Guest, Claire Cummings

Guest Name: 
Claire Cummings
Claire Hope Cummings, Environmental Lawyer, Journalist, Author, Farmer, Advisor and Recognized Environmental Authority
Guest Occupation: 
Environmental Lawyer, Journalist, Author, Farmer, Advisor, Recognized Environmental Authority
Guest Biography: 

Claire Hope Cummings is an environmental lawyer, journalist, and the author of Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds (Beacon Press, March 2008).

Claire’s stories focus on the environmental and political implications of how we eat and how food and farming reconnects us to each other and the places where we live.

Claire brings three decades of broad experience in agriculture to her work. She has farmed in California and in Vietnam, where she had an organic farm on the Mekong Delta. For four years she was an attorney for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Office of General Counsel.

For the last 15 years, Claire has been active in the local food and farming movement in the San Francisco Bay Area, helping to found the Marin County food policy council, and serving on the boards of organizations such as Earth Island Institute, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Food First, and the Elmwood Institute—the predecessor organization for the Center for Ecoliteracy. Claire was awarded a Food and Society Policy Fellowship in 2001. She currently advises The Columbia Foundation’s sustainable communities and food system programs.

“Claire Cummings, Barbara Kingsolver, Wendell Berry.”
Denise O’Brien, Orion magazine September/October 2007, on being asked who the best thinkers in her field were. Denise ran a very close race for Iowa State Secretary of Agriculture in 2006. She is the founder and director of Women, Food and Agriculture Network.

To learn more about Claire’s views on the future of food and farming, and her experiences farming on the Mekong River, read an online interview conducted by Bioneers:
The New Food Movement

As a lawyer, Claire represented and advised environmental and native groups on environmental and cultural preservation throughout the U.S. In Hawai‘i Claire represented the Halawa Valley Coalition and The Hawai‘i La‘ieikawai Association during the H3 litigation and was a founder of Hui Aina o Hana. Claire has also represented and worked extensively with the Winnenmen Wintu tribe in Northern California as well as traditional native groups in Arizona, New Mexico, Florida and elsewhere. She is a founder of The Cultural Conservancy, a native land rights organization.

Webcast: "Ripe for Change"- Innovative Agricultural Policy for Hawai'i Island
by Claire Hope Cummings, Hawai'i Island Food Summit October 2007

Claire has contributed to and been featured in many books and films, including "The Future of Food" and "Ripe for Change", nationally aired on PBS.