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The 33rd National Pesticide Forum

Agricultural Justice, Age of Organics and Alligators
Protecting health, biodiversity, and ecosystems

Orlando, Florida
April 17-18, 2015

Featured Keynote Speakers

Speakers in alphabetical order. List is preliminary only -please check back as we continue to update this list.


Randall Abate is a Professor of Law at the Florida A&M University College of Law, and serves as Director for the Center for International Law and Justice, and Project Director for the Environment, Development and Justice Program.  He teaches courses in environmental law, international and comparative law, and constitutional law. Professor Abate joined the FAMU College of Law faculty in 2009 with fifteen years of full-time law teaching experience at Vermont Law School, Widener University School of Law–Harrisburg, Rutgers School of Law–Camden, Florida Coastal School of Law, and Florida State University College of Law. He has published widely on environmental law topics, with a recent emphasis on climate change law and policy Between his years in academia at Vermont and Widener, Professor Abate handled environmental law matters at two law firms in Manhattan.  He holds a B.A. from the University of Rochester and a J.D. and M.S.E.L. (Environmental Law and Policy) from Vermont Law School.

Lisa Arkin spent thirteen years as an educator and associate professor at both Stanford University and University of Oregon, prior to her work with Beyond Toxics.  She has since accumulated deep experience in toxics use reduction advocacy, land use planning, environmental protection and strategic development for non-profit organizations. Lisa has served as Executive Director since 2005.

Lori Ann Burd is the Environmental Health Director at the Center for Biological Diversity and directs the Center’s efforts to protect humans and all other species from the harmful effects of toxic substances. She earned her B.A. at Colorado College and her J.D. at Lewis and Clark Law School. Before joining the Center she worked as a staff attorney and campaign manager for the Portland-based nonprofit Bark to protect forests, rivers and wildlife, then as a contract attorney for National Wildlife Federation, focusing on mountaintop-removal coal mining and tar sands pipelines, and the Center for Food Safety, where she focused on pesticides and genetic engineering. She sits on the boards of NEDC and the Crag Law Center.

Richard A. Callahan has a undergraduate degree in Biology from the College of the Holy Cross. He also has a PhD in Entomology from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst). He studied the effects of Ronnel (an organo-phosphate insecticide) on estrogen metabolism in chickens. He was a Captain in the United States Air Force in 1968-72. He was chief of the Biology Division of the USAF Environmental Health Lab. He developed the method used to destroy Agent Orange. He also designed and performed water pollution assessment and mitigation projects WW as directed by HQ USAF. At the University of New Mexico from 1972-74 he developed and patented a method and a respirometer that accesses metabolic capacity as a measure of sub-acute toxicity. From 1992 to 2001 he was President and Trustee of this technology licensing and consulting nonprofit, Center for Technology Commercialization. He was entrusted by NASA to exclusively commercialize their technology in 8 states and advised fortune 500 companies. From 2009 he has been a collaborator with Chensheng (Alex) Lu and Ken Warchol concerning the sub- acute effects of neonicotinoids on honeybees.  He has had 16 peer reviews publications, 8 government and 2 US patents, is a part of NY Academy of Sciences, Director of White Oak Conservation Society and is also the Director of Worcester County Beekeepers Association.

Geoffrey McCall Calvert, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P. received an undergraduate degree from Ohio University in Athens, OH (BS in Zoology), a medical degree from Wright State University in Dayton, OH, and an MPH from the University of Illinois-Chicago.  He is board-certified in both internal medicine and occupational medicine, and received his specialty training at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, IL. For the past 28 years, Dr. Calvert has worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where he has been assigned to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Cincinnati, OH.  He is also a volunteer associate professor at the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine.  He has authored over 130 peer-reviewed scientific articles, and 18 CDC technical reports.  He is an Associate Editor at four journals, including Occupational and Environmental Medicine. His current activities and interests include acute occupational pesticide poisoning, occupational cancer surveillance, occupational hearing loss, lead poisoning, and occupational disease surveillance using large national surveys.

