It Takes a Region Conference - 2016

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Film: Forgotten Farms | Presenter Bios


Presenter Bios

More coming soon!

Marilyn Anthony
Marilyn Anthony's career has moved from "table to farm." After working as a chef for many years, she became involved in the economics and social justice of the food movement as CEO of the nationally known White Dog Cafe. Marilyn then joined PASA to open their Eastern Regional office where she championed a land leasing program. As Executive Director of Lundale Farm, she has created a community of farm enterprises on 520 acres in Chester County. In addition, she is full-time faculty for the Fox School of Business at Temple University, where her projects have provided business and marketing expertise for local food retailers, farm educators and various other clients.

Karen Banks
At the Center for a Livable Future, Karen Banks works with the Food Policy Networks project, a growing network of stakeholder groups in North America that strive to achieve lasting food and agricultural systems policy change. Karen enjoys working with this dynamic network because of the challenge in addressing regional environmental, political and cultural variations in the food system. Karen has a masters degree in community and regional planning and experience as a consultant, transportation planner, educator and baker.

Linda Berlin
Linda Berlin is the Director of the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Vermont, where she leads staff working across the spectrum of sustainable agriculture and food systems.  Her personal work is in the areas of food security, food access and farm-to-school. Her current research involves food security measurement of Vermont resettled refugees, and expansion of food access in the Northeastern U.S. through regional food systems. Prior research was focused on understanding consumer views about food choice.

Emma Bliska
Emma Bliska joined Middlebury Foods in January 2015 and has been a chief leader since May of 2015. She is responsible for planning deliveries, organizing volunteers, and long term development and outreach. She is interested in food justice because she knows how food can bring people together, and believes that everyone has the fundamental right to good, healthy food. She is currently studying political science and geography.

Phil Britton
Phil Britton is the Group Administrator of the Michigan GroupGAP Network, a statewide GroupGAP certification effort.  Phil has helped develop two separate GroupGAP initiatives in MI, during the USDA pilot phase of the project.  The first was the 2014 UP Food Exchange pilot, where he served as the QMS Lead and developed the group's Quality Management System procedures and records.  Late in 2014, Phil was hired by Cherry Capital Foods, a food hub based in Traverse City, and developed a separate group in western MI that achieved certification in 2015.  This group is expanded statewide in 2016 through partnerships with several regional food hubs.  Prior to his involvement in food systems, Phil spent six years working in Quality Systems in the medical device manufacturing industry.

Alex Brockelman
Alex Brockelman, Communications Manager at Middlebury Foods, is a junior at Middlebury and is studying Political Science and French. He was a summer manager in the summer of 2016. He has been working in restaurants since he was twelve, and believes that accessible, good food that can be shared is the key to a happy, healthy lifestyle. He spends most of his time working directly with customers and community members.

Gideon Burdick
Gideon joined Red Tomato in 2015 after working for LoCo Food Distribution in northern Colorado as Director of Vendor Relations and Office Manager. His prior adventures have found him working on an agriturismo in Italy, rafting the Grand Canyon, and working for the City of Flagstaff, AZ Sustainability Program. As the Marketing and Development Associate Gideon works to support retail partners, farmers, and the RT team. He would be more than happy sharing the stories and passion of the farmers in the RT network with anyone who will listen, and is excited to bring his desire to learn and explore to the greater New England area.

Joanne Burke
Joanne Burke is the Thomas W. Haas Professor in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of New Hampshire. In this role, Dr. Burke provides leadership to engage the University community in efforts to advance sustainable agriculture, food choices, nutrition, food justice and social well-being on campus, and at the state and regional levels. She is one of the authors of the 2014 A New England Food Vision. As a faculty member in the UNH Nutrition Program in the College of Life Science and Agriculture, she teaches food system related courses and has integrated sustainable food systems theory and practice into the UNH graduate level dietetic internship

Laurie "Duck" Caldwell
Duck's more than 20 years non-profit work includes program and project management, program and curriculum development, and consulting. She's a carpenter by trade, has been a business owner, and has worked with VT and NH farmers as a produce buyer for natural foods coops. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, a certificate in small business development from Trinity College of Vermont, and an MBA in Organizational Management and Sustainability from Antioch University New England. Under her leadership, the Boston Area Gleaners has seen an 800% budget increase and exponential growth in capacity, from 37,545 pounds gleaned in 2010 to 364,282 pounds gleaned in 2015.

Kate Clancy
Kate Clancy is Visiting Scholar at the Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, and Senior Fellow in the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, University of Minnesota, and food systems consultant. She is Deputy Director of Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast, a six-year USDA/AFRI funded project. Her present interests include regional food systems, and the connections between community and regional food security.

