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.

Adam Keats
Senior Attorney

Senior attorney Adam Keats works on water supply and water privatization issues, focusing on agricultural water use. He is currently litigating several cases regarding water privatization in California, including a major fight to reverse the privatization of the Kern Water Bank, one of the world’s largest water banking facilities. He is a frequent speaker at meetings and conferences on water supply and water privatization. In 2015 he coauthored “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 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.

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.

Amy van Saun
Legal Fellow

Amy is a legal fellow 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 from 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 for 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.  

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.

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.

Caitlin Watkins
Development Associate

Caitlin Watkins joins Center for Food Safety with a passion for sustainable agriculture and a strong commitment to environmental and food advocacy. She is proud to contribute to the organization’s sustainability and capacity building efforts as the Development Associate.

Caitlin graduated with honors in Environmental Analysis from Pitzer College of the Claremont Colleges. While there, she conducted her thesis research on industrial agriculture and the criminal justice system, which will be published in the forthcoming book The Politics of Environmental and Food Justice in the School to Prison Pipeline. In 2013, she launched Fallen Fruit from Rising Women, a social enterprise benefitting Crossroads, a transitional facility for previously incarcerated women.

Since graduating, Caitlin has worked for a number of Bay Area nonprofits on issues ranging from consumer safety to economic empowerment and prison garden programs.

In her spare time, Caitlin enjoys hiking, backpacking, gardening, and planning her next outdoor adventure.

Caitlin Zittkowski
Legal Fellow

Caitlin is excited to be starting as a law fellow in the Center for Food Safety’s San Francisco office. Before coming to CFS, Caitlin was a law fellow with Meyer Glitzenstein and Eubanks (formerly Meyer Glitzenstein and Crystal), a public interest law firm in Washington, DC that focuses on environmental and animal protection litigation. During law school, Caitlin clerked with Earthjustice’s Washington, DC office, interned with the Humane Society Legislative Fund, and participated in her law school’s environmental clinic, which works with the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes office. Caitlin has also worked on civil rights and other social justice issues as a law clerk for the ACLU of Michigan, Legal Voice in Seattle, and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network in San Francisco. In her spare time, she enjoys reading (especially anything by David Sedaris), indoor cycling, and going to concerts and live stand-up comedy shows.

Cameron Harsh
Research & Programs Manager

As the Research & Programs Manager, 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.

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.