Director, Institute for Environmental Negotiation + Lecturer

Education: B.A., Government, Smith College

Appointed as Director of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation in 2015, Tanya Denckla Cobb is a seasoned mediator and facilitator in environmental public policy, author, and teacher. Through her career she has worked for the federal government, state government, local and state nonprofit organizations, and as an independent consultant and writer. Tanya was among the first certified in 1993 by the Virginia Supreme Court to mediate court-referred cases and conduct training in mediation. She is a senior practitioner on the national Roster of Environmental Dispute Resolution and Consensus Building Professionals.

At IEN since 1997, first as a Senior Associate and then Associate Director, she is passionate about bringing people together to discover common ground and create solutions for mutual gain, and she works on a broad range of environmental, agricultural and community issues.  In recent years at IEN, she has worked on issues of sea level rise in coastal Virginia, tobacco harm reduction, community food systems, and Virginia food heritage.  At the state level, she spearheaded and facilitated the 1st Virginia Food Security Summit in 2007, then facilitated the founding of the Virginia Food System Council, and again in 2011 facilitated the 2nd Food Security Summit to launch Virginia’s first statewide strategic food plan

She co-founded the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute in 1999, where she continues to serve as teaching faculty. She conducts seminars in conflict resolution and collaborative problem solving for the National Preservation Institute, as well as develops customized training on demand. At the University, she teaches group facilitation and community food system planning, while also participating in the UVa Food Collaborative.

Prior to working at the IEN, she worked at the grassroots -- mediating for community mediation centers, co-founding and serving as Executive Director of Greener Harrisonburg, and later serving as Executive Director of the Virginia Urban Forest Council.  Earlier, she worked for the federal government in international labor rights, where she served on the U.S. Delegation to the U.N. International Labor Organization conference.

She has authored numerous articles as well as two books:  The Gardener’s A to Z Guide to Growing Organic Food, and Reclaiming Our Food: How the Grassroots Food Movement is ChangingThe Way We Eat -- which was named by Booklist as "one of the top ten books on the environment in 2012," and also won the Nautilus 2012 Gold Green Living Award for books that "promote spiritual growth, conscious living, positive social change, stimulate the imagination, and offer new possibilities for a better life and a better world."

Senior Practitioner, National Roster of Environmental Dispute Resolution and Consensus Building Professionals (2000 - present)
Facilitator/Chair for UVA Sustainable Food Strategy Task Force
Founding faculty for the 4-Credit summer Virginia Food System Leadership Institute (2018 - present)
Co-founder & teaching faculty, Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute (1999 – present)
Fellow, Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures (2012-13)
Faculty, Morven Summer Institute (2012 to 2014)
Founding member of UVa Food Collaborative