Sara J. Scherr, PhD, President and CEO
Dr. Scherr is an agricultural and natural resource economist specializing in land and forest management policy in tropical developing countries. Founder of EcoAgriculture Partners, she now serves as its President and CEO. From 2001-2005, she also served as Director of Ecosystem Services for Forest Trends, an NGO that promotes forest conservation through improved markets for forest products and ecosystem services. She was recently on the World Agroforestry Centre Board of Directors and the United Nations Millennium Project Task Force on Hunger. Dr. Scherr's previous positions include: Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA; Co-Leader of the CGIAR Gender Program; Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C.; and Principal Researcher at the World Agroforestry Centre. She was previously a Fulbright Scholar (1976) and a Rockefeller Social Science Fellow (1985-87). Dr. Scherr received her BA in Economics at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, and her MSc and PhD in International Economics and Development at Cornell University in New York. Dr. Scherr has published 27 articles in refereed journals, 2 annotated bibliographies, 9 monographs, more than 50 book chapters, and 11 books, including Ecoagriculture: Strategies to Feed the World and Save Wild Biodiversity (with Jeff McNeely), A New Agenda for Forest Conservation and Poverty Reduction: Making Markets Work for Low-Income Producers (with Andy White and David Kaimowitz), and Farming with Nature (with Jeff McNeely).
Louise Buck, PhD, Director, Landscapes and Leaders Program
Dr. Buck is a Senior Extension Associate with the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University and the coordinator of the joint EcoAgriculture Partners-Cornell University Landscape Measures Initiative. In her work, she applies knowledge in social science, education and planning to issues and practices in sustainable agriculture, forest resource management and recreation resource management. In addition to coordinating the development of the Landscape Measures Resource Center, her current activities focus on social learning in agroforestry and protected area management systems in domestic and international settings. Louise holds a PhD from Cornell University, an MS from Colorado State University, and a BS from the University of Colorado-Boulder.
Christine Negra, PhD, Director, Research Program
Dr. Negra is an experienced scientist with a strong and dynamic track record of of linking science with policy in the areas of climate change, food security, land use and ecosystem services. Before joining EcoAgriculture Partners, in 2011-12, she led the Secretariat of the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change, convened by CGIAR-CCAFS, which developed and disseminated science-based policy recommendations for "Achieving Food Security in the Context of Climate Change." As Program Director at the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment in Washington, DC from 2005-2011, Dr. Negra collaborated with individuals in government, academia, industry, and NGOs to bring technical analyses and consensus-based solutions into policy dialogues. She developed indicators of carbon storage and environmental contamination for "The State of the Nation’s Ecosystems 2008," directed the Ecological Effects of Air Quality project for the US Environmental Protection Agency, and served as Science Director for the Terrestrial Carbon Group project. She began her career as a soil scientist and early on worked on sustainable agriculture and community leadership with farmers and local and state officials at the US Department of Agriculture Extension System.
Lola Ogunremi, PhD, Director of Finance
Dr. Ogunremi is the Director of Finance at EcoAgriculture Partners and is based in the Washington DC Office. She leads financial management for the organization, providing financial reports and audit management. She also develops and implements various financial processes of the organization including the overseas offices. She has held Accounting and Research positions at Howard University, City University of New York Research Foundation as well as the Small Business Administration Small Business Development Center (DCSBDC) in Washington DC. At the DCSBDC, she managed a diverse portfolio of clients ranging from Corporations, Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships and Non Profits, providing business and accounting consultation services. Dr. Ogunremi holds a PhD in International Economics from Howard University; a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Brooklyn College, City University of New York; Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Baruch College, City University of New York; and is a Certified Public Accountant, CPA.
Jessica Breitfeller, Development Associate
Jessica Breitfeller provides fundraising and grant writing support and manages donor relations and outreach. Prior to joining EcoAgriculture Partners, Jessica helped raise funds for several conservation and development nonprofits, both in Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA. Her own research grants have allowed her to conduct extensive fieldwork in Central America on a broad range of topics including community-based ecotourism, agro-forestry, and indigenous rights and land tenure. Jessica holds dual MAs in International Affairs from American University’s School of International Service and in Natural Resources & Sustainable Development from the UN-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. She also received a BA in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont.
Joan Downie, Administrative Associate
Joan Downie works closely with Lola Ogunremi to support administration, human resources and finance. She has 15 years of experience working in various capacities with trade associations and the non-profit sector and brings with her a wide range of skills in administration. Joan has served as a government relations, human resources, and finance administrator for such diverse organizations as NIH, Association of Financial Professionals and Forum for Youth Investment.
