Nelson Campbell

Chair of the Board

With the vision of leading a grassroots movement to promote the health benefits of plant-based nutrition, Nelson Campbell founded PlantPure Communities. He was the founding Executive Director and a founding board member.

Prior to founding the PlantPure organization, Nelson graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science, and a Masters Degree in Economics, and then worked for 25 years as a socially conscious business entrepreneur.

He also is the Executive Producer, Director and Co-Writer of the documentary film PlantPure Nation. This film examines the political and economic factors that suppress information about the benefits of plant-based nutrition, and makes connections to public policy, medical practice, food deserts, and farming. He currently leads the Healing America campaign, a grassroots strategy to empower people in local communities to help share the message of plant-based nutrition. This strategy utilizes a social action platform to support local initiatives that target different sectors of the community.

Jody Kass

Executive Director & Member of the Board of Directors

Building on a life-long commitment to working for the public good, Jody was inspired to turn her attention to national nutrition policy after reading The China Study and meeting author/researcher, T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. In the spring 2015, Jody joined the Board of Directors of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies (CNS). In addition, in January 2016, Jody accepted a position as Associate Director of the nonprofit organization, PlantPure Communities, Inc., and in September 2016 was appointed by the Board as Executive Director of the organization. Jody brings to both of these endeavors her considerable experience in advocacy, nonprofit management, lobbying and strategic planning from her 30-year career in community revitalization. Jody’s particular expertise is in the crafting of out-of-the-box solutions to thorny problems, and translating those solutions into legislative and regulatory action that achieve systemic change.

Prior to national nutrition/food policy issues, Jody worked in the brownfields and community development arena. In 2001, Jody co-founded the nonprofit organization, New Partners for Community Revitalization, (NPCR) which she directed until 2014. Under Jody’s leadership, NPCR’s work re-shaped the brownfields and community development framework in New York.

Prior to NPCR, Jody was Vice President of the nonprofit NYC Housing Partnership, where she helped coordinate the construction of over 16,000 affordable housing units, representing over $1.5 billion in private investment in 50 NYC low-income communities. While at the Partnership, Jody served on Gov. Pataki’s Superfund Working Group and she also created and coordinated the Pocantico Roundtable for Consensus on Brownfields and co-led the Brownfields Coalition, an association of over 100 diverse organizations who came together in support of the legislative proposal that emerged from the Pocantico Roundtable and was ultimately instrumental in securing passage of the 2003 NYS Brownfields Law.

Jody’s skill-set includes nonprofit management, lobbying, consensus building, navigating government bureaucracy, training, technical assistance, event conceptualization and coordination, fund raising, complex negotiations on technical and budgetary matters, public speaking, media campaigns, and strategic planning. She has received many awards, including the 2014 NYC Brownfield Partnership Distinguished Service Award; the 2013 Brownfields Leadership Award from NALGEP; the 2009 Leadership in Sustainable Not-for-Profit award from Sustainable Long Island; the 2008 Hero of the Harbor Award from the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance; and the 2004 Advocate Award from Environmental Advocates.

Jim Courage

Member of the Board of Directors

Jim has 39 years professional work experience in sales, service management and consulting in IBM and Cisco Systems, including K-12 education project leadership in IBM and Educational Vistas. He earned several sales and community awards, recognition events, and media citations in the NY Times, Crain’s NY Business and Educational Leadership magazine.

Jim graduated with a business management degree from St. Francis College and earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Bank Street College. He was on loan from IBM to the NYC Schools Chancellor for 3 years overseeing a $2.7M community programs project designed to improve student learning results in the poorest congressional district in NY State. He hired education experts to train over 2,100 teachers in performance based instructional methodology, engaged 59 community based organizations for a variety of student services, and implemented over $1M of IBM computers. Supporting 29,000 students across 35 schools, the South Bronx district rose from the lowest in NYC in both reading and math, to moving up 10 spots of the 32 NYC school districts in just 3 years.

Jim lives with his wife Laurie in Port Washington, New York. They have two adult children, Brian and Kristen. Laurie began eating whole foods, plant based the day after she read The China Study, and influenced Jim to do the same soon after.

Jim is grateful to have made the change, since both his Dad and grandfather died of heart attacks in their 40’s. Jim is determined to break the cycle, passionate about this healthy lifestyle and delighted to support Nelson Campbell and family in the PlantPure Communities mission.

Dr. Benjamin Ha

Member of the Board of Directors

Dr. Benjamin Ha is a Family Physician with Kaiser Permanente in Bakersfield, California. As an Assistant Area Medical Director for the Kern County Service Area for ten years, he led local efforts to improve clinical quality of care, chronic disease management, and health education for members. After discovering the power of whole food, plant-based nutrition to transform lives, he transitioned back to full-time clinical practice to spend more time working directly with patients.

In 2013, Dr. Ha co-authored an article published in The Permanente Journal entitled “Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-based Diets,” and was a featured speaker and panelist at the First and Second Annual International Plant-Based Nutrition conference. He regularly volunteers his time to lecture about plant-based nutrition to community organizations and universities, and is a frequent guest on local television. Dr. Ha also leads a free monthly workshop to promote a whole food, plant-based diet as a powerful prescription for optimal health and wellness.    

Dr. Ha is a North Carolina native and proud graduate of Duke University and the East Carolina University School of Medicine. He completed his Family Medicine residency at Long Beach Memorial before joining Kaiser Permanente in 2003. He lives in Bakersfield with his wife Nina and their two children, Ashley and Ben Jr.