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Sustainable Agriculture’s Relationship with Animals and Climate: Practitioner Perspectives

November 30, 2023 @ 11:00 am 12:15 pm PST

Co-hosted by SAFSF, GRACE Communications Foundation, Stray Dog Institute, FACT, and First Nations Development Institute

The global production of animals for meat, dairy, and eggs is a major contributor to climate change, accounting for an estimated ~10% of annual human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.

In the U.S., more than 90% of farmed animals are raised in industrial confinement, many in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Industrial animal agriculture not only creates significant environmental impacts, but also subjects billions of animals to severe suffering. Moreover, the adverse effects of industrial animal operations disproportionately impact Black, Brown, Indigenous, and/or low-income communities, compromising communities’ health and overall quality of life.

For a food system that is just and sustainable, we need to move beyond industrial animal agriculture toward food systems that respect the dignity and well-being of humans, animals, and the environment.

In this webinar, experts engaged in models of sustainable food production that prioritize environmental, animal, and community well-being will share their approaches to including animals in food production and discuss linkages to climate. We’ll hear from Indigenous practitioners working with bison, advocates of regenerative farming and ranching, and practitioners integrating non-commodified and wild animals into their systems.

Key Discussion Points:

  • Overview and history of CAFOs and the policies bolstering them
  • How practitioners think about the climate impacts of their work
  • How practitioners view and approach their relationships with animals
  • Policymaking to transition from industrial animal farming to a food system that prioritizes environmental, animal, and community well-being


  • Melissa Hoffman, SHO Farm
  • Ambrosia Young, Rocky Boy Chippewa Cree Tribe
  • Greg Gunthorp, Gunthorp Farms
  • Harry Rhodes, FACT
  • A-dae Romero-Briones, FNDI

This is a free, funder-only event. Registration is required.


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Ambrosia Young, Chippewa Cree Tribe

Ambrosia Young is a 37-year-old member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe. She holds a degree in business management, accounting/bookkeeping, and grant management. Ambrosia has several years of experience working with the BIA in the realty and range departments. She was also a recent board member of the Buffalo board in Rocky Boy. Ambrosia’s family owns a ranch, and she spends her extra time helping with the cattle. Her exposure to agriculture has taken her to exciting places and allowed her to meet new people. Although Ambrosia is still relatively new to the world of Agriculture, she is eager to learn more.

Harry Rhodes, Executive Director, Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT)

For the last 20 years Harry Rhodes has led organizations that are working to reform our food system by supporting local, humane, organic farming. Harry believes that everyone has a right to eat healthy food. His expertise is taking startup ideas and scaling them up into vibrant not-for-profit organizations.

After 17 years as Co-Founder and Executive Director of Growing Home, a leading organic urban farming organization in Chicago, Harry was selected as the second Executive Director of Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) in 2019. Now in its 40th year, FACT is at the forefront of transforming the animal agriculture system with the vision that all food-producing animals should be raised in a humane and healthy manner, and that everyone should have access to safe and humanely produced food. Under Harry’s leadership FACT’s budget has almost doubled in the last three years, its staff has grown from 2.5 to 6 full-time employees, and its national impact continues to grow. FACT provides critical resources to help farmers adopt humane practices, advocates for food health and safety, and guides consumers in making healthy food choices. Harry has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Wisconsin.

Adae Romero-Briones, Associate Director of Research and Policy for Native Agriculture, First Nations Development Institute

A-dae Romero-Briones (Cochiti/Kiowa) is associate director of research and policy for Native Agriculture for 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’s Indigenous Food and Agricultural Initiative while earning her LLM 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 LLM degree in food and agricultural law from the University of Arkansas.

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Greg Gunthorp, Gunthorp Farms

In 1998, Greg Gunthorp was selling live hogs for less than his grandfather did during the Great Depression. It was then that he entered the meat industry– all while still raising high-quality, pasture-raised pigs like his family has for generations before him. Gunthorp Farms is a family owned business and all members of the family chip in. Gunthorp Farms also employs approximately 30 full-time and 15 part-time employees.

Melissa Hoffman, Founder and Co-Director, LivingFuture Foundation

Melissa is the Founder and Co-Director (with her wife, Shawn Smith) of LivingFuture Foundation, a conservation-non-profit promoting a kinship relationship with land.  She is a farmer, chef, and educator, as well as the creator of the foundation’s first project, SHO Farm, a 1300-acre forested watershed in Vermont’s mountains. SHO Farm, also a wildlife refuge, practices wildlife-integrated agroforestry and hosts a rescued duck sanctuary, Sanctuary at SHO. Melissa holds a BA in Philosophy from Mount Holyoke College, and attended University of Chicago’s Master of Arts program in Cultural Anthropology. She went on to practice bio-intensive agriculture, biodynamics, and permaculture (the latter under Geoff Lawton). She loves combining fungi, and gathered and cultivated plants using global techniques of fermentation and preservation to craft delicious, place-specific cuisine. 

Areas of Impact:

Agricultural Products

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