Tracey Coulter
Tracey Coulter first learned the concept of agroforestry when her mother gave her The Harvester, a 1920s novel about a woodsman who made his living growing and harvesting medicinal and edible plants.  The idea of farming the forest persisted, and after working many years as a purchasing agent, Ms. Coulter received a Master’s Degree in Forest Resources from Penn State. She now serves as Agroforestry Coordinator in the Rural & Community Forestry Section of the Pennsylvania DCNR Bureau of Forestry, where she works to strengthen working landscapes by building the connections among sustainable forestry, sustainable agriculture, and healthy watersheds.

Erik Cullen
Erik Cullen is a student in the UMass Amherst Sustainable Food and Farming program, with focuses in agricultural production and food system analysis.

Catherine Cusack
Catherine Cusack is the Program Director for Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS), a non-profit organization in Newport, VT that strengthens local food systems by promoting positive economic and educational relationships between schools, farms, and communities. GMFTS supplies fresh, local food to schools and institutions and gives students of all ages the knowledge, skills and access they need to make healthy food choices through GMFTS’ farm-to-school programs, food hub, consumer education and mobile summer meal program. Catherine has a strong background in cultivating customer and vendor relationships, marketing and sales for rural food hubs and program planning.

Marydale DeBor, JD   
​Marydale DeBor has over 25 years experience in health care administration and philanthropy. As a senior executive at a community hospital, she recognized the need to transform institutional food service and medical practice with considerations of nutritional status and food security. Her work including leading a coalition of organizations to file public comments in the IRS rulemaking process on community health needs assessment that resulted in the inclusion of “access to adequate nutrition” and other social determinants in the definition of significant health needs that can be considered by nonprofit hospitals in the community health needs assessment process. Marydale founded Fresh Advantage LLC with the goal of placing nutritious, wholesome, and tasty food at the center of medical care and disease prevention, as well as workplace wellness and health promotion

Derek Denckla
Derek Denckla is an impact investor, strategic advisor and serial social entrepreneur. Through his firm,Denckla Projects, he has provided advisory services and sourced investment capital for sustainable and ethical companies, such as Egg Restaurant,, Brandworkers, Brooklyn Grange, Liddabit Sweets, Cracked Candy, MetaMenu, C-Fu Foods, Provenance Meals, Brooklyn Food Works, Red Hook Community Farm, Local Farms Fund, Blue Marble Organic Ice Cream, Greenbelt Condos and many others. He founded and directs non-profit Slow Money NYC since 2011 – a growing community of 4,000 followers linked through networking events exploring why and how to invest in local, sustainable food and farm businesses, such as the annual Food + Enterprise Summit. Denckla manages Foodshed Investors NY, the first angel investor network dedicated to funding local and sustainable food business guided by Slow Money Principles. Denckla is invited to write and speak regularly on impact investing and sustainable food and farm enterprise development.

Eliza Dexter Cohen
Eliza Cohen is the Food Access Coordinator at the Rhode Island Public Health Institute. She coordinates a mobile produce market that brings produce to areas with limited food access throughout the state of Rhode Island. She began her work in food justice at the Food Project in Boston, MA and has since worked on farms throughout New England and abroad. She is committed to working in collaboration with community partners in Rhode Island to ensure equitable food security across the state.

Ashley Colpaart
Ashley is the Founder and CEO of The Food Corridor, a virtual food hub that provides real-time search and discovery, online booking, financial transactions, specificity and fit, and user verification to enable food businesses access the commercial kitchen space they need. She also founded of the Network for Incubator and Commissary Kitchens (NICK). Ashley is a Registered Dietitian who earned a Masters in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition - specializing in Sustainable Food Systems and the Environment from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. She has a unique systems understanding of food and human health in social, economic, and environmental spheres.

Ann Cote
Ann currently serves as Product Management Director for the Connecticut/Boston Partnership. Ann has been involved with the food industry for her entire career. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America she spent several years as Executive Chef in restaurants in Miami, Key West and NYC. She entered food banking in 1987 soon  after the birth of her first child.  Her brother in law Mark Patton who founded CT Food Bank asked for her help answering phones one summer. Having experienced firsthand the food waste in restaurants Ann quickly developed a passion for food banking and its core mission of providing nutritious food to people in need while addressing the issue of food waste. Ann is an advocate of collaboration feeling there is strength in numbers. She has been instrumental in developing many collaborative efforts within the New England region working closely with Feeding America. Most recently her focus has been on acquiring produce that is not perfect but perfectly edible.

