Green Festival Speakers

San Francisco 2014

Speakers at Green Festival® are articulate, powerful advocates for a just and sustainable world. From authors and filmmakers to politicians, musicians and scientists, these renowned individuals inspire packed audiences with their expertise—one of the most compelling draws to Green Festival® since 2002. Our tremendous speaker line-up exemplifies why Green Festival® is the largest, most-respected event of its kind.



Gabriel Axel, MSc., E-RYT 500, is a yoga teacher, neuroscientist, musician, Integralist, and leading innovator in the fusion of yoga and neuroscience through the Neural Active™ framework. Gabriel is known for skillfully integrating the perennial wisdom of yoga with a scientific understanding in a congruent and intelligible manner. Holding a Master’s degree in Neuroscience & Cognition, he has toured world-renown institutions such as Utrecht University, Harvard, UCLA, and University of Florida studying the fascinating complexities of neuroscience, and completed thesis on how the functionality of the brain evolved to aid in the perception and interpretation of visual art. In tandem with his studies in neuroscience, he has trained extensively in the yogic sciences, including raja yoga, kundalini, tantric yogas, kriya yoga, qi gong, nei gong, alchemy, Skanda Yoga, Suspension Yoga, and a number of meditation systems. He presents an integral approach that robustly activates the nervous system for enhanced functioning.


Karen Behnke has enjoyed a long and successful entrepreneurial career in the Healthy Lifestyles sector of business. Her consistent goal is to marry her passion for helping people enjoy healthier lifestyles with her skill at building financially successful businesses that are mission driven. With over 25 years in this sector, Karen has a real passion for bringing alternatives to people for a healthy happy lifestyle. Healthy and organic living is also part of her home life, where she and her family enjoy over 95% organic food, organic bedding and clothing. Karen’s current company and passion, Juice Beauty, is an Organic eco-chic beauty company, with a mission to lead the industry in high efficacy and authentically organic beauty products while inspiring the ultimate customer experience. Prior to Juice Beauty, Karen led the Healthy Lifestyles investment strategy for a private equity firm that was the majority shareholder of 24 Hour Fitness.


Frank Blaney has been a certified Qigong/Tai Chi Instructor for 10 years based in the Los Angeles area. He has taught at numerous venues and has a focus on empowering his students with the easy self-care practice of Qigong and Tai Chi. Mr. Blaney is also an active martial artist with a 2nd degree blackbelt in Jujitsu. He professionally works with at-risk youth in teaching violence prevention, conflict resolution, and de-escalation skills. Mr. Blaney has a Bachelor’s Degree in Intercultural Studies, a Master’s Degree in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding. He has worked as a professional speaker around issues of sexual assault, relationship violence, healthy relationships and gender stereotyping. Into these fields he integrates principles of wholistic health from a Traditional Chinese Medicine paradigm.


Hope Bohanec has been active in animal protection and environmental activism for over 20 years and recently published the book The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat? She is a nationally recognized leader and speaker in the animal protection movement, and is currently serving as Projects Manager for United Poultry Concerns. Before this, Hope offered her organizational talents as the Grassroots Campaigns Director at In Defense of Animals. Hope was the Sonoma County Coordinator for Proposition 2 and soon after that victory, she co-founded the Sonoma County based Compassionate Living. She is also the primary organizer for the annual Conscious Eating Conference at UC Berkeley and the Sonoma County VegFest.



“Bringing It Home” is the second feature documentary produced and directed by Linda Booker, owner of By the Brook Production based in North Carolina. Linda completed the Certificate in Documentary Arts from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University in 2005. “Bringing It Home” won the Jury Award at this year’s Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival and Best Environmental Film at Sedona International Film Festival. “Bringing It Home” has been part of a national outreach campaign to help educate consumers and lawmakers about hemp’s uses for healthy, sustainable products for nutrition, construction materials, bio-composites, textiles, body care and more and why policy change is needed to bring this beneficial crop back to all of America’s farmers for a greener future. By the Brook has produced videos for the City of Durham and Clean Jordan Lake on water protection issues in addition to work for numerous NC non-profits.


Diana Donlon is the Director of Center for Food Safety's Cool Foods Campaign – a solutions oriented program, empowering the public to make the critical connections between food and climate.

