituting the journal’s first symposium, externed with the Oregon Court of Appeals, and was a research scholar, ultimately being inducted into the school’s honor society and receiving awards for writing and community leadership. Her publications include law review articles on organic standards, food labeling, the public trust doctrine, and Pacific Northwest salmon litigation.

Before joining CFS as a legal fellow, Aurora clerked at the Oregon Court of Appeals. She currently serves on the executive committee for Oregon State Bar’s Environmental and Natural Resources Section and on a bar subcommittee that is producing a report on integrating sustainability and farm animal welfare objectives. Aurora is from Kalispell, Montana, and she has worked and traveled in Southern Africa and Eastern Europe.

Austin Cummings
Development Associate

Austin joined CFS with a background in communications and development. His previous employment opportunities included positions in non-profit legal aid, fundraising and sponsorship — with California Rural Legal Assistance, Black Rock City, LLC (Burning Man), 21c Museum Hotel & The Frazier History Museum respectively. San Francisco is where Austin and his partner Jordie have called home for the past five years.
Originally from Louisville, KY, Austin grew up working on a horse farm addicted to fresh air & camping.  He is an Eagle Scout, social activist, massage therapist, and sausage gravy master who hopes all of the fish are swimming in your direction and the moose decide not to stampede today.

Bill Freese
Science Policy Analyst

Bill joined CFS in 2006 as science policy analyst. In his six years with the Safer Food – Safer Farms campaign at Friends of the Earth, he authored numerous reports and comments to government agencies concerning the science and regulation of genetically engineered crops. Bill played a key role in the discovery of unapproved StarLink corn in the food supply in 2000/01. His comprehensive report on genetically engineered (GE) pharmaceutical crops in 2002 helped initiate public debate on “biopharming.” In 2004, he teamed up with Salk Institute cell biologist David Schubert to write a comprehensive, peer-reviewed scientific critique of the regulation and safety testing of GE foods. Bill has given numerous public presentations on agricultural biotechnology to State Department officers, international regulatory officials, farm groups and the general public. More recent work involves assessments of the failed promise of GE crops, industrial biotechnology, and cost-effective alternatives to genetic engineering. Bill holds a B.A. in chemistry from Grinnell College.

Cameron Harsh
Research Associate

Cameron Harsh is a Research Associate for Center for Food Safety. Cameron works to provide support to CFS’s various programs and issue areas, and in particular conducts in-depth research and analysis for projects with the Organic & Beyond and Animal Factories campaigns. Before joining CFS, Cameron worked with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and co-authored a report on the economic benefits of locally-scaled composting initiatives. He earned an M.A. in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development from the United Nations mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica and an M.A. in International Affairs from American University in Washington, DC. His graduate research focused on sustainable food systems with an emphasis on gender dynamics in U.S. agriculture.  Prior to grad school, Cameron worked on a number of community-based food justice projects in Seattle, including developing urban food gardens and teaching gardening classes.

Colin O'Neil
Director of Government Affairs

Colin O’Neil is the director of government affairs for Center for Food Safety. Since joining in 2008, he has contributed to the expansion of the Center’s policy campaigns, organizing and overseeing daily operations of the Center’s congressional and federal policy work. He regularly meets with Members of Congress and their staff on issues of concern to the food safety community, including regulation and oversight of genetically engineered (GE) crops and animals, food and farm policy, organic agriculture and climate change, as well as nanotechnology and synthetic biology. Colin acts as a spokesperson for a range of issues and actions by the Center, and has been interviewed and quoted by a variety of print and broadcast media outlets, including Politico, Dow Jones, Huffington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle and Fox News. A magna cum laude graduate of Beloit College in Wisconsin and an avid outdoorsman, he is also the co-author of Nano Exposed: A Citizen’s Guide to Nanotechnology.

Cristina Stella
Staff Attorney

Cristina is a Staff Attorney at Center for Food Safety, joining CFS after completing a clerkship with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Cristina earned her J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, where she focused on environmental and consumer protection through the Institute for Public Representation clinical program and externships with Food & Water Watch, the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America, the Center for Science in the Public Interest Litigation Project, and the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. As a research assistant for the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and the Center for a Livable Future, Cristina developed advocacy strategies to combat the human health and environmental impacts of factory farms. Prior to law school, she coordinated food and farm policy projects in Portland, Oregon, supporting increased access to fresh, sustainably grown foods for low-income communities. Cristina is admitted to practice in New York.*

*Cristina is not admitted to practice in California.

Danya Hakeem
Program Coordinator for Hawaii Center for Food Safety’s Building Power Through Collaboration

Danya Hakeem is a program coordinator for Hawaii Center for Food Safety’s Building Power Through Collaboration program and is responsible for developing a capacity building curriculum, implementing trainings, and coordinating collaboration efforts for individuals and organizations from across the state.

Danya earned her M.A. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University where she focused on environmental conflict, narrative-based peace building, and the role of media in creating change. She earned her B.A. in Communications and Business Management from Virginia Tech University.

