Meet the Food & Water Watch staff
Darcey Rakestraw is communications director at Food & Water Watch. She has over 10 years of experience in media relations and communications, working on a variety of global issues in non-profit, for-profit, and governmental organizations. Interested in sustainability, food policy and international development, she came to Food & Water Watch from the Worldwatch Institute, where she was communications manager and then communications director. She has also worked at the Ethiopian embassy as press officer and in an investment bank and a PR firm. Darcey is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and holds a B.A. in Political Science from Vassar College. She can be reached at drakestraw(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Rich Bindell is a senior writer and outreach specialist at Food & Water Watch. He provides writing and blog support, as well as strategic organizational outreach to all teams. He has served the nonprofit world as a communications professional for over ten years, working for organizations such as Bnai Brith International, Volunteers of America, and the Arthritis Foundation, and contributing as a writer, editor, public relations specialist, and media liaison. Rich earned his B.A. in communications and rhetoric at the University of Pittsburgh and has previously worked on environmental issues, including providing communications assistance to the land-recycling program for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Contact Rich at rbindell(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Royelen Lee Boykie
Royelen Lee Boykie is Food & Water Watch’s Special Advisor to the Executive Director for Social Engagement. She is tasked with helping implement Executive Director Wenonah Hauter’s Foodopoly book tour – online and off. Prior to this position, Royelen was the Director of Digital Strategy. Royelen’s new media career was launched at AOL where she was educated on how Web audiences democratically control content with their clicking patterns. Her online education continued as she served over 300 issue-related organizations at a software provider of advocacy tools. Royelen spends time in all the usual online places (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, foodandwaterwatch.org, foodopoly.org) and hopes to see you there. Or you can reach her the traditional way — via email: Royelen(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Walker Foley is the communications assistant at Food & Water Watch. His main task involves monitoring the media reach of Food & Water Watch, but he also serves the staff in a variety of other ways – including editing, designing, and administrative tasks. Walker has experience with a variety of media outlets from writing to video and audio, owing much of it to co-founding the music blog, OurVinyl.com. He earned his B.A. in Communications at the University of Dayton, and has completed some graduate work in Telecommunications at Ball State University. He can be reached at wfoley(at)fwwatch.org.
Kate Fried is the Senior Communications Manager at Food & Water Watch. She has over a decade of experience creating, implementing and managing strategic communications efforts on behalf of progressive causes. Kate currently manages national media efforts on behalf of the water team and the central and southern regions. Kate has worked on issues relating to green and energy efficient building, inner-city economic development and direct democracy, among others. Kate holds a B.A. in English from Oberlin College. She can be reached at kfried(at)fwwatch.org.
As the Western Region Communications Director for Food & Water Watch, Anna Ghosh manages communications for the food policy team, Mountain West and Pacific regions from the San Francisco office. She has nearly two decades of experience in communications strategy and media relations that spans across PR agencies large and small, in-house work and consulting for leading-edge businesses, non-profits, events and documentary films. Anna has a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida. She can be reached at aghosh(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Kim Girton is Food & Water Watch’s Graphics & Publications Manager. She has more than ten years’ experience in print design and communications, focusing primarily on non-profit and arts organizations. Prior to joining Food & Water Watch in 2011, Kim worked as both an in-house designer and design consultant for various organizations in the conservation, labor relations, education and social services fields. She holds a B.A. in English from Salisbury University. She can be reached at kgirton(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Seth Gladstone is the Eastern Region communications manager at Food & Water Watch. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Seth’s career in political and nonprofit communications and organizing spans almost a decade. Prior to joining Food & Water Watch he served as the communications director at the Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation, as a press officer for former New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, and as a deputy state political director with Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign. Seth graduated from New York University with a B.A. in Journalism and Politics. He can be contacted at sgladstone(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
As the Digital Content Coordinator at Food & Water Watch, Briana Kerensky is responsible for maintaining the organization’s website and online content development. Prior to joining Food & Water Watch, she supported the online communication efforts of Communities In Schools, American Rights at Work, and the Pan American Development Foundation. Briana graduated from Ithaca College in 2010 with a bachelor’s in journalism and is currently working towards a master’s degree in digital and nonprofit communication at Johns Hopkins University. She can be reached at [email protected]
Patty Lovera is the Assistant Director of Food & Water Watch. She coordinates the food team. Patty has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Lehigh University and a master’s degree in environmental policy from the University of Michigan. Before joining Food & Water Watch, Patty was the deputy director of the energy and environment program at Public Citizen and a researcher at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice.
