Staff and Board


John E. Peck (WI),  Executive Director

John E. Peck grew up on a 260 acre farm in central Minnesota, has a B.A. in Economics from Reed College and a PhD in Land Resources from UW-Madison, where his research focused on community-based management of water, woodland and wildlife in Zimbabwe.  He has been the Executive Director of Family Farm Defenders for the last two decades, is a part-time instructor of Economics and Environmental Studies at Madison Area Technical College (MATC), and for the last five years has also operated (with his partner), Yellow Dog Flowers and Produce near Brooklyn, WI, focused on direct CSA deliveries and farmers markets.  He was first exposed to the concept of food sovereignty and La Via Campesina through participating in protests in Seattle against the WTO in 1999.  Since then he has had the opportunity to be part of many other solidarity events, including the 2007 Nyeleni Food Sovereignty Conference in Selengue, Mali, the Fifth Conference of La Via Campesina in Maputo, Mozambique in 2008, as well as the 2009 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Elected Officers

Patti Naylor (IA), President

Patti Naylor farms with her husband, George, in west-central Iowa, growing organic corn, soybeans, oats, hay, and cider apples. She has worked as a nutrition educator and middle school teacher. Besides being president of Family Farm Defenders and serving on many other non-profit boards, Patti is also involved internationally through the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism (CSIPM) of the UN’s Committee on World Food Security, and is active in La Via Campesina – North America.

Anthony Pahnke, Vice President

Anthony Pahnke grew up on his grandparent’s dairy farm outside of Fond du Lac Wisconsin before going to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study Political Science. He grew up during the farm crisis of the 1980s, listening to family members discuss organizing in the NFO and the need for parity pricing. Over the years, he became interested in what rural groups have done to protect their land, food, and communities, which led him to Brazil where he conducted a research program on social movements and land and resource grabbing. He is currently living in San Francisco with his wife Marlene Rojas Lara – a granddaughter of a bracero, and their daughter, Lisa, and is teaching at San Francisco State University.

Rebecca Goodman (WI) Treasurer


Rebecca Goodman recently retired from operating Northwood Farm near Wonewoc, WI, with her partner Jim, where they milked organic cows and also raised pastured beef and homegrown forages and grain for 30 years.  In their spare time, the Goodmans also serve on the boards of many groups, such as Midwest Environmental Advocates and the Organic Consumers Association, and otherwise keep “busy” advocating for food sovereignty for all. 

Lisa Griffith (IL), Secretary

Lisa Griffith spent her youth on a family farm in northeast Missouri and later studied anthropology and urban and regional planning. After working with several nonprofits around Chicago she made her way to Washington, DC, and the National Family Farm Coalition, where she has advocated for family farmers, rural communities, and food sovereignty since 2007. In 2010 she set up the Coalition’s Midwest office, outside of which she enjoys gardening, preserving local foods and advocating pollinator habitat.

Other Current FFD Board Member

Frances Bartelt (FL)

Ben Burkett (MS)

Heather Gayton (WI)

Jim Goodman (WI)

Joel Greeno (WI)

Peter Kinsman (WI)

Mary Lippert (WI)

George Naylor (IA)

Isidoro Quezada (TX)

Marlene Rojas (CA)

Tyler Short (KY)

Crystal Johnson (IL)

Maria Whittaker (OH)