Vanessa Garcia Polanco

Vanessa Garcia Polanco

Government Relations Director, National Young Farmers Coalition


Vanessa Garcia Polanco co-designs the strategy and implementation of the National Young Farmers Coalition policy campaigns, ensuring equity-driven, farmer-centric research, policy, and programmatic interventions for a more just food system. She is an experienced leader, scholar, speaker, writer, and organizer working with food, agriculture, and sustainability stakeholders to create and strengthen sustainable and just food systems and communities with research, policy, and programmatic interventions. She serves as the organizational council member of the US National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. She has previously worked with the US Department of Agriculture and the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems. She is a United Nations Youth Agriculture Working Group member and was part of the 2021 New York Times Generation Climate at the United Nations Conference of the Parties Climate Hub. She is an alumna of Michigan State University and the University of Rhode Island. She is a James Beard Foundation Scholar, an Agriculture, Food, Human Values Society Innovation Leader, an Emerging Leader in Food and Ag, a Union of Concerned Scientists 2022 Science Defender, and a 2023 Grist 50 Climate Fixer. As an Afro-Dominican immigrant, she brings her experiences and identities to her policy and advocacy activities. In her free time, she leads Dominican Food Studies research projects and funnels financial and physical resources to Dominican food sovereignty projects.

What inspires you about the impact of Latino Changemakers that you see all over the US?

What inspires you about the impact of Latino Changemakers that you see all over the US? That we are making sure that when one of us makes it, our impact and our communities are represented and making sure we leave the door open for others to follow in our footsteps with mentorship and support.