Nelson CarrasquilloNelson Carrasquillo- Since 1992, Nelson Carrasquillo has been the executive director of El Comité de Apoyo a los Trabajadores (CATA-The Farmworkers’Support Committee), working with migrant farmworkers located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the Delmarva Peninsula, and Puerto Rico as they struggle for better living and working conditions, adequate housing, environmental justice, dignity, and respect. In 2009, he was named an Executive Board Member of the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey and became chair of the Immigration Committee. In 2010, Mr. Carrasquillo was named a Heninburg Civic Fellow through Rutgers-Newark in order to address the most important legal issues faced by immigrants in New Jersey. He also serves on the Board of Directors at Beyond Pesticides.

Paula Dinerstein is senior counsel forPublic Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and an attorney with over 18 years of experience. Prior to joining PEER, she clerked for a federal district court judge in Washington DC and then practiced with small public-interest oriented law firms. Her work included representation of States and advocacy groups in energy and environmental matters, including recovery for overcharges by oil companies for use in state energy conservation programs, challenges to EPA pesticide registrations, challenges to hydroelectric licenses, and litigation concerning regulations which weakened the federal organic food standards. She serves on the Board of Directors of Beyond Pesticides.

Jeannie Economos is the Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator for the Farmworker Association of Florida. Jeannie has worked for more than 20 years on issues of the environment, environmental justice, indigenous and immigrants’ rights, labor, peace and social justice. From 1996-2001, she was the Lake Apopka Project Coordinator for the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF), addressing the issues of job loss, displacement, and health problems of the farmworkers who had worked on Lake Apopka farms before they were closed in 1998. From 2007 to the present, Jeannie has been the FWAF health and safety coordinator. She assists with the annual training of more than 500 Florida farmworkers on their occupational health and safety and is engaged in local, state, national, and international coalitions and collaborations related to farmworker rights and safety, pesticide reduction, sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty. Jeannie is currently co-coordinator of the Lake Apopka Farmworkers Memorial Quilt Project to raise awareness about the impacts of pesticides on the former Lake Apopka farmworkers.

Sonia Faruqi, An unconventional author with an original approach, Sonia Faruqi stands primed to become one of the most important voices in food today. Her first book, Project Animal Farm, promises to entertain and enlighten readers, and to improve the lives of people and animals around the world. Her work focuses on improving farm animal lives, helping consumers live more conscientiously, helping farmers farm better, and making land more sustainable. Her goal is to make the world a better place for all its inhabitants.

Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, is a co-founder of the organization and has served as its director since 1981. Jay dedicated himself to finding solutions to pesticide problems after working with farmworkers and small farmers through an EPA grant in 1978 to the organization Rural America (1977-1981). Since that time, Jay has helped to build Beyond Pesticides' capacity to assist local groups and impact national pesticide policy. He has tracked specific chemical effects, regulatory actions, and pesticide law. In September 2009, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed Jay to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) where he is Chair of the Crops Committee

Joan Flocks, JD is the Director of the Social Policy Division for the Center for Governmental Responsibility at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where she teaches courses in environmental justice and poverty law. She has worked as a project manager, consultant, and investigator on several environmental justice and community-based participatory research projects focusing on topics including farmworker occupational and environmental health, farmworker housing, community health assessment, TANF recipient health perspectives, worker eye safety, worker reproductive health, and community vulnerability and resiliency. She has published almost 20 articles over the last 10 years, including, The Environmental and Social Injustice of Farmworker Pesticide Exposure (2012) published in the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy.

Louis Guillette, Ph.D. is a pioneer research scientist on endocrine disruption and reproductive health effects, who has studied the decline of Lake Apopka’s alligator population, where farmworkers were also exposed to agricultural pesticides. He is currently the Director of the Marine Biomedicine & Environmental Sciences Center and a Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). He is also Professor of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the SmartState Endowed Chair in Marine Genomics, at the SC Center of Economic Excellence. His current work examines the effect of environmental pollutants on the genetic-endocrine signaling associated with the development and functioning of the genitalia and gonads of various vertebrate species.

Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D. is a Professor of Integrated Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, whose research finds that the herbicide atrazine feminizes male frogs, is one of the leading scientists critical of the pesticide industry and regulatory process. Dr. Hayes has an undergraduate degree in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in integrative biology from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Hayes has published more than 40 papers, over 150 abstracts and has given more than 300 talks on the growth and development in amphibians. Dr. Hayes’ work has shown that current regulatory reviews allow widespread use of pesticides that cause serious adverse effects well below legal standards.  Through his research, he states, “I have come to realize that the most important environmental factors affecting amphibian development are synthetic chemicals (such as pesticides) that interact with hormones in a variety of ways to alter developmental responses.”

Lani Malmberg grew up in a cattle ranching family. While in graduate school studying weed science, Lani got the idea to offer a goat grazing service for those who did not want to spray chemicals for weed management. She has grown her business,Ewe4ic Ecological Services, to 1,200 cashmere goats, working for governments and private landowners for noxious weed control, fire reduction, re-seeding, watershed management, and land restoration. The company also offers noxious weed mapping and inventory.She also serves on the Board of Directors of Beyond Pesticides. Ms. Malmberg owns no land, and considers herself a ‘gypsy’ goat herder, working in 10 western states.

Matt McLean is a pioneer, agricultural activist and entrepreneur in the organic industry. His passion for farming and his steadfast commitment to the organic life led Matt to create Uncle Matt’s Organic, Inc. in 1999, one of the fastest growing organic juice and fresh fruit brands in the U.S. Prior to that, Matt managed his own juice brokerage business that exported juice to Europe and the Middle East. A seventh generation Floridian, Matt’s citrus roots date back four generations to his great grandfather who farmed without the use of harmful pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Today, Matt, also known as “Uncle Matt”, manages over 1,000 acres of organic citrus along with his father and other family members. Fully integrated from farming to manufacturing to marketing, he also serves as a consultant for farmers wishing to convert to organics. In Matt’s spare time, he enjoys football, basketball, triathlons, skiing and tennis. He lives in Clermont, FL with his wife and two children.

Marty Mesh, is an expert in sustainable agriculture. He has dedicated more than 40 years to a more environmentally responsible and socially just form of agriculture. Marty became committed to organic and sustainable agriculture while a farmworker in 1972 and, in 1976, helped establish Bellevue Gardens Organic Farm in Archer.In 1987, Mesh helped form Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers (FOG), a nonprofit organization, and, in 1995, became FOG's Executive Director. Under his leadership, FOG developed Quality Certification Services (QCS), a USDA, ISO Guide 65 and ANSI accredited organic certification program. As the largest certifier on the United States eastern seaboard, QCS certifies clients throughout the country and world, meeting the needs of operations regardless of type, location or size on the ever-expanding worldwide market. FOG is also a co-founder of the Agricultural Justice Project (AJP), a movement seeking to transform the dominant food system that has failed its farmers and workers into one where human rights and dignity are valued and rewarded, right alongside protection of our natural resources. To this end, AJP created a domestic fair trade food label backed and governed by food system stakeholders called Food Justice Certification (FJC). The unique, third-party FJC label FJC means the highest standards of equity and fairness have been met, respecting all those who labor together to bring food to the table. Mesh has been listed by Natural Food Merchandiser as one of the “Top 25 People Who Have Most Influenced the Organic Industry” and was the recipient of the Organic Trade Association’s Growing the Organic Industry award. Mesh was also featured in and co-produced the film What’s Organic About Organic?

Tirso Moreno is the co-founder and general coordinator of the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF), and is widely recognized as a strong, proud farmworker leader who has “never left his farmworker roots.” Mr. Moreno was born in Mexico and came to this country in 1971 with his family, migrating from Florida to Michigan harvesting apples and citrus until 1982. After working as an organizer for the United Farm Workers in 1983, he and several other farmworkers in Central Florida initiated the Farmworker Association. Under Tirso’s leadership, FWAF has a 31-year history of contributing to the health and well-being of farmworker communities in 15 counties across Central and South Florida.

Charles E. (“Chip”) Osborne Jr. is a nationally renowned organic turf grass expert and a professional horticulturist with 35 years’ experience in greenhouse production as the former owner and operator of Osborne Florist & Greenhouse in Marblehead, MA. Founder and President ofOsborne Organics(Marblehead, MA), has over 15 years’ experience in creating safe, sustainable and healthy athletic fields and landscapes. As a wholesale and retail nurseryman he has firsthand experience with the pesticides routinely used in the landscape industry. Personal experience led him to believe there must be a safer way to grow plants. His personal investigation, study of conventional and organic soil science practices, and hands-on experimentation led him to become one of the country's leading experts on growing organic turf. Chip is a Beyond Pesticides board member.

