City Advocacy Training for Plant-Based Food Policies

We are facing existential threats from climate change along with unprecedented public health crises, world hunger, and biodiversity loss. Our food system sits at the center of all these issues and, therefore, it is crucial to establish compassionate, healthy and climate-friendly food systems.
Nearly 83% of the U.S. population live in urban areas and their food consumption trend has the power to either protect or destroy our environment. But most cities are not currently accounting for consumption-based GHG emissions. As a result, crucial food emissions are going unaddressed in our cities and towns. Now more than ever, our local activists and community-based organizations need to advocate for plant-based food policies.
Therefore, experts from academia and leaders from a diverse range of organizations are coming together to offer a free advocacy training program on plant-based food policies for community members just like you!
We are actively recruiting for our upcoming training in Fall of 2022. This training will be perfect for any community member interested in becoming an advocate for plant-based policies in their community. Experts and novices alike – this training will provide you with the knowledge, tools, resources, guidance, and action steps to become an effective advocate. If you are interested in enrolling in the training program, please contact us at nilang@cultivateempathyforall.org .

Training Speakers

Katrina Wyman is a Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, where she teaches and researches in the areas of Property, Urban Environmental Law, and Natural Resources Law, among other subjects. Wyman is deputy faculty director of NYU Law’s Frank J. Guarini Center on Environmental, Energy and Land Use Law, and faculty director of the law school’s LLM program in Environmental and Energy Law. Her recent research has addressed a range of topics, including the role of cities in environmental law in the US and abroad. Wyman was awarded the Podell Distinguished Teaching Award in 2020.

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Nilang Gor is a Senior Scientist in the field of genetic disorders and holds M.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology. Nilang also founded Cultivate Empathy for All, an organization which promotes empathy as a tool to address global challenges. As a systems thinker, he believes that we live in a highly interconnected ecosystem, where our well-being is interdependent on fellow humans, non-human animals, and the environment. Nilang thinks our ignorance of this interdependence has created unsustainable animal agriculture systems which are now impacting our environment, public health, as well as social and racial equity. He mobilizes community members to educate their city lawmakers on the negative impacts of animal-based food systems on various aspects of our society and environment, and promote local, sustainable policies and programs. Nilang firmly believes what is good for our bodies is also good for the environment and animals in our highly interconnected world.

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Jennifer Molidor is a Senior Food Campaigner at Center for Biological Diversity and helps lead the Center's sustainable food initiatives, including the Take Extinction Off Your Plate campaign. She drives the Population and Sustainability program's Earth-friendly Diet initiatives related to industrial animal agriculture, overpopulation and overconsumption, and the impact of our food systems on wildlife and the planet. Before joining the Center in 2015, she worked on a number of food, wildlife and environmental campaigns as the staff writer for the Animal Legal Defense Fund; she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame and taught for many years as a professor at Kansas State University and San Francisco State University.

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Mohan Gurunathan is an engineer, entrepreneur and activist who has lived and worked in Silicon Valley for over 20 years. He is an expert on food systems sustainability and speaks to public audiences about the environmental and social impacts of individual diet choices. Mohan played a leading role in convincing the City of Mountain View to include "plant-based diet promotion" as a part of their 2019 Environmental Sustainability Plan. He serves as an advisor and/or board member for several environmental and animal advocacy nonprofits. Currently Mohan is Director of Innovation at a Sunnyvale biotech company, where he works on developing next-generation instruments that test for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. He also runs a small nonprofit that is developing a low-cost medical ventilator for developing nations. Mohan holds an S.B. and M.Eng in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from M.I.T. He lives in Mountain View with his wife and two daughters.

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Zoe Novic is a graduate of the Yale School of Public Health, where she focused her studies on the intersection of population health, animal welfare, and environmental health. Prior to studying public health, Zoe served two years in the Peace Corps in West Java, Indonesia and went on to work as the San Francisco Grassroots Director for The Humane League. Zoe is currently the Public Health Education Coordinator for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine where she focuses on partnering with public health schools and institutions to expand the One Health curriculum for the benefit of humans, animals, and the planet.

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Naijha Wright-Brown is the Executive Director of the Black Veg Society, a non-profit organization whose mission is mission is to educate predominantly Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, on the benefits of holistic living, the plant-based diet, and veganism. She was introduced to gardening, farming, environmentalism, sustainability, and the basics of eating healthy while spending summers in Massachusetts as a teenager. Naijha has an MBA in Business from the University of Phoenix and is a successful serial entrepreneur. Naijha is a partner and the Marketing Director for The Land of Kush, VeganSoul Bistro, and co-creator of Vegan Soulfest and Maryland Vegan Restaurant Week. She, also, has a digital talk show, Naijha Speaks, that helps people on a mission to find their vegan soul!

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Alex Cerussi (she/her) is the State Policy Manager at Mercy For Animals, a global non-profit organization dedicated to constructing a more just and sustainable food system. In this role, Alex lobbies on state and local policies related to farm animals, plant-based food procurement, and the environment. She is a licensed attorney and serves as Co-Chair of the American Bar Association TIPS Animal Law Committee Policy and Alliances Subcommittee. Alex also serves as Board Chair of Harmony Farm Sanctuary in Bend, Oregon.

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