Jane & Louis Escobar
Jane & Louis Escobar run Escobar Farm in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, one of 23 remaining dairy farms left in the state. The farm was started by Louis Escobar’s father in 1937. Louis helped with farm chores as a youngster and continued working the farm until he took over in 1972. Over the years, the farm has grown from 52 acres to 96 acres, with 70 milking cows and 50 heifers and an excellent forage program consisting of high quality corn and hay. The farm, run in an environmentally sound manner using best management practices, is surrounded by suburban homes and appreciative neighbors.

Jen Faigel
Jen Faigel is a co-founder of the former CropCircle Kitchen, now CommonWealth Kitchen, and stepped in as Executive Director in 2014. She was the lead real estate consultant for the $15 million Pearl project, which is now home to CWK's flagship kitchen operation. CommonWealth Kitchen is a collaborative community working to strengthen the local economy, particularly for people who have been impacted by racial, social, and economic inequality. They offer shared kitchens with integrated business assistance, creating and growing dynamic food-based businesses and careers.

Erica Frenay
Erica Frenay directs online courses for farmers at the Cornell Small Farms Program. She is also a beginning farmer herself, in her 7th year managing Shelterbelt Farm, where she produces lamb, beef, fruits, veggies, duck eggs, and honey on 35 acres near Ithaca, NY. Her background and training is in ecology, natural resources, systems dynamics, Holistic Management, and permaculture. She loves teaching and writing, and everything to do with food.

​Jillian Fry 
Jillian directs the Public Health and Sustainable Aquaculture Project at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. She works on research, education, and policy activities aimed at increasing understanding of the public health and environmental implications of farmed seafood and to move toward sustainable production practices. She also engages public health students and professionals in this work to raise awareness and spur additional research at the intersection of aquaculture and public health. Jillian earned her Masters of Public Health degree from the University of New Mexico, and her PhD from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

Steve Gabriel
Steve Gabriel is an ecologist, educator, author, and forest farmer from the Finger Lakes region of New York. He is co-author of Farming the Woods, works as Extension Agroforestry Specialist for the Cornell Small Farm Program, and co-owns Wellspring Forest Farm & School, which produces mushrooms, duck eggs, pastured lamb, elderberry extract, and maple syrup.

Sarah Gardner
Sarah Gardner teaches planning and policy at Williams College and is the Associate Director of the Center for Environmental Studies. Her areas of research and teaching include agriculture, food systems, renewable energy and climate change. Sarah is a co-chair of the Williamstown Agricultural Commission and a board member of Berkshire Grown. Sarah was instrumental in proposing and passing the Williamstown Right to Farm bylaw. She was a leader of the North Berkshire Keep Farming project. Sarah is a graduate of Smith College and holds a Masters in Public Policy from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the City University of New York.

Lindsay Gilmour
 Lindsay is the owner of Organic Planet LLC. She plays two roles professionally, as a chef and culinary educator specializing in healing foods, and as a consultant and educator in regional food systems and GAP Food Safety. Lindsay works with regional and national organizations such as Fair Food Philadelphia, Common Market Philadelphia, the PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture, and The Wallace Center at Winrock International, to provide technical assistance and resources to family farmers and assist them in serving new markets, developing new products, and meeting the needs of diverse wholesale customers.

Tevan Goldberg
Tevan Goldberg has been involved with Middlebury Foods since 2014, and has been Chief Financial Officer since May 2015. He has been responsible for helping make Middlebury Foods into a federal 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and also manages the company's financial resources. An environmental policy major at Middlebury College, Tevan is very interested in making sustainable, locally produced foods accessible to the entire population.

Tim Griffin
Tim Griffin is the director of the Tufts University Agriculture, Food and Environment program, as well as an associate professor at the Friedman School. His primary interests are the intersection of agriculture and the environment, and the development and implementation of sustainable production systems. Tim has a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Nebraska and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University.

Vern Grubinger
Vern Grubinger is the vegetable and berry specialist and an extension professor at the University of Vermont. He also serves as coordinator of USDA’s Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE), which awards nearly $4 million in grants annually to researchers, educators, graduate students and farmers across twelve states. Vern has conducted applied research and outreach in the areas of climate change and agriculture, pest management, produce safety, renewable energy, and soil health. He's been the principal investigator on $45 million in grants, gifts and cooperative agreements since 1990. He has written 150 fact sheets, 200 magazine columns, 100 radio commentaries and the books Sustainable Vegetable Production from Start Up to Market and With an Ear to the Ground: Essays on Sustainable Agriculture. He recently co-authored the book Food, Farms and Community: Exploring Food Systems.

