US Board of Directors
President, US Board of Directors
Burke Fishburn is the Executive Director of the Posner Center for International Development, a Denver-based community of almost 200 organizations and individuals working across the spectrum of international development issues in over 100 countries. The Posner Center’s mission is to convene, connect, and catalyze the international development community to collaborate for greater impact. Global Seed Savers is proud founding tenant of Posner and thrilled to have Burkes leadership and guidance extend to our Board.
Burke previously led Colorado-based global public health consulting firms, directed the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative in the Western Pacific Region, and served as a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Associate Director for Policy, Planning and Evaluation, as well as a Technical Officer in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia and Viet Nam. He is a former Navy Lieutenant, and graduate of the Georgetown University Master of Public Policy Program and Villanova University.
Lisa Reyes Mason
Treasurer, US Board of Directors
Lisa Reyes Mason is a social worker, scholar, and advocate for climate justice. On faculty at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, Lisa is passionate about teaching, writing, and speaking out about the nexus of the climate crisis, social work, and policy change. She co-edited the book People and Climate Change: Vulnerability, Adaptation, and Social Justice, and she co-leads the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare’s Grand Challenge to “Create Social Responses to a Changing Environment.”
Lisa is a biracial Filipina-American, proud of and inspired by her immigrant and ancestral roots in the Philippines. She is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, having served in Guinea, West Africa, from 1998-2000.
SECRETARY, US Board of Directors
Meta Sarmiento is a Guam-born Filipino, now based in Denver, CO. An independent rapper and award-winning poet whose work often explores themes of cultural & political identity, masculinity, family, and love. With over a decade of experience as a writer and performer, Meta has graced a wide array of stages, from intimate basement shows, to sold out theaters, across the United States and in countries like Indonesia and France. Meta is a teaching artist who has taught a variety of writing classes, having worked with over 20,000 students, from middle school to university.
He is a 2020 recipient of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award from Denver Asian American Pacific Islander Commission; Finalist for the 2019 North Street Book Prize; Winner of multiple cyphers and rap battles; Top Finisher at 2018 WRLD UNDERGROUND MC TOURNAMENT; and a Winner of 2015 Spoken Word for the World, where he was flown to Paris, France to perform during the United Nations Climate Negotiations. When Meta isn’t writing, performing, or teaching Ethnic Studies, he’s the head boxing coach at Empower Community High School in Aurora, CO, exploring with both staff and students what it means to have a fighting spirit.
MEMBER, US Board of Directors
Member, US Board of Directors
Member, US Board of Directors
After coming into contact with the grow-your-own food-movement in 2018, Renee Fourie immersed herself into growing food. She is the Outreach Manager, Seed Stewards program Director, and facilitator for the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance; the Media Coordinator for The Urban Farm; and the Seed Shop Manager at the Great American Seed Up. While Renee had always been a gardener, seed saving elevated her understanding of people’s relationship with food, with one another, and impact on the planet.
Renee studied at Arizona State University focusing on Cultural Anthropology and Geology for her undergrad, and Adult Education for her graduate degree. She traveled overseas volunteering and teaching low-income schools in Africa and Southeast Asia, with a particular emphasis in her mother’s homeland of Cebu, Philippines. Upon her return to the States, she worked in a variety of industries ranging from account management, corporate training, non-profit business development, and real estate, but could feel the lack of fulfillment in her life. She decided her next endeavor would embrace values she held dear: quality and nutrient rich food, community building, and a positive impact on the environment. She would have never anticipated seeds would be the conduit to embracing these values and creating a new path in seed saving, seed sovereignty, and social/environmental justice.
MEMBER, US Board of Directors
Philippines Board of Directors
Bea Misa Crisostomo
President, Philippines Board of Directors
Bea has been running Ritual, a sustainable general store, for 10 years now. Previous to that, she had been doing nonprofit work in the field of youth and sustainable development. Her interests are in bio-cultural diversity and historical ecology. She is passionate about less-waste retailing and also local and heritage crops and products. Learn more about Bea’s initiative at https://www.ritual.ph/.
Padmapani L. Perez
At Large Director (Recent Past President), Philippines Board of Directors
Padmapani (Padma) L. Perez is an anthropologist by training and a writer by heart, she received her bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of the Philippines Baguio. Padma went on to pursue a master’s degree in Environmental Anthropology in Kent University, in the United Kingdom, after which she earned her doctorate in Anthropology from Leiden University, in the Netherlands. She is presently a Research Fellow at Far Eastern University, in Manila.
