Raj Patel is an award-winning author and activist, who has worked at the World Bank and the World Trade Organization and has protested against them on four continents. He is currently a Research Professor at the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, where he co-hosts The Secret Ingredient podcast, and is a Senior Research Associate at the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University. He has testifed to the US Congress on the causes of the global food crisis. He is the author of the international bestseller The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy, and the critically acclaimed guide to the food system Stuffed and Starved.
Steve James produced and directed Hoop Dreams, winner of every major critics prize including a Peabody and Robert F. Kennedy Award. Other award-winning films include Stevie, winner of the Sundance Cinematography Award, IDFA Grand Jury Prize and the Yamagata Mayor’s Prize, among others; the Independent Documentary Association Award-winning miniseries The New Americans; Tribeca Grand Prize winner The War Tapes, which James produced and edited; At the Death House Door, co-directed with Peter Gilbert, and winner of numerous festival awards; No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson for ESPN’s Peabody winning “30 for 30” series; and The Interrupters, which won an Emmy, Independent Spirit Award, and the DuPont Columbia Journalism Award, among others. James most recent documentary, Life Itself, was named the best documentary of the year by over a dozen critics associations, Rotten Tomatoes, The Critic’s Choice Awards, The National Board of Review, and The Producers Guild of America.
Producer Julie Goldman founded Motto Pictures in 2009. She is an Emmy Award-winning producer and executive producer of documentary feature films. Julie is producer of Life, Animated and executive producer of Weiner, both of which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Life, Animated won the US Documentary Directing Award and will be released by The Orchard. Weiner won the US Documentary Grand Jury Prize and was acquired by IFC Films and Showtime. She is executive producer of 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets and Best of Enemies both of which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and were shortlisted for the 2016 Academy Award. Best of Enemies was released by Magnolia Pictures to critical acclaim and 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets won a Special Jury Prize, was released by Participant Media and acquired by HBO for US broadcast. Julie produced Indian Point, which premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and executive produced The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. She also executive produced The Kill Team and Art and Craft, both released by Oscilloscope and shortlisted for the 2015 Academy Award and 1971, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2015.
Julie produced three films that premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival: Gideon’s Army, Manhunt and the Oscar shortlisted God Loves Uganda. She produced The Great Invisible, which won the SXSW Grand Jury Prize and was released by RADiUS TWC; We Are The Giant, which premiered at Sundance; A Place at the Table, which was released by Magnolia Pictures, and executive produced the Oscar shortlisted Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and SXSW Grand Jury Prize winner Beware of Mr. Baker. Julie produced Buck, winner of the Sundance Documentary Audience Award, shortlisted for an Academy Award and one of 2011’s top five grossing documentaries. She consulted on the Academy Award-winning The Cove and produced the Oscar shortlisted Sergio. Some of Julie’s earlier films include: Easy Riders Raging Bulls, Cat Dancers, In The Shadow Of The Moon, Better This World,What Remains, Once In A Lifetime and Sketches Of Frank Gehry.
Producer Cynthia Kane formed gbgg productions with UK partners Lisa Scott Gordon and John Warburton with the mission to produce social issue fiction and documentary film. gbgg recently executive produced, New Eyes, a short narrative by Hiwot Admasu Getaneh with Les Film de l’Après Midi which screened at the Venice, Toronto and Rotterdam Film Festivals. In creating DOCday on Sundance Channel in 2002, Cynthia helped transform the way global documentaries are seen on American television. Through her work at ITVS, she shepherded over 150 international and U.S. co-productions for public media. As a commissioning editor for documentaries, she helped launch Al Jazeera America and the Sunday night premiere doc strand, Al Jazeera America Presents with such series as Kartemquin’s Hard Earned and documentaries such as Albert Mayles final work, In Transit, Leon Gast’s Sporting Dreams, Barbara Kopple’s Shelter, Jennifer Maytorena Taylor’s Daisy and Max.
