About Us
"One thing that is distinct about the Center for Food Safety is that they are very effective litigators on these issues and no one has more success in raising issues in the courts..."
-Michael Pollan
Award-winning author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food
LEADERSHIP
Andrew Kimbrell
Executive Director

Andrew Kimbrell is a public interest attorney, activist and author. He has been involved in public interest legal activity in numerous areas of technology, human health and the environment. After working for eight years as the Policy Director at the Foundation for Economic Trends, Kimbrell established the International Center for Technology Assessment (CTA) in 1994 and the Center for Food Safety(CFS) in 1997. Kimbrell has written several books and given numerous public lectures on a variety of issues. He has been featured on radio and television programs across the country, including The Today Show, the CBS Morning Show, Crossfire, Headlines on Trial, and Good Morning America. He has lectured at dozens of universities throughout the country and has testified before congressional and regulatory hearings. In 1994, the Utne Reader named Kimbrell as one of the world’s leading 100 visionaries.

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.

STAFF
Abigail Seiler
Media Coordinator

Abigail Seiler is media coordinator 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.

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.

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.

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
Legal Fellow

Cristina is a Legal Fellow 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.

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.

Elisabeth Holmes
Consulting Attorney

Eli focuses her work on the CFS campaign against factory farming, and assists on CFS’s general litigation docket related to food safety matters.  Eli holds a LL.M. in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from the University of Oregon, a J.D. from Boston University School of Law, a M.A. in French from Middlebury College and a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College.  Eli recently co-authored “Power, Politics and Poison:  The Story Behind National Cotton Council of America v. U.S. EPA.” 41 Environmental Law Reporter 10946 (10-2011).  Prior to joining CFS, Eli served as a judicial law clerk in the Massachusetts Trial Court Probate and Family Court Department and worked in private practice.  She has worked on a variety of environmental cases involving such issues as CAFOs, the BP oil spill, proposed statewide waivers of environmental protections, misapplications of pesticides, biopiracy, and Walmart expansions.  While at the University of Oregon, Eli served as a clerk to the Vice Chair of the United Nations’ European Economic Commission’s Aarhus Convention’s Compliance Committee.  The Compliance Committee enforces access to information, public participation, and justice in environmental matters.  Eli has traveled extensively, and has lived in Europe and West Africa.

Elizabeth Kucinich
Policy Director

An experienced advocate and government affairs professional, Elizabeth comes to CFS from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), where she advocated prevention over cure, nutrition over drugs, and human-relevant research and training over the use of animals.

Before joining PCRM, she was a congressional liaison for the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly. Elizabeth serves as a board director of several notable organizations including Sean Penn’s Haitian relief organization, J/P HRO, and the Rodale Institute.

Elizabeth is the Executive Producer of "GMO OMG", a documentary exploring genetic engineering in agriculture and food production (www.GMOfilm.com), which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2013. She is also a producer of “Hot Water", a documentary about the nuclear industry, uranium mining and the radioactive pollution of our water (www.ZeroHotWater.com). "Hot Water" premiered at the DC Environmental Film Festival in March 2013.

She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Dennis Kucinich, a former US Congressman and two-time US Presidential candidate. They share their home and garden with three rescue dogs, Harry, Lucie and George; Falcon the cat and a hive of bees they lovingly refer to as their girls.

Gabriela Steier
Legal Fellow

Gabriela Steier is a legal fellow at Center for Food Safety focusing on international food law, policy and trade. She holds a B.A. from Tufts University, a J.D. from Duquesne University and is pursuing a doctorate in comparative law.

While in law school, Gabriela earned several awards for her work and served as the Associate Managing Editor of Juris Magazine and research assistant for Professor Jane C. Moriarty at the Duquesne University School of Law.  Her publications include: Externalities in Industrial Food Production: The Costs of Profit, 3 Dartmouth L. J. 164 (Fall 2011); Cibus, Lex, Commercium: Food Law and Plantenomics in World Trade, 31 Temp. J. Sci. Tech. & Envtl. L. 177 (Winter 2012); Dead People Don’t Eat: Food Governmentenomics and Conflicts-of-Interest in the USDA and FDA, 7 Pitt. J. Envt. & Pub. Health L. 1 (Winter 2012); and The WTO's Blind Spot: Dispute Resolution in the International Food Industry, 11 Ohio St. J. on Disp. Resol. 1 (2013).

As Editor in Chief of a new textbook on international food law and policy and with her numerous publications ranging from peer-reviewed articles in international medical journals to law reviews, Gabriela has gained wide-spread interdisciplinary interest and some of her articles have been on the Top Ten List on SSRN for several months. She speaks six languages and has traveled extensively throughout Europe.

George Kimbrell
Senior Attorney

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.