Erik Hagan
Erik Hagan is the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Agroforestry Professional Development Project Coordinator and is working with USDA ARS researching the interface between farm management practices and water quality in riparian zones in the Chesapeake Bay. Prior to relocating to PA, Erik was the South Puget Sound Small Farms Specialist for Washington State University Extension and Mason Conservation District in Olympia, WA. Along with his years of farm management experience, farm planning and consulting, food system and agricultural policy development and ethnobotanical background, Erik brings to the table a systems approach and passion for developing locally based sustainable food and farming systems.

Colleen Hanlon-Smith
Colleen Hanlon-Smith is the Operations Manager for Unity Food Hub, in Unity, Maine. Colleen is responsible for sales, marketing, farmer relations and procurement. Unity Food Hub sells Maine grown foods wholesale to distributors, institutions, and retailers as well as through its Maine Farm Share program, which makes locally grown foods available to low-income Mainers. Previous to her role with the Unity Food Hub, Hanlon-Smith was the first executive director of the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets, where in addition to laying the groundwork for the statewide organization, she worked with state partners to expand SNAP/EBT accessibility and programming at farmers’ markets.

Sarah Harpster
Sarah is a Gleaning Coordinator for The Community Kitchen and an active member of NH Gleans. She has worked on projects involving citizen democracy, energy conservation, issue-based awareness raising, community building for family caregivers, and local food rescue (gleaning).

Julian Hartmann-Russell
Julian Hartmann-Russell is a teacher at the Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School and a project partner of the Nuestra Comida project, a collaborative effort in Holyoke, MA to improve school food, increase the availability of cultural crops, and build strong educational pathways to connect youth with careers in food systems and policy.

Kaitlin Haskins
Kaitlin is a communications professional with more than seven years of experience in food system organizing and nonprofit management. Her specialties are graphic design, web development, public relations, branding, social media, and photography. When she's not managing communications for Farm to Institution New England, you can find her making music, swimming or going on adventures with her dog. A native of Michigan, Kaitlin has a bachelor’s degree in arts administration and music from Butler University in Indianapolis. She lives with her husband and critters in Brattleboro, Vermont. Learn more at

Ferd Hoefner
Ferd Hoefner, Policy Director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), has been the group’s senior Washington, D.C. representative since it’s founding in 1988. NSAC is a leading voice for sustainable agriculture in the federal policy arena, joining together over 100 grassroots member groups from all regions of the country to advocate for policies supporting the long-term sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Prior to NSAC, Hoefner for nearly a decade represented Interfaith Action for Economic Justice and its predecessor, the Interreligious Taskforce on U.S. Food Policy on farm, food, environment, and international development issues.

Jon Jaffe
Jon Jaffe is a Vice President and Business Consultant at Farm Credit East, a leading lender and financial services provider to Northeast Agriculture. Jon brings an extraordinary depth of experience and knowledge to his consulting position. During his many years with Farm Credit, he has worked with clients in a variety of market sectors, including dairy, fruit, nursery and greenhouse operations and in various capacities, including as loan officer, tax specialist, appraiser, credit reviewer and farm business consultant. Jon grew up on a dairy farm in upstate New York.

Bill Kitsch
Bill Kitsch has been involved in financing small businesses, with an emphasis on food and farming, for over 2 decades. As a senior executive with MidAtlantic Farm Credit, Bill created a new portfolio aimed at providing affordable loans to beginning farmers. His lending model was adapted by Farm Credits across the country, and now accounts for millions of dollars of new farmer loans. Bill joined Centric Bank in 2016 with the specific goal of engaging Centric as a lender promoting infrastructure investment in local food systems.

Julius Kolawole
Julius Kolawole, President and Co-founder of the African Alliance of Rhode Island, and serves on the board of Urban Ventures. Serves various organizations including Food Solutions New England (FSNE) as a Core team member, Network team member, and Ambassador team member serving Rhode Island.

Maggie Krueger
Maggie Krueger is a Program Associate at Southside Community Land Trust where she coordinates the youth employment program and farmers market outreach initiatives. She developed her commitment to an equitable food system in the rolling hills of Appalachia while completing her degree at Ohio University, watching many of her peers turn to farming as a future career.  She went on to complete her Masters at Harvard Divinity School, studying the intersection of community organizing, religion and food justice. Maggie enjoys bringing her mediation, gardening and international experience to her work at Southside.

Kim Libman
Kim Libman is the Director, Prevention and Community Development, Center for Health Policy and Programs at the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) and a member of the Leadership Team of Farm to Institution NYS (FINYS). Kim represents NYAM and FINYS on the National Farm to Institution Metrics Collaborative. She has recently produced a brief of baseline data on New York nutrition programs that meet the nutritional needs of eaters from pre-K to senior meals, in a wide range of settings.

