Zach Bush, MD, is one of the few triple board-certified physicians in the country, with expertise in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism, and Hospice/Palliative care. The breakthrough science that Dr. Zach and his colleagues have delivered offers profound new insights into human health and longevity, and reveals the epicenter of our public health crisis that lies at the cross section of chemical farming, consumer behavior, and the sociopolitical norms and policies of the last decades. Dr. Zach points to his kids as the driving force behind his passion for change. He is fiercely motivated by a desire to have them experience a much brighter and healthier future. His educational efforts provide a grassroots foundation from which we can launch change in our consumer, business and legislative framework, to ultimately up-shift human behavior to bring about radical change in the mega industries of big farming and big pharma.
Paige Stanley has a Master of Animal Science degree from Michigan State University and is currently a Doctoral Researcher at the University of California Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. Her research focuses on environmental impacts of beef production systems, the power and politics of a transition toward sustainable and humane animal agriculture.
Nikki Silvestri is the Founder and CEO of Soil and Shadow, a project development firm designing economic and environmental strategies with human left in.
As the Co-Founder of Live Real and former Executive Director of People's Grocery and Green for All, Nikki has built and strengthened social equity for underrepresented populations in food systems, social services, public health, climate solutions, and economic development. A nationally recognized thought leader, her many honors include being named one of The Root's 100 Most Influential African Americans.
Nikki is a Faculty Member at the Food Business School (she co-designed and taught one of their inaugural courses, "Ethical Leadership in Food Business"). She is the Board Co-Chair of the Business Alliance of Local Living Economies (BALLE), and is an advisory board member of TendLab, a boutique firm unlocking the power of parenthood at work. She is the recipient of numerous awards including ELLE Magazine's "Gold" Award and OxFam America's "Act Local, Think Global" Award.
Nikki began her work in social change through the foster care system in Southern California, where she directed Foster Youth Empowerment Workshops. She has a master's degree in African American Studies from UCLA, and is originally from Los Angeles. She currently lives in Oakland, with her husband and son.
Kelly Garbach earning her doctorate in ecology at the University of California at Davis before joining Point Blue Conservation Science in 2016. Her work includes policy and practice designed to restore degraded rangelands in Costa Rica, where she was a Fulbright Scholar. She brings her passion and expertise for rangelands to California, doing applied research on how agricultural management shapes (and is shaped by) natural resources. She has worked with National Agricultural Statistics Survey, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; the Gates Foundation; and her work is often funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dr. Garbach conducts surveys with producers and designs and analyzes field experiments; she loves working with the rangelands team at Point Blue Conservation Science to understand relationships between rangeland management and outcomes for livelihoods, wildlife, soils, and plants.
Kanyon Sayers-Roods is Costanoan Ohlone-Mutsun and Chumash; she also goes by her given Native name, "Coyote Woman". She is proud of her heritage and her native name (though it comes with its own back story), and is very active in the Native Community. She is an Artist, Poet, Published Author, Activist, Student and Teacher. The daughter of Ann-Marie Sayers, she was raised in Indian Canyon, trust land of her family, which currently is one of the few spaces in Central California available for the Indigenous community for ceremony. Kanyon's art has been featured at the De Young Museum, The Somarts Gallery, Gathering Tribes, Snag Magazine, and numerous Powwows and Indigenous Gatherings. She is a recent graduate of the Art Institute of California, Sunnyvale, obtaining her Associate and Bachelor of Science degrees in Web Design and Interactive Media. She is motivated to learn, teach, start conversations around decolonization and reinidgenization, permaculture and to continue doing what she loves, Art.
Glenn and Caryl Elzinga started Alderspring Ranch near Salmon, Idaho, in 1992, with the purchase of 147 acres and 7 cows. They began direct marketing grass fed and finished beef in 1993 with 2 head. By the grace of God, from these humble beginnings Alderspring Ranch has grown to a 7 figure direct marketing enterprise and a 1700 acre ranch with a 46,000 acre wild rangeland permit. The entire operation is certified organic, including the 46,000 acres of permit land.
Glenn and Caryl run the ranch with their 7 daughters, a stellar son-in-law, and some exceptional employees. The ranch markets 100% of its production, 300-400 head a year, through an internet storefront at Alderspring.com and natural food stores. The Elzingas work with several partners to augment home-grown calves with additional yearlings and calves for finishing on Alderspring Ranch, including some from the 33 Ranch (Dan Rasmussen, another speaker at the conference).
After working for several years on restoring fertility and biodiversity on the irrigated valley home ranch, the Elzingas turned to the native rangeland used for summer grazing. In partnership with agencies and NGO’s they initiated a 5 year pilot project using full time herders on extensive wild rangeland to meet ecological and economic objectives. Seventy percent of the green forage their finish cattle consume is on these wild landscapes. By marrying technology with horsemanship and stockmanship, the Elzingas are working to reduce or eliminate conflicts on public rangelands between livestock and predators, endangered species, and environmental groups.
The wild landscapes are connected to discerning patrons through the exceptional flavor and nutrition that wildland grazing can produce. The connections are also a personal fit: the Elzingas have successfully used nutrition to address chronic health challenges in their own family and the ecological emphasis in their operation is an outgrowth of their academic training and early careers, Glenn as a forester and Caryl as a plant ecologist.
The Elzingas enjoy skiing and backcountry pursuits as a family, play bluegrass, and participate in the worship team at their church.
