|Elise Brannan is the development associate for F.E.P. Elise began her work in advocacy as a young child, volunteering, and diving into non-profit work. She graduated from St. Mary’s College of California, with a degree in Communication and a minor in Women and Gender studies. Before working for F.E.P. she ran a small event production business in the Bay Area. Elise is passionate about ethical veganism and is a proud environmentalist, recognizing the importance of approaching all work with environmental justice principles. In her spare time, she volunteers for a local group that advocates for healthy food access within her community. She also likes to play music, love on her rescue pups, practice yoga, whip up vegan recipes, go on hikes, and snuggle up on the couch with her partner for a good documentary viewing.|
|Ethan Eldreth is the web content manager for F.E.P. They obtained a Bachelor’s in philosophy with an emphasis on animal rights and ethics along with additional interests in mathematics and computer science. They are passionate about issues of animal liberation, LGBTQ+ liberation and environmental justice.|
|Amanda Farman is F.E.P.’s Web Researcher. Raised vegetarian, Amanda went vegan in 2013. She became passionate about food as a site of impact for social, animal, and environmental change while interning with F.E.P. in 2017. Amanda was previously the Great Lakes and Canada Coordinator for the Food for Thought Program, which helps nonprofits adopt vegan and vegetarian menu policies. She has also led workshops on vegan food justice, intersectionality, and gender as a counselor. She loves spending time with humans and non-human animals and has been a caretaker at two farmed animal sanctuaries. Amanda holds a B.A. in Sociology from Wesleyan University. In her spare time, she enjoys painting, biking, and making music.|
|Erika Galera joined F.E.P. in 2016 as the Office and Marketing Manager and now serves as the Programs and Marketing Manager. She truly enjoys working on F.E.P. campaigns and is currently leading the corporate campaign, Shame on Safeway. Erika obtained her Professional Social Media Certificate from Sonoma State University in 2016. She is passionate about various issues surrounding justice, including the liberation of non-human animals, humans and the planet and continues expanding her knowledge on her Filipina roots as a way to gain a deeper understanding of her ancestry and reconnect with her kultura. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, gardening, reading, hanging out with her rescued cat, chickens, dogs and fish, while also working on her private pilot’s license.|
|Erika Hazel joined F.E.P. in 2019 as the Vallejo Healthy Food Festival Community Organizer. She was born and raised in Vallejo, California and has always had a passion for community organizing and healthy foods. She began attending the Vallejo Healthy Food Fest (VHFF) in 2016 and volunteered in 2018 because she is passionate about seeing an increase in the access to healthy foods in her hometown. Erika has degrees in Sociology, Psychology, and Counseling Psychology from UC Irvine, Napa Valley College, and the University of San Francisco respectively. She works as a full-time school counselor at a K-8 school and is pursuing her license in Professional Clinical Counseling. In her free time, she enjoys vlogging on her Instagram page @the_bizerkeley_vegan, trying new restaurants, stand-up paddle boarding in Alameda and Benicia, and traveling to visit her family on the East Coast.|
|Sharanya Krishna Prasad is F.E.P.’s Executive Director. She joined F.E.P. in 2020 after spending the past two decades working on animal and environmental protection, food justice, and human rights issues. She is a veteran nonprofit strategist, a lifelong vegetarian, and a committed vegan since 2007. She has previously worked as an international marine policy advisor, U.S. Programs Manager at World Animal Protection, and as Senior Director of Campaign Strategies at Care2. Originally from Chennai (Madras), India, Sharanya has advised hundreds of U.S. and international organizations, and socially-conscious brands on growing their advocacy, fundraising, and consumer bases. In her spare time, she uses her voice to advocate for animals and promote alternatives to the use of animals in food, fashion, and entertainment via podcasts.|
|lauren Ornelas is F.E.P.’s founder and president. lauren has been active in the animal rights movement for more than 30 years. She is the former executive director of Viva!USA, a national nonprofit vegan advocacy organization that Viva!UK asked her to start in 1999. While lauren was the director of Viva!USA, she investigated factory farms and ran consumer campaigns. In cooperation with activists across the country, she persuaded Trader Joe’s to stop selling all duck meat and achieved corporate changes within Whole Foods Market, Pier 1 Imports, and others, and she helped halt the construction of an industrial dairy operation in California. lauren was also the spark that got the founder of Whole Foods Market to become a vegan. In addition, she served as campaign director with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition for six years. Watch lauren’s TEDx talk, The Power of Our Food Choices.|
Our Board Members
|Sharon Daraphonhdeth is from San Diego County, where she discovered her passion for environmental and social justice. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from San Francisco State University and is the Interim Director for the Student Environmental Resource Center at UC Berkeley. Prior to UC Berkeley, she worked as the Sustainability Strategist for SF State’s Associated Students Inc. where she focused on implementing sustainability and social justice programs and initiatives. In 2012, Sharon served as F.E.P.’s very first intern and has been a member of F.E.P.’s board since 2015. She enjoys live music, cooking, and spending time with loved ones (especially her cat, Lucille).|
|Elise Ferguson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Geography from CSU Stanislaus, with a minor in Environmental and Resource Studies and received a law degree from John F. Kennedy University. Elise is passionate about environmental justice and the fair treatment of animals. This passion can be seen by her involvement in public interest work and volunteerism with organizations focused on these areas. In her free time, Elise enjoys cooking new veg-e-pes, wine tasting, jogging with her nonhuman companion, Jimi, and writing about issues she finds inspiring.|
|lauren Ornelas Executive Director, Food Empowerment Project|
Please see the Food Empowerment Project staff information to read more about lauren Ornelas.