Dave Love
Dave Love, PhD, MSPH is part of the Public Health and Sustainable Aquaculture Project at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Dr. Love is trained as a public health microbiologist and works at the interface of health, diet environment, and food production.

Kate MacFarland
​Kate MacFarland is the Assistant Agroforester for the USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC) located in Lincoln, Nebraska. She has been part of the technology transfer team at NAC since 2013, serving as the liaison to the northeastern and northwestern regions. Kate joined the Forest Service in 2011, working in Cooperative Forestry within the State & Private Forestry deputy area. Prior to her work with the Forest Service, Kate worked for the Ecosystem Workforce Program at the University of Oregon, for the US Peace Corps in Senegal, and in a variety of other positions related to natural resource management and agriculture.

​Jiff Martin
In her position as Sustainable Food System Associate Educator for UConn Extension, Jiff Martin helps residents discover local agriculture, supports working farms, encourages farm-to-institution pathways, and evaluates community food security.  She currently leads a team of Extension Educators in assisting new farmers in production and farmland management, and collaborates with CT Dept. of Education on the ‘Put Local On Your Tray’ Project.  Jiff is credited with launching two AmeriCorps service learning programs in the state (FoodCorps CT & Connecticut Food Justice VISTA Project) and is a founding member of the Connecticut Food System Alliance.  Prior to joining UConn Extension, she was the State Director for American Farmland Trust and the Food Policy Director at Hartford Food System.

Maria Mastanduno
Maria interned with Red Tomato during the summer of 2014 and joined our team as a full time staff member shortly there after. Maria grew up working on farms, including Cedar Circle Organic Farm in Thetford, VT and manager of Roots Organic Farm in Rhode Island. Maria helps facilitate some of our larger product lines, including apples, and our farm to distribution center sales.

Amy McCann
Amy co-founded Local Food Marketplace in 2009 to help level the playing field for local, sustainable food. Local Food Marketplace is the perfect blend of her two passions – local food and technology. As CEO, Amy focuses on bringing business best practices and innovative solutions to local food, including introducing the first and only white label mobile app for food hubs. Amy holds a BSE from Princeton University and an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Business Practices from University of Oregon. She is a board member and immediate Past President of Willamette Farm and Food Coalition, a Eugene,OR-based non-profit. She was named 20 under 40 Rising Business Star by her peers in 2012.

Alex McCullough
Alex manages two aggregation and distribution food hubs at Food Connects in Brattleboro, VT. He arrived at Food Connects with a long history in the technology field, followed by eight years of work in domestic and international sustainable agricultural development, research in urban agriculture, agricultural non-profit, and production fruit and veggie farming. Alex received a Master's degree in Agroecology from the University of Wisconsin--Madison.

Elvis Mendez
Elvis Mendez is the lead organizer for the National Guestworker Alliance in New England. Elvis has worked as an organizer with the Warehouse Workers for Justice campaign in Chicago and as the Coordinator of the Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative, a coalition of community based worker centers in New England.

Charlie Mitchell
Charlie Mitchell, a junior at Middlebury College, has occupied senior responsibility at Middlebury Foods since May of 2015. He has since helped the organization achieve 501(c)3 status and process SNAP benefits. He has been interested in food since he started working for a farm at age 14, and is currently pursuing an Independent Scholar degree in Food Systems.

Marilyn Moore
Marilyn Moore, Founder and CEO, The Witness Project of Connecticut and State Senator from Connecticut's 22nd District where she is Chair of the Human Services Committee and Vice Chair of the Environment Committee. She serves on various organizations including Food Solutions New England (FSNE) as a Network team member and as Ambassador team member serving Connecticut.

Shannon Murray
Shannon Murray first became interested in agroforestry and agricultural systems over the course of several years working on a 400-acre family farm in CT. She earned a Master of Environmental Management degree from Yale University in 2014, and has continued to delve into working lands management as both a consulting forester and researcher. As Forest Manager for the Yale School Forests, Shannon currently oversees 11,000 acres of working forestland in New England.

Roger Noonan
Roger Noonan, President of NEFU, is an organic farmer in New Boston, NH. Middle Branch Farm is a diversified family farm with operations ranging from maple syrup production, greenhouse production, organic vegetable production, organic hay and forage crop production, livestock production and on-farm composting.  As a certified organic producer, Roger has experience with the national organic standards program and understands the issues and barriers to certification for transitioning farmers. Most recently, Roger has been a national leader on food safety and speaks around the country on the Food Safety Modernization Act and other policy issues that affect family farmers.