Dave Andrews is Senior Representative for Food & Water Watch. Dave is a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, an international Catholic religious order of men. Dave has over 30 years of work on sustainable development, food and water issues, and public policy both nationally and internationally. He was the Executive Director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference for 13 years. He has served on many Boards of Directors including the Organization for Competitive Markets, Heifer International, the Community Food Security Coalition, the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture. He has attended the last three World Trade Organization meetings, World Food Summits and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. Dave’s outreach work for Food & Water Watch includes working with the faith community. Dave was a Senior Advisor to the President of the 63rd General Assembly of the United Nations under the presidency of Miguel D’Escoto. Dave has a law degree from Loyola New Orleans School of Law. He can be reached at dandrews(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Sarah Borron is a Researcher on the Food Team at Food & Water Watch. She has worked on a variety of food, agriculture, and anti-hunger issues. She served as a Congressional Hunger Fellow addressing food policy council development in Eugene, Oregon and Washington, DC. At the Community Food Security Coalition, she advocated for Farm to School legislation as part of the 2004 Child Nutrition Act. She also developed the Advocacy and Research Department at the Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas. Sarah holds Masters degree in Agriculture, Food, and the Environment from the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and a Bachelors degree in Environmental Studies from Denison University.
Lily Boyce is a researcher for the food team at Food & Water Watch. Her work is focused on issues related to the consolidation of the U.S. food system, among many other food and agricultural policy topics. Lily earned her B.A. in Geography and Russian & East European Studies from the University of Kansas.
Tony Corbo is the senior lobbyist for the food campaign at Food & Water Watch. He is responsible for food-related legislative and regulatory issues that come before Congress and the Executive Branch. Tony has extensive organizing experience having directed major public employee representation campaigns in several states. He has also directed political campaigns at various levels, and he served as the administrative assistant to a Member of Congress. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Affairs from The George Washington University and a Master’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. He can be reached tcorbo(at)fwwatch.org.
Zach Corrigan is the Senior Staff Attorney for Food & Water Watch. He has been an advocate for sustainability and environmental conservation for more than a decade. He began working on seafood safety issues in 2002 when he served as a Staff Attorney for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. There, he was a lead advocate for limiting people’s exposure to mercury from contaminated fish by fighting for more stringent EPA rules to curb mercury emissions from power plants. In 2004, Zach became a Legislative Representative for Public Citizen and, shortly thereafter, Food & Water Watch. In May 2006, he became the Staff Attorney for the organization, working with all of its teams to pursue litigation, regulatory, and legislative solutions for all of the issues on which Food & Water Watch works. Zach graduated from the University of Wisconsin and earned his J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston. He is a licensed attorney in the District of Columbia and Massachusetts. He can be reached at zcorrigan(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Genna Reed is a researcher primarily focused on new technology issues within the food system. Genna has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a master’s degree in Environmental Policy Design from Lehigh University. Prior to joining Food & Water Watch, Genna was a fellow with the mid-Atlantic regional office of the EPA in Philadelphia, performing research on streams and wetlands for the Environmental Assessment and Innovation Division. She can be reached at gcreed(at)fwwatch.org.
Tim Schwab is a food researcher at Food and Water Watch. With a background in journalism, Tim worked as a reporter and as a researcher on a variety of projects before joining Food and Water Watch. He has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He can be reached at tschwab(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Tyler Shannon is a researcher for the food team, and focuses on a wide range of issues including factory farming and corporate control of the food system. He has a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Puget Sound, and a J.D. from The George Washington University Law School. Prior to joining Food & Water Watch, Tyler was a research associate with the United Food & Commercial Workers where he worked on CAFOs and the meatpacking industry. He can be reached at tshannon(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Patrick Woodall is Research Director and Senior Policy Advocate for Food & Water Watch. Patrick has been a public policy analyst, researcher and advocate on economic justice issues in Washington for nearly two decades. He is the coauthor of a book on the World Trade Organization, and has written dozens of reports and articles on public policy. He received a B.A. from Johns Hopkins with concentrations in international relations and economics. Patrick can be reached at pwoodall(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Emily Wurth is Food & Water Watch’s Water Program Director. Emily conducts research and promotes policies at the local, state and federal level to help protect the nation’s water systems as public assets, and to safeguard the country’s water resources. Emily has a B.A. in International Studies and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She can be reached at ewurth(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Mary Grant is a researcher for the water campaign. Her work focuses on water privatization. She has a B.S. in Environmental Sciences from Duke University. Mary can be reached at mgrant(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Alison Grass is a researcher for the water program. She works on a variety of water issues that impact safe, affordable public tap water. Alison has a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree, specialized in Environmental Planning, from Alabama A&M University. Her environmental