top of page

our people


The Carbon Sink Farming Convergence is hosted by the Pauma Band of Luiseno Indians at their 87-acre Pauma Tribal Farms in North San Diego County.  Pauma's crew farms 160+ acres of citrus and avocados and 32 acres of olives.  For more on Pauma's history, culture and plans for the future, visit



Loren BirdRattler:  Morning & Evening Keynote

Loren BirdRattler currently serves as the Project Manager for the development of the Blackfeet Tribe's Agriculture Resource Management Plan (ARMP), a plan that includes 1.5 million acres, 5 watersheds, 518 miles of streams, 180 bodies of water, 51,582 acres of wetlands and 175,000 acres of forest and will create policy in agriculture resource, land, conservation, holistic management practice and water resource management, as well as agriculture and livestock regulation for both the Blackfeet Tribe and the United States governments. 

Loren has more than fifteen years of public and private sector experience in organizational development, strategic planning, policy development, project management, and civic engagement.  He is a former National Field Director for the Native Vote Initiative for the National Congress of American Indians, a Public Program Specialist for the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian, both in Washington, DC. 

natalie and tanae.jpg

Ta-nae Johnson and Natalie Hernandez:  Pauma Tribal Farm Hosts

Ta-nae (Chairwoman) and Natalie (Secretary) are members of Pauma's Economic Development Committee and have been the driving force behind their new olive orchard and vineyard project at Pauma Tribal Farms. They hold a vision for sustainable, diversified economic development and have been champions for integrating conservation practices into all aspects of their agricultural enterprises.

ConnorMageeImage (1).jpg

Connor Magee:  Co-coordinator & MC

Connor wears many hats at the Carbon Sink Demonstration Farm @ Pauma Tribal Farms, overseeing implementation of hedgerow, windbreak, cover cropping, and seed bulking projects.  He shares his work and coordinates efforts as the Project Lead, Tribal & Working Lands for the Climate Science Alliance, a member of the San Diego Food Vision 2030 steering committee, and as a delegate to the San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority and Upper San Luis Rey Watershed Authority. He is a member of the Pala Band of Mission Indians and is striving to create sustainable solutions to proliferate traditional management approaches in the pursuit of viable tribal food systems, land management, and community development. 


Sona Desai: MC Growing Resilience

Sona has been working to advance sustainable and equitable food systems for more than 20 years. She has a background in organic farming, food marketing & distribution, farm business development, and is recognized nationally as a leader in food hub and community food systems development.  In her current role as Associate Director of the San Diego Food System Alliance, Sona provides strategic and management support for the organization, strengthens support services for small-scale sustainable food producers and fishermen in the region, provides consulting services to advance economic development in the food system and leads diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.  Sona moved to California in 2016 after working at the Intervale Center in Burlington, Vermont for ten years where she led the development and management of the Intervale Food Hub and the organization’s Gleaning & Food Rescue Program.


Ellee Igoe:  Co-coordinator & Opening Presenter

Ellee is a Co-Coordinator at the Carbon Sink Demonstration Farm @ Pauma Tribal Farms and is the Marketing & Education Coordinator at Solidarity Farm where she bottomlines their Farm School and nutrition programs. She collaborates closely with Indian Health Council's "Traditional Practices for Wellness in Indian Country" initiative and is a teacher at Willow Tree home school resource center.  Before co-founding Solidarity Farm in 2012, she was the National Technical Advisor for Food & Agriculture at the International Rescue Committee where she helped launch the New Roots Community Farm and City Heights Farmers' Market. She grew up in nearby Fallbrook, CA and spends most of her time with her three children.


Hernan Cavazos: Site Tour Guide

Nan is the Production Coordinator at Solidarity Farm and leads their Carbon Sink Farming Stewardship Program in collaboration with the Multi-National Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA).  Originally from Mazatlan, Sinaloa Mexico, he strives to integrate common sense, horizontal leadership and cultural knowledge into his farming practices.  Before co-founding Solidarity Farm in 2012, Nan was co-director of Ecology Action, a worker-owned composting and recycling cooperative in Austin, Texas. 