Before coming to work for CFS, Diana worked for a variety of family foundations supporting youth and sustainable agriculture programs and was one of the founders of Roots of Change, a state-wide collaborative transitioning California’s food system. As a program executive at the Goldman Environmental Prize, she helped elevate the critical causes of environmental activist around the world including Wangari Maathai, Ken Saro Wiwa and Marina Silva.

Diana is the Board Secretary of Watershed Media, award-winning publishers of action-oriented titles like Farming with the Wild. She served in Peace Corps, Morocco and speaks French and Spanish. She lives amidst an abundance of fruit trees in Marin County with her husband, two teenaged boys, friendly farm cat, and three chickens.



Dr. Gary Douglas, involved in healing for over 20 years, has helped thousands of individuals overcome negative energies and find a place of calm and balance within themselves in spite of negativity that may surround them. Dr. Gary has discovered that returning to your core self...being grounded to the earth and it's lush green energies, can help to rapidly heal numerous emotional and other conditions. As we cannot always be in nature and are often stuck in the city filled with electromagnetic charges or even negative people, Dr. Gary has found a way to harness the natural energies of nature so that you can "take nature with you" wherever you are...even when you're in the city or bombarded by negativity.



A vegan chef and healthy living educator, Leslie is the glowing face of a fresher plant-based movement that refuses to compromise style for sustainability. Walking the plant-based talk since age eight, this Southern California native has always been well ahead of the times with her meatless mindset. She currently broadcasts her farm fresh recipes and warmhearted sensibilities via LeslieDurso.com.

After establishing herself as a private chef for the NYC and Hollywood elite, Leslie emerged as a public persona, hosting cooking segments on television and online. Determined to inspire beneficial life-long eating habits for everyone, she has appeared on Food Network, Discovery Channel, Hallmark Channel, and written for VegNews, CNN.com, Redbook, Glamour, and more, evangelizing the benefits of a mindful lifestyle, delivered with her trademark blend of sunshiney sophistication and girl-next-door relatability. Maxim Magazine wrote: "We want to hire Leslie as our own personal chef! We'll even eat vegetables for her."


Jeff Eichen born in California 1958.

Jeff Eichen At 17 years young studied Photography with Ansel Adams at the Yosemite workshop 1974. And moved to the Netherlands to teach Photography as a teacher’s assistant and Exchange Student.

Upon returning to the States, Jeff moved to Los Angeles to pursue a professional career in Architectural photography.
Never leaving his Art behind, Jeff had several Art shows through the years.

After loosing his Mother Carole Eichen to Ovarian Cancer, Jeff expanded his almost all vegetarian diet to Vegan and after moving to Port Townsend.
This is when Jeff birthed Rawmaste™ Jars, Lids and Straws… www.rawmaste.org

Jeff now currently lives in Port Townsend and peruses his life as a digital Artist, Instructor and Professional photographer and of course Owner and maker of the Rawmaste™ line of the all GLASS drink solutions.



Collette Gee is a world-renowned Holistic Love Coach, Author & Speaker that helps men and women overcome the relationship challenges they face in the 21st century.

Prior to Coaching & Speaking, Collette spent several years working as a healthcare professional in the mental health industry. She recently released a new dating & relationship guide called: “Finding Happily Ever After, Without Pretending,” available now on Amazon; and is a regular Huffington Post contributor.

Today, Collette offers a wide range of coaching programs and services – from 1:1 holistic coaching and group coaching, to relationship seminars and keynote speeches. Her mission is to help people love harmoniously and successfully. As a Certified Neuro-Linguistic Practitioner (NLP), Violence Prevention Specialist (VPS), and a Holistic Coach, Collette works with each client as their partner through a holistic process of self-discovery; specializing in crippling blocks, and unhealthy relationship patterns of behaviors.



For nearly 30 years, Alisa Gravitz has led Green America, the national green economy organization. Green America develops marketplace solutions to social and environmental problems with a key focus on tackling climate change, building fair trading systems, stopping corporate abuse and growing the green economy. Green America operates the nation’s largest green business and consumer networks.

Ms. Gravitz is a leading expert on how families and businesses can “go green,” saving money and resources. She is also a nationally recognized leader in the social investment industry. She authored Green America’s acclaimed Guide to Social Investing, with over a million copies in print and the popular Guide to Community Investing.

