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Food Project Junior ParalegalAustin Bryniarski joined Public Justice in 2021 as the Food Project Junior Paralegal. Before joining Public Justice, Austin contributed research and writing to several organizations and served as the Lazarus Fellow at the Yale Sustainable Food Program, where he collaborated with students, faculty, staff, and community members on academic programming that centered food and agriculture topics. Austin holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Yale.
Food Project DirectorJessica Culpepper is Director of Public Justice's Food Project. Before joining Public Justice, Jessica was a Barker Fellow and Staff Attorney at the Humane Society of the United States in the Farm Animal Welfare Division.
There she worked primarily on fighting pollution from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and advocating for federal and state policy reform to advance sustainable food systems and the humane treatment of animals. Jessica also defended constitutional challenges to state laws protecting the treatment of dogs in puppy mills and preventing the practice of cockfighting.
Jessica is a 2007 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, where she won the Outstanding Clinic Achievement Award in the Domestic Violence Clinic and helped establish the Georgetown Journal of Law & Modern Critical Race Perspective. She received her B.A. in history and political science from Warren Wilson College in 2004, where she won the Alton P. Pfaff Award for Most Outstanding Member of the Graduating Class.
Food Project Litigation DirectorDavid S. Muraskin is a Food Project Senior Attorney with Public Justice in Washington, D.C. He focuses on impact litigation to promote sustainable alternatives to the industrial animal agriculture system.
His docket consists of constitutional, consumer, worker, and environmental cases.
Of particular note, he is lead counsel in two of the “Ag-gag” cases—a series of challenges to state laws that penalize investigations of factory farming. In that role, he secured the first appellate court decision holding that those investigations are protected by the First Amendment, and obtained a judgment striking down portions of the Wyoming Ag-Gag statutes.
David also represents ranchers, farmers, and consumers who are being exploited by corporate consolidation in the food industry. For example, he represents the nation’s largest association of independent ranchers in suits concerning the advertising and labeling of beef. And, he is counsel in two antitrust cases on behalf of poultry growers against Tyson and other integrators.
David speaks regularly on the legal and structural barriers to a more fair, transparent, and equitable food system. He also served as an Adjunct Professor at Vermont Law School, where he taught on food justice, and is currently an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches on the procedural and strategic considerations in complex civil litigation.
Prior to joining Public Justice, David prosecuted first-of-its-kind qui tam litigation, served as the Alan Morrison Supreme Court Assistance Project Fellow with Public Citizen, and clerked for Judge James L. Dennis on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
David graduated from Stanford Law School with Distinction, has a Master’s in Forced Migration from Oxford University, St. Antony’s College, and received a B.A. from the University of Chicago with highest honors.
Food Project Senior AttorneyBrent Newell is a Food Project Senior Attorney with Public Justice in Oakland, California, where he works with the Food Project team to reform the industrial animal agriculture system, support impacted communities, and promote sustainable alternatives.
Prior to joining Public Justice in 2018, Brent was an attorney with the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment in Oakland, California. Brent brings eighteen years of litigation and legislative experience on air quality, climate change, factory farm, environmental justice, and civil rights issues to the Food Project. His experience includes a series of cases to help rural communities protect themselves from factory farm pollution and enforce the Clean Air Act. Brent’s has also focused on redressing climate change impacts and developing just and equitable policy to reduce greenhouse gases, including reforming cap and trade, strengthening air pollution laws, and representing the Native Village of Kivalina in public nuisance litigation.
In 2008, Brent received the Clean Air Award for Leadership from Breathe California for his work to reduce agricultural air pollution.
He earned a degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz (Stevenson College) and graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law.
Food Project Organizing DirectorAmeesha Sampat, Food Project Organizing Director, is responsible developing and overseeing the Food Project’s organizing and outreach strategies. She joined Public Justice’s Washington, D.C. office in October of 2017.
Prior to joining Public Justice, Ameesha managed digital strategies at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, where she implemented campaigns around Advancing Justice | AAJC’s political, grassroots, and legal advocacy work. Ameesha has extensive experience in digital advocacy and organizing within the immigrant and LGBTQ communities, as well as communities of color and progressive faith communities. Ameesha is also Vice Chair of the Board for Esperanza Education Fund, a volunteer-led organization that provides college scholarships and professional mentorship to local immigrant students regardless of national origin, ethnicity, or immigration status.
Food Project ParalegalLisa Reed joined Public Justice in 2019 as the Food Project paralegal, supporting the Food Project in all aspects of their work. Before joining Public Justice, Lisa worked as a litigation and government contracts paralegal. She received her Master’s Degree in Political Science from Boston College.
Food Project Communications and Organizing CoordinatorMasha Vernik is the Food Project Communications and Organizing Coordinator. She crafts strategic narratives and builds power with affected communities to build a regenerative, humane, and independently owned food system. Prior to joining Public Justice, Masha was the Food Policy Advisor with Peace Rising, working with a grassroots community gardening group to grow food on public land in Cambridge, MA. That work grew out of a combination of two earlier projects – managing Cambridge City Councilor Quinton Zondervan’s election campaign and producing Common Roots, a short documentary that shows how an East Boston urban garden builds community resiliency.
Before that, Masha worked at Local Roots, a small vegetable farm in Duvall, WA, where she harvested, weeded, and transplanted vegetables. In 2019, Masha graduated from Boston University summa cum laude with a B.A. in International Relations and a minor in Biology, where she earned the Student Sustainability Leadership Award for her ongoing engagement with the fossil fuel divestment movement.