Amber Sciligo, Ph.D.
Director of Science Programs
Dr. Amber Sciligo is the director of science programs at The Organic Center where she directs projects associated with communicating and conducting research related to organic agriculture. During her tenure at The Organic Center, Dr. Sciligo has worked closely with researchers, industry, farmers, and policymakers to identify organic research needs, and she has collaborated on a diverse range of research programs with her most recent collaborations including projects aimed at:
- Mitigating climate change
- Increasing the accessibility of equitable agricultural technology aimed at supporting the organic supply chain
- Reducing incongruities in National Organic Program standards and third party food safety requirements
- Tackling challenges associated with inadvertent pesticide contamination across the organic supply chain
- Incorporating livestock into vegetable cropping systems
Dr. Sciligo heads The Organic Center’s grant writing program and FFAR funding partnership which offers organic research funding and prizes for outstanding organic extension efforts. She also leads the center’s signature conference event, Organic Confluences, which brings together policy makers, researchers, farmers, industry members, and other non-profits to address and overcome challenges faced by the organic sector. Dr. Sciligo brings the organic voice to communities at international, national, and local levels by serving on boards and advisory committees for ISOFAR, FFAR and the Organic Association of Kentucky, the state in which she resides.
Dr. Sciligo received her PhD at Lincoln University, New Zealand in ecology and evolution with a specialty in plant/insect interactions, specifically pollination services to plants. Her extensive postdoctoral work at UC Berkeley included several interdisciplinary projects related to the impacts of farm diversification within the organic system on a range of ecosystem services from biodiversity, pollination, natural pest control, soil health, and climate change mitigation, as well as the livelihoods of farmers. The main goals of her work have been to inform research and policies to include the needs of agroecological farmers so that their businesses can thrive, while preserving the land for future farming.
Manager of Science Programs
As the manager of science programs for The Organic Center, Katrina Hunter administers research programs that help overcome challenges to organic farming. She builds relationships with academic researchers, farmers and industry partners so that research programs are developed with collaboration across the supply chain, and facilitates grant applications to fund The Center's research programs. Katrina also communicates evidence-based information on the environmental and health effects of organic food and farming to the public through various outreach strategies including presentations at events ranging from farmer-focused conferences to trade shows, conducts literature reviews for the center's topical reports, and presents a range of organic science for the center's webinars.
Katrina Hunter has spent the past decade working in research and production capacities across various agricultural management systems with a focus on biological control and plant breeding solutions for insect and mite pests, pollination biology, and pesticide regulations. She received her master's degree from the University of California Santa Cruz Science Communication Program and a bachelor's degree in environmental studies specializing in natural sciences, entomology, and integrated pest management.
As a science communicator, Katrina is passionate about educating the public on the challenges facing agriculture and the complexity of bringing food and fiber from farm to consumer, while finding solutions that steward the land, farmers, and farmworkers alike.