Growing Resilience Speakers


A-dae Romero-Briones

A-dae is the Director of Programs – Native Agriculture and Food Systems at the First Nations Development Institute.  She formerly was the Director of Community Development for Pūlama Lāna‘i in Hawaii, and is also the co-founder and former Executive Director of a nonprofit organization in Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico.  A-dae worked for the University of Arkansas School of Law Indigenous Food and Agricultural Initiative while earning her LL.M. degree in Food and Agricultural Law. Her thesis was on the Food Safety Modernization Act as it applied to the federal-tribal relationship. She wrote extensively about food safety, the Produce Safety rule and tribes, and the protection of tribal traditional foods. A U.S. Fulbright Scholar, A-dae received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy from Princeton University, and received a Law Doctorate from Arizona State University’s College of Law, in addition to her LL.M. degree in Food and Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas.


Mai Nguyen

Nguyen is an heirloom grain and Southeast Asian crop farmer who has long balanced farming and farmer organizing. They co-founded the Asian American Farmers Alliance, California Grain Campaign, and California Farmer Justice Collaborative to foster robust, inclusive, equitable farm economies. They also helped California farmers develop producer and worker cooperatives. In addition to the farmer’s perspective, Nguyen sees the food system from multiple angles, having coordinated a farmers’ market, opened a direct-sourcing restaurant, managed a food distribution business, planned direct farmer grants, and created food access programs. Nguyen is a 2018 Grist 50 Fixer, 2018 Berkeley Food Institute Changemaker, and 2018 BALLE Fellow. They attained a bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley and master’s degree at the University of Toronto.


Amrith Gunesekera

Dr. Gunasekara is Science Advisor to Secretary Ross at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. He works on agricultural issues as they relate to the environment and seeks to find proactive, creative, flexible and practical solutions. His focus areas include plant nutrient management, climate change and environmental stewardship. He is the CDFA liaison to the Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel which is looking at highlighting the many benefits afforded by agriculture beyond food, fiber, and economic benefits. Dr. Gunasekara received his undergraduate and master degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and completed his PhD from the University of California, Davis, in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry. He has been in his CDFA position since August 2011. 


Amber Pairis

Dr. Amber Pairis is the Director of the Climate Science Alliance and leads programming at the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her current work focuses on leading a science focused network of leaders, scientists, and managers focused on sharing ecosystem-based resiliency approaches to safeguard our communities and natural resources from climate change impacts. Pairis leads several initiatives related to terrestrial ecosystem resilience, natural resource conservation, and innovative community engagement programs including Climate Kids and Art & Community.  She is a scientist by training and completed her Ph.D. in Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England. Pairis is a fellow of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation.

SNP_7000 - Copy.jpg

Rebecca Frimmer

Kitchen Table Consultants helps passionate farmers and food artisans build lasting, profitable, locally-focused businesses. We accomplish this by working alongside our clients. No stuffy business plans that get thrown on the shelf, never to be looked at again. We have real-world experience and bring that to our work every day. Rebecca has been a business owner in the past, holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration with a focus on Small Business Development; and she has herself managed businesses in non-profit and for profit organizations, urban farming,  specialty food retail and hospitality, CSA, direct marketed farm products, artisan food product manufacturing businesses, E-commerce, and event production; as well as leading feasibility studies related to potential outcomes for farms or regional food systems planning.  


