Food Empowerment Project is guided by a capable and experienced team of volunteers with a wide range of skills and interests in social justice.
Our Board Members
Monica Cendejas has a B.A. in Economics and Spanish from Stanford University, where she held an outreach position with El Centro Chicano. She has studied many different issues relating to food economics and has worked with a variety of non-profit organizations. Monica previously worked with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition and Communities for Clean Ports and is currently working on her J.D. at the University of San Diego.
Christopher Greenslate is the co-author of “On a Dollar a Day: One Couple’s Unlikely Adventures in Eating in America” (Hyperion Books) which focuses on issues of food justice through a personal tale. Publisher’s Weekly called it, “a sobering, personal consideration of hunger and poverty worldwide and in our own neighborhoods.” He has spoken about food issues to national and international audiences, but is most known for his work as a Social Justice and Journalism educator. He has advised over 200 student-led social action projects, won national teaching awards, and has worked with students and teachers on three continents. His writing has been published by Green Teacher magazine and The New York Times.
Rick Kelley works for an Oakland workers’ rights nonprofit. He helped start a community group with other local activists called Neighbors Opposed to Backyard Slaughter, which advocates for an approach to urban agriculture that doesn’t include animal exploitation. Rick has previously worked in drug policy reform, helped form a Minneapolis legal collective focused on empowering and supporting communities likely to be targeted for their political activism, and is active in supporting the organizing efforts of California prisoners’ locked in indefinite solitary confinement. His current interests lie at the intersections between food justice, animal and workers’ rights, and collective efforts for social change.
lauren Ornelas is F.E.P.’s founder and serves as the group’s volunteer executive director. She is also the former executive director of Viva!USA, a national nonprofit vegan advocacy organization. lauren has been active in the animal rights movement for over 20 years. After spending four years as National Campaign Coordinator for In Defense of Animals, lauren was asked by Viva!UK to start and run Viva!USA in 1999. In cooperation with activists across the country, she worked and achieved corporate changes within Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, and Pier 1 Imports, among others. She currently serves as Campaign Director with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition.
Our Advisory Board
Jason Bayless is a diverse activist with a wide range of experience. Jason worked at PETA in a number of positions including Senior Youth Outreach Specialist, Circus Monitor, and Senior Projects Specialist. He has traveled the country documenting and reporting animal abuse and neglect within the entertainment industry. A born workaholic, Jason works long hours, finding out new ways to improve the lives of both human and non-human animals. As a member of The International Association of Internet Broadcasters (IAIB), Jason now spends his free time producing, editing and recording videos and podcasts on a variety of topics.
Lawrence Carter-Long is the Executive Director of the Disabilities Network of NYC, which works to shape policy, build community and increase civic, social and economic opportunities for people with physical and sensory disabilities in the Big Apple. In addition, Lawrence is a long time animal advocate and has facilitated workshops on effective outreach and communications across the nation for over 15 years.
Jake Conroy has been involved in a wide range of social justice activism since the mid-90s. He helped build the foundation of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA, one of the most successful grassroots animal rights campaigns in history. As an organizer and designer, Jake brought a new look and creative feel to grassroots campaigns through professional newsletters, brochures, web design and merchandise. Currently Jake works for an international environmental organization that uses direct action and pressure campaigns to help enact responsible corporate policies. He can also be found lecturing at universities around the US and spending too much time hunting down cruelty-free treats.
Che Green is the founder and current executive director of the Humane Research Council, a nonprofit animal protection organization focused on advocacy research and strategy. A former analyst, investment banker, and research manager, Che has also been an animal advocate at both the grassroots and national levels. Che previously managed a small animal-related foundation based in Seattle, and he currently lives in Olympia, Washington.
Laura Hudson recently received her Ph.D. from the University of California Davis. Her degree is in Cultural Studies (with Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory) while her work focuses on Critical Animal Studies, Media Critique, Film Studies, and Studies in Food and Culture. Her dissertation focuses on the representation of animals in film and popular culture, and how these representations affect our views of both human beings and other animals. A former staff person for Viva!USA, she has experience in active campaigns promoting ethical food choices as well as theoretical ones.
Jennifer Knapp serves as F.E.P.’s pro bono counsel. She is a senior associate at the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C., the premier legal advisor to technology and growth enterprises worldwide, where she practices corporate and securities law. In addition to providing pro bono legal counsel to a number of organizations, she volunteers her time on various animal-related issues. She graduated with High Honors from U.C. Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Sociology, and she received her law degree from U.C. Hastings graduating Magna Cum Laude.
Chad Miller has been involved in animal rights and social justice activism for the last fifteen years. While attending college in Louisiana he was active in anti-racist work. Chad is currently the co-owner of Food Fight! Grocery, an all-vegan market in Portland, OR. In addition to working at Food Fight! Chad helped to found the Let Live Foundation and works to connect vegan activism with other justice issues.
Rey Ortega is President and Founder of Sun Flour Baking Co, Inc., founder of The Alternative Baking Company, and he has been in the natural foods industry for nearly 15 years. Rey’s passion for natural foods comes from his desire to spread delicious vegan food to as many people as possible. Rey also owns SK Publishing, a company that specializes in vegetarian children’s books.
Zoe Weil is the president of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE) and the author of several books, including Most Good, Least Harm and Above All, Be Kind. She has been a humane educator for over twenty years, has taught tens of thousands of young people about living with respect and compassion for others, and has trained thousands of adults to be humane educators. IHE offers the first Master of Education program in Humane Education as well as a Humane Education Certificate Program and weekend training workshops across the U.S. and Canada.
David Williams is a Licensed General Contractor, a Certified Green Builder and in 2006 he earned his Permaculture Design Certification. This pioneering science integrates technology and biological systems to lessen the impact of human waste and resource consumption on the planet. David also participates in a local community garden where he grows an assortment of vegetables, and where all surplus foods are shared with both the members and the local Alameda Food Bank. Here he is allowed to practice the Permaculture Principles of Ethics: Care for the Earth, care for people, and set limits to consumption, reproduction, and share the surplus.