Small farmers, farmworkers, Indigenous peoples and rural communities disproportionately bear the burdens of our chemical-dependent industrial agricultural system. This can include chronic illnesses, contaminated air, water and soil, inadequate on-the-job protections and unfair laws rooted in racism and oppression.
The PAN Fellowship Program supports a pathway to leadership for food and farming activists from frontline communities. Leaders with a deep and personal understanding of the issue — including their social, political and cultural context — can craft meaningful and appropriate solutions for their communities and the system as a whole.
This year, PAN has the honor of welcoming Donovan Kanani Cabebe, Jibril Kyser, and Héktor Calderón as our 2019 Fellows.
Donovan Kanani Cabebe: Protect Our Keiki Fellow
Born and raised on the Hawaiian Islands, Donovan now calls Kauai home. Donovan is a grassroots community organizer and political activist with his eyes on Native rights and protecting natural resources. As a Hawaiian cultural practitioner, he has a strong belief in the wisdom and knowledge of first nations and Indigenous peoples of the world; they hold the key to bringing humanity back into balance with the natural environment. Donovan stands as an advocate for the kānaka ʻōiwi, Hawaiʻi’s original people.
As a PAN Fellow, Donovan has been working with the multi-island Protect Our Keiki coalition on pesticide and water policies. He attended hearings and testified at the Capitol, met with legislators and their staff, talked with agency officials and organized initiatives to protect kids, families and communities from pesticide exposure.
“I was raised being told, "each one of us, doing our part, moves the wa`a (ship) forward. So learn, know and do your part." The Save Our Keiki fellowship helped me know my role in my work and community better. I have been able to create a network of engaged organizations and individuals that are passionate about stopping the chemical cartel from poisoning paradise.”
Jibril Kyser: Grassroots Science Fellow
Jibril was born and raised in South Sacramento, California. While growing up in America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital, Jibril tapped into a vibrant community of Black, Indigenous, and Refugee urban farmers and community organizers who inspired his reverence for land, food, and water. The knowledge he gained through his community work inspired him to study agroecology as a Conservation and Resource Studies major at UC Berkeley. Jibril has research experience in both analytical chemistry and developmental endocrinology.
As a Grassroots Science Fellow at PAN, Jibril works with PAN Staff Scientist Dr. Emily Marquez to train community members to use the Drift Catcher to detect pesticides in farming communities in California’s Central Valley. Jibril is vegan and grows most of the food he eats.
“As a Grassroots Science Fellow at PAN, I’m confronting pollutive and deadly plantation-style industrial agricultural by equipping frontline and farmworking communities with the analytical tools and knowledge they need to win protection from pesticides for their families. I do this work to improve conditions of people of color and Indigenous people worldwide suffering because of industrial agriculture.”
Héktor Calderón: Farmer Justice Fellow
Héktor was born in Mexico City and grew up in Southern California. He received a BA from San Diego State in International Business with an emphasis in Management in the region of Latin America, and completed an apprenticeship with the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems where he earned an advanced certificate in Ecological Horticulture. Héktor has worked on diversified vegetable production operations and with orchard trees on small scale farms. Héktor is the son of immigrants and a protector of food justice, food sustainability and food sovereignty.
At PAN, Héktor is a Farmer Justice Fellow with the California Farmer Justice Collaborative (CFJC). In addition to tracking implementation of the 2017 Farmer Equity Act, Héktor will be connecting with and sharing stories of farmers of color in the Central Coast to shape policies and support structures that create a more just, equitable and connected agricultural playing field.
"As a farmer, and the Farmer Justice Fellow at PAN/CFJC, I stand for social justice as a beacon of light that dismantles the inequities of racial, political and economic disparities in our farming systems. Farmers of color can serve and uplift their communities by cultivating storytelling and traditional agricultural and food practices."