As a media producer and strategist, she has consulted on a variety of advocacy campaigns, led social change and media trainings around the world, and produced, filmed and edited films on a variety of environmental and cultural issues. Prior to CFS, she worked as a freelance filmmaker for over five years producing and coordinating television programs for National Geographic Television and The Discovery Channel. She is originally from the Washington, D.C. area.

Debbie Barker
International Programs Director

Ms. Barker formerly served as the co-director of the International Forum on Globalization (IFG), a think tank that analyses and critiques forms of economic globalization, where she worked from 1996 to 2008. She recently authored The Predictable Rise and Fall of Global Industrial Agriculture, which highlights international policies causing ecological and social harm, and provides alternative strategies to the current food system. She was on the international committee of authors for the United Nation’s major report released in 2008-the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), and co-authored The Manifesto on Climate Change and the Future of Food Security (2008). Ms. Barker has edited, co-authored and contributed to numerous other reports including: Invisible Government-The World Trade Organization: Global Government For The New Millennium (with Jerry Mander); Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture; and Alternatives to Economic Globalization: A Better World Is Possible. She currently serves on the board of directors of the International Forum on Globalization, and is a member of the Committee on the Future of Food and Agriculture commissioned by the government of Tuscany, Italy.

Diana Donlon
Cool Foods Campaign Director

Diana brings nearly two decades of experience in philanthropy and grassroots environmental activism to the Cool Foods campaign. As a program executive at the Goldman Environmental Prize, she helped to elevate the critical and often unrecognized causes of environmental activists around the world. In 2002 Diana was one of the founders of the first foundation collaborative to focus on food, the Roots of Change Fund; today a statewide network leading California’s transition to sustainable agriculture by 2030. She has worked for a variety of foundations including the Public Health Trust, the Columbia Foundation and the William Zimmerman Foundation, as a program consultant where she has used her extensive knowledge of the food system as a way to address complex social and environmental problems. Diana is the Board Secretary of the award-winning non-profit Watershed Media, publishers of action-oriented titles including Farming with the Wild and Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to a Food and Farm Bill. She has a Bachelor’s degree in History from UC Berkeley, a Master’s in Education from Harvard University and served in the Peace Corps in Morocco.

Donna Solen
Senior Attorney

Donna Solen is a Senior Attorney at the Center for Food Safety.  Prior to joining CFS, Donna spent 15 years practicing law in Washington, DC.  Donna began her career at Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C. – one of the nation’s largest plaintiffs’ class action law firms – representing hundreds of homeowners against 15 of the largest oil companies in the United States for allegations that the nearby 128 million-gallon petroleum storage facility caused air and groundwater contamination in the surrounding community.  During her almost nine years at Cohen Milstein, Donna worked on complex litigation and class actions involving violations of consumer protection, environmental, products liability and antitrust laws.

More recently, as a partner at Whitfield Bryson & Mason, Donna’s work continued to focus on consumer-oriented class-action litigation.  For example, Donna spent time investigating the misleading nature of food packaging, and was involved in a ground-breaking lawsuit against several major industrial greenhouse gas emitters for damages to the Inupiat Eskimo Village of Kivalina in northwest Alaska caused by global warming.  Donna also led a group of attorneys in litigating an action alleging violations of California’s consumer protection statutes in federal court in California, resulting in a negotiated nationwide settlement for the class valued at over $10 million.

Donna graduated from the University of Florida College of Law, with honors, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Florida Journal of International Law, authoring a note entitled ISO 14000: Emerging International Environmental Law, 10 Fla. J. Int'l L. 275 (1996) and a comment entitled Forum Non Conveniens and the International Plaintiff, 9 Fla. J. Int'l L. (1995).


Doug Gurian-Sherman, PhD
Senior Scientist, Director of Sustainable Agriculture

Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman was the founding co-director and science director for the biotechnology project at the Center for Science and the Public Interest. He has served as senior scientist for CFS from 2004--2006, and as senior scientist in the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists from 2006--2014. Previously, Dr. Gurian-Sherman worked at the Environmental Protection Agency where he examined the human health impacts and environmental risk of genetically engineered plants. He also worked in the Biotechnology Group at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and he served on the Food and Drug Administration’s inaugural advisory food biotechnology subcommittee.

At Center for Food Safety, Dr. Gurian-Sherman works on important areas of sustainable and industrial agricultural including: Animal factories (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), soil, agroecology, public breeding, equitable food systems, and genetic engineering. In previous positions, Dr. Gurian-Sherman has been known for his work examining the impacts of genetic engineering, CAFOs, and agroecology. (For example, he is the author of the landmark Union of Concerned Scientists report Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops.).

Dr. Gurian-Sherman earned his doctorate degree in plant pathology from the University of California Berkeley. He conducted post-doctoral research on rice and wheat molecular biology at the U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory in Albany, California.