National Forum Series: Virtual Seminars
Meeting the Health, Biodiversity, and Climate Crises with a Path for a Livable Future
HEALTH > Sept 15 | BIODIVERSITY > Oct 12 | CLIMATE > Nov 29
Dr. Rachel Bezner Kerr
Professor, Department of Global Development
Co-Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Global Development
Dr. Rachel Bezner Kerr is a Professor in Global Development at Cornell University, and does research in Africa on sustainable agriculture, climate change adaptation, food security and nutrition. She has published over 80 scientific articles. She was a Coordinating Lead Author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Dr. Bezner Kerr also served as a member of the High Level Panel of Experts for the United Nations Committee for World Food Security, coauthoring the 2019 report on agroecology. She earned a Doctorate in Development Sociology from Cornell, a MS in Land Resources Sciences, from the University of Guelph, and a BS in Cooperative International Development from the University of Toronto.
- IPCC Report available: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability
- New papers: Interplays between changing biophysical and social limits under climate change
- Can agroecology improve food security and nutrition? A review.
- Contributing author to the United Nations Agroecology Report of the High Level Panel of Experts
Dr. Andrew Smith
Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Andrew Smith is responsible for administrating, facilitating, and implementing farm operations at the Rodale Institute main campus and six other production and research campuses. He earned a BS in agronomy at Cornell University and a MS in entomology at the University of Maryland. After two years in the Peace Corps assisting a cooperative of small-scale vegetable farmers in Guatemala and ten years farming organically full-time in Pennsylvania, Smith attended Drexel University in Philadelphia, where he earned his PhD in environmental science with a concentration in molecular and population ecology. In 2015, he started at Rodale Institute as the Research Director of the Vegetable Systems Trial, was named Chief Scientist of Rodale Institute in 2018, and Chief Operating Officer in 2019. Dr. Smith owns a 140-acre organic farm with his wife where they raise Shetland sheep, grow fiber and fruit crops, and manage a Seed-to-Share garden and provide educational programming.
Speakers for Seminar 2 | BIODIVERSITY| October 12, 2022 | 1:00-2:30 pm EST
Lucas Alejandro Garibaldi, PhD
Professor and Director
Institute for Research in Natural Resources, Agroecology and Rural Development
Universidad Nacional de Rio Negro
Viedma, Rio Negro, Argentina
Lucas Alejandro Garibaldi, PhD is a member of the Secretariat for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and a contributor to the landmark IPBES report, released with the United Nations, Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. In January, Dr. Garibaldi was appointed to co-chair the Transformative Change Assessment, which is charged with outlining the options for achieving the 2050 vision for biodiversity. Based on an unprecedented collection of evidence, the report outlines the global-level existential threat of biodiversity loss and collapse. In his various teaching, research, and writing roles, Dr. Garibaldi says, “I am motivated by research to achieve the ecological, social, and economic sustainability of agricultural and forestry systems. My studies deal with agroecology, beekeeping, biodiversity, interactions between plants and insects (herbivory, pollination, pests), statistical models, quantification of services and their contribution to human well-being. I am interested in connecting with politicians, producers and consumers so that research has an impact on quality of life.” His studies deal with agroecology, beekeeping, biodiversity, interactions between plants and insects (herbivory, pollination, pests), statistical models, quantification of services and their contribution to human well-being.
Bob Quinn, PhD
Farmer and Miller
Montana Flour and Grains
Big Sandy, Montana
Bob Quinn, PhD has lived the value of organic food production since the full conversion of his 2,400-acre family farm in Montana in 1989. Over the years, he has increased the original farm homestead, started by his grandfather in 1920, to 3400 cultivated acres and 600 acres of pasture. In 1983, Bob started Montana Flour and Grains originally in an effort to market his own grain directly to whole grain bakeries. The business soon expanded beyond his own farm and became a viable market opportunity for many other farmers. In 1984, he started selling organic grain and a stone flour mill was added to the operation in 1985. Bob has a BS in botany, a MS in plant pathology from Montana State University (Bozeman), and a PhD in plant biochemistry from the University of California, Davis. He coauthored Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs and Healthy Food (2019) with Liz Carlisle (professor in the Environmental Studies Program, University of California, Santa Barbara). Bob served on the first U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Standards Board and has also served on a USDA agriculture research advisory committee and on Montana’s first organic certification advisory board. Bob has said, “Organic farms are dynamic living organisms that are constantly changing. They should never be treated or thought of as an enclosed factory where all the conditions are controlled. The joy and the learning comes from pursuing the ideal of a perfect system, rather than the expectation of ever developing a system that is perfect.
