Karen Crespo Triveño

Decolonizing food systems and transnational indigenous spaces.



California, USA

Affiliations & Roles

Lead Organizer, Leaders4Earth



Karen is a Quechua Bolivian who grew up in the unceded ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone, who are the original inhabitants of the San Francisco Peninsula. She is self-decolonizing; she is restoring her ancestral remembrance of traditional knowledge, foodways, cultural practices, and language to embrace her sovereignty and pass down this ancestral knowledge to those who will come after her.

While studying in her ancestral homelands, Karen produced a research documentary film project focused on Bolivian perspectives on environmental conservation and food accessibility. Since then, she has worked with several non-profits on environmental justice education curriculum design, community organizing, social media coordination, and website management. In 2020, she became a co-founder of Leaders 4 Environmental Activism Reclaiming Their Health (Leaders4EARTH), a youth-led community working group that prioritizes leadership development through an environmental and social justice lens. She has organized multiple environmental justice youth leadership academy programs within Salinas Valley, one of the most agriculturally productive regions in the world. She educates youth about environmental justice, cumulative health impacts, food sovereignty, farmworker rights, and environmental health issues such as pesticide drift and drinking water contamination. Her work alongside PoC youth aims to develop young environmental activists and resilient leaders so they feel prepared to protect the health of their communities through creative forms of activism, such as participatory action research projects, virtual outreach, and bilingual community education.

Karen received her B.A. degree from the University of San Francisco in 2020, where she majored in International Studies, concentrated in Environment Development, and double minored in Latin American and Urban Agriculture studies. She is an incoming Ph.D. student at the Department of Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz. Her research will focus on the socio-economic and political impacts of the commodification of native crops upon Indigenous farmers from our global food system, and the movements taking place towards decolonial food sovereignty and transnational Indigenous sovereignty.


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