Author of Dawn Again: Tracking the Wisdom of the Wild and regenerative rancher Doniga brings a perspective rooted in nature. She has a background in wildlife tracking and permaculture. In her youth she was mentored by some of the leading wildlife trackers, naturalists and Native spiritual elders. She spent years alone and with a small group of passionate youth in the Western Washington Wilderness learning the ways of the ancestors, immersing in nature, bird language, survival skills and wildlife tracking.
Along with her husband and four children, Doniga owns and operates Markegard Family Grass-Fed LLC raising grass-fed beef, lamb, pastured pork, chicken and dairy supplying the Bay Area with local, nutrient dense foods. The family ranch leases coastal ranches throughout the Bay Area spanning over 10,000 acres.
She is dedicated to finding ways to regenerate lands and community through ranching practices that build soil, sequester carbon, capture and purify water and enhance habitat.
Cattle Rancher at El Yaqui Ranch, Chiapas, Southern México.
El Yaqui is owned by the Suárez family since 1972 and Daniel is in charge since 2003. In 2010 after a extreme heavy rainy season and a highly vicious and inefficient productive system, the ranch went broke and the brothers (Enrique, Gabriel and Daniel) decided to search for a efficient and low cost production system, and they found it, a proposal of mimicking nature and stimulating biotic cycles, under the name of Voisin Rational Grazing.
Since then, Daniel has been actively studying, observing, adjusting the grazing methods and the genetics required to achieve their main objective, the maximum sustainable profit per hectare.
The biggest changes since Rational Grazing was implemented have been an amazing increase in biodiversity, from plants to birds and everything in the middle, healthier cattle, easier work, increased stocking rate (10x), less use of external inputs. In general, a more profitable and enjoyable business.
Daniel found his passions in Regenerative Ranching and in sharing/educating people on it. He has talked in Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica and México to ranchers and students, reaching more people and helping them to change their ranching paradigmes to new ones aligned with natural processes and promoting new objectives into those ranchers, mainly to improve their ecosystems and produce high quality food.
Charles Massy gained a Bachelor of Science at Australian National University (ANU) in 1976 before farming for 35 years and developing the prominent Merino sheep stud “Severn Park”. Concern at ongoing land degradation and humanity’s sustainability challenge led him to return to ANU in 2009 to undertake a Ph.D. in Human Ecology. Charles was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his service as chair and director of a number of research organizations and statutory wool boards. He has also served on national and international review panels in sheep and wool research and development and genomics. Charles has authored several books on the Australian sheep industry, the most recent being the widely acclaimed Breaking the Sheep’s Back, which was short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Australian Literary Awards in Australian History in 2012.
Grassland Manager Sonoma Mountain Institute
CEO Grounded Land and Livestock
Farm Business Advising Fellow Kitchen Table Advisor
Byron Palmer works to help regenerate the grasslands of Sonoma and Marin counties. His work is rooted in the belief that herbivores are part of the complex systems that create ecological health in grasslands. This belief led him to help manage the farm operations of a 1000 member CSA in Petaluma, California. Their, he managed the ranch operations with thousands of broiler chickens, and hundreds of layers, pigs and cattle in an integrated agroecosystem.
Byron eventually moved on from the CSA to Mindful Meats where he spent time as the director for Holistic Cattle Sourcing for Mindful Meats a local sustainable beef company. There he worked with the team to help create a sourcing protocol for their beef program.
Byron has spent the last 5 and a half years regeneratively managing land and cattle for the non-profit Sonoma Mountain Institute where he has been able to live his creative vision of broad acre grassland restoration using herbivores. Here, Byron has worked with his partner Nate Chisholm to helped expand their landbase to 4500 acres in Marin and Sonoma Counties. Sonoma Mountain Institute's work is to positively interact with the landscape through management and monitor to evaluate the management protocols. In this work they have over 70 vegetation monitoring points across 8 properties in Marin and Sonoma counties to evaluate their progress.
While Byron’s primary work is with Sonoma Mountain Institute he enjoys co-running his business Grounded Grassfed with his partner Nate Chisholm where they provide high quality grassfed beef to the local community. When not staring at grass, yelling at dogs and keeping his new daughter from crashing into things, he sits on the porch with his wife and they pontificate.
Cattle Rancher, Las Damas Ranch, Chihuahua, MEXICO
Director, Pasticultores del Desierto, MEXICO
Alejandro joined his family ranch in 2004, after a successful career as an IT consultant in the United States and other American and European countries. He holds a BS in Computer Science from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and an MS in Technical Management from the Johns Hopkins University.
Tired of the constant drought and suffering that comes with traditional ranching in the Chihuahuan desert, Alejandro searched for better ways to do things. In 2006, he adapted the principles of Holistic Planed Grazing Management to the ranch. The change from continuous grazing to planned grazing brought many challenges as well as positive results, such as tripling the ranch’s carrying capacity while lowering his inputs. The first thing Alejandro took on was educating himself on holistic, regenerative, and profitable ways of ranching in sync with Nature. He and his colleagues traveled to Argentina, Africa, and the United States to learn from successful ranchers.
Alejandro is also the president of Pasticultores del Desierto, a non-profit organization whose goal is to provide ongoing education for cattle ranchers and to promote Holistic Planned Grazing across the world’s deserts. Pasticultores del Desierto means the culture of desert grasslands. Alejandro’s credo is to mimic and respect Nature to stay and thrive in the cattle business.