Rachel Friedman, Program Associate
Ms. Friedman is primarily involved in the work on payment for ecosystem services (PES) and climate change at EcoAgriculture Partners, including producing the bi-monthly EcoagriculturePES newsletter. Moreover, she provides support for general EcoAgriculture communications and outreach for the Landscapes for People, Food, and Nature Initiative, managing the Landscapes Blog. Rachel has traveled to Madagascar, Australia, and Mexico to carry out research in tropical forest ecology. She has also worked at a few small organic farms and farmers markets. She graduated from Stanford University in 2009 with a B.S. and M.S. in interdisciplinary environmental science, focused on ecology and conservation biology.
Lee Gross, Project Manager, Agricultural Markets and Biodiversity Specialist
Lee Gross is the project manager for Markets and Biodiversity at EcoAgriculture Partners. His primary role is to work closely with grantee organizations as the Monitoring and Evaluation officer for the Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP) funded by the International Finance Corporation and Global Environment Facility. The BACP is focused on biodiversity preservation through market transformation within major agricultural commodities such as palm oil, soy and cocoa. Lee's previous and current activities include a project to examine the science and practice of impact assessment for agricultural eco-certifications and standards, participatory landscape labeling in Kijabe, Kenya and co-leading the business engagement strategy for the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative. Lee's research interests include participatory approaches to conservation and livelihoods, ecological economic and agroecology. Before joining EcoAgriculture Partners these interests led him to work with smallholder coffee cooperatives in the Dominican Republic and Ecuador, post-conflict communities on food security issues in northern Uganda, and to analyze supply-chain traceability for companies such as Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. He holds a Masters of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont and a B.S.E.S. in Environmental Economics and Management from the University of Georgia with certificate degrees in International Agriculture and Ecological Economics.
Abigail Hart, Program Associate
Ms. Hart is involved in several of EcoAgriculture Partners’ programs through the EcoAgriculture Working Group at Cornell University. Her work focuses on improving EcoAgriculture Partners’ messaging and communication, curricula development, and supporting EcoAgriculture’s collaborative research. Her interest in integrating agriculture and environmental conservation stems from a B.S. in Environmental Studies at Wheaton College, her experience with the USDA’s agricultural research service, and her work in sustainable agriculture and food security in Central America.
Raffaela Kozar, Senior Manager, Landscape Management and Capacity Development
Raffaela Kozar is a Senior Project Manager for the Landscapes and Leaders Program at EcoAgriculture Partners and for the multi-stakeholder Landscapes for People, Food and Nature (LPFN) Initiative. Her work concentrates on strengthening landscape initiatives and demonstrating the on-the-ground effectiveness of landscape management approaches through multi-stakeholder landscape facilitation, assessment, planning, capacity development and technical assistance services. Prior to her work at EcoAgriculture Partners, Raffaela was the coordinator for the Community Development and Local Government Sector of the Millennium Villages Project at the Earth Institute. While at the Earth Institute, Raffaela worked to develop the vision and operational plans for the cross-cutting approaches and activities for stakeholder engagement, capacity development and local governance in the MVP, and to strengthen the capacity of local institutional systems and operational models to successfully implement the MVP model at the community level. Most recently in her capacity at the Earth Institute, Raffaela was based at the MDG Centre in Bamako, Mali where she worked among others on strengthening local institutional arrangements in the MVs for cross-sector management, MDG-based local development planning, and support for a multi-year project in the drylands of the Sahel to improve livelihoods through the management and enrichment of local plant diversity. She holds a Master of International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and a B.A. in International Relations and Environmental Policy and Analysis from Boston University.
Kedar Mankad, Program Associate
Kedar Mankad works primarily with the Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP) funded by the International Finance Corporation and Global Environment Facility. He also supports the work of the Business Engagement Working Group of the Landscapes for People Food and Nature (LPFN) Initiative, and the Institutional Analysis and Capacity-Building of Agricultural Carbon Projects in Africa project. Kedar has worked for the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food where he helped prepare a report on gender equity and food security, consulted with USAID in preparing a report on smallholders in tropical commodity certification, and worked to build the capacity of agricultural cooperatives in Morocco with the US Peace Corps. Kedar holds a M.A. in International Relations from Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and his B.A. in Philosophy from Emory University.
