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From Garden Warriors to Good Seeds: The Native American Fight for Food & Seed Sovereignty

Elizabeth Hoover
Elizabeth is an associate professor in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley whose research, life, and community work focuses on food sovereignty and environmental justice for Native American communities. Based on collaborations with tribal communities across the US, Elizabeth has published books and articles about Native American food sovereignty and seed rematriation; environmental reproductive justice in Native American communities; and tribal citizen science and community based participatory research. Elizabeth serves on the executive committee of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA) and the board of North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS) and the Freed Seed Federation.
Because ‘we are what we eat,’ the Native American food sovereignty movement is working to revitalize and perpetuate traditional food systems in order to promote good physical, cultural and spiritual health for Indigenous peoples. This is being done through the promotion of seed sovereignty and the reclamation and rematriation of Native heirloom seeds; through the work of Native chefs seeking to reclaim and define Indigenous cuisine; and in fighting for a clean environment in which to nurture these foods. This talk discusses nationwide Native American food and seed sovereignty efforts, and the inspiring community based projects and organizations that are changing the way the nation thinks about food.
Introduction by:
Jennifer Lester Moffit, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs
Jennifer Lester Moffitt is Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the United States
Department of Agriculture, the first female to serve in this position. At USDA, she provides leadership for
the Agricultural Marketing Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, working to build a more
reliable, resilient, and equitable food system by strengthening agricultural markets and ensuring the health
and care of animals and plants.
Prior to joining USDA, Under Secretary Moffitt worked at the California Department of Food and Agriculture
where she championed the critically important work of farmers and producers in her roles as
Undersecretary and Deputy Secretary.
A 5th generation Californian, Under Secretary Moffitt grew up on her family’s organic walnut farm and
processing operation and spent 10 years as Managing Director, working to expand domestic and
international markets and implementing climate smart agricultural practice. Growing up and working on
the farm, she learned first-hand the importance of taking care of the land and the people who farm it.
Before running the family farm, Under Secretary Moffitt worked for American Farmland Trust, connecting
farmers with information on conservation easements, estate planning, research, and technical assistance.
A former 4-H and FFA member, Under Secretary Moffitt grew up raising market lambs and recently served
as a 4-H volunteer. In doing so, she’s seen the important role farmers play in supporting their local
communities and youth development.
A graduate of Brown University and the California Agricultural Leadership Program, Under Secretary Moffitt
has served as a member of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Certified
Organic Farmers Board of Directors, the Organic Trade Association Farmer Advisory Council, and the Board
of Directors for the Center for Land-based Learning. She believes in the importance of engaging agricultural
stakeholders and working collaboratively to address the issues facing farmers, producers, and consumers.
Under Secretary Moffitt spends her time between Washington, D.C. and Davis, California where she lives
with her husband, a public school educator, and their teenage daughter.

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Track and Session Info

En Español / In Spanish
Equity, Food, Health, Community
Keynote I 9:00am - 10:15am

Date and Location


Same Time

Mar 12 2022 to Mar 18 2022



Thank you to our EcoFarm 2022 sponsors!