2017 New York Hoe Down Speakers


Gene Baur with rescued farm animal at our farm animal sanctuary Gene Baur is president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, America’s leading farm animal protection organization. He has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by TIME magazine. For 31 years, he has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses inflicted by industrialized factory farming and our cheap food system. Gene’s latest book, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day (Rodale), delivers five tenets for maintaining and sharing a compassionate, vegan life. His previous best-seller, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food (Touchstone), was published March 2008 and was recently re-released as an audio book.

Susie CostonSusie Coston, Farm Sanctuary’s national shelter director, joined us in March 2000, following six years of working for a veterinarian and at a sanctuary in West Virginia. As a farm animal caregiver for more than 20 years, Susie has been a mentor to many of her peers — some of whom have started their own sanctuaries throughout the United States — and is known for bringing the animals’ stories of love, loss, and life to the public. She ensures that the hundreds of farm animals sheltered at Farm Sanctuary each year receive the best possible care at every stage of their lives.

James AspeyJames Aspey has gone from beating leukemia as a teen to being one of Australia’s leading vegan activists. Initially going vegetarian for a 7-day experiment, James then learned about the health, ethical, and environmental issues surrounding animal consumption, and has been vegan ever since. Grabbing global attention in 2015 after breaking a 365-day vow of silence in a TV interview seen by millions, James has continued devoting himself to activism. In 2016 he was tattooed for 24 hours straight to raise money for three charities. He travels all around the world giving free speeches on animal rights and veganism. His speeches have gone viral and been viewed more than 6 million times. James also makes YouTube videos and encourages an educational, encouraging, and inspiring approach to activism.

Cam F AwesomeCam F Awesome is a multi-time heavyweight National champion boxer. As a stand-up comedian, Cam has performed many comedy shows across the country and has been the emcee at many events. As a keynote speaker, Cam speaks on efficient resilience and how to live life with the focus of a fighter. He shares lessons he learned from boxing that can be used in everyday life. Cam is also a proud member of the National Speakers Association.

Cam is the U.S. National Team Capitan and the Athletic Director on the USA Boxing Board of Directors. He is well respected by his peers, not only for his accolades in the boxing ring, but also for his positive personality that he instills upon others. Cam has been a Big for Big Brother Big Sister for 7 years and does a lot of work with the youth around Kansas City. He has been vegan for over 5 years and is active in advocacy for the vegan lifestyle.

pattrice jonespattrice jones is a cofounder of VINE Sanctuary, an LGBTQ-led refuge for farmed animals that works within an ecofeminist analysis of animal exploitation. An activist since the 1970s and the author of Aftershock: Confronting Trauma in a Violent World (2007) and The Oxen at the Intersection (2014), jones has taught college and university courses on social change.

Dr. Melanie JoyDr. Melanie Joy is a psychologist, international speaker, consultant, trainer, and author of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows and Strategic Action for Animals. Dr. Joy specializes in strategic vegan advocacy, effective communication, organizational dynamics and leadership, interpersonal relationships, and activist sustainability. Dr. Joy is the eighth recipient of the Ahimsa Award — previously given to the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela — for her work on global nonviolence, as well as the Empty Cages Prize — previously given to Tom Regan — for her contribution to furthering the cause of animal rights. She is also the founder and president of Beyond Carnism.

Lori MarinoLori Marino is a neuroscientist and expert in animal behavior and intelligence, formerly on the faculty of Emory University. She is the founder and Executive Director of The Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy, which focuses on bridging the gap between academic scholarship and on-the-ground animal advocacy efforts. Lori is senior scientist for The Someone Project, a collaborative effort between The Kimmela Center and Farm Sanctuary. The Someone Project aims to educate the public about the cognitive capacities of farmed animals through peer-reviewed scientific papers and online white papers.

Michelle McMacken, MDMichelle McMacken, MD, is a board-certified internal medicine physician and Assistant Professor of Medicine at NYU School of Medicine. An honors graduate of Yale University and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, she practices primary care, directs a weight management program, and teaches doctors-in-training at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City. Dr. McMacken is an enthusiastic supporter of plant-based nutrition and is committed to educating patients, doctors, and the public about the power of healthy eating and lifestyle modification. She has received the faculty ‘Teacher of the Year’ award three times and has been featured in several documentary films, in national academic nutrition conferences, and on popular nutrition-related websites and podcasts. Dr. McMacken is also a council member for the True Health Initiative, a coalition of health experts from around the world committed to educating on evidence-based, proven principles of lifestyle as medicine.

lauren Ornelaslauren Ornelas is Food Empowerment Project’s founder and serves as the group’s executive director. 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, here. (lauren Ornelas Photo credit: inherimagephoto.com)

Stephen RitzStephen Ritz is a South Bronx educator and innovator who believes that students shouldn’t have to leave their community to live, learn, and earn in a better one. As the founder of Green Bronx Machine, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Stephen created a school-based model using urban agriculture aligned to key school performance indicators to grow healthy students and to transform fragmented and marginalized communities into inclusive and thriving neighborhoods. Stephen was named a Top 10 Finalist for the prestigious $1 million Global Teacher Prize in 2015.