Dr. Linda Alvarez is an assistant professor at California State University, Northridge. She is Co-Founder and Director of Vegan Advocacy Initiative, an animal advocacy and food justice organization. Linda holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Master’s Degrees in International Relations and Latin American Studies. Her scholarly interests revolve around exploring the ways in which underrepresented and marginalized groups interact, challenge and resist dominant structures of power. Much of her research has focused on the experience of migration, violence and trauma among farmworkers and slaughterhouse workers. Linda is also an avid veganic gardener and might be slightly obsessed with the amazing life systems beneath the ground, namely the interaction of soil, fungus and worms.
Roxanne Dunbar grew up in rural Oklahoma, child of landless farmers. As a veteran of the Sixties revolution, she has been involved in movements against the Vietnam War and imperialism, union organizing, and was one of the founders of the Women’s Liberation Movement in the late 1960s. Since 1973, she has worked with Indigenous communities for sovereignty and land rights and helped build the international Indigenous movement. A historian, writer, and professor emeritus in Native American Studies at California State University, she is author of many Indigenous related books and articles, including Indians of the Americas: Self-Determination and Human Rights; Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico: and The Great Sioux Nation: An Oral History of the Sioux-United States Treaty of 1868, as well as a memoir trilogy: Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie; Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960-1975; and Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War. Her most recent book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, received a 2015 American Book Award.
Chema Hernández Gil helps build the political power of working-class communities of color in San Francisco as the political coordinator at the San Francisco Rising Alliance and one of the organizers at Bay Resistance, a powerful new network preparing to defend our communities, our movements, and our planet. Chema was raised vegetarian and experienced his family’s shift to eating more dairy and processed foods when they left Mexico in the late 1980s. Over the years, he also saw how people’s diets in Mexico changed in similar, negative ways. Along the way, he acquired an understanding of how native North American food systems were colonized. He is passionate about building vegan agroecological food systems within the context of decolonization.
Joe Kilcoyne is Co-founder of Wild Earth Farm and Sanctuary, where he strives to build a community that values individual experience and mutual cooperation in an environment where one can be both a student and teacher. Joe holds Permaculture Design Certificates from Midwest Permaculture and from Spiralseed. He strives to foster independence, self empowerment, common ground and the knowledge that we can work together to live free from exploitation by removing ourselves from cultures of domination. In his work, Joe focuses on learning to live a life that respects and values the animals, plants, fungi, and minerals around us.
Matthew Loisel is a Salinas-based veganic farmer. After becoming disillusioned with both corporate life and our corporate food system, he decided to help create a better food system by making the transition from hobbyist gardener to commercial farmer. He founded Lazy Millennial Farms with his wife after they completed training at an organic farm incubator. Matt became vegan after completing his training and he suddenly realized that he had to learn to farm within a new set of parameters. He has been successfully doing so, and in 2016, Lazy Millennial Farms launched the Bay Area’s first veganic CSA.
Verónica Moreno is a Community Engagement Manger at Thousand Currents. As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, Verónica has always been committed to amplifying the voices of underrepresented peoples in both academia and her own community. Verónica was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Argentina, where she designed and taught a syllabus focused on social issues in media and pop culture. After returning stateside and a short stint at a tech company, Verónica recommitted to social change and joined the Thousand Currents team. She is a fierce advocate for self-determination for all marginalized peoples and looks forward to a future where one gender no longer defines the standard for humanity.
Nassim Nobari is the co-founder of Seed the Commons and main organizer of the People’s Harvest Forum. As a social justice and food activist, she has worked with radical community programs in Switzerland and the US and volunteered with peasant organizations in a dozen countries. With Seed the Commons, she strives to continue to help build a food system that works for farmers, workers and eaters, while promoting animal liberation instead of agricultural models based on animal exploitation.
Mona Seymour is an Associate Professor of Urban Studies and the Director of the Environmental Studies Program at Loyola Marymount University. Her research broadly focuses on veganism and the food movement. She is currently working on a project on farming methods that avoid chemical and farmed animal inputs, and is a part of Seed the Commons’ Working Group on Veganic Farming, which aims to support and spread veganic agriculture in the US. Her past research has explored urban sustainability planning and green infrastructure, with particular attention to alleyway revitalization and greenspace planning.
Neil Thapar is the lead for the Farmland Program of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, where he researches alternative legal structures and land-holding arrangements that promote affordability and long-term sustainable stewardship of farmland. Neil also leads the Save Seed Sharing campaign of the SELC to protect people’s rights to share seeds with each other through community organizing, legislative advocacy, and public education on the importance of growing and supporting locally-focused seed distribution networks. In 2014, Neil led SELC’s legislative campaign to pass the Neighborhood Food Act, expanding access to backyard food production for tenants and homeowners in planned developments.
Ryan Thayer is a Community Organizer for Food Justice with Tenderloin Neighborhood Development (TNDC), Co-Coordinator of the Tenderloin Healthy Corner Store Coalition (TLHCSC), and a member of the San Francisco Food Security Taskforce. He sees access to healthy, fresh, nutritious, and affordable food as a fundamental right for individuals and families with limited access to resources. Spearheading organizing efforts around food access, education, and healthy corner stores, Ryan seeks to improve San Francisco’s local food system through the empowerment of our most at need communities.
Nicole Vosper is an anarchist organizer and agroecologist whose main interest is exploring how to dismantle and replace industrial and animal agriculture with systems that are life-sustaining and liberatory. She learned to grow food in prison during a 3.5 year sentence for participation in the historic campaign Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. She teaches vegan permaculture courses and started a workers cooperative called Feed Avalon, which works towards local food resilience of her area – Street and Glastonbury, in Somerset, south west of the UK. She will be joining us by videoconference from the UK. Her website: http://www.emptycagesdesign.org/