Since starting Bungalow Town with partner Jez Lewis in 2004, Producer Rachel Wexler (Executive Producer) has produced many acclaimed films including: The English Surgeon (Dir: Geoffrey Smith), Guilty Pleasures (Dir: Julie Moggan), All White in Barking and The Road: A Story of Life and Death (Dir: Marc Isaacs), Shed your Tears and Walk Away (Dir: Jez Lewis), Out of the Ashes (Dir: Tim Albone, Lucy Martens) and Garbage Warrior (Dir: Oliver Hodge). Bungalow Town films have been screened at Sundance, Cannes and London and have won a Grierson, a Peabody and an Emmy.
Line Producer Zak Piper is an Emmy-winning Documentary Producer who previously served as Director of Production at Kartemquin Films for more than a decade. Most recently, Zak produced Saving Mes Aynak, which follows an Afghan archaeologist as he and his team race to save a 2,000-year-old Buddhist archaeological site in Afghanistan from imminent demolition by a Chinese copper mine. Zak also produced the critically acclaimed film Life Itself, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and was an official selection of the 67th Cannes Film Festival. For this film, Zak received the Producers Guild of America award for Outstanding Producer of a Documentary Theatrical Motion Picture. The film was also nominated for a Gotham Award for Best Documentary and 5 Cinema Eye Honors. The National Board of Review and Broadcast Film Critics Association awarded Life Itself their Best Documentary Awards, while Entertainment Weekly listed the film in its top 5 films of the year. Life Itself was released theatrically by Magnolia Pictures in the summer of 2014 and will broadcast on CNN in 2015.
Transmedia Producer Cathy R Fischer began her career as a publicity intern for maverick director Robert Altman. She has worked in independent film, the performing arts, politics and at HBO. Cathy joined public media funder ITVS in the late ‘90s, where she launched ITVS Interactive, re-branding Independent Lens on PBS.org and creating PBS’s first Online Shorts Festival. As a content producer, she aims to elevate story and help bridge the worlds of traditional filmmaking and tech. Striving towards innovation, participation, and engagement, Cathy has produced over 200 film companion websites and collaborated on transmedia storytelling projects, social issue games, web series, mobile apps and mapping projects such as World Without Oil, Power Poetry, The Lexicon of Sustainability, and more. Awards include two Webbys, four SXSW Awards, Games for Change, and Interactive Emmy nominations. She has served as an advisor with AFI, BAVC, PBS Teachers, California Newsreel, and Lunafest. Cathy holds a liberal arts degree from UC Berkeley.
Impact Producer, Roseli Ilano has more than a decade of experience as an impact producer, community organizer, educator, and as an outreach strategist with a focus on integrating storytelling into grassroots social justice campaigns. She has developed and implemented strategy for more than 50 ground-breaking films and interactive media projects. Prior to joining the Generation Food team, she was the National Community Engagement Manager at The Independent Television Service (ITVS). Photo Credit: Monica Semergiu
Impact Research Director Beth Karlin is Research Director at the Norman Lear Center, where her current projects include investigating climate communication, documentary film, digital activism, and science engagement. In addition to her role at the Lear Center, Beth works with government, private, and non-profit organizations on strategy, implementation, and evaluation of behavioral programs, and lectures regularly on Transformational Media and the Psychology of Sustainability. Beth previously spent over 10 years working in K-12 education, holding positions as a teacher, counselor, curriculum consultant, and school administrator.
Writer Jeremy Hardy became a stand-up comedian in January 1984. His BBC Radio 4 work includes Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation, The News Quiz, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue and You’ll Have Had Your Tea. He has also done various bits of television, most notably, Now Something Else with Rory Bremner, Saturday Live, Blackadder Goes Forth, Loose Talk, Jack and Jeremy’s Real Lives with Jack Dee and If I Ruled the World with Graeme Garden and Clive Anderson.
