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LEADERSHIP

Executive Director
Andrew Kimbrell

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."

West Coast Director
Rebecca Spector

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

Senior Attorney
Adam Keats

Senior attorney Adam Keats works on water supply and water privatization issues, focusing on agricultural water use. He is a 2016 recipient of the California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) award for his work fighting a major sprawl development project in southern California. He is currently litigating several cases regarding water privatization, including a major fight to reverse the privatization of the Kern Water Bank, one of the world’s largest water banking facilities. This work was featured in the 2017 film Water & Power: A California Heist, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and aired on the National Geographic Channel. Keats is a frequent speaker and author on water supply and water privatization. In 2015 he co-authored “Not All Water Stored Underground is Groundwater: Aquifer Privatization and California’s 2014 Groundwater Sustainable Management Act,” published in the Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal. Before joining CFS in 2015, he was a senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity and director of that organization’s Urban Wildlands program. He received his law degree in 1997 from UC Davis School of Law and his bachelor’s degree in 1993 from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Staff Attorney
Amy van Saun

Amy is a staff attorney in the Center for Food Safety’s Portland, Oregon office. After clerking for CFS in San Francisco in the summer of 2009, Amy is thrilled to be working with CFS as an attorney.  A 2011 graduate of Lewis & Clark Law School, Amy focused on public interest environmental and food law in school, earning a certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law.  Amy volunteered and then managed the Sustainable Agriculture and Pesticide Policy group of the Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC) while at Lewis & Clark, in addition to serving on the board of the Public Interest Law Project (PILP) for three years. Amy was also an associate editor of the Environmental Law Review and participated in the Native American Law Student Association’s national moot court competition. In addition to clerking for CFS, Amy spent a summer and full school year working at the Earthrise Law Center, Lewis & Clark’s public interest environmental law clinic.  After law school, Amy temporarily moved back to her home state of New York (where she is admitted to the bar), to volunteer with Earthjustice and then litigate complex environmental insurance cases at a law firm in Manhattan. Amy is extremely happy to be back in Oregon, where in her spare time she enjoys farmer’s markets, cooking with friends, painting, concerts, cycling, hiking, and camping.  

Director, Hawaii Center for Food Safety
Ashley Lukens, PhD

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.

Science Policy Analyst
Bill Freese

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.

Senior Manager for Organic and Animal Policy
Cameron Harsh

Cameron works to provide in-depth research and analysis, draft informational materials, and coordinate with other organizations for projects in the Organic & Beyond, Animal Factories, and International campaigns. His current work at CFS is focused largely on highlighting the environmental and public health consequences of industrial animal production, including the overuse of certain drugs, and promoting strong national standards for organic farming. 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.

Program Director, Hawaii Center for Food Safety
Danya Hakeem

Danya Hakeem is the Program Director for Hawaii Center for Food Safety and is responsible for planning, execution and support of all HCFS programs and campaigns, as well as overseeing HCFS media and communications.  

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.

Food and Climate Campaign Director
Diana Donlon

Diana Donlon is Center for Food Safety's Food and Climate Campaign Director where she leads Soil Solutions – CFS's program communicating the critical importance of rebuilding soil health for food security, fresh water availability, and climate stability. Soil Solutions to Climate Problems, a four-minute film she produced, was screened in the Blue Zone at the 2015 UN Climate Conference in Paris. Diana has worked for a variety of family foundations supporting youth and sustainable agriculture programs. 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.

Program and Development Associate
Erin Austin

Erin Austin is the Program and Development Associate for the Center for Food Safety. Her passion for sustainable agriculture began in Austin, Texas where she was born and raised surrounded by a vibrant food community. Erin graduated from the University of Virginia with honors in Global Development Studies and Sustainability. While at UVA, Erin conducted research on the organic food industry in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil and created and ran an after-school health and wellness gardening program for a local elementary school. Before joining CFS, Erin worked with a variety of non-profits, foundations, and B-Corps supporting food access and sustainable agriculture programs. In her spare time, Erin can be found hiking, doing yoga, rock climbing, and cooking and eating good food.

