Paula Daniels is the founder of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, a policy based collective impact initiative of food system leaders working toward an environmentally sustainable, equitable and regionally based food system (www.goodfoodla.org). The Council and its staff serve as the backbone of over 100 active and 500 connected individuals and organizations. Its key initiatives are: a coordinated healthy foods strategy, with a focus on neighborhood market conversions; and a Good Food Purchasing Policy, a multi-faceted and comprehensive policy with metrics and guidelines for large institutional food purchasers.
Daniels served for two years as a Senior Advisor to Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, on Food Policy and Special Projects in Water, a position she advanced to within the administration after six years as a Los Angeles Public Works Commissioner, a full-time executive position overseeing the Department of Public Works. While a commissioner she developed the original strategic plan and organizational foundation for the award winning MillionTreesLA program, and led the development of a suite of green infrastructure policies, best practices and tools, including: the Green Streets initiative, which includes the development of the nation’s first standard plans for Green Streets (see http://eng.lacity.org/index.cfm); a Low Impact Development Ordinance (www.lastormwater.org), a workforce development program in low impact development, the Native Green Gardener; a study on job benefits in water use efficiency projects, “Economic and Job Impacts of Investments in Water Use Efficiency” (www.economicrt.org).
An attorney, she has been actively engaged in California environmental policy issues since 1989, when she first became involved with the environmental group Heal the Bay. Daniels was also commissioner with the California Coastal Commission, and a gubernatorial appointee on the governing board of the California Bay-Delta Authority. She has a faculty affiliation at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA, and was the 2013 Theodore B. and Doris Shoong Lee Distinguished Professor of Real Estate Law and Urban Planning at UC Berkeley.
She has served on several boards of environmental and Asian American non-profit organizations and bar associations, and is the recipient of a number of recognitions and awards, including: Heal the Bay’s Superhealer Award (1991); the Environmental Leadership Award of the California League of Conservation Voters (2005); the Water Quality Leadership award from the State of California Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (2007); and the Stanton Fellowship of the Durfee Foundation (2012-2013 award). She was named by the LA Weekly as one of the top ten people making Los Angeles a better place, in their People 2012 issue.