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Thomas Cole

Thomas has spent the last 25 years in sustainable agriculture, livelihoods, community development, and humanitarian response work in both the U.S. and Sub-Saharan Africa. His focal areas are in food-production systems, post-conflict recovery, disaster-risk reduction, agricultural extension, permaculture, natural resource management, and livelihoods. He currently works as an agroecology and drought-management advisor for global USAID food security programs and provides technical agricultural support for numerous communities recovering from conflict and disaster in central and eastern Africa. Previously he worked as the Africa Region Food Security and Livelihoods Advisor for Save the Children. In Santa Barbara, he is the co-owner and operator of Cold Spring Aloes, a small botanic garden, succulent plant nursery, and award-winning garden design business.

He is the co-founder of African Women Rising, a community-based organization empowering thousands of women in post-war Uganda. He is also founding partner and VP of sourcing and sustainability for Kaibae, a Santa Barbara-based lifestyle company harnessing the nutritional and health potential of lost crops. For the last 10 years he has also worked as a strategic philanthropic advisor for several private family foundations, helping to guide strategy and investment in a range of program areas including global health, sustainable agriculture, and alternative basic education models. Thomas has a master’s degree in Humanitarian Assistance from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and is a five-time world Frisbee champion.

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