Ms. Gravitz’s board service includes Ceres, Positive Future Network, Network for Good and People 4 Earth. She earned her MBA from Harvard University and her BA in economics and environmental sciences from Brandeis University. Green America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.



Annabel Hertz is the author of Seeing Green, a humorous account of a multi cultural protagonist’s jaunt into the world of 1992 environmental politics. She is also Senior Advisor to the Arch Institute, a start up dedicated to higher education, training, and research aimed at advancing tri sector approaches to global problem solving. Previously, she taught international relations, and spent over a decade in leadership roles with NGOs involved in sustainable development and security. In working with students, women leaders, and high-risk youth, she has come to greatly appreciate the role of mentoring in imparting environmental values. Annabel holds a MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School, a MA from California State University, and a BA from the University of California.



"Monte Leach is United States editor of Share International magazine. Share International brings together two major directions of contemporary thought – the political and the spiritual. It shows the synthesis underlying the political, social, economic and spiritual changes now occurring on a worldwide scale and seeks to stimulate practical action to rebuild our world along more just and compassionate lines.

Share International makes known the presence in the world today of a group of highly evolved teachers and advisors of humanity – Maitreya, the World Teacher, and his group, the Masters of Wisdom. The magazine covers news, events, and comments bearing on the World Teacher’s priorities: an adequate supply of the right food; appropriate housing for all; health care and education as universal rights; and the maintenance of ecological balance in the world.

Share International has been published monthly since 1982, and is read in more than 70 countries. www.share-international.org


Nicole McCann is Food Campaigns Director for Green America. Nicole oversees and acts as a spokesperson for the GMO Inside campaign, and has been interviewed and quoted by a variety of print and broadcast media outlets, including The Guardian, Food Navigator, Food Business News, the Examiner, and King TV in Seattle. She received her Master’s Degree in Global Environmental Policy with a focus on sustainable food systems from American University. She has worked in the areas of plant-based nutrition, campaigning, community organizing, research, and programs supporting sustainable food systems for ten years. She conducted her graduate thesis research in the Eastern Coastal Plains region of North Carolina studying the impact of corporate industrial hog farming on the environment, local economics, and state politics.


Tigre's diverse background mirrors his interests and abilities. He studied architecture and design at Princeton University followed by eight-years as a professional graphic designer and artist. In 2009, Tigre discovered The Barefoot Architect and began studying and self-teaching sustainable design and agriculture. Tigre left for South America in 2011 and has worked on a variety of organic farms and communities practicing permaculture and green design. He received his Permaculture Designer’s Certificate from San Diego Sustainable Living Institute and is a partner in Ecology Artisans, a permaculture landscape design + install firm in San Diego, California. In 2012, Tigre helped co-found Acaté Amazon Conservation, a non-profit organization that works in close partnership with the Matsés indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon.



Lauren Pizza lives the full of life of a business executive, mother, community activist, philanthropist and author. She may be living proof that a woman can"" have it all"" but the path she traveled to this proof was extraordinary and, when Ms. Pizza tell it, both hilarious and inspiring.

Ms. Pizza's memoir, Meant to Be, (Skyhorse Press 2014) is, in the words of Judith Light ""A memorable book from a striking and memorable woman. The Lauren Pizza in this books the Lauren Pizza I've met: funny, direct, spiritual, and whatever goes beyond 'joie de vivre'. She not only is funny and engaging but profound and deeply reflective.""

Ms Pizza is President of Laridan Productions http//laridanproductions.com and Laridan Publishing, and co-founder of Intermediapost. With her husband, she leads the family healthcare group, Pharmasphere LLC, with offices throughout the U.S. and Europe, while raising her children, Ariela and Danny.


Health and wellness writer and speaker Renita Rietz has spent over a decade researching nutritional strategies to increase the innate rejuvenative capacity we all possess by harnessing the pharmacologic and phytotherapeutic potential of indigenous foods and plants for prevention and regeneration. From the array of competing nutritional ideologies, Renita weaves together multiple paradigms focusing on the importance of high vibrancy, nutrient dense, plant-based superfood nutrition, fermentation and germination as the cornerstones of a healthy diet.


