Tina is a systems leader and strategist within the organic and regenerative agriculture movements in the United States. She currently co-leads the Nutrient Density Alliance and is the Senior Fellow of Regenerative Agriculture at Green America's Soil & Climate Alliance.
Tina has led transformational shifts in food and agriculture systems with some of the world’s largest food companies, including Non-GMO Project verification, Organic verification and conversion of acreage to organic, as well as the regenerative agriculture movement and currently unfolding certifications.
Tina grew up in a multi-generational conventional dairy and farming family. She passionately advocates for the potential of regionally based, perennial and regenerative food systems to support human and planetary health. On her family farm in Michigan, she walks the talk. Her family raises heritage and pastured animals to regenerate the land and provide nutrient-dense outcomes. Their ongoing work offers a deeper understanding of regenerative food systems at regional and national scales.
Dr. Rasheeda Hawk is a biophysicist who works at the intersection of science, education, and well-being. Though most scientists look at the causes for the pathogenesis of diseases, Dr. Hawk’s research includes preventative and restorative measures towards health. Her research focus includes environmental factors that affect health, the well-being of people from the physical down to the molecular levels, and the interface of the two.
As a scientist, Dr. Hawk’s research applications have been used to address health issues such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and child and maternal health in developing countries. Her findings have caught international attention through the interest of the First Lady of Mali and the U.S. Ambassador from Niger. Notably, Dr. Hawk’s research has identified epigenetic changes on the breast cancer gene “braca.” Her research findings are promising as they will allow for diagnostic breast cancer screenings to detect the possibility of cancer a decade before breast cancer markers appear in the blood.
As an educator, Dr. Hawk’s focus is to lessen achievement and opportunity gaps by working with African American, Latinx, and first generation college students. With an understanding of how K-12 schools with limited resources leave students vastly under-prepared for college, Dr. Hawk assists other educators in developing relevant STEM curriculum and instruction. She also teaches biology, anatomy, physiology and scientific research courses in affordable educational institutions like community colleges. To further integrate academia with community-centered practices, Dr. Hawk recently created a “Living Lab,” a real-life innovative space in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, where community members can address current community problems by developing and testing possible solutions.
Dr. Hawk holds her doctorate in Biophysics and Physiology from the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, and was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
Kia Ruiz is an environmental and economic resiliency consultant in the Denver area. Kia earned her B.S. in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State University. She holds certificates in Graduate Teaching from Florida International University and GIS with a focus on pedagogy. Her passion has been in conveying scientific information to non-scientific audiences. In 2014, Kia was a strategist, new media coordinator, and interim Director of the Colorado GMO Labeling effort.
Kia dedicates her time to her sankalpa of connecting people to the earth, each other, and themselves to interdependently support all of us going forward. She is a lead teacher for GirlTrek’s Gardeners, the nation’s largest health-oriented non-profit for Black women. Her love of the outdoors finds many expressions: Kia is a Sierra Club hike leader, and she is active with Latino Outdoors, with whom she earned her Wilderness First Aid certification.
Kia is Ngäble-Bugle, Black, and Seminole with more exploring to do as her family was far-flung in African and American diasporas. Kia serves on her city’s Sustainability Advisory Committee where she works with the city’s strategic plan to guide sustainability efforts and recommendations. Kia also chairs the JEDI efforts at her children’s public Waldorf charter school. Kia is also a yoga teacher, meditation teacher, herbalist, permaculturist, photographer, and conservationist who balances her brain with as much time outside as she possibly can.
Dr. Vimal Ramjee is a Senior Staff Cardiologist at the Chattanooga Heart Institute with Memorial Hospital, and a Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist. A nationally recognized heart disease expert, Dr. Ramjee has been awarded grants from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association for his groundbreaking work. His scientific contributions to the field have been awarded several nationally competitive accolades, including the Young Investigator Awards from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.
Dr. Ramjee obtained his undergraduate degree in neurobiology and behavioral science at Emory University. After graduating from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, he completed his internal medicine residency at Emory University, followed by cardiology fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has covered the role of the immune system in heart attack recovery to the use of cholesterol biomarkers in helping to prevent heart disease. He is the lead author of several peer-reviewed medical publications and quintuple board certified in Cardiology, Echocardiography, Nuclear Medicine, Cardiac CT, and Internal Medicine.
As a cardiologist and certified culinary medicine specialist, Dr. Ramjee is passionate about the impact that food has on health outcomes. He is a national leader in the food health world and a strong advocate for clean, nutritive food as a basis for optimal wellbeing.
Dr. Ramjee lives in Chattanooga, Tenn., with his wife and two children. In his free time, he loves to exercise, spend time with his family, travel and give back to the community. He serves on the Advisory Board for the Cornucopia Institute, and the Board of Directors for Siskin Hospital.