planning niche is water sustainability and rainwater harvesting and as Graduate Research Assistant she conducted research on regional and municipal development planning policies. Alison also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with dual minors in Philosophy and Communication Management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Alison can be reached at agrass(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Hugh MacMillan is a senior researcher in the water program. Prior to joining Food & Water Watch, he served one year as a legislative fellow and science advisor in the U.S. Senate and five years as an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Clemson University. He has a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He can be reached at hmacmillan(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Mitch Jones is the Director of the Common Resources Program at Food & Water Watch. He manages the organization’s campaigns on nutrient trading regimes, water markets and pricing, municipal water infrastructure funding, catch share fisheries management programs, and open ocean aquaculture. He was previously the Director of the Fish Program at Food & Water Watch. Mitch also worked as the Senior Legislative and Policy Analyst for Food & Water Watch’s Water Program. Prior to joining Food & Water Watch, he worked at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, focusing on issues related to food safety and renewable fuel policy. He has appeared on CNBC, Al Jazeera English, and various radio stations across America. He holds a B.A. in history and philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a M.A.L.A. from St. John’s College, Santa Fe. Mitch can be reached mjones(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Meredith Moore is a researcher for the Common Resources Program at Food & Water Watch. Her work centers around fisheries management and catch share programs. Prior to joining Food & Water Watch, Meredith researched political interference in federal science at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Her work there focused on ensuring the scientific integrity of policy decisions surrounding endangered species, natural resource, air and water quality, and public health issues. She holds a B.S. in Physics from the University of Georgia, Athens and an M.S. in Astronomy from the University of Maryland, College Park. Meredith can be reached at mmoore(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Elizabeth Schuster is the legislative and policy analyst for the Common Resources Program at Food & Water Watch. She is a licensed attorney in the District of Columbia, New York and Florida, and previously worked as a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, where she represented seniors, children, disabled and the impoverished in state court. She has recently done research into the health and environmental impact of oil and gas exploration in the United States. She holds a B.B.A. from Loyola University in Maryland, a J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law, and is pursuing an LL.M. in Law and Government with a specialization in Environmental Law and Policy from American University Washington College of Law.
Ron Zucker is a researcher in the Common Resources program. He has worked in a variety of roles as an advocate and campaign manager, including being the Legislative Director at 2020 Vision, a researcher for Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch and Congress Watch, and the Deputy Director of Americans for Democratic Action. In addition, Ron spent ten years in the Silicon Valley as a self-described geek. He has a double B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy with a minor in English from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Ron can be reached at rzucker(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Darcey O’Callaghan is the International Policy Director at Food & Water Watch. She works with communities and organizations in the U.S. and around the world to prevent the privatization of public water resources and to promote local control of food systems. She was one of the lead organizers of the People’s Water Forum, the grassroots response to the corporate-led World Water Forum in Istanbul, March 2009 and has been quoted or featured in numerous media outlets. Darcey has previously worked as a community organizer in Detroit, and with New Rules for Global Finance, the Rethinking Bretton Woods Project and Doctors for Global Health. She holds a B.S.W. in social work from Western Michigan University and an M.A. in international economic policy from American University. She can be reached at docallaghan(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Claudia Campero is a water campaigner for Food and Water Watch and Blue Planet Project in Mexico. She helps coordinate with organizations around the world in international efforts such as celebrating Blue October and challenging the World Water Forum. She also monitors water privatization in Mexico and other Latin American countries to help raise awareness for action. She studied geography at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and holds a Masters in Urban Development Planning from the University College London. She is a founding and active member of COMDA (Coalition of Mexican Organizations for the Right to Water) that was part of the movement of the Rallies in the Defense of Water in Mexico City, 2006.
Geert Decock is Food & Water Europe’s policy officer, based in Brussels. He is campaigning for a ban on the use of hydraulic fracturing or fracking in Europe, focused mainly on the European Union institutions in Brussels. He is cooperating with several NGOs across Europe who share our goals of protecting our precious water resources against fracking-related pollution and promoting a stronger focus on renewables and energy efficiency in the European Union. Geert has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Alberta (Canada). He can be reached at gdecock(at)fweurope(dot)org.
Eve Mitchell is the Food Policy Advisor for Food & Water Europe, based in the Highlands of Scotland, from where she coordinates an anti-GM pressure group. With over 20 years of experience in human rights, international development, trade and sustainable agriculture, she is helping to bring Food and Water Watch’s experience to bear in Europe. With a particular interest in corporate and political accountability, she is looking at food sovereignty in fisheries and aquaculture, GM agriculture and animal feed – particularly soya. She studied English and Anthropology at Boston University, where she graduated magna cum laude. She can be reached at emitchell(at)fweurope(dot)org.
