These individuals are featured in the pages, images, and video of Hungry for Change: California’s Emerging Food Systems Leaders.
Leah Atwood serves as the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture’s Director of Partnerships working to connect and amplify community-led actions in agroecology, food sovereignty, and exchange-based education worldwide. Leah co-founded and farms at Wild and Radish Cooperative-LLC in El Sobrante, a 13-acre intergenerational and affordable housing ecovillage, where she can be found shepherding goats and making cheese. Her Humboldt farmland and forest roots instilled a love for farming ways that nourish people and the planet as an interconnected ecosystem. Leah studied Environmental Policy and Spanish at UC Berkeley, and learned the majority of her farming and politics from small-scale farmers and social movements in Latin America.
Ruben E. Canedo was born and raised in the border valleys of Mexicali, Imperial, and Coachella. Ruben is a recipient of UC Regents and Chancellor’s Full Scholarship and first-generation alumnus of UC Berkeley. Ruben’s academic coursework and publications focus on public higher education, equity, intersectionality, and systems change. Ruben serves as Director of Equity Initiatives within UC Berkeley’s Division of Equity and Inclusion. His responsibilities include college student basic needs, strategic planning, and mobilization. Ruben was appointed to the dual roles of Chair of the UC Berkeley Basic Needs Committee (2013) and Co-Chair of the UC Systemwide Basic Needs Committee (2014).
Estella M. Cisneros is currently a Migrant Unit Regional Director of Advocacy for California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc., and based in Fresno, CA. She has been with CRLA since 2012, when she joined the legal aid non-profit as a Skadden Foundation Fellow. She graduated from Stanford University in 2007 and Yale Law School in 2012. In 2013, she was named one of Forbes Magazine’s “Top 30 Under 30” in Law and Policy and in 2015, featured as one of Huffington Post’s “30 Women Under 30 Changing Food.” From 2014 – 2015, she served as an ABA Young Lawyers Division Scholar and currently serves as the treasurer of the National Lawyers Guild – Central Valley chapter. Her practice focuses on representing agricultural workers throughout the Central Valley in employment and health and safety matters, including sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.
Adrionna Fike is one of eight Co-owners of Mandela Grocery Cooperative. She is a board member with the Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (NoBAWC – pronounced “No Boss”) and a founding Member of the new People Power Solar Cooperative, building a movement toward community owned solar.
Samuel Gensaw III has received local, statewide, and national awards while remaining grounded in Yurok Spirituality and tribal ceremonies. He is a man of world renewal and founding director of the Ancestral Guard. Sammy is dedicated the resurgence of indigenous liberty, protection of ecological balance, and revitalization of autonomous communities. Sammy combines modern science, ecological knowledge, and values of world renewal to deliver a curriculum that mimics the interwoven relationships of California’s old growth forests. This Curriculum includes the development of subscription-based food delivery services for new mothers and elders. Sammy carries his discipline, patience, and generosity into the world of philanthropy.
Breanna Hawkins is Policy Director for the Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC), providing leadership for LAFPC’s working groups, strategic policy campaigns, and research initiatives. Since joining LAFPC in 2015, Breanna has helped incubate new collaborative initiatives, including the Food System Dashboard, an online research tool with over 200 indicators measuring health, sustainability, fair labor and equity in Los Angeles’ regional food system. She also manages LAFPC’s Food Leaders Lab– a political leadership and food justice training program for South LA residents. With 2.5 degrees under her belt in urban planning and public policy from University of Southern California, Breanna is passionate about leveraging food as a vehicle for transformative social change in her hometown of Los Angeles.
Kristyn Leach is the farmer at Choi & Daughters Produce, in Winters. She grows vegetables for Namu Restaurants under the name Namu Farm and conducts field trials and commercial seed production for Kitazawa Seed Company. Her seed line, Second Generation, promotes heirloom preservation and improvement for crops important within the Asian diaspora.
Anthony Reyes is the farm manager for the Homeless Garden Project in Santa Cruz, an employment transition program for people experiencing homelessness. He manages farm operations and works to center the voices, experience, and narratives of those he works alongside in hopes of establishing more liberated spaces. He’s dedicated his life to working at the intersection of agriculture and social justice, previously working with Seattle Tilth with Seattle Youth Garden Works, a program for young people experiencing homelessness, managed production spaces and farm programming on an 8-acre community farm while engaging with community members and co-facilitating an East African Elder Refugee Farming Program.
Rachel Sumekh is the Founder and CEO of Swipe Out Hunger. The organization is the leading nonprofit in addressing hunger amongst college students. Her work has been recognized by the Obama White House, the New York Times and landed her on Forbes’ 2017 30 Under 30 list. Swipe Out Hunger began in 2010 with a few friends at UCLA and since has grown onto 63 universities, serving 1.6 million meals. Their innovative approach allows students to donate their meal credits to food insecure peers. Rachel credits her upbringing as the child of Iranian Jewish immigrants for her intersectional perspective and love for food.