Carmen J. Cortez, CAN’s new Associate Director, has joined CAN’s staff in Santa Cruz, California. Prior to joining CAN, Carmen facilitated the development of COO-PERA, a worker-owned fruit and vegetable cooperative, and co-developed the organizational infrastructure to create a community land trust and cooperative incubation program for the East side of Los Angeles.

Carmen holds a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California Davis Graduate Group in Ecology (GGE). Her dissertation work on human ecology focused on examining agroecological strategies used for intensifying milpa farming by Mayan farmers and the impact of the formalized school system on time spent acquiring TEK by young people in the Mayan region of Southern Belize.

At CAN Carmen will be supporting the strategic planning and fund development of CAN while assisting in facilitating projects for the production of knowledge relevant to international and local work on food sovereignty, alternative economies and the use of participatory action research methods for the co-creation of knowledge among scientist, community organizations, and small holder farmers.