Marcela Olivera is the Latin American coordinator for the Water for All campaign. After graduating from the Catholic University in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Marcela worked for four years in Cochabamba as the key international liaison for the Coalition for the Defense of Water and Life. In 2004, she moved to Washington, DC for a year to work for the Water for All campaign, developing an inter-American citizens’ network on water rights. Named “Red Vida”, the network, which she continues to coordinate from Cochabamba, assists water rights groups throughout Latin America to coordinate their efforts to preserve or establish the water as a pubic good and human right. Marcela has also worked as a lead researcher at the Democracy Center, a San Francisco and Cochabamba-based NGO. She can be reached at molivera(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Gabriella Zanzanaini is the Director of European Affairs for Food & Water Europe, based at our Brussels headquarters. She is working to raise Food & Water Europe’s profile within the region, and to monitor and exert pressure on European legislation and policy makers in the field of sustainable agriculture and water provision. Previously working in the European Parliament on the promotion of a world water protocol, she is now also finding ways of cooperation with other NGOs working in the same sector within the EU and handles the communication sector of the European team. She holds a BSc in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics and an MA in International Affairs and Sustainable Development from Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques in Paris. She can be reached at gzanzanaini(at)fweurope(dot)org.
Mark Schlosberg is the National Organizing Director, and is responsible for developing strategies for Food & Water Watch’s national campaigns and managing the Organizing Department. For over 15 years, Mark has developed and carried out organizing and advocacy campaigns on a wide range of environmental, racial justice, and civil liberties issues. At Food & Water Watch since 2008, Mark was previously Western Regional Director and is based in San Francisco. Before joining Food & Water Watch, Mark worked as a policy director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California where he authored numerous reports and lead campaigns on issues ranging from civilian oversight of the police to government surveillance and privacy. Mark has a J.D. from New York University and a B.A. in Economics from University of California at Berkeley. He can be reached at mschlosberg(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Jorge Aguilar is the Southern Region Director, who has mostly been working in the Southeast region of the U.S. He has been focusing on helping citizen and coalition partners in stopping the privatization of their water utilities in Alabama, Florida, and New Jersey. He has also been very involved in the fight against companies that have been bottling and selling water in Florida. Most recently, he has been working to gains support for a Clean Water Trust Fund that would provide more federal funding for water infrastructure projects. He previously worked as a labor organizer for SEIU in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Jorge has an M.A. in Communications from the University of Florida.
Sarah Alexander is the Education & Outreach Director. She directs Food & Water Watch’s Online campaigns, as well as special events and outreach to new communities. Sarah has worked on issues related to food sovereignty, genetic engineering, and local food security. Her background is in community organizing, strategic campaigning and legislative campaigns, having previously worked with Green Corps, the White Earth Land Recovery Project, and the American Community Gardening Association. Sarah is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied English. She can be reached at salexander(at)fwwatch(org).
Alison Auciello is an organizer working in Ohio. Her background is in community outreach and fundraising around environmental and consumer rights issues. Before joining Food & Water Watch, Alison worked with Ohio Citizen Action on manufacturing and landfill pollution issues, and most extensively on coal pollution issues. She has contributed to successful campaigns to stop new coal plants from being built in Ohio, advocated for closure of the oldest and dirtiest coal plants, and worked toward an end to mountaintop removal. Alison can be reached at aauciello(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Alex Beauchamp is the Northeast Region Director at Food & Water Watch. Based in the Brooklyn office, Alex oversees all organizing efforts in New York and the Northeast. Alex has worked on issues related to fracking, factory farms, genetic engineering, and water privatization at Food & Water Watch since 2009. His background is in legislative campaigning, and community and electoral organizing. Before joining Food & Water Watch, Alex worked for Grassroots Campaigns, Inc., where he worked on several campaigns including organizing support for renewable energy in Colorado, fundraising, and running get-out-the-vote operations. Alex graduated from Carleton College with a degree in political science. He can be reached at abeauchamp(at)fwwatch(org).
Meredith Begin is an Outreach and Education Organizer. She works to craft our online campaigns, helps coordinate Food & Water Watch’s national presence and campaigns, and engages with Food & Water Watch members. Meredith came to us as the Program & Administrative Assistant, where she honed her knowledge of our issues and strategies and later joined the organizing team. She has extensive experience organizing on our campaign to stop Factory Fish Farms and promote Fair Fishing. Outside of work, Meredith is very involved in her community and spends time organizing around sustainable transportation with special attention on bicycling. She holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan. She can be reached at mbegin(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Sam Bernhardt is the Pennsylvania Organizer at Food & Water Watch. Based in Philadelphia, Sam coordinates Food & Water Watch campaigns on food and water issues around the state. His work in Pennsylvania centers around empowering communities to fight by training and organizing groups to hold their elected officials accountable.
Sam has a range of organizing experience, having worked on local, state, national and electoral campaigns. He has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Science Studies from Wesleyan University.
