Charla with Secretary Vilsack: Next Generation of Latinx in Agriculture

Jessica Loya

Conservation Equity Specialist

I am a young queer Latinx, Environmental and Conservation Policy & Campaign Expert with a focus on ensuring equity, diversity, justice & inclusion in planning, implementation, and impact. Highly experienced in building partnerships, coalitions, and campaigns that include traditional environmental organization, environmental justice orgs, conservation advocates and community. I have worked on multiple issues including climate, water, public lands, outdoor recreation access, the border wall, and much more.

I am highly dedicated to my work and focused on building sustainable partnership and campaigns that have the potential and ability to create lasting change at the federal level.

Martín Lemos, National Young Farmers Coalition

Martín comes to the Coalition with a diverse background in sustainable agriculture and food systems. His experience includes directing farm operations at the Green Earth Institute, serving as senior agronomist and project manager in Ghana for the impact investment organization AgDevCo, coordinating local food systems programs in Brooklyn, and most recently working at BSR as a sustainability strategy consultant for multi-national corporations. Martín holds a BA in Comparative Literature from Hamilton College and a MBA in Sustainability from Bard College.

Roberto Meza

While a grad student at MIT in the Art, Culture, and Technology program, Roberto was inspired by student projects addressing food production in urban landscapes. His career quickly transitioned from the arts to agriculture with a focus on food access. After a hiatus working on farms and observing problems in our food systems, Roberto moved to Colorado with childhood friend Dave Demerling, and started their own farm. On a mission to cultivate, heal, and transform communities with access to fresh food, Roberto cofounded Emerald Gardens in 2017. Using passive solar greenhouse design Emerald Gardens grows, harvests, and distributes microgreens and edible flowers to restaurants, grocery stores, food pantries, and individual residents in the Denver/Boulder area year-round. They currently occupy 35 acres in Bennett, Colorado and operate sustainably using geothermal and passive-solar energy. In 2020, Roberto cofounded the East Denver Food Hub, which works to create an equitable, sustainable, and resilient food system that meets the needs of communities and rural food producers. In partnership with Front Range producers, High Plains Food Co-op, Bondadosa, and nonprofits, the EDFH promotes equity and inclusion in our food system and expands access to fresh and ethically-produced food. Roberto is the chair of Membership and Outreach for Mile High Farmers, the local chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. He is also a member of the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council, and board member of the High Plains Food Co-op.

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