Public Forum

John Robbins
Bestselling author, social activist, humanitarian

John Robbins is the author of nine bestsellers that have collectively sold more than 3 million copies and been translated into 26 languages.  He is the recipient of the Rachel Carson Award, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, the Peace Abbey’s Courage of Conscience Award, Green America’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and many other accolades.


Buzz Thompson

Professor of Law

As the Perry L. McCarty Director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, Barton “Buzz” Thompson’s research focuses on the sustainable use of natural resources and the effective reform of regulatory institutions. The author of several books on water, the environment and property, Buzz has published articles on such diverse topics as eco-farming, water markets, land conservation, the use of economics and market tools in environmental regulation, and cognitive barriers to resource management.

Kari Hamerschlag

Environmental Working Group

Kari Hamerschlag, Senior Food and Agriculture Analyst at the Environmental Working Group, works to develop and advocate for healthy, local, organic and sustainable food and agriculture policies. Prior to joining EWG, she worked for nearly two decades with a number of non-profits on international development, fair trade, sustainable food and agricultural policy issues. Kari has two Masters from UC Berkeley in Latin American studies and City and Regional Planning.


Jon Scholl

President, American Farmland Trust

Jon Scholl became the President of American Farmland Trust in July 2008, after serving as Counselor to the Administrator for Agricultural Policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) since 2004. He was the recipient of the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Award of Merit in 2008. Jon and his family operate a corn and soybean farm in McLean County, Illinois.

Michele Simon

President, Eat Drink Politics

Michele Simon is a public health lawyer who has been researching and writing about the food industry and food politics since 1996. She specializes in legal strategies to counter corporate tactics that harm the public’s health. She is the author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back. Michele has a master’s degree in public health from Yale University and received her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.