A not-for-profit collaborative center for documentary media makers who seek to foster a more engaged and empowered society, in 2016 Kartemquin celebrates 50 years of sparking democracy through documentary. Best known for producing Steve James’s Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters among over 50 other documentaries that examine and critique society through the lives of ordinary people, Kartemquin has won every major almost every available prize for documentary filmmaking, including multiple Emmy, Peabody, duPont-Columbia and Robert F. Kennedy journalism awards, Independent Spirit, IDA, PGA and DGA awards, and an Oscar nomination. A revered resource on issues of ethics and storytelling, Kartemquin is internationally recognized for crafting quality documentaries backed by comprehensive audience engagement, and for its innovative programs and advocacy designed to elevate the documentary community. Kartemquin is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Chicago.
Former Team Members
With a First Nations mother (Tuscarora, Haudenosaunee), and a father descended of pioneers and cowboys, Meredith Palmer is a classic Turtle Island blend. Raised with an eye towards justice, Meredith has channeled much of her energy into the study of food systems and sovereignty for over five years. After four years of travel, working, writing, and farming experience, she returned to study at Cornell University, from where she now holds a BS in Development Sociology. She has been involved in food justice efforts in Tompkins County, NY, the ancestral homeland of the Haudenosaunee, and hopes to continue this work from her new home in Oakland, CA, the ancestral homelands of the Ohlone people. She has been part of developing the Generation Food project for a year, as a director of research and associate producer. Meredith will begin a doctoral program in Geography at UC Berkeley in the fall of 2012.
After ten years of working as a photographer and filmmaker in what is fashionably known as ‘development’, Jason Taylor has finally come to the realisation that much of what he was involved in was little more than managed poverty. He started to realise that he was becoming a part of that system and as he looked around and interacted with media, development, photographers and filmmakers, he began to understand that it was an industry like any other. He began to question the work he was doing and the disconnect between those who commissioned him and those he was there to document. The Second Green Revolution is a perfect example of this disconnection. The global media focus primarily on a failed industry-driven model of agriculture. Recently, the UN has published two reports, both of which come to the conclusion that to sustain our environment and our food security we need to move away from these input-intensive systems of agriculture. The Source Project is about using media to engage people in some of the many issues we need embrace. Telling stories from people who are not driven by anything more than compassion moves us away from the traditional confrontational format, which does little more than foster an overwhelming sense of helplessness.
Sam Grey is a Settler Canadian studying political thought at the University of Victoria. Her doctoral work is in reparations politics and decolonization praxis in the Settlement Commonwealth… which sounds terrifically dull and eggheady but is anything but. Food? Absolutely, it’s in there – in fact, it’s central. ‘First foods;’ colonized tables; the revivification of lost cultivars, threatened species, and the Indigenous political and social systems that steward them; the renewal of longstanding relationships with nonhuman peoples. Food sovereignty writ *massive.* Sam has lived and studied in Peru, Thailand, Canada, and Scotland; and is currently a guest on unceded Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ traditional territories.
Shin Shiga grew up in Japan and went to schools in Norway and Canada. During his MA, he worked with Ainu communities in Hokkaido, Japan to understand how technology and colonialism informed the indigenous landscape restoration project. After graduation his interest in social and environmental justice and pursuit for good food landed him on Generation Food. When Shin is not cooking or eating, he works on gardens or is out harvesting wild foods
Rohit Kumar is the Founder of the Food Reform Coalition, an organization advocating for a safer and healthier food system for people and planet. His writings on food policy issues appear regularly in The Huffington Post and GOOD Magazine. Rohit is currently pursuing at J.D. at at Stanford Law School. He previously graduated from UC Berkeley where he studied politics and environmental policy. He is extremely proud to be a part of Generation Food’s efforts to spread awareness through film and multimedia.
Alexandra Tung holds a MS in Agriculture Food and Environment from Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and a BS in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University. She has lived in Hong Kong, England and the United States. While her grandmother’s cooking inspired her to pursue a career path related to food and nutrition, the rural setting of Ithaca, New York, sparked her interest in agriculture. Prior to joining the AgDreams team, she has worked on books and publications including Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2011. She hopes to continue working on projects that support the use of sustainable agriculture techniques in nourishing underserved populations.