Eleanor Bravo is an Organizer for Food & Water Watch based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With more than 30 years of experience as a social activist and political organizer, she managed the top performing field office in the nation during the 2008 campaign to elect Barack Obama. As an independent filmmaker, her crew was instrumental in creating work which helped expose and prohibit the building of the proposed coal burning Desert Rock Power Plant in the four corners area of New Mexico. She also contributed her efforts toward the repeal of the death penalty there. In 2010, Eleanor was the county field director for the gubernatorial election campaign. A longtime proponent of a woman’s right to choose, she remains active in the struggle for equal rights for women. She is a certified mediator specializing in divorce & child custody and alternative dispute resolution in the workplace.
Emily Carroll is the Midwest Region Director at Food & Water Watch. She works to organize consumers in the Midwest to support commonsense policies that ensure a safe and sustainable food supply. Emily’s work is also focused on protecting Illinois’ water resources by fighting water privatization and hydraulic fracturing in the state. Her background is in community and electoral organizing. Before joining Food & Water Watch, Emily completed the Green Corps program in environmental organizing and advocacy. In her spare time, Emily volunteers with the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition’s Associate Board where she serves as the Advocacy Chair. Emily graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. She can be reached at ecarroll(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Miranda Carter is the Mid-Atlantic Organizer for Food & Water Watch. She is building public support in Maryland for a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing and working to level the playing field for Maryland farmers. She recently won a campaign to ban the use of arsenic in poultry production in Maryland. Prior to joining the Food & Water Watch team, Miranda completed the Green Corps program for environmental organizing and advocacy, and then organized for Environment Illinois to stop factory farm pollution in the state. She graduated from Denison University with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Biology. She can be reached at mcarter(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Julia DeGraw is the Northwest Organizer for Food & Water Watch. Julia is an Oregon native passionate about protecting the Northwest’s essential food and water resources. She works with local groups to prevent the privatization of public water municipalities and to stop companies from bottling Northwest water. She is also building regional support for more federal funding to maintain and improve our public water infrastructure and to pass smarter regulations for our food and fish resources. Prior to joining Food & Water Watch, Julia worked with the Gifford Pinchot Task Force where she launched a campaign to protect rivers in Southwest Washington state. She also completed Green Corps’ one-year program to train the next generation of organizers. While with Green Corps, Julia took part in many campaigns including an international campaign against Coca Cola’s illegal water bottling practices in India. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Sociology from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. Julia can be reached at jdegraw(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Lynna is a Senior Organizer working in Michigan. Lynna works on water privatization fights, Great Lakes water issues, and food issues including factory farms and genetic engineering. Before joining Food & Water Watch, Lynna worked for Clean Water Action where she organized local, state and federal environmental and electoral campaigns. Lynna earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University in Resource Development and her Master’s Degree from Florida Institute of Technology in Environmental Education. In her spare time Lynna develops curricula for environmental education programs, cares for her three dogs and cat, dances, plays soccer, practices yoga and aerial arts, rides her bike, watches whales, votes and occasionally sleeps. She can be reached at lkaucheck(at)fwwatch(org).
Katy Kiefer is the Activist Network Coordinator at Food & Water Watch. She works to engage activists through online outreach and provide opportunities for concerned citizens interested to take local action on issues affecting our food and water resources. Katy also coordinates the Take Back the Tap campaign, working with college students across the country to eliminate bottled water on their campuses. Prior to joining the Food & Water Watch team, Katy completed the Green Corps program for environmental organizing and advocacy, and then worked with Green Corps as a lead organizer. She graduated from Saint Joseph’s University with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a minor in Faith-Justice Studies. She can be reached at kkiefer(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Tia Lebherz is Food & Water Watch’s Michigan Organizer. Based in Detroit, she works to engage activists and hold elected officials accountable on a range of issues across the state, including water privatization fights, fracking, and food issues such as factory farms and genetic engineering. Prior to joining Food & Water Watch, Tia completed Green Corps, the Field School for Environmental Organizing. During her time there she worked extensively in the Midwest on campaigns for clean energy and fair food. She holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from University of California, Santa Cruz, where her education focused on sustainable agriculture and environmental justice. She can be reached at tlebherz(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Kristin Lynch is the Pacific Region Director at Food & Water Watch. She is responsible for developing and overseeing regional and national campaigns that ensure our food and water resources are regulated in the public interest rather than for private gain. Kristin has been developing, directing and implementing campaigns on various economic and social justice issues for over 15 years. Before joining Food & Water Watch, Kristin worked as a director for the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United where she directed labor, healthcare reform and electoral politics campaigns. Kristin has a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Minnesota. She can be reached at klynch(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Renée Maas is the Senior Organizer responsible for working with communities in the Carolinas, Kentucky and Tennessee from Food & Water Watch’s North Carolina office. Renée connects, educates and challenges people in her region to stand up for their rights to safe food and clean water, particularly in the face of the threatening forces of factory farming and fracking. Before moving to North Carolina, Renée successfully established Food & Water Watch’s Los Angeles Office where over three years she built a thriving network of activists and allies to defend Angelinos’ essential food and water resources. She has a master’s degree in public policy with an emphasis in water resource management and a minor in sustainable agriculture from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Her undergraduate degree is in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, San Diego.
