Claire Hope Cummings

Author ofUncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds

Claire Hope Cummings, M.A, J.D, is an environmental lawyer, journalist, and the award winning author ofUncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds(Beacon Press) which won the American Book Award and thebook of the year award from the Society for Economic Botany.

Claire’s stories focus on the environmental and political implications of how we eat and how food and farming reconnects us to each other, to the places where we live, and the extraordinary knowledge of land based peoples.

Claire brings over three decades of broad experience in agriculture to her work. She has farmed in California and in Vietnam, where she had an organic farm in the Mekong Delta. For four years she was an attorney for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Office of General Counsel. After leaving government service Claire represented native people in defense of their ancestral lands. Claire founded The Cultural Conservancy in 1985 and continues to work with traditional people in Hawai’i and North America to preserve their knowledge systems and life-ways. She continues to study and write about seeds and plant knowledge, and how traditional ecological knowledge can meet the challenges of climate change and environmental justice.

Claire has been active in the local food and farming movement in the San Francisco Bay Area, helping to found the Marin County food policy council, and serving on the boards of organizations such asEarth Island Institute, The Community Alliance with Family Farmers,Food First, and the Elmwood Institute—the predecessor organization for theCenter for Ecoliteracy. Claire was awarded aFood and Society Policy Fellowshipin 2001. She advisedThe Columbia Foundation’s sustainable communities and food system programs for many years. (Read More)


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