Seth Shames, Senior Project Manager
Mr. Shames is the Coordinator of Ecoagriculture Partners’ Payments for Ecosystem Services program. This program supports emerging markets for ecosystem services from carbon, watersheds and biodiversity in agricultural landscapes through research, policy development, project design, and the management of a global network of experts and practitioners in the field. He also manages much of EcoAgriculture Partners’international and domestic policy engagement. In this capacity, he has worked on the integration of agricultural issues into the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, conducted research on environment and development policies in East Africa, and advised on policy options to link environmental management and food security. At EcoAgriculture Partners, Mr. Shames has also worked on eco-labeling of agricultural products, ecoagriculture in protected areas, and sustainable biofuels production. In addition to his work at EcoAgriculture Partners, Mr. Shames has studied of conservation tillage schemes for small farmers in Ethiopia, agroforestry systems in Peru and, and organized Community Supported Agriculture groups in New York City. He holds a Masters of Environmental Science from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a BA from Columbia in Anthropology and Environmental Science.
Lisa Swann, Senior Communications Manager
Ms. Swann has spearheaded communication efforts for some of the most important environmental achievements of our time. Some of the milestones include passage of the Clean Water Act, the adoption of the Biodiversity Convention, historic climate agreements, the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park and the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. She has held senior communications positions at Environmental Defense Fund, where she worked with scientists and economists on market mechanisms to help solve environmental problems; National Wildlife Federation, where she worked on biodiversity protection and enhancement; and Pact, where she worked on landscape conservation as well as human development.Early in her career she worked as a television anchor and reporter, and served as press secretary to U.S. Senator Robert Stafford and U.S. Senator James Jeffords. She has written and edited op-eds for such publications as The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Tribune, New Orleans Times Picayune and Miami Herald. In 2010 she led the global communications for the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, garnering 1300 news articles in online, print, and broadcast outlets, and substantially increased social media and activist outreach for Earth Day Network, the organization that coordinates Earth Day worldwide.
Louis Wertz, Communications Associate
Louise (Wieteke) Willemen, PhD, Senior Scientist
Dr. Willemen is a landscape modeler in the EcoAgriculture Working Group within the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University. In her work she focuses on the dynamics between landscape properties, ecosystem service supply, human well-being, and land management decision-making. Previously, she was a post-doctoral fellow at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission evaluating the impact of land use change on ecosystem service benefits in Africa, and worked for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a GIS ‘junior professional officer' on agro-biodiversity issues in Latin-America at Bioversity International (formerly IPGRI) in Colombia. Louise obtained her PhD from Wageningen University, the Netherlands, for her work on mapping and modeling multifunctional landscape and has a BSc/MSc from the same university in Tropical Land Use, with a specialization in plant production systems and GIS.
Long-term Consultants, Fellows and Interns
Ben Dappen, IT Associate and Webmaster
Mr. Dappen is the senior designer and web-application programmer for Dappen Design Studios. He serves as webmaster for several environmental nonprofit organizations (including Forest Trends and the Katoomba Group), as well as several commercial sites. He speciallizes in PHP/MYSQL application programming and Content Management Systems. He both designed and manages the EcoAgriculture Partners web site. He graduated with a degree in History from Reed College in 2004.
Robin Marsh, PhD, Coordinator, EcoAgriculture Leadership Development
Dr. Marsh is the Academic Coordinator of the Center for Sustainable Resource Development at the University of California-Berkeley. She is an agricultural and development economist (Ph.D., Food Research Institute, Stanford University 1991), with 25 years of experience in international development. At UC Berkeley, Dr. Marsh helped to launch and develop the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program into a thriving international training and outreach program. She also co-leads with David Zilberman the Population and Environment Program at CSRD, with support from the Packard and Hewlett Foundations. In addition to population-environment linkages, Dr. Marsh works on bridging the environment and agricultural divide through support of ecoagriculture and payment for environmental services initiatives. Before coming to Berkeley in 2000, Dr. Marsh worked with the Rural Development Division, Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, leading a global research program on the interactions between household livelihood strategies, food security and local institutions. Previously, Dr. Marsh was socio-economist with the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (CGIAR associate center) in Taiwan and Costa Rica. She conducted research in Asia and Central America on the economic and food security benefits of home and market gardening, and evaluated urban horticulture projects in Africa. Robin has also worked on several major issues related to California agriculture and natural resources such as water and drought management, alternative pest management strategies, organic horticulture, farm labor and NAFTA.