Jessica Parra-Fitch is a Los Angeles-based organizer for Food & Water Watch. She works to build a strong base of organizations and individuals in support of our campaigns by implementing grassroots field organizing, legislative, media and public education campaigns. Prior to joining Food & Water Watch, Jessica was a policy advocate for the Environmental Health Coalition in San Diego, where she worked on the Toxic-Free Neighborhoods campaign. There, she focused her efforts on land use and transportation issues, looking closely at how they affect health. Jessica graduated from UC Berkeley with a dual degree in International Political Economy and Anthropology with concentrations in Sustainable Urban Development, Sociocultural Anthropology and Ethnographic Film. Upon graduating, Jessica conducted agroecology field research in Oaxaca, México on subsistence farming and climate change adaptation with Mixtec farmers, with local nonprofit CEDICAM. She is originally from Tijuana, México and is fluent in Spanish.
Brenna Norton is the Southern California Organizer for Food & Water Watch. Based in Los Angeles, she works with local communities and statewide organizations to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing in California. She also is working to stop a massive corporate water grab scheme that would force water rate hikes for Southern Californians and would divert funds from projects that can make our water supply more reliable. Her background is in legislative campaigning and community and electoral organizing. Before working for Food & Water Watch, Brenna worked as a Grassroots Organizer for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on federal food and farm policy. She has worked for a wide range of nonprofits, managed 47 precincts and multiple field offices for the 2008 presidential campaign, and worked in a Senate committee office. She holds a degree from Scripps College in Political Science, International Relations, and a minor in history and a certificate in campaign management from George Washington University. Brenna is a California native, passionate about protecting our food and water resources and building strong community based campaigns.
Jo Miles is an online organizer with the Education and Outreach team. She engages Food & Water Watch’s supporters online through email, social media, and other channels, and focuses on building up the effectiveness of all online campaigns and fundraising. She is always looking for new ways to use technology to help further our mission to protect food and water. Prior to joining Food & Water Watch, Jo was at Beaconfire Consulting, where she worked with a wide range of nonprofits to help them run powerful online marketing campaigns. She holds a B.A. in English and Math from Oberlin College.
Matt Ohloff is the Iowa-based organizer for Food & Water Watch. He organizes with local communities and groups throughout Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska around food and water issues. Before joining Food & Water Watch, Matt was a rural community organizer with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, where he focused on factory farm issues. He worked with communities throughout the state to stop factory farms, as well as pushed for policies to hold factory farms accountable for the damage they do to their neighbors and the environment. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in political science. He can be reached at mohloff(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Emily Reuman is a New Jersey Organizer for Food & Water Watch, based in our Philadelphia office. She works primarily to protect New Jersey drinking water from toxic hydraulic fracturing waste. Emily is a graduate of Green Corps, the Field School for Environmental Organizing, where she launched campaigns to fix our broken food system in Minnesota, reinvest in Los Angeles public water, and protect local waterways in Georgia. Emily is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College with a bachelor’s degree in political science and environmental studies, the International Honors Program, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hollings Scholarship Program. She is passionate about environmental justice, the solidarity economy movement and informal versus formal systems of waste trade.
Sam Schabacker is the Mountain West Region Director. He oversees Food & Water Watch’s organizing campaigns to ban fracking, label genetically engineered foods and protect our essential food and water resources in 10 states in the Rocky Mountain region. He has organized on a host of social, economic and environmental issues for the past decade. He has a B.A. in Economics and extensive experience working on clean water issues in Latin America.