Organizer of Silicon Valley AgTech and FoodTech and the RoyseLaw AgTech Incubator. The founder of Royse Law Firm, PC - a business and tax law firm with offices in Northern and Southern California (www.rroyselaw.com); Roger is frequent speaker, writer, radio guest, blogger and panelist for bar associations. Roger is a mentor or advisor to several funds, accelerators and tech companies and takes an active role in the strategic planning decisions of his clients.



Shauna’s commitment to creating a more sustainable food system first began in her early years growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. There, she experienced firsthand the many systems involved in food production. Shauna went on to earn a BS in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a MS in Agriculture, Food and Environment from the Friedman School at Tufts University. Prior to joining Annie’s, Shauna worked on food sustainability at Clif Bar, an early venture meat company and Business for Social Responsibility (BSR). She also worked across a variety of industries as a management consultant, providing companies best practices research to help them improve business performance. In addition to her role at Annie’s, Shauna serves on the Board of Directors for the Sustainable Food Trade Association and on the advisory board for the Sustainable Food Lab.


Dr. Ilya Skolnikoff, DC, DIBAK is a Chiropractic Kinesiologist. He specializes in helping people with hormonal imbalances, thyroid disease, allergies, and obesity. Dr. Skolnikoff’s care is different than what you’ve experienced before. It cannot be compared to anything else that you would have ever heard of because it is so unique. It combines the professions and sciences of Applied Kinesiology, Energy Medicine, Functional Endocrinology, Emotional Therapies, Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Osteopathy, Nutrition, Herbs, and Homeopathy. He became interested in chiropractic, acupuncture
and healing after suffering burnout, toxicity and poor dietary habits from working for an environmental and
health company for years. His experiences as a patient with hormonal imbalances and thyroid issues led him to specialize in these conditions. He has helped numerous people free themselves from reliance on medications and saved a number of them from surgery. He has successfully treated patients with Chronic Fatigue, Hashimotos, Rheumatoid Arthritis, various cancers, etc...


Mark has been owner and manager of Good Earth Natural Foods in Fairfax, California for 36 years. Good Earth is a leader in promoting and marketing organically grown foods and is a model for many other stores in the US. Prior to retailing, Mark managed his family’s farm in North Carolina and transitioned it to organics.
As a member of California Certified Organic Farmers Board of Directors from 1983 to 1988, representing North Coast Chapter, he helped write some of the original organic certification standards still used nationally. Mark was on the board and then staff with the Organic Crop Improvement Association (largest certifier worldwide at the time) from 1988 to 1994. Mark oversaw international certification staff training and operations for farm and manufacturing.
He is one of the authors of Measure B, the Marin County initiative that prohibited the outdoor cultivation of GMOs in 2004, which passed by 61%.



Michael Stoll is executive director and editor of the San Francisco Public Press (www.sfpublicpress.org), a nonprofit, noncommercial news organization that produces in-depth reporting projects on public policy and spotlights important local stories in other public media. He has been a reporter at the Hartford Courant, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Francisco Examiner, and has written freelance for Columbia Journalism Review, Earth Island Journal, SF Weekly, San Francisco Magazine, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Quill, the Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times. He has taught journalism at two local universities, and from 2003 to 2006 researched media ethics at gradethenews.org.



At Freshwater Future, Melanie Napoleon Welch works as a Movement-Builder – the organization works on both policy and capacity-building for the needs of grassroots and citizens groups, providing personalized services that tailor-fit the needs of each group; provides unique, and much needed, grant funding opportunities to these groups for grassroots environmental advocacy work; and connects these groups and efforts to the issues. Melanie has spent her career in non-profits and museums, and has expertise in conservation programs, community engagement, informal education and Great Lakes ecology and regional issues. She is also a member of the 2010 class of Catto Fellows, an environmental leadership program at The Aspen Institute in Washington, DC. Melanie received a B.S. degree in environmental biology from Bradley University and a M.S. degree in biology from Northern Illinois University. She lives with her family in walking distance of Lake Michigan.

Jerry Zeifman is the President of Advantage Health Matters, a company that distributes Certified Organic natural health and wellness products. Jerry is passionate about offering holistic strategies to help one achieve optimal prevention and longevity. Having found no solutions to his own health issues, he turned to enzyme therapy and natural remedies and discovered the answers he needed. He has since embarked upon a path to inspire others with powerful tools for transformation.