Jeff Borum

Jeff Borum was born in Ventura County, but went to school and worked in a few different regions of the U.S.  He then obtained a B.S. in Environmental Science with a minor in Physics from Humboldt State, and now his work as a Soil Health Coordinator for East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District takes him across the extremely diverse ag lands of California.  As Jeff travels throughout the state in his pop-up camper, he engages interested communities desiring assistance on the implementation of conservation-based practices, as well as designs, implements, and coordinates statewide field trials focusing on specific practices such as composting and cover cropping.  Through his work, he has gained many varied perspectives due to the heterogeneity of California's ag lands and the heterogeneous nature of the humans who work with those lands.  His travels have given him new insight into soil and human health, along with their interconnection—insight that he was not seeking, but has come to know and love.


Lynette Niebrugge
Lynette Niebrugge works as the Carbon Farm Planning Manager for Carbon Cycle Institute where she focuses on building the capacity of land managers and agricultural conservation planners to conduct carbon farm planning and implementation. In partnership with Fibershed, Lynette is working to assisting in developing an approach and implementable strategy for small farm carbon farm planning and implementation, including support on developing land-owner education. Lynette received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Natural Resources and Environmental Science and her Masters degree in Soil Science from California State Polytechnic in San Luis Obispo. She held a forestry position within the United States Forest Service for several year before joining the Marin Resource Conservation District in 2011 where she focused on education and implementation of carbon farming. She is a founding member of the Marin Carbon Project a regional coalition of ranchers, land managers and government agencies devoted to supporting agriculture as a solution to climate change.


Below is the growing list of organizations/farms that will be represented at the Convergence:

4J Horse and Livestock

AGRI Service, Inc.

Agua Dulce Farm

American AgCredit

American Farmland Trust

Berry Good Food Foundaiton

Botanical Community Development Initiatives

Califonia Climate and Agriculture Network

California Department of Food and Agriculture

California FarmLink

California State Coastal Conservancy

Carbon Cycle Institute

Carbon Sink: Pauma Tribal Farms

CCOF - California Certified Organic Farmers

Chia Cafe Collective

City of San Diego

Climate Science Alliance

Coastal Roots Farm

Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF)

Conservation Fund

Corona Enterprises, LLC

County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency

Desert Research Institute

East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District (East Stan RCD or ESRCD, for short)


Farmer Mai

First Nations Development Institute

Gaia Permaculture Collective

Good Rain Farm

Grazing School of the West

Harmony Hill Ranch

Heritage Family Farm

Hidden Resources

Indian Health Council

InterTribal Agriculture Council


Kamayan Farm

Kathleen Blakistone

Kitchen Table Advisors

Kitchen Table Consultants

La Juerta @ Solidarity Farm

Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies

Mission Resource Conservation District

Mongol Tribe

Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project

Mt. Hope Community Garden

Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture

Murray Farms, Inc.

Nation (NCAT)

New Belgium Family Foundation

Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust

Northeast Farmers of Color LT

Palomar College


Pauma Tribal Farms

Project New Village

Public Health Alliance of Southern Calif

Rancho San Benito

Rancho Tres Estrellas

Red Corn Farms

Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County

Rural Coalition

San Diego 350

San Diego County Farm Bureau

San Diego Food System Alliance

San Diego Habitat Conservancy

San Diego Seed Company

Sarah Davis for Assembly

SanArte Traditional Medicine Clinic

Second Chance Youth Garden

SELC / Minnow

Sierra Club

Soil LIfe

Solidarity Farm

Soul Fire Farm

Sunken Seaweed, LLC

Sweet Spot Farm

Terra Corazón

Terra Madre Gardens

The Compost Company

The Cultural Conservancy

The Farm Smith, LLC

Tres Estrellas

UC Cooperative Extension

UC San Diego, Center for Community Health

University of California Riveside



Wilshire Crest Elementary Farm


This convergence is the result of a powerful collaboration where each organization has leveraged our expertise and resources to amplify collective impact.  Click on the logos to learn more.

chia cafe 4.jpg
CCI logo.jpg


We are extremely grateful to the organizations that have provided funds in support of the Carbon Sink Demonstration Farm and the Carbon Sink Farming Convergence.  

cons fun.png
paicines logo high res.jpg
bottom of page