Bioneer since 1998
Arty Mangan, Director of the Restorative Food Systems program, whose first experience in agriculture was as a farm worker picking peaches in West Virginia and tobacco in Ontario, has worked with farmers and agriculture since the 1970’s as a partner in Live Juice, a fresh, local, organic apple juice company in Santa Cruz, CA and later with Odwalla in charge of fruit sourcing, working with farmers in the US, Mexico and Costa Rica.
He joined Bioneers in 1998 as the Project Manager for the Restorative Development Initiative, producing “Wisdom at the End of Hoe” ecological agricultural workshops, collaborated with John Mohawk and the Iroquois White Corn Project and worked with The Federation of Southern Cooperatives and African American farmers in Mississippi and Alabama.
He is a former Board president of the Ecological Farming Association, and was a member of the Santa Cruz GE Subcommittee that led to a Precautionary Moratorium on growing genetically engineered crops in Santa Cruz County. For the Dreaming New Mexico project, he conducted a series of video interviews with Indigenous and Hispano farmers and leaders in New Mexico on biocultural crops and traditional farming that were shown on community TV stations in NM. Arty also oversees the Bioneers Youth Leadership program.
A formative moment for Arty came in 2003 when Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser gave a Bioneers plenary presentation about his seven-year battle against Monsanto and the oppressive tactics of the Biotech industry. Percy’s canola crop was contaminated, most likely by GMO pollen drift, ruining decades of his seed breeding work.
Within the perverse legal logic of plant patent laws, Monsanto sued Percy Schmeiser for having their patented GMO genetics in the plants in his fields and won in the lower courts. Percy took the case all the way to the Canadian Supreme Court putting at risk his livelihood, his savings, his farm and all that he had worked for.
In doing so Percy became the premier global spokesperson against the tyrannical tactics of Monsanto to control seed supply and oppress farmers. Arty organized a northern California speaking tour for Percy to help raise money for his legal fees. Inspired by Percy’s heroic stance against injustice, Arty became involved in a successful process to ban the growing of GMO crops in Santa Cruz County, CA.