Hari Pulapaka, PhD, is the Executive Chef and Co-Owner of the restaurant, Cress, located in DeLand, Florida. He was also chosen as one of 15 chefs from around the nation for the James Beard Foundation’s first official Chefs Boot Camp for Policy & Change in 2013, and joined more than 700 chefs last December to urge Congress to support legislation mandating GMO labeling. Born and raised in the bustling metropolis of Mumbai (formerly, Bombay), he came to the United States in 1987 to pursue graduate studies in Mathematics. Today, Hari is a classically trained James Beard nominated Chef as well as an active tenured Associate Professor of Mathematics at Stetson University.

Routt Reigart, MD
is Professor of Pediatrics at Medical University of South Carolina and has conducted university affiliated clinical trials since 1971. Routt is one of the nation’s top pediatric expert on pesticides. His research interests include children's environmental health issues, general pediatrics, and toxicology. Routt has been Chair of the EPA’s Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee, a member of EPA/USDA/Tolerance Reassessment Advisory Committee and the FIFRA Science Advisory Panel, and CDC Chair for the Childhood Lead Poisoning Advisory Committee. He is also co-editor of EPA's Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings. Routt is Beyond Pesticides board president.

Bill Rhodes was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1947. He grew up in Lake County, Florida, and graduated from Eustis High School in 1965. He went on to play football at Florida State University where he played tackle, played in the Senior Bowl in 1969 and was inducted into the FSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1992. He was a forth round draft pick for the St. Louis Cardinals and after a couple of years in the Canadian Football League, he returned to Lake County to live. He has been married to his wife, Anna, for 43 years and they have two sons, Billy and Bobby. Both his sons also played football at FSU in the 1990‘s. Bill has five grandchildren who bring him constant joy. His family had always been in the dairy business, but in 1973 Bill decided to try beekeeping, since he knew he enjoyed working outdoors. He instantly loved working with honey bees and realized it was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He became one of the largest beekeepers in Florida running up to 10,000 hives which he also shipped to Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota, and California. However, since the introduction of neonics, pesticides, into the environment in 2005, Bill has lost as many as 7,200 hives in a single year. Beekeeping has not been much fun for the last decade and staying in business has been a struggle.

Philip K. Stoddard, PhD is Mayor of the City of South Miami, as well as a professor of biology at the Florida International University. He was elected Mayor in 2010, and re-elected in 2012 and 2014, and is a strong proponent of community, livable cities, quiet neighborhoods, responsive government, and environmental protection, leading efforts to protect beneficial species. As mayor, he spearheaded an initiative to address mosquito-borne diseases while limiting environmental damage from over-application of broad-spectrum insecticides, designating the city of South Miami as a wildlife sanctuary in order to prevent mosquito spray by the county.

Evaggelos Vallianatos, PhD is the author of six books, including Poison Spring (Bloomsbury Press, paperback, March 2015),Harvest of Devastation and This Land is Their Land, as well as over 245 articles, including pieces in Alternet.org and Truth-Out.org. He is also a blogger for the Huffington Post. He worked in risk evaluation at the EPA for twenty-five years, and now lives in Claremont, California.

Larissa Walker is the Pollinator Campaign Director and a policy analyst for Center for Food Safety. In her role,she integrates national grassroots campaigns with hard-hitting scientific and legal expertise, working with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and regulators at key government agencies to affect positive policy change. Larissa spearheads CFS’s pollinators & pesticides campaign, which focuses on protecting bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects from the harms of pesticides and industrial agriculture. Larissa centered her academic career around environmental policy and theory, with a specific focus on sustainable agriculture and U.S. food policy.  She received her Master’s degree in Environmental Policy Design from Lehigh University and holds Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Philosophy.



Videos from the 32nd National Pesticide Forum last year in Portland, OR are available to watch on our YouTube Channel.

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