Jennifer Obadia, PhD
Dr. Jennifer Obadia is the Eastern US Director for Health Care Without Harm's Healthy Food in Health Care Program.  In this capacity she guides a team to support hospitals in their role to improve regional food systems.  This includes transitioning their procurement toward more sustainable and regionally produced foods and engaging the community in support of healthy food systems.  Prior to joining HCWH Jennifer managed the Boston Bounty Bucks, SNAP farmers market incentive program.  She has over ten years of experience in management of community-based education and food access programs, community-based research, and monitoring and evaluation.  She received her doctorate in Nutrition from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

Martha Page
Martha Page is the Executive Director of Hartford Food System, a nonprofit organization devoted to food security programs, including urban agriculture, policy, and advocacy since 1978. Before coming to this role in January 2010, Martha was the Environmental Health Director for the City of Hartford Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to completing a Masters Degree in Public Health in 2009, Martha spent more than 25 years in the health insurance industry in a number of executive positions. In addition to the MPH, she has a CPH designation, an MBA and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management.

Anne Palmer
Anne Palmer is the Food Communities and Public Health program director at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. She directs the Food Policy Networks project which seeks to improve the capacity of new and existing food policy councils and similar organizations to advance food system policies. She is a co-investigator on a 5 year USDA funded study using regional food systems to improve food security and support regional producers.

Lara Parrilla Kaltman
Lara Parrilla Kaltman is the Nutrition & Community Development Issue Leader at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County. A Registered Dietitian with Master’s degree in Public Health, Kaltman oversees the USDA-funded nutrition education & obesity prevention programs in the County. Kaltman recently led a project to interview kitchens to evaluate capacity to support food business start-ups and evaluate food business needs. They aimed to develop an online technical guide and kitchen directory to provide easily accessible information on food business development, regulations and the available certified kitchens that are not widely known to people interested in starting a food business.

Nancy Perry
Mainers Feeding Mainers Program Manager, Good Shepherd Food Bank

Patricia Pinto da Silva
Patricia is currently a staff Social Scientist for NOAA Fisheries at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, MA.   Prior to joining NOAA in 2002, Dr. Pinto da Silva received a Master’s of Science and PhD in Social Policy from the London School of Economics. Dr. Pinto da Silva’s work includes research on voluntary organizations, collaborative fisheries management, social impact assessment and more recently the complex connections between fisheries policy and management and regional food systems. Following the Fish, a current project, follows each federally managed fishery in New England from point of harvest to final use to elucidate the distribution and use of regional marine resources.

Dr. Anu Rangarajan
Dr. Anu Rangarajan is a member of the Horticulture faculty at Cornell University and serves as the Statewide Fresh Market Vegetable Specialist for New York. She directs the Cornell Small Farms Program, with a mission to enhance the viability and sustainability of all small farms across the Northeast. Focal areas include local food systems, beginning farmer training, wholesale market readiness, renewable energy and conservation, livestock processing and small dairy innovation and management.  The program offers online and face-to-face training for beginning farmers and service providers. The Small Farm Program also hosts the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project (

Nessa Richman
Nessa Richman manages the New England Farm to Institution Metrics Project. The Project provides data-based information across the marketing chain from production to consumption and across three institutional sectors: schools, colleges and hospitals. Nessa has been dedicated to building economically vibrant, socially equitable, and environmentally sustainable food systems that benefit agricultural producers, healthy food enterprises, and consumers of all socioeconomic levels for over 20 years.

Molly Riordan
Molly Riordan's work at Cornell's Small Farms Program focuses on the many ways food is grown in cities to promote both equity and economic development. A graduate of Cornell's Master in Regional Planning program, she brings a regional planning perspective to regenerative agriculture and value chain development. She has previously worked with the Hudson Valley Farm Hub in Hurley, NY and Common Market in Philadelphia, PA. She lives part-time on a grass-based dairy in New Jersey.

Holly Rippon-Butler
Holly Rippon-Butler is the Land Access Program Director with the National Young Farmers Coalition, where she works to increase land access opportunities for the next generation of farmers. In addition, Holly farms with her parents on their third-generation dairy and beef farm in Upstate New York.

Johanna Rosen
Johanna Rosen is the Community Organizer and Communications Coordinator for the Food Solutions New England regional network. She also works with Equity Trust’s Farms for Farmers Program, helping farmers to gain affordable access to farmland. Jo has over 15 years of farming experience and returned to her home state of Massachusetts after 11 years in Philadelphia, where she co-founded and was Director of the Mill Creek Farm, a non-profit educational urban farm. She holds a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania with a Certificate in Land Preservation.

Kathy Ruhf
Kathy Ruhf represents NESAWG in the Enhancing Food Security with Regional Food Systems project. She has managed NESAWG and other food system projects for 20 years.