Alan Lewis navigates government affairs and food and agriculture policy for Natural Grocers, a Colorado-based health food chain founded in 1955 with over 150 stores in 19 states. At the federal, state and local level, Alan engages on food, agriculture, nutrition, rural economic development, blockchain, trade and health issues. Alan is active in several trade and advocacy organizations and has been a speaker and panelist at many events, including a talk at TEDx Boulder in 2014. Long a student of political activism, his focus is on communicating with stakeholders using frameworks that are non-confrontational and inclusive. Alan has lived overseas for extended periods, which lends to his understanding of agriculture in varying social and political contexts. He also oversees organic certification and compliance for Natural Grocers while advising dozens of food, natural product, and ag-tech start-ups across the country as part of his effort to reinvigorate neighborhood resilience, regional food systems, rural economies, and local supply chains. Highlights of current commitments include the Non-GMO Project board, Organic and Natural Health Association board, Real Organic Project standards board, Retail Advisory Committee of the American Grassfed Association, Farm Policy Committee of the Organic Farmers Association, and various committees of the Council for Responsible Nutrition.
Nicole Atchison is responsible for leading innovation across the PURIS portfolio of companies including ingredient technologies, processing technologies, seed genetic strategy, and channel strategy. PURIS cultivates a spectrum of pure, plant-based foods and ingredients from U.S.-based organic and non-GMO sources. Nicole joined PURIS in 2017 to support growth and innovation across business units.
PURIS™ is a family-owned company founded in 1985 in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Built with intention over 30 years, PURIS’ plant-based food system benefits every link in the chain of production: flavorful and nutritious choices for people, profitable opportunities for growers, flexible ingredients for food makers, and practices that nourish soil, the environment, and life on earth. Nicole is the daughter of the founders of the company.
Previously, Nicole held roles as Project Manager and Engineer and was responsible for leading the cross-functional team through FDA approval and US commercialization of Stellarex 035, a Class III medical device, for Spectranetics/Covidien. Stellarex launched in 2017, followed by an acquisition of Spectranetics by Phillips.
Nicole holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Iowa State University. She spends her free time with her husband Jordan and two children Cameron and Avery. They live in Eden Prairie, MN and enjoy the changing Minnesota seasons.
John Foraker is the Co-founder and CEO of Once Upon A Farm, a company on a mission to build a purpose-driven brand focused on reinventing a number of kid-food categories in the US toward better health and nutrition while driving significant positive social and environmental impact.
Prior to his new start-up, John spent more than 30 years in the natural and organic food industry running businesses with a sharp focus on sustainability and social responsibility. John was the longtime leader of Annie’s, Inc., a leading natural and organic food brand, in the US from 1999 to 2017. As CEO of Annie’s, he took the company public in 2012 under the symbol BNNY before General Mills acquired the business in 2014 for $820 million. For the following three years John ran the Annie’s operating unit and also advised General Mills’ small business incubator 301, Inc. He was recognized as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® 2015 in Northern California.
In August 2017, he transitioned into a new role as Chairman of the Bunny, where he continues to work with General Mills to drive leadership in company culture, organic and regenerative agriculture, and strategy support. John received a B.S. in agricultural economics from UC Davis and an MBA from UC Berkeley.
Errol Schweizer was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. With more than 20 years in the natural and organic food movement, including food cooperatives, CSA programs and farmers markets, he led the national grocery program at Whole Foods Market for over seven years. He was responsible for the merchandising and products assortment for over 80 categories and $5 billion in annual sales. His team helped dozens of innovative companies become household names and popularized trends such as Grassfed, Biodynamic, and Fair Trade, as well as shepherding over 10,000 items through Non-GMO Project verification. In 2015 Errol was named one of the top 25 retail game-changers in the food industry by Supermarket News. Errol is currently an Advisor and Board Member to numerous companies and organizations devoted to a conscious and ethical food system.
For nearly 30 years, Alisa Gravitz has led Green America, the national green economy organization. Green America (formerly Co-op America) develops marketplace solutions to social and environmental problems with a key focus on tackling climate change, building fair trading systems, stopping corporate abuse and growing the green economy. Green America’s major events and publications include Green Festivals,National Green Pages and Green American. Green America operates the nation’s largest green business and green consumer networks.
Ms. Gravitz is a leading expert on how families and businesses can “go green,” saving money and resources. She is also a nationally recognized leader in the social investment industry. She authored Green America’s acclaimed Guide to Social Investing, with over a million copies in print and the popular Guide to Community Investing. The 1% in Community Campaign, a joint program of Green America and the Social Investment Forum, has moved over $2 billion into community investments from social investment portfolios.
Ms. Gravitz’s board service includes Ceres, Positive Future Network, Network for Good and People 4 Earth. She earned her MBA from Harvard University and her BA in economics and environmental sciences from Brandeis University. Green America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
After years of passionate food advocacy, Megan helped launch the Non-GMO Project in 2006. She became Executive Director in 2007 and has been hard at work to protect the future of non-GMO food ever since.
As a national thought leader on the non-GMO issue, Megan is a highly respected speaker and has been featured in numerous national publications and forums.
In addition to the Non-GMO Project, her passions in life include her young children, Robin Wilder and Riverley, and the organic permaculture homestead she and her husband Noah are cultivating in the beautiful Lake Whatcom watershed.
From 2010-17, Megan served on the Board of the Community Food Co-op where she spent two years as Board chair and another two years as chair of the Board Development Committee.
Megan is the co-author of The Non-GMO Cookbook and Yoga for Pregnancy.