Legal Director
George Kimbrell

George Kimbrell is CFS’s Legal Director, overseeing all of the Center’s legal work. Along with his Director duties, George is counsel in many CFS cases. His legal, legislative, and policy work runs the gamut of many CFS program areas, including pesticides, genetically engineered organisms, animal factory pollution, food labeling, foodborne illness, organic standards, and aquaculture. Among other landmark cases, George was counsel in the first U.S. Supreme Court case on the regulation of genetically engineered crops. He received his law degree magna cum laude from Lewis and Clark Law School, where he now teaches food and agriculture law as an adjunct professor. He has authored numerous law review articles and other publications, and often speaks on all areas of food and agriculture law and industrial agriculture’s impacts on the environment and public health. Before joining CFS in 2005, George completed a clerkship with the Honorable Ronald M. Gould, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Digital Engagement and Advocacy Director
Heather Whitehead

Heather has two decades of campaign, advocacy, and organizing experience. She has worked across the U.S. on several environmental, social justice, and corporate campaigns, and has worked with groups including Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace, the Ruckus Society, CorpWatch, and the Genetic Engineering Action Network. She helped launch the True Food Network in 2000 and has been its director since 2003. Prior to joining CFS in 2005, Heather was the national markets campaigner with the genetic engineering campaign at Greenpeace, where she led the True Food Network’s successful campaign urging Trader Joe’s to transition to GE-free products. In addition to directing CFS’s digital campaigns and engagement, Heather was a contributing writer to Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food and "It's Alive" in the 2008 edition of 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth. She has served on the steering committees of the Genetic Engineering Action Network and Californians for GE-Free Agriculture and is an Impact Advisory Board member for Brigade. Heather holds a Master's  in Public Policy from Northwestern University and a Bachelor's in Sociology and Political Science.

Senior Policy Analyst
Jaydee Hanson

Jaydee Hanson works as the senior policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety on emerging technology issues related to nanotechnology, synthetic biology, animal cloning and animal genetic engineering. He also works for the Center’s sister agency, the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) where he directs their work on human genetics, synthetic biology and nanotechnology.  He has a Master’s degree in Biogeography and Resource Management from the University of Hawai’i. Before coming to the Center, he worked for the National Marine Fisheries Service, started both the environmental justice program of the United Methodist Church and their genetics and bioethics program. He is the US co-chair for the Nanotechnology Taskforce of the Transatlantic Consumers Dialogue and a fellow of the Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future.

Senior Program Manager, Building Power Program, Hawaii Center for Food Safety
Joshua Noga

Joshua was born and raised in the Ahupua’a of Kalihi Palama on the island of Oahu. He is a community organizer committed to creating a more food justice movement. Joshua got his start as a community leader standing up against a multi-million dollar development company looking to develop a massive urbanization development on state-zoned agricultural land. After two and one half years of organizing the grassroots community organization Aloha Aina No Ko’olau loa (loyal patriots with love of Ko’olau loa) along with their allies where able to claim victory when the City and County of Honolulu Zoning and Planning Committee rejected the plans for development halting the project completely. Reaching a critical point in his life and seeing the power of people united Joshua decided to live his values and joined Sierra Club of Hawaii as a community organizer. As a community organizer he worked on campaigns related to water rights, stream protection, and improving our local food system. Joshua lives in the Ahupua’a of Hauula in the Moku of Ko’olau loa with his wife and three children.

Program Associate, Hawaii Center for Food Safety
Kimiko LaHaela Walter

Kimiko LaHaela Walter is the Program Associate with the Hawaii office. She holds a B.Sc. in Environmental Science and Sustainable Resource Management from the University of Washington, Seattle and an International M.Sc. in Forest Ecology and Management from the University of Freiburg, Germany. She has done extensive research-based work with various government and non-government organizations throughout her academic career. Forest and wildlife science has been the primary focus of her endeavors with agroforestry and sustainable agriculture at the periphery. Growing up in the beautiful locales of Washington state and Hawaii, she has always had a deep love and respect for nature. She enjoys taking her passions for nature protection, environmental sustainability, healthy nutrition, sustainable food systems, political and social activism, and community empowerment with her to work every day. Kimiko is also a devoted mother, an ardent yogi and enjoys spending her free time hiking, camping, beach lounging, and being active in her community.

Science Consultant
Margaret Mellon, J.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Margaret Mellon is a science consultant for CFS. Dr. Mellon is a respected expert on biotechnology, antibiotics and food safety. She holds a doctorate in molecular biology and a law degree from the University of Virginia.

In 1993, Dr. Mellon founded the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) to promote the adoption of science-based farming systems that are simultaneously productive, environmentally benign, and resilient in the face of stress. Dr. Mellon has published widely on the potential environmental impacts of biotechnology applications. She is co-author of Ecological Risks of Engineered Crops and Hogging It!: Estimates of Antimicrobial Abuse in Livestock and co-editor of Now or Never: Serious New Plans to Save a Natural Pest Control.

She served three terms on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture and for many years taught a popular course in biotechnology and the law at the Vermont Law School. She was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1994.

A widely quoted expert on biotechnology, Dr. Mellon regularly appears on ABC World News Tonight, CNN, and NPR, as well as in the New York Times, Washington Post, and many other major media outlets. She lectures widely on sustainable agriculture, biotechnology, and antibiotic issues.