Her research interests include indigenous peoples’ rights, nature conservation, climate change, art, and visual ethnography. Padma balances her academic work with community engagement in different forms, including disaster response, participatory governance, writing for a popular readership, and now, happily, organic farming and seed saving! Her poems, essays, and feature articles about motherhood, Philippine Cordilleran culture, art in Baguio, and the environment appear in various Philippine books, periodicals, and online publications.
Vice-President, Philippines Board of Directors
Jeffrey Sotero has served as the Municipal Agriculture Officer in the Municipality of Tublay, Benguet since 2008. In this role he has been a tireless advocate for Global Seed Savers programs helping us launch our first Seed School in Tublay in December 2015. Thanks to his leadership and support our founding Seed Library is housed at the Municipal Agriculture Office and we continue to partner to host technical and capacity building trainings for farmers at the Municipality of Tublay. In 2018, under his leadership Tublay was given the distinguished honor of being named the top Organic Municipality in the Country at the National Organic Agriculture Congress of the Philippines. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture Engineering from Benguet State University (BSU) the region’s leading agriculture school. He is currently completing his Master’s in Science in Rural Development also at BSU.
In addition to his long leadership at the Municipal level he also served for four years as a Barangay Council Member in Daclan, Tublay. He and his wife Connie operate a beautiful organic farm in Daclan and are active members of the Benguet Association of Seed Savers (BASS). We are excited to welcome Jeffrey to the Philippines Board of Directors where he can share his local government expertise and passion for our mission to support our continued expansion and collaborative partnerships throughout the Philippines.
Atty. Leilene Marie Carantes-Gallardo
Secretary, Philippines Board of Directors
Leilene Marie Carantes-Gallardo belongs to the Ibaloi indigenous cultural community of Baguio-Benguet. She presently works as a public prosecutor with the Dept. Of Justice, Philippines and is a certified vinyasa yoga instructor. Previously, in her 15 years of government service as Regional and Bureau Director of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) she managed the titling of numerous ancestral domains in Benguet and the Visayan Region in the Philippines and in the formulation of indigenous peoples’ ancestral domain sustainable development protection plans (ADSDPP). As NCIP Bureau Director she focused on Policy analysis and formulation on indigenous peoples as basis for issuance by the Commission of implementing guidelines such as on Indigenous Political Structures and the Registration of Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations and Promoting the Community Intellectual Property Rights of indigenous peoples.
Inspired by her previous engagements as NCIP representative working with various NGOs on the Philippine National REDD plus Strategic Framework (PNRPS) on carbon ownership and biodiversity concerns and growing up in her younger years on an ancestral farm, she pursued a Diplomate on Environment and Natural Resource Management with the University of the Philippines Open University and now aspires to pursue her dream of becoming a farmer.
Member, Philippines Board of Directors
Rambie Katrina Lim is a Community worker who specializes in marketing and product development of community products. Initially focused on Traditional Textiles and Artisanal crafts in the Philippines with Rurungan sa Tubod Foundation, Inc. and HABI: the Philippine Textile Council, developing products and introducing them to the main markets in Manila. Despite relative success in these fields, she felt a need to widen her scope and venture into sustainable livelihood with Ayala Foundation Inc. and the Tao Kalahi Foundation, working with non traditional communities, relocation sites and the islanders, enforced her love for farming and the need to instill in people the importance of food security.
Executive Directors, Co-Founder, Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance
Bill McDorman is Executive Director and co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance (RMSA), a seed conservation non-profit created to to assure a diverse supply of local seeds for the Rocky Mountain region through community-based seed stewardship. Bill holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Montana. In 1981 he co-founded Garden City Seeds in Missoula, Montana. In 1984 he started Seeds Trust/High Altitude Gardens, a bioregional, mail order seed company he ran successfully for 28 years. He authored the book, Basic Seed Saving, in 1994. From 2011 until 2014 Bill and his wife Belle served as Executive Directors of Native Seeds/SEARCH in Tucson, Arizona. In 2010 they founded Seed School, an internationally recognized education program now with more than 1,200 graduates from around the world. Bill remains a passionate and knowledgeable presenter who inspires his audiences with the importance of grassroots seed saving and urges everyone to learn to save their own seeds. In 2016, Bill and his wife Belle joined us in the Philippines to lead a 3 day Seed School and Farmer Capacity Building Training for 60 farmers from all over the Philippines. This training was a catalyst to launching our current seed saving educational model and Bill and the RMSA Team are some of our most trusted advisors to this day.