BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Ann López, Ph.D.— Executive Director
Dr. Ann López is the Executive Director of Center for Farmworker Families. She is an emerita professor and taught courses in biology, environmental science, ecology and botany in the biology department at San José City College for many years. She is an independent researcher whose research addresses the human side of the binational migration circuit from the subsistence and small producer farms of west central Mexico to employment in California’s corporate agribusiness.
Her book entitled The Farmworkers’ Journey summarizes the results, arguments and conclusions of her research and was published by UC Press in June 2007. She has been recognized for her work by The U.S. Congress and many organizations. She was chosen as a Woman of the Year for 2013 and 2014 by the National Association of Professional Women. In March 2018, she was chosen for a 16th Annual Cesar E. Chavez Community Award in Watsonville.
Dr. Lopez’ research findings while interviewing central California farmworker families and their family members in Mexico were fundamentally disturbing and life transforming. As a result, she is actively attempting to create awareness about the Human Rights abuses that are endemic to every juncture of the migrant circuit. She has also initiated many projects on both sides of the border designed to alleviate some of the inordinate suffering experienced daily by migrant farm workers and their family members in Mexico. The Center for Farmworker Families is a 501(c3) nonprofit at Farmworkerfamily.org.
The website is designed to provide updates on the status of binational farmworker families and provides ways in which those who are interested can become involved with the work of improving their life circumstances. September 10th has been designated by the County of Santa Cruz as Farmworker Family Day.
Recent Published Articles: López, A.A., 2011. New Questions in the Immigration Debate. Anthropology Now 3(1) pp. 47–53 | López, A.A., 2011. NAFTA and the Campesinas Left Behind. Anthropology Now 3(2) pp. 35-40.
Degrees: Ph.D. in Environmental Studies, UC Santa Cruz, 2002 Dissertation Title: From the Farms of West Central Mexico to California’s Corporate Agribusiness: The Social Transformation of Two Farming Regions.
Post-Doc at UC Berkeley from 2004 to 2006 | M.A. in Environmental Biology, UC Santa Barbara | B.A. in Biology, UC Riverside
jason bayless - President
Jason Bayless is a diverse activist with a wide range of experience. Jason worked at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in a number of positions including Senior Youth Outreach Specialist, Circus Monitor, and Senior Projects Specialist. He has traveled the country documenting and reporting animal abuse and neglect within the entertainment industry, including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and the NYC horse drawn carriage industry.
Jason was on the Advisory Board of Food Empowerment Project, a vegan food justice organization. He currently is on the board of Center for Farmworker Families, non-profit organization dedicated to education, advocacy, and support for farmworker families.
Jason Bayless is the U.S. Community Development Specialist with Pachamama Alliance. His focus with Pachamama Alliance is to support volunteers and co-develop resources and trainings that strike at the root of systems and structures that keep us separated from each other and Earth.
Betsy McCann, Ph.D., Secretary TREASURER
Betsy earned her Ph.D. in Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications from Texas A&M University with an emphasis on international agricultural development and nonprofit leadership. Her dissertation, "The Seven Cs Ethical Model of Communication: Environmental Communication and Indigenous Knowledge Management Strategies in International Agricultural Development" created a program planning and evaluation framework for improving international collaborations and incorporated a case study of her work with the Center for Farmworker Families in Cuquio, Jalisco. Prior to joining the board of directors in 2010, she analyzed the consequences of UNESCO agricultural preservation efforts in Mexico, as well as the agricultural and social implications of post-conflict land distribution and land tenure reform in Guatemala. She designed a curriculum and taught pit composting to indigenous farmers in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, and worked as the Communication Strategist for the Rodale Institute where she focused on connections between agriculture and climate change. A public speaking coach who excels at refining scientific messages for the public, Betsy is currently working to expand the Center's communication and development initiatives. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Josetta (Jo) Owen
Jo was born on the Rio Grande in Texas. She was raised in NY and MA. Having earned a BS in Ed. from MCLA in Massachusetts, she taught 3rd grade children of migrant farm workers at McKinley School in San Jose, CA. She was chosen to be a “master teacher” by San Jose State University while teaching at McKinley.
From 1970 – 1985, she was a full-time mom for her two sons, as her husband’s academic work had them moving from CA to NC, DC and VA. While in DC, she studied theology in the evenings at Georgetown University.
In 1988, she volunteered for a powerful week in “Maria Madre de los Pobres,” a slum of 30,000 in El Salvador in the midst that country’s civil war. She was so deeply moved by the campesinos, she returned for a week, every year, for 14 years, to accompany the poor.
She also observed Tex-Mex border crossings and US gov’t responses with “The Overground Railroad.” Her lifelong passion for justice, especially for Latinos, has led her to join "Center for Farmworker Families". Jo has served on eight boards. Those related to CFF’s work include: “The National Debate for Peace in El Salvador” 1988-1993; “Refugee Voices” 1988-1995; and “Samaritan House,” serving the poor and undocumented of San Mateo County, 2003-2005. Jo received an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from her alma mater in 2010.