PARTICIPATE . INSPIRE . ENGAGE . EXCHANGE
The P.I.E Initiative is a Global Platform that connects teens from around the world to engage in conversation about sustainable and regenerative farming and food. The goal is to inform, educate and empower teenagers to create change in their communities with regards to access to food, healthy bodies, healthy minds as well as raise awareness about the need for sustainable agriculture.
The P.I.E Initiative will empower teenagers to start their own independent projects and provide a platform where they can communicate with each other and discuss the challenges they face in addition to sharing successes and experiences of their respective projects.
Dialogue amongst the teenagers is a key component of the initiative since the motto is to create a virtual environment where teenagers can inspire each other, participate, exchange ideas and engage with one another.
The problems with the availability and access to food is a major issue around which young people can unite and together become environmentally active.
How food comes from the earth to our table is a journey with which everyone should be intimately familiar.
Access to food is a social justice issue and it is a pressing concern for many children and young people in the US, in the Middle East and all around the world.
Health is directly related to what we put in our bodies.
Farming needs to become sustainable and regenerative so that we can have access to healthy food.
Hi, my name is Daniel. I was born in Los Angeles to a Turkish mother and a Persian-American father. I moved to Istanbul when I was 4 years old and lived there until I was 12.
I attended an International School in Istanbul and made friends with kids from around the globe. While living in Istanbul I became aware of the civil war in Syria and the plight of refugee children. I saw first-hand how Syrian refugee children were begging on the streets of Istanbul. In 2017 I made a music video about the tough life of a homeless refugee child and raised money to donate to a school that helped them acclimate to their new home. I have always been interested in creating change in my community and my international education has made me realize that we are all in one way or another connected and that we have the power to make this world a better place. My maternal grandfather was the first agricultural engineer in his town in Turkey. He came from a landowning family that grew wheat and sunflowers for hundreds of years. He was a trailblazer in the sense that he helped start the first agricultural engineering school in Western Turkey. I never met him, but I grew up being aware of the importance of sustainable and regenerative farming. Now, I attend a public charter middle school in Los Angeles and during the Covid-19 lockdown, I realized how many of my peers’ only access to food was through school meals. This was such a wake-up call for me that there are many hungry kids in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. So, I decided to start a global initiative where we, young people, can have a say in our future when it comes to meeting our most basic needs –
ACCESS TO FOOD, SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND
OUR CONNECTION TO OUR ENVIRONMENT.
ACTION : YOUTH PROGRAMS
WELCOME TEEN AMBASSADORS
Teens aligned with the mission of the Pie Initiative will be invited to become ambassadors.
The ambassadors can spearhead their projects under the umbrella of the PIE Initiative
and/or they can all work towards
several projects together.
COLE MATHIS – Teen Ambassador & Video Producer
I’m Cole Mathis, a 16-year-old Junior in high school, hailing from Los Angeles California.
I love hiking in the mountains nearby, and really appreciate nature. Now, I am a video editor for the PIE program, helping to spread its outreach to those who it may appeal to.
I believe the connection of people from across the planet is the most vital part in actually building a better world, and PIE aims to accomplish that.
LARA KİREMİTÇİOĞLU – Teen Ambassador
Hi, I’m Lara. I’ve lived in Istanbul, Turkey my whole life. My parents and I have visited every major city in our country which is placed in possibly the most dominant geopolitical position in the world. I’ve always been interested in how political disputes and geography affect our smaller communities and with the Syrian refugee numbers increasing I noticed many disturbing and palpable changes in our country. Now, as a 14-year-old there is so little I can do regarding the welfare of my country and its neighboring states however the issue of large-scale hunger and lack of distributed food, members of our communities face, specifically regarding the populous group of youth that live below the poverty line is an issue I aim to tackle
CLAIRE LESHER – Teen Ambassador
My name is Claire. Some of my interests include; learning about science, reading novels and experimenting with different types of art. I joined P.I.E. Initiative because I do agree with Danial that there was too much food being wasted every year. I am interested in social activism because I see how food affects everyone’s daily lives. I look forward to contributing to P.I.E. initiative to make a change for the better.