Adam Scow is the California Campaigns Director at Food & Water Watch. He is responsible for developing strategy for local, state, and national campaigns. He currently serves on the planning committee for the annual California Water Policy Conference sponsored by Public Officials for Water and Environment Reform. Previously, Adam researched California irrigation subsidies and water transfers in Washington D.C. He holds a degree in Political Science from U.C. Berkeley. He can be reached at ascow(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Matt Smith is an organizer for Food & Water Watch in New Jersey. He is responsible for developing and implementing legislative, field organizing, and media strategies and campaigns in support of Food & Water Watch policy goals. Matt has organizing experience in the climate justice movement as a state coordinator for 350.org in NJ. He holds a bachelor of science degree in Finance from Philadelphia University. He can be reached at [email protected]
Nisha Swinton is the organizer for Food & Water Watch in Maine. She organizes local communities and campuses throughout Maine who are caught in the intersection of big business and the public’s right to water. She also is working to establish groundwater protection law in Maine. Before joining Food and Water Watch, Nisha worked on environmental justice campaigns in the United States as well as in West Africa. She also produced shows discussing critical social justice issues for a community run, non-commercial radio station in New York City. Through these experiences, Nisha developed a strong commitment to advocate against the privatization of public water resources. Nisha holds a master’s degree in environmental law and policy from Vermont Law School and a B.A. in international studies with an emphasis in environmental studies and economics from the University of Iowa. She can be reached at nswinton(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Maria is a San-Francisco-based organizer on the Education and Outreach team based. She works to engage with Food & Water Watch members through online campaigns and amplify the work our offline organizers using online tools. Prior to joining the Food & Water Watch team, Maria worked as the Outreach Director at Change.org, helping build an online organizing platform for citizen-led campaigns. In the past, she has also worked as an online organizer at SEIU, focusing on healthcare reform, and freelanced as a social media consultant for nonprofits in the Chicago area. She holds a dual honors B.A. in Government and Eastern European Studies from the University of Virginia. Maria can be reached at mtchijov(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Tyler Van Kirk
Tyler Van Kirk is the New Jersey Canvass Director. A New Jersey native, he began his advocacy work on pesticide and energy campaigns with the New Jersey Environmental Federation. He has directed canvass operations fighting coal pollution with Ohio Citizen Action, and hydro-fracking with Citizens Campaign for the Environment in New York. He holds Bachelors degrees in Music Performance and Political Science from Susquehanna University.
Jim Walsh is a dedicated political organizer with over ten years experience working in local and national movements to empower communities to work for social, environmental, and economic justice. Jim currently serves as the Eastern Region Director for Food & Water Watch. In this capacity, Jim is overseeing and implementing a regional strategy to ensure the wellbeing of the public triumphs over private interests who profit from the exploitation of the essential resources of food and water.
Jim first found his passion for social justice when he started volunteering for the Milwaukee Catholic Workers while earning a degree in Economics from Marquette University. After graduating from Marquette, he participated in an organizing fellowship with the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group at Rutgers University. He then went on to work for Family Promise, organizing communities of faith on issues of poverty and homelessness. Immediately prior to starting with Food & Water Watch, Jim was the Program Director for New Jersey Citizen Action where he would oversee statewide campaigns focused on a variety of social justice issues ranging from health care for all to ending the war in Iraq.
Eric Weltman is Senior Organizer for Food & Water Watch in New York. He has over 20 years of experience leading social justice campaigns and building progressive power. Eric has helped direct ground-breaking coalitions, organize high-visibility media events, write influential publications, and manage successful initiatives to pass legislation, fund programs, and elect candidates. Eric also has extensive experience conducting trainings on media outreach, advocacy, organizing, and public speaking. He has taught urban politics at Suffolk University, and written for such publications as The American Prospect, In These Times, and Dollars & Sense. A native of New Jersey, Eric graduated from the University of Michigan and earned an M.A. in Urban & Environmental Policy from Tufts University. When he’s not changing the world, Eric enjoys being with his wife, Sarah, and son, Zach, reading history books, taking walks around New York City, watching “Burn Notice” and “House,” juggling, and eating Thai food.
Karina Wilkinson has been a Regional Organizer for Food & Water Watch since September, 2010 and has been involved in grassroots organizing since 2004. She has worked on Food & Water Watch’s campaigns opposing fracking in the region and promoting fair food policy and a fair farm bill. Before working at Food & Water Watch, Karina co-founded two local groups supporting immigrant rights, was active in peace and social justice groups and worked on political campaigns aimed at increasing the number of women in elected office. Karina has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Rita Yelda is an organizer with Food & Water Watch in Buffalo, New York that works on the campaign to ban fracking. She is responsible for drilling-related legislative and regulatory issues in New York, as well as working on local matters. Her background is in community organizing, including creating and implementing strategy and educating and activating communities to build strong campaigns. Rita is the founder of a grassroots group that led New York’s local ban/moratoria movement. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She can be reached at ryelda(at)fwwatch.org.
