Daniel O’Connell is executive director of the Central Valley Partnership. In addition, he serves as a Board member (and, until recently, co-director) of Food Commons Fresno and is an ecosystem services consultant with the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Daniel is a scholar of the San Joaquin Valley and California. He has an M.S. in international agricultural development from UC Davis and a Ph.D. in adult and extension education from Cornell University. The focus of his graduate scholarship was on the San Joaquin Valley with a particular emphasis on community development practice, the region’s socioeconomic structure and the role of scholars working as change agents with its marginalized communities.
Recently, he worked as the first farmland conservation director of the southern San Joaquin Valley with Sequoia Riverlands Trust and as San Joaquin Valley program manager with American Farmland Trust. In those roles, he negotiated the first agricultural conservation easements with farmers in the history of Tulare and Kern counties, was instrumental in the land-use policy outcomes of the 2030 Visalia General Plan and the 2035 City of Fresno General Plan updates, and led regional advocacy to implement SB 375’s inaugural round of Sustainable Communities Strategies in the Valley. He has also served as a Peace Corp volunteer for the Government of Namibia as a regional youth officer and has worked in numerous positions including as a field naturalist, park ranger, teacher, researcher and a backcountry trail crew leader when he was younger.
His work integrates conservation of natural resources, urban revitalization, environmental justice, community organizing, food systems infrastructure development, engaged scholarship and climate policy implementation.
Michael D. Evans
Michael D. Evans is currently coordinator of the Central Valley Partnership (CVP) and was a founding member of the organization. He also serves as the executive director for the Community Alliance newspaper and has a leadership role with the Fresno County Democratic Party.
Michael is on the Board of Leadership for Jobs and a New Economy (LJANE), which operates locally through the CVP. He has served on community groups advocating for immigration rights, women’s rights, resolving issues for the homeless and promoting civility in media. He was on the Steering Committee of the No on Measure G campaign, which led to the formation of the CVP.
Michael has made numerous presentations to local organizations on a variety of topics related to greater involvement in the political process and progressive activism. He has worked to build coalitions with progressive and community groups countywide through his Democratic Party work and has gotten the party engaged in local issues. He is also a representative to the Fresno-Madera-Tulare-Kings Central Labor Council’s political directors group.
Michael was named the 2017 Democrat of the Year for Fresno County and has received the Kennedy Club’s Courage Award, the Fresno County Young Democrats’ Legacy of Leadership Award and the California Democratic National Committee Delegation’s Fighting Democratic Donkey Award. In 2015, he received the National Women’s Political Caucus’s “Good Guy” award and was roasted at a Democratic Party event featuring State Controller Betty Yee. In 2012, he was named Volunteer of the Year for California Democratic Party Region 8.