Liz Carlisle, PhD
Environmental Studies Program
University of California, Santa Barbara
Liz Carlisle is an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at UC Santa Barbara, where she teaches courses on food and farming. Born and raised in Montana, she got hooked on agriculture while working as an aide to organic farmer and U.S. Senator Jon Tester, which led to a decade of research and writing collaborations with farmers in her home state. She has written three books about regenerative farming and agroecology: Lentil Underground (2015), Grain by Grain (2019, with co-author Bob Quinn), and most recently, Healing Grounds: Climate, Justice, and the Deep Roots of Regenerative Farming (2022). She is also a frequent contributor to both academic journals and popular media outlets, focusing on food and farm policy, incentivizing soil health practices, and supporting new entry farmers. She holds a Ph.D. in Geography, from UC Berkeley, and a B.A. in Folklore and Mythology, from Harvard University. Prior to her career as a writer and academic, she spent several years touring rural America as a country singer.
Terry Shistar, PhD
Terry Shistar, PhD, holds a Ph.D. in Systematics and Ecology from the University of Kansas, where she also taught seminars in hazardous materials policy, risk assessment, and environmental ethics, and challenged students to find new paradigms for environmental policies. She is a hands-on board member, getting involved in project work, in addition to the “normal” board activities. She is a regular contributor to Pesticides and You and Beyond Pesticides’ reports, such as Ending Toxic Dependency (2007), and comments on regulatory issues, with an emphasis on issues before the National Organic Standards Board. Terry has been a member of the Beyond Pesticides board of directors since 1984; board president from 1988 to 1993; and serves as board secretary.
Speakers for Seminar 1 | HEALTH| September 15, 2022 | 1:00-2:30 pm EST
Claudia Miller, MD, MS
University of Texas
Dr. Claudia Miller is professor emerita at the University of Texas San Antonio. Her work has documented what is called Toxicant Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT), which captures the disease process and range of nervous system symptoms that individuals develop as a result of low level chemical exposures, raising connections to public health diseases. Dr. Miller is the coauthor of numerous peer-reviewed publications, and the professionally acclaimed book, Chemical Exposures: Low Levels and High Stakes. Dr. Miller’s current research involves the relationship between synthetic chemical exposures and disruption of the gastrointestinal microbiome.
Ku‘ia Agriculture Education Center
Kaipo Kekona was born and raised on Maui, Hawai’i. He has been in the agricultural industry for over 15 years. He started as a laborer in conventional, chemical intensive farming, and now practices 100% natural farming. He serves as a Representative to the State for the district of Ka'anapali Moku in West Maui as a traditional resource manager. He and his family run the 12.5-acre Ku’ia Agriculture Education Center in the ahupua'a of Ku'ia on Legacy Lands of Keli'i Kulani in the foothills of the West Maui Mountains. They use Hawaiian and natural farming techniques to rehabilitate and return biodiversity to farmland depleted by decades of plantation agriculture. They also run youth programs that help the next generation of farmers connect agriculture to culture. Critical to the mission for the site is to not only reclaim space as a native historical food property, but also introduce to the community the practices that encourage a healthier food system and the soil health that forms the foundation of productive land management. Mr. Kepona brings the teachings from indigenous practices that have proven to be resilient, healthy, and respectful of life.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
Jane Little is a journalist and broadcaster with a long track-record hosting BBC current affairs programs.
She founded the role of Religious Affairs Correspondent at the BBC World Service and after a decade of reporting from around the world, went on to found the role of Religion Editor at the BBC/WGBH Boston co-production, The World.
More recently she worked as a BBC Washington Correspondent. She also hosts public events, consults for universities, develops communications plans, and makes award-winning documentaries for the BBC and independent companies.
Her BBC Radio documentary, Allergic to the 21st Century, about the ill-effects of toxic chemicals was deeply personal. She’s had to drop out of her career for at least a couple of long spells thanks to exposure-related health challenges and she’s now focused on raising awareness of the toxic soup we are living in and what we can do about it.
Director of Hawai‘i Organic Land Management Program
Based in Maui, Autumn was instrumental in generating broad political support to begin the process of converting four Maui pilot sites (playing fields and parks) to organic land management, generating an invitation by vote of the Maui County Council to Beyond Pesticides that enabled site evaluations and the development of organic land management plans for the pilots, training the county landscaping staff, and holding community meetings. She is a grassroots community organizer and has been a policy consultant to state and county legislators on agriculture, pesticide, and housing policy. Specific projects include: expanding organic land management practices in the public and private sector, better regulation of pesticide-heavy industrial agriculture and the chemical companies conducting outdoor genetic engineering (GE) crop testing, and the promotion of small scale sustainable agriculture that produces food for the Hawaiian Islands. Autumn was a leader in the historic citizens’ initiative for a moratorium on GE crops in Maui County, which won at the ballot box in 2014, but lost in courts when the chemical industry sued the County of Maui. She works with a statewide coalition of environmental groups, to engage average people in the political process, amplify their voices in government, and drive policy. Early in the pandemic, she helped launch the Maui Food Hub to connect Maui’s local food producers directly with consumers.