Ms. Claire Hope Cummings

Angwin, California
United States

Focus Areas

Food Systems
Food Systems


Claire is an award winning author, journalist and environmental lawyer. from WKKF: As a former USDA lawyer, Claire became an expert in the regulatory aspects of biotechnology, as well as agricultural biotechnology in general, and its environmental impacts. She practiced public interest environmental law for 20 years, representing and advising environmental and traditional indigenous groups in the United States and Hawaii. Claire has been involved in agriculture for three decades, as a farmer and as a writer, including two years when she had an organic farm along the Mekong River in Vietnam. Claire often covers stories about food and farming that connect people and place, and that illustrate the environmental, health and political implications of how we eat. She wrote the Environmental Media Service’s editor’s and reporter’s guide to agricultural biotechnology, and regularly covers the topic in periodicals and broadcast. Her book Uncertain Peril, Genetic Engineering and The Future of Seeds won the American Book Award and a literary award from the Society for Economic Botany. After six years as a broadcast reporter covering sustainable agriculture, Claire became a special correspondent, covering agriculture and the environment for Pacifica Network radio stations and for print publications such as WorldWatch Magazine, among other publications. She is now a freelance journalist. Claire’s work has focused on rice in California, covering the controversy over GMO, or genetically modified, rice. She was awarded a grant from Bioneers to cover biopharmaceutical crop issues in Hawaii. She is also working on projects that support agricultural diversity and specialty crop production in Hawaii. Because of her efforts, the entire coffee industry in Hawaii is poised to take a strong position against GMO coffee in Hawaii, while maintaining a their brand image as a high quality product. Her work has also resulted in proposed legislation to study the environmental and economic impacts of the GMO papaya in Hawaii. She continues to support the work of local communities and Native Americans towards their food and seed sovereignty.