Be in the Know!
Start with small projects in the US and Turkey first. Then we branch out to the UK, GREECE, KOREA, CHINA, RUSSIA, INDIA AND BOTSWANA. We currently have a list of teenagers in all these countries.
In Turkey enlist the help of several non-profit organizations that work with teenagers.
In California, we can enlist a number of mentors and organizations.
Create networks with other initiatives that were established by adults in various countries and seek their mentorship.
Create local networks with existing organizations
Enlist sister high schools and create a model where there is a global connection between the teen participants via video conferences.It is also important that teenagers from different countries can have a dialogue with each other beyond the common idea of FOOD and SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
OUR ADVISORY BOARD
ALISON HERSEL – Advisor
Alison Hersel, born and raised in Southern California, is a passionate and steward and Director of Plumcot Farm, a CCOF Organic Certified family farm in Malibu. After completing a degree in Political Science at Loyola Marymount University, Alison worked in construction and real estate development, business management, and entrepreneurship. In 2014Alison and her husband acquired the land that would soon be transformed into their multi-generational family residence with adrought tolerant edible landscape, a homeschool learning lab for their three children, and a regenerative farm that contributes to the local food system.
Plumcot Farm offers twice-weekly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm Box pickups with a variety of organic seasonal vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Additionally, Plumcot Farm is a destination for community education, hosting thought leaders in the areas of regenerative agriculture, environmental activism, holistic wellness, and culinary arts. Farm-to-table dinners, kids cooking camps, and adult cooking classes have been favorite offerings. In practice and in programming, Alison and her team at Plumcot Farm seek to empower self-agency in food choices by raising awareness of health and environmental impact issues associated with food production, consumption, and distribution. Further, Plumcot Farm supports the democratization of equal access to healthy, fresh, and local food. Plumcot Farm has hosted fundraising events for organizations such as Slow Food Ventura, Kiss the Ground, and Community Healing Gardens.
BEGONIA RODRIGUEZ RUEADA – Advisor
After graduating from the University of la Laguna (Spain) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, she worked in Japan as an illustrator and in the US as a high school teacher.
Later on, Ms. Rodriguez secured an advanced Master of Science in Medical Illustration
at the Medical College of Georgia in 2010.
After a couple of years working in New York City, she moved to Edirne, Turkey, where she serves as a lecturer at the Fine Art School.
Volunteering in social groups in her teens and nowadays in environmental groups like CEVSAM, Edirne “Cevre Gonulluleri”, “Plastige Hayir initativa” and more recently working to promote regenerative farming in the Edirne region, she joins the P.I.E. project to provide advise when needed to these young active people.
OLIVER ENGLISH – Advisor
Oliver English is a filmmaker, chef & food advocate. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Oliver grew up in his family's restaurant business and has been intimately involved in the world of food ever since. He is an expert in and deeply passionate about global food systems, storytelling, and regenerative agriculture.
Oliver is the Co-Founder & CEO of Common Table Creative (CTC), an impact-driven production & hospitality company specializing in advancing global food, sustainability, and social justice issues. CTC creates films and experiences that bring people together and tell stories about the power of food. He created and is currently producing CTC’s signature documentary, Feeding Tomorrow (FT). Oliver also leads the team’s monthly dinner series, where CTC brings together thought leaders, artists, entrepreneurs, and musicians to share in a plant-based meal and discuss the future of food and humanity at large.
Common Table Creative works with NGO’s, Non-profits, and food companies around the world to showcase the power of food. CTC recently released WE UNITE, a short film with the United Nations as a part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) Make Europe sustainable development Goals. ‘We Unite’ is a window into the lives of two organic farmers and the reasons they join the yearly ‘We are Fed-Up’ demonstration in Germany. Along with hundreds of other farmers, they drive their tractors into the heart of Berlin where they unite with thousands of citizens calling for a better food and farming system for all.