Vishrut Arya is a researcher at Food First in Oakland, CA. Prior to Food First, he was a business analyst at Google. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where he studied chemical and biomolecular engineering and economics. Upon graduating, he worked an investment analyst at Sequoia Fund. Vish is a passionate advocate for food sovereignty and biodiversity and is curious about human lifeways which are egalitarian, fulfilling, and ecologically vibrant.
Anil Bhattarai is currently writing his dissertation on transformations of economic, ecological and knowledge landscapes in a farming community in Nepal’s Chitwan valley. He is a trained permaculture designer and has grasped some bits of creating washable mud-floors and non-stick wall plasters. He has been writing a weekly column, (un)commonsense for The Kathmandu Post since May 2009, the explicit aim of which is to make alternatives mainstream.
Anne Gough is a researcher on farming systems and landscapes, currently based in Beirut, Lebanon. After working on small organic farms in the U.S. and studying political economy, Anne became dedicated to issues of food sovereignty and agrarian livelihoods. In Palestine, she worked with the Palestine Wildlife Society to create a survey of native Palestinian plant and bird species. In Beirut she studies and writes with Dr. Rami Zurayk (www.landandpeople.blogspot.com) at American University of Beirut. Their monograph on the use of food as tool of control is soon to be published by the Institute of Palestine Studies. It was the preparation for this article that led her to Raj Patel’s work. She is grateful to be a part of Agricultural Dreams and a part of this network of researchers devoted to detailed research on the struggles for food sovereignty around the world.
Daniela Andrade is an agronomist and social science researcher, engaged in studying and taking action on issues of rural poverty and agrarian development. She lived for three years among rural communities in ‘Ribeira Valley’ (SP-Brazil), analysing the effects of agrarian transition, and spent four years of intense work and activism with the ‘Landless Workers’ Movement’ (MST). She is currently living in the Netherlands, where she graduated from the International Institute of Social Studies (Erasmus University, Rotterdam) in 2009 with an MA in Agricultural and Rural Development. She is committed to combating poverty and inequality promoted by the global food system.
Paolo Cravero holds a Masters in International Relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and a BA in Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Prior to joining the AgDreams Team, he has worked as a freelance for various publications and interned as a fact-checker/researcher for The Nation magazine in New York. He hopes to continue working on projects dealing with food security and sustainable agriculture and development.
Susanne Knoll is the child of a German family with a long agricultural tradition. She grew up at the Hungarian country side on a cattle farm, where she fell in love with the farming and everything in connection with it. She studied as an agriculture engineer and teacher of agricultural science at the University of Kaposvár, Hungary. Susanne also had the opportunity to expand her knowledge of international food production with the support of the University Wageningen, Holland , the University of Valencia, Spain and her Columbian husband. Now she lives in Brazil, where she is planning to work in the sphere of Latin American animal and plant production.
Oday Kamal has over five years of experience in the food domain. His work has encompassed food advocacy, academic research and cooking. He is the founder of the Youth Food movement in Australia which is bringing together young Australians that desire a different and more sustainable food future. In 2011, he was recruited by the American University in Cairo to create a new food education program in the aftermath of the Arabic spring. Oday was a coop scholar at the University of Sydney graduating with honors for his thesis on the association of financial information and food security in Australia, he will be pursuing his masters at Oxford University in late 2012.
Mette Vaarst, was born 1961, Danish. First educated as a veterinarian, classical human and veterinary homoeopath and then took a master degree in Health Anthropology, and in this way worked with food and agriculture and humans in various ways over the last couple of decades. She is currently senior scientist at Aarhus University, Denmark. Works with many different aspects of organic dairy production, animal health and welfare and organic agriculture, farmer group learning and social capital building, and sees animal farming as one of the major problems in the world, because of its huge contribution to the global imbalance. She works as a volunteer in Organic Denmark and other organizations, and works primarily in Uganda with agro-ecological farming approaches, learning and development of local food systems and social networks.