|Anika Lehde serves as F.E.P.’s Chapter & Special Projects Coordinator, she helps organize volunteers for outreach, fundraising, education, and other Food Empowerment Project work in Washington State. When not volunteering with F.E.P., Anika is the President of a marketing consulting firm and lead writer for Seattle Vegan Score, a local blog profiling vegan people, events, companies, and animal advocacy. She is active in the Seattle feminist community and is currently on the advisory board of the Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN).|
Our Advisory Board
Bina Ahmad is a social justice attorney in the fields of international human rights law, animal rights, criminal defense from an abolitionist lens, and civil rights. She has practiced both state and federal criminal defense, and is now a senior staff attorney with Civil Rights Corps bringing civil suits against the criminal justice system. Bina lived and worked in Palestine with Al-Haq, worked with several Palestinian human rights organizations in the U.S., and served on the Steering Committee of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. She has provided legal advice and support to numerous organizations, conducts Know Your Rights trainings from her own curriculum, and speaks across the country on animal liberation, police and prison abolition, and international human rights.
Cyan is a professional software critic who has worked with Grey2K in MA, the Boston Vegan Association and has co-led several feminist, vegan or intersectional discussion groups. Cyan is a half-life vegan and the author of a vegan website.
Emiko Badillo is originally from San Antonio, Texas, and has lived in Portland, Oregon since 2002. Being vegan since 1997, most of her activism has been around animal rights issues until seeing a racial gap in the vegan movement in Portland pushed her to become a member of Social Justice Fund NW and learn about systemic oppression. She is co-owner of Food Fight! Vegan Grocery, co-founded Portland Vegans of Color, and is dedicated to working for racial justice and bridging the gap between human and animal rights work.
Valerie Belt has a B.A. in Economics from U.C.L.A, a Multiple Subject teaching credential with supplemental authorization in Mathematics from C.S.U.N, and was certified as a Humane Educator through the Institute for Humane Education. She has taught in middle schools in Los Angeles, Kuwait, Singapore and Bolivia and has been actively involved in food justice issues for more than 10 years. Valerie is currently a technology instructor at a public charter elementary school.
Karen S. Emmerman earned her PhD in philosophy in 2012 from the University of Washington, with a focus on ecofeminist animal ethics. She is part-time faculty in the UW and Seattle University philosophy departments as well as the Philosopher-in-Residence at John Muir Elementary School. Karen co-founded the University of Washington Critical Animal Studies Working Group and teaches and publishes in animal ethics with a focus on recognizing the inter-locking nature of human and animal oppression. Having begun her animal activism at 9 years old, Karen is passionate about veganism and all aspects of social justice.
pattrice jones is a cofounder of VINE Sanctuary, an LGBTQ-led farmed animal refuge that works within an ecofeminist understanding of intersectionality. An activist since the 1970s, pattrice has been a tenant organizer, an anti-racist educator, and a campaign strategist. The author The Oxen at the Intersection (Lantern Books, 2014) and Aftershock (Lantern Books, 2007) as well as dozens of anthology chapters, pattrice also has taught college and university courses in the theory and practice of social change activism.
Aph Ko is an author and decolonial theorist. She’s the founder of Black Vegans Rock, and co-author of Aphro-ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters (Lantern Books, 2017). Back in 2015, Aph wrote the first article that listed 100 black vegans. She is currently working on a second book that centers on animality and race. She served as an Associate Producer for the documentary film Always in Season (which will air on PBS), and she is currently a consultant for the film the Invisible Vegan. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, VegNews magazine, and Black Youth Project.
Jennifer Knapp serves as F.E.P.’s pro bono counsel. She is a senior associate at the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C., the premier legal advisor to technology and growth enterprises worldwide, where she practices corporate and securities law. In addition to providing pro bono legal counsel to a number of organizations, she volunteers her time on various animal-related issues. She graduated with High Honors from U.C. Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Sociology, and she received her law degree from U.C. Hastings graduating Magna Cum Laude.
Brenda Sanders serves as Executive Director of Better Health, Better Life, a public health organization in Baltimore, MD. Through Better Health, Better Life, Brenda runs the Eating for Life program, a series of free workshops aimed at teaching people in low-income communities how to live a healthier, more holistic lifestyle. Brenda is also Co-Director of Open the Cages Alliance, an animal advocacy organization that organizes the annual Vegan Living Program – a 6 week community-based vegan education program. She’s also a founding member of PEP Foods, Inc; a collective of vegan activists and business owners in Baltimore City who are working towards food justice.
Dave Williams is a Licensed General Contractor, a Certified Green Builder and in 2006 he earned his Permaculture Design Certification. This pioneering science integrates technology and biological systems to lessen the impact of human waste and resource consumption on the planet. David also participates in a local community garden where he grows an assortment of vegetables, and where all surplus foods are shared with both the members and the local Alameda Food Bank. Here he is allowed to practice the Permaculture Principles of Ethics: Care for the Earth, care for people, and set limits to consumption, reproduction, and share the surplus.