Scott Edwards is co-director of the Food & Water Justice project. He came to Food & Water Watch after spending eleven years with Waterkeeper Alliance, most recently as Director of Advocacy. Scott’s work at Waterkeeper involved designing and implementing strategies for a whole host of campaigns on issues such as industrial agriculture, mercury contamination, coal and military wastes. He has brought cases against the U.S. Navy for the bombing of the island of Vieques, prosecuted U.S. energy companies in Canadian courts for contamination of waterways and has been very active against factory farms in both North Carolina and the Chesapeake region. While at Waterkeeper, he was also very active in setting up programs in Asia, including China, India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Prior to getting his law degree and entering the practice of environmental law, Scott taught ecology and environmental sciences to New York City high school students. He works out of the New York office of Food & Water Watch.
Michele Merkel is co-director of the Food & Water Justice project, and was formerly the Chesapeake Regional Coordinator for Waterkeeper Alliance. At Waterkeeper, Michele helped to develop and implement the campaigns of the eighteen Waterkeeper programs that protect the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays. Prior to joining the Alliance, Michele was Senior Counsel and co-founder of the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). At EIP, she was responsible for developing legal campaigns under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, focusing mostly on industrial livestock production and municipal sewage issues. Michele previously served as an attorney for the United States Environmental Protection Agency, where she worked closely with the Department of Justice to bring actions for violations of federal environmental laws. Prior to joining EPA, Michele was General Counsel for Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, and worked for a few years in the criminal defense section of a private law firm. Michele will be working out of Food & Water Watch’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Lane Brooks is the chief operating officer for Food & Water Watch and has overall responsibility for operations including administration, finances, human resources, IT, and development. Lane has more than 25 years experience in nonprofit fundraising and management. Most recently, he served as the director of development at Public Citizen for nine years where he was responsible for the organization’s earned and contributed income programs, and served on the organization’s management team. Previously, he worked for advocacy and performing arts organizations in Washington and Denver. Lane has also served as a leader in Washington, DC’s philanthropic community as President of the city’s chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, as well as conference chair, and, on several occasions, speaker at fund raising conferences. Lane has a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from Louisiana State University. He can be reached lbrooks(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Clayretha Gatewood is the Finance Director at Food & Water Watch. She has worked in various non-profits for over 12 years. She graduated from Bowie State University with a B.S. in Information Systems and a minor in Accounting. She received her M.A. in Public Policy from Regent University.
Doug Lakey is Food & Water Watch’s Director of Development. He joined the organization in March 2011. Doug is responsible for leading the fundraising efforts at the organization, including outreach, cultivation, and solicitation to foundations, major donors, and FWW members. He is very excited to be at FWW, as it enables him to return to his roots in development, after his most recent stint as the Senior Director of Advocacy Programs at Alliance for Justice, a national civil rights and social justice nonprofit. Doug was at AFJ for 11 years, and served in a variety of capacities, but all involved a substantial amount of development responsibilities. In addition to leading the Advocacy Programs, he also served for two years as Director of AFJ’s West Coast Office in Oakland, CA, where he managed AFJ’s west coast Advocacy Programs and did extensive program development and outreach to a wide variety of California community and advocacy groups. His over three-year stay in California also included a stint as a professional consultant, where he provided consulting services to California and national advocacy organizations on a variety of fundraising and organizational development issues. Prior to working in California, he was the Development Director at AFJ where he helped grow and diversify the revenue base of the organization. Doug is a graduate of Vanderbilt University (B.A. in Business) and has over 25 years of nonprofit management; in addition to his 11 years at Alliance for Justice, he spent five years at the senior management level with the Human Rights Campaign and 11 years as an administrator at the George Washington University Medical Center. He can be reached at dlakey(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Kevin Larson is the Salesforce System Administrator in the San Francisco office of Food & Water Watch. He manages the growing organization-wide database of members and supporters. He has over ten years’ experience in database analysis, design, and development, and over eleven years’ experience in technical writing, training, and customer support. Kevin has worked as a program associate for a San Francisco non-profit and most recently as an IT/computer consultant for various medical offices and service-oriented companies. He can be reached at klarson(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
RaQeeba Milner is the Financial Assistant at Food & Water Watch. She has worked in accounting since 2000 with organizations encompassing a number of different causes. RaQeeba is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Business Management from Penn Foster College.
Rachel Nissley is the Program and Administrative Assistant at Food & Water Watch. She works to support the daily operations of the organization, handles member relations, and is the internship coordinator. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Michigan State University. Rachel can be reached at rnissley(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Alex Patton is the foundation officer at Food & Water Watch. He is responsible for managing all current grants and for writing new grant proposals. He also assists with writing and editing tasks. Alex holds a B.A. in sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He can be reached at apatton(at)fwwatch(dot)org.
Ben Schumin is the Senior Office Manager for Food & Water Watch. He manages our office, providing support to the rest of the Food & Water Watch team, and coordinating everyday operations. He is the contact for all administrative issues concerning Food & Water Watch. He holds a B.S. in Public Administration from James Madison University.