Catherine Sands
Catherine Sands is an Adjunct Professor at UMASS Amherst who teaches about community food systems, food justice and food policy. She also directs Fertile Ground, providing technical assistance in design, strategy, and impact analysis to community food projects and foundations throughout New England.

Carrie A. Scrufari, Esq.
Carrie is an Assistant Professor and Senior Fellow at Vermont Law School, where she is earneing her LL.M in Food and Agricultural Law and Policy in 2016.  She earned her J.D. from the University of Maryland in 2011.  She has clerked at the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division Fourth Department and at the Court of Appeals in Albany, New York.  Carrie has presented her research regarding land tenure and food systems at Harvard, Yale, Pace, and Vermont Law Schools.  Carrie regularly publishes articles on issues concerning sustainable food systems, animal welfare, and food security.  She is a Food Systems Scholar and Researcher Reviewer for the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development and a member of the Vermont Farmland Access and Stewardship Working Group.

Hannah Semler
Hannah leads the Hancock County Gleaning Initiative of Healthy Acadia in partnership with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Beyond organizing volunteers at farms, orchards, and farmers’ markets to glean she connects home gardeners and farmers directly to pantries and meal sites in an effort to establish lasting relationships and improve the flow of fresh, locally grown foods to community members. Hannah has a Master's of Science in International Food Business and Consumer Studies.

Denise Sheehan RDN
Denise is a Registered Dietitian and the Operations Director at the Chester County Food Bank.  Connecting local farmers to the Food Bank had been her focus for more than a decade.  She believes that everyone should have access to fresh, local food and works to make that happen.

Dave Simonds
Dave Simonds is an actor, writer and filmmaker. He continues work on a third documentary and the web series “Free Advice from an Old Guy” with Jay Tarses. He was a familiar face in the indie-film renaissance of the late 80s and early 90s and his screen credits include Amateur, The Book of LifeSigns and Wonders, The Fish in a Bathtub, Henry Fool, B Movie, among many others. He appeared in music videos for Everything But the Girl, Beth Orton and others. Dave is proud to share Forgotten Farms with the NESAWG community.

Katherine Sims
Katherine started Green Mountain Farm to School in 2008 to improve childhood nutrition and support Vermont farms by connecting schools and farms through food and education – the organization has since grown exponentially. Katherine, who graduated from Yale University with a bachelor’s in history, brings 10 years of experience building school gardens, connecting institutional buyers with local farms, teaching students about healthy food choices, and training school food service staff to prepare and serve local foods. She currently serves on several boards including UVM Extension, the Vermont Council on Rural Development, and the Vermont Land Trust.

Betsy Skoda
Betsy Skoda holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington and a B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies from Middlebury College. In her role with Health Care Without Harm, she is part of regional and national efforts to support health care facilities in developing programs and activities to promote healthy community food systems.

Theresa Snow
Theresa has worked in Vermont’s agricultural sector for almost 20 years. She founded Salvation Farms in 2004, receiving both regional and national awards. Her Sterling College degree is in Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management. Theresa has worked with well-known businesses like Pete’s Greens, High Mowing Organic Seeds, and served as Director of Agricultural Resources for the Vermont Foodbank. Theresa has also served on several non-profit boards and with the New England Grassroots Environment Fund small grants committee. Theresa has a steadfast conviction for the responsible stewardship and use of our natural resources.

Summer of Solutions
Sonsharae Owens, Aaliyah Campbell, Jennifer Roach, and Bishar Issak are representing Summer of Solutions Hartford, a youth nonprofit based in Hartford, Connecticut. Jennifer co-founded SoS Hartford in 2010, and Bishar joined as in intern in the summer of 2011. Sonsharae and Aaliyah started in 2013 and 2014, respectively, as interns and then joined the leadership team as Program Coordinators. Together, they have dedicated 18 years to building school and community gardens in Hartford through their Urban Farming Internship program. Sonsharae is currently a student at Goodwin College, and Aaliyah is studying at the University of Connecticut. Jennifer graduated from Wesleyan University in 2014.

