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Chris Newman

Chris Newman,

Sylvanaqua Farms (VA)

Monday

Chris Newman is the co-founder of Sylvanaqua Farms, which is based in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. They raise forest-raised pork, grass-fed beef, and pastured chicken and eggs. A member of the Choptico Band of Piscataway Indians, Chris places a heavy emphasis on the indigenous ethics, values, and knowledge serving as the (often unacknowledged) foundation of the modern permaculture movement, and the decolonized worldview necessary to ensure the sustainable stewardship of natural resources. An engineer and technologist by trade, he also accepts and explores the potential of modern scientific innovation to address the gaps left by ecosystem farming in solving a sustainability problem wherein timeliness is a factor.

 

Dr. Kathleen Merrigan

Dr. Kathleen Merrigan,

Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University (AZ)

Tuesday

Kathleen Merrigan is the inaugural Executive Director of the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University and the Kelly and Brian Swette Professor of Sustainable Food Systems, with appointments in the School of Sustainability, College of Health Solutions, and School of Public Affairs. She came to ASU after four years as Executive Director of Sustainability at George Washington University, where she led the GW Sustainability Collaborative, GW Food Institute, and was Professor of Public Policy, with appointments in the schools of public policy and public health.

From 2009-2013, Dr. Merrigan served as U.S. Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a $150 billion, 110,000 employee institution. As Deputy Secretary, Dr. Merrigan created and led the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative to support local food systems; was a key architect of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, and made history as the first woman to chair the Ministerial Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Before joining the USDA, Dr. Merrigan was a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University where she directed the M.S./PhD Agriculture, Food and Environment Program. Her prior career includes a variety of agriculture policy positions, including Administrator of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and senior staff on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, where she wrote the law establishing national standards for organic food.

Currently, Dr. Merrigan serves as Co-Chair for AGree, Board Director for the World Agroforetry Centre, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, FoodCorps, and Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) as well as Steering Committee member for the United Nations Environment Programme-led initiative TEEB AgriFood. Dr. Merrigan is a partner in Astanor Ventures and an advisor to S2G Ventures, two firms investing in ag-tech innovations.

Recognizing the history and scope of her work, Time Magazine named Dr. Merrigan among the “100 most influential people in the world” in 2010.

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