Prior to launching Feeding Tomorrow & Common Table Creative, Oliver led his family company, Todd English Enterprises international restaurant development sector, opening restaurants throughout North America, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. His experience in the global hospitality business showed Oliver first hand the positive and negative effects of globalization and climate change on the world's food system, inspiring him to use art as activism to address the issues at hand, and inspire long-term lasting change. Throughout his time in the restaurant business, Oliver worked for some of the most prestigious global hospitality companies. He was previously an associate with Elizabeth Blau & Associates and has worked for Alain Ducasse Enterprise in Paris, France. In New York, Oliver worked at the three-star Michelin Eleven Madison Park and for Celebrity Chef Daniel Boulud.
At home in California, Oliver heads a Food policy coalition called “Breaking Bread”, a loose affiliation of organizations working to advance food systems improvement and transformation through policy. Specifically, the group works on healthy soils, composting, and supporting smallholder farmers in their transition to Regenerative Agriculture. Oliver is a graduate of Cornell Universities School of Hotel Administration
ENGIN GÜVENÇ – Advisor
She initiated and acted as founding Executive Director of Turkish Business Council for Sustainable Development (TBCSD) for about 10 years. She currently acts as a sustainability consultant since 2013 under her company SVS Turkey. She has experience as a manager,
advisor and consultant including, sustainability management, business development, talent engagement and development, executive coaching, change management, team building, stakeholder engagement, employee engagement in her more than thirty years of experience,
in national and international. She holds certification from ADLER International Coaching School.
Her life philosophy is "Wellbeing is the base of life” specially the one connected with the nature. So, she always ready to support platforms where we can spread awareness of nature
and life sustainability.
DEMET CABBAR – Advisor
Demet Cabbar is a Financial Officer at the World Bank's Financing for Development Team, where she focuses on increasing financing available for developing countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Born in Istanbul and raised in Tekirdag. Demet moved to the US in 1996 to continue her education. She has been a Board Member of the American Turkish Association of Washington, DC since 2003 and served as its President for three terms between 2007 and 2013. Demet has been involved in the organization of the award-winning DC Turkish Festival since its inception and has held one of the critical leadership roles in growing and expanding the festival into a vibrant DC tradition. During her Presidency, she launched the Turkish Cuisine and Restaurant week, Turkish Heritage Month and ATA-DC networking happy hours as well as ATA-DC’s International Women’s Day Activities that raise awareness of domestic violence and honor crimes against women and raise funds for organizations that deal with these issues. Demet served as the Capital Region VP for the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) between 2008 and 2013. In 2008, ATAA awarded Demet the President of the Component Association of the year. Demet is a co-founder, active dancer and instructor of the Kardelen Turkish Dance Ensemble. In January 2011, Middle East Technical University Alumni Association recognized Demet with a Service Award for her outstanding commitment to the Turkish-American Community. Demet holds a BS degree in Management Engineering from Istanbul Technical University. She earned a Joint MBA/MA Degree in International Affairs and International Business and a MS Degree in Finance from the George Washington University.
PERİ ATAMAN HOLDEN
A 1983 Smith College graduate in geology, Peri chose to pursue a career building a range of corporate travel businesses in Turkey.
Through her life experiences Peri has developed a passion for supporting the education of girls and women. She has a particular focus on the education of those who are disadvantaged by social, economic or religious circumstances. A decade ago Peri co-founded the “Payda Supporting Students” project under Turkey’s charitable Payda umbrella www.paydaplatformu.org, and she continues to be very active in its running today. She also runs social responsibility and educational projects that bring together students from different regions and backgrounds. Examples include the annual “Circle of Hope” (Umut Halkası) educational summer camp, plus an initiative introducing Turkish rural teens into the English-speaking Model UN program, as well as projects pairing students between different high schools across regions to support each other in speaking English and learning each other’s cultures.
Peri believes that sharing education and experiences across cultures benefits everyone, and allows us all together to achieve a better and more inclusive future.
Peri lives between the UK and Turkey and, when not too busy working and volunteering, enjoys gardening, birding, crafts and sailing.