Eric Holt-Giménez has been Executive Director of Food First since 2006. Of Basque and Puerto Rican heritage, he grew up milking cows and pitching hay in Point Reyes, CA, where he learned that putting food on the table is hard work. After studying rural education and biology at the University of Oregon and Evergreen State College, he traveled through Mexico and Central America where he was drawn to the simple life of small-scale farmers.
After spending over twenty-five years with the resourceful farmers of Central America and Mexico, he holds a deep appreciation for the value and power of building local food systems. But he has also become painfully aware that working locally is never going to be enough to bring about the larger changes that are needed.
Holt-Giménez has a MSc. in International Agricultural Development from University of California at Davis and a PhD in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz. He has taught Development Studies at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, Boston University and the National Gastronomic University in Pollenzo, Italy. Prior to working at Food First, he served as the Latin America Program Manager for the Bank Information Center (BIC) in Washington DC.
He is an agroecologist, researcher, lecturer and author of several books, dozens of academic articles and many blogs. He is the editor of the Food First book Food Movements Unite!: Strategies to Transform Our Food Systems (2011); co-author of Food Rebellions: Crisis and the Hunger for Justice (2009) with Raj Patel and Annie Shattuck; and author of the book Campesino a Campesino: Voices from Latin America’s Farmer to Farmer Movement for Sustainable Agriculture (2006) as well as many academic, magazine and news articles.
Eric Holt-Giménez now lives in Sonoma County, CA, close to the dairy farms where he was raised.