Director and Senior Scientist for the Food and Environment Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
In his role at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Ricardo works with citizens, scientists, economists, and politicians to transition our current food system into one that grows healthy foods while employing sustainable and socially equitable practices. Before UCS, he served as a program officer for food, health, and well-being with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where he was responsible for conceptualizing and managing the Foundation’s food systems programming. Prior to that, he was an associate professor of agronomy at Iowa State University where he taught the first course in sustainable agriculture at a land-grant university, and his graduate students conducted some of the original academic research on community-supported agriculture. He worked with students to establish ISU’s student-operated organic farm, and with other faculty to develop the nation’s first sustainable agriculture graduate program in 2000; Ricardo served as the program’s first chair. He has appeared on MSNBC and been quoted in The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Politico and many other outlets. He was named a 2013 NBC Latino Innovator and received the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2014. He earned a B.S. in agricultural science from New Mexico State University and holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in crop production and physiology from Iowa State University.