Melissa Spear
Melissa Spear has served as the Executive Director of Common Ground, an urban farm, environmental education center, and charter high school, since 2009. Prior to joining Common Ground she served as the Connecticut State Director of the Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the Connecticut Food System Alliance, a network committed to creating a just, equitable food system, and serves on the Steering Committee of the Working Lands Alliance, a farmland preservation advocacy coalition. Melissa received her Master’s in Forest Science from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, her MBA from I.E.S.E., and a Bachelor’s in Zoology from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Karen Spiller
Karen Spiller, KAS Consulting, principal of KAS Consulting, providing mission based consulting with a focus on strategic planning for health and equity focused initiatives. Serves various organizations including Food Solutions New England (FSNE) as a Core team member, Network team member and coordinator of FSNE Ambassador team serving Massachusetts. Contributor to Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, Volume 5, Issue 4 Summer 2015, Race and Ethnicity in Food Systems

Dorothy Suput
Dorothy Suput is the founder and executive director of The Carrot Project. The Carrot Project facilitates access to financing and business support so that today’s small farm and food businesses can grow into thriving, enduring enterprises.  The Carrot Project’s work focus’ on New England and the Hudson Valley and reaches hundreds of farm and food processes each year. Dorothy’s commitment to a sustainable food system grew out of the incredible contrasts between Midwestern agriculture, with which she grew up, and the locally focused farming system in Switzerland, where she lived after graduating with a BS from Purdue University. Dorothy formalized her commitment to strengthen the local food system with a Master’s degree, from Tufts University. Dorothy serves on the Board of Managers for the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund Flexible Capital Fund and the Advisory Committee for the PVGrows Investment Fund.

​Brett Tolley 
Brett is a community organizer for the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA). He comes from a four-generation commercial fishing family out of Cape Cod, MA where he currently lives. Brett serves on the Advisor Committees for Farm to Institution New England (FINE) as well as He wrote and produced an award-winning documentary about human rights issues along the U.S./Mexico border titled, "Dying to Get In". He also completed the Rockwood Leadership Institute's 'Art of Leadership' program.

Lisa Tucker French
Lisa is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Field & Fork Network (F&FN), a NPO dedicated to building a thriving regional food system in Western NY through education, outreach and programming. Field & Fork Network received a Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) regional project grant from the USDA in 2016. The FINI grant will support the strategic expansion of their Double Up Food Bucks SNAP incentive program and to develop effective technologies that allow for SNAP incentives to be delivered at the point-of-sale through mobile markets, healthy corner stores and traditional farmers markets.

John Waite
John Waite is the Executive Director of the Franklin County Community Development Corporation that oversees the Western Mass Food Processing Center and the Pioneer Valley Grows Investment Fund. The Center promotes economic development through entrepreneurship, providing opportunities, and promoting best practices. From start-up to market, the Center works to provide every advantage to launch or expand a business including value-added farm products, retails products, co-packing and professional development. The PVGrows Fund accepts investments from New England/New York residents and makes loans to farm and food businesses that help build our regional food system.

Aliza Wasserman
Aliza R. Wasserman has been working in the fields of public health and food policy since 2007, when she cut her teeth advocating for community food security programs in the Farm Bill while working towards joint Masters degrees in public health and food policy at Tufts University. As Policy and Advocacy Manager, she is currently responsible for representing Wholesome Wave’s policy agenda in Washington, DC. Prior to this role, Aliza worked in Government Relations at the Boston Public Health Commission for six years, where she advocated for state legislation and budget priorities to advance racial health equity in the City of Boston. 

John Weedon
After his mother permanently protected the family farm, John was inspired to change careers and focus on farmland conservation. He earned a master’s degree in Natural Resources & Environmental Science from the University of Illinois and serves as a board member for several local conservation organizations. Hired in 2014, John oversees Connecticut Farmland Trust’s stewardship program and assists the executive director on easement acquisition projects. He is also enrolled in the graduate program in agroforestry at the University of Missouri.

Mark Winne
Mark Winne is a noted expert and leading food system policy advocate with over 40 years of community food system and policy experience. Mark writes, speaks, and consults extensively on community food system topics including hunger and food insecurity, local and regional agriculture, community food assessment, and food policy. He brings his experience and expertise to the Food Policy Networks projects in his part-time role as a Senior Advisor.

Dana M. Youkilis
Dana M. Youkilis, MS, RD is the Farm to Preschool Nutritionist at Child Care Council of Nassau, Inc. Long Island Farm to Preschool is a part of Eat Well Play Hard, a nutrition and physical activity program funded by the New York State Department of Health. Long Island Farm to Preschool is in its third season of increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables by bringing gardening, education and a weekly farmers market to the children, families, staff and surrounding communities of child care centers in both Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Darlene Yule
Darlene Yule, MPH is the Community Health & Development Director and leads the childhood obesity prevention programs, Farm to Preschool and Eat Well Play Hard, at the Capital District Child Care Council. She is a public health and allied health professional with over 15 years of developing and implementing health and wellness programs at the clinical, community, and higher education levels. Throughout her career, Darlene has worked extensively in community health and has received multiple awards recognizing her dedication to health and agriculture. In Latin America, Darlene focused on childhood education and community health with sustainable, community-based agricultural initiatives.