Staff and Board
As Policy Manager, Nicole supports the NESAWG network to engage in effective advocacy for federal agriculture policies impacting our region. Before joining NESAWG, Nicole worked as a small-scale vegetable farmer for 12 years, founding and managing farms including a 1.5-acre CSA at an urban agricultural high school and a network of vacant lot gardens serving dozens of gardeners in North Philadelphia. She is passionate about using sustainable agriculture to advance racial and economic justice and land sovereignty both globally and locally. She lives in Philadelphia, PA
Tracy Lerman, Executive Director As Executive Director, Tracy provides vision, strategy and support for NESAWG's organizational direction and programs. She also oversees the planning of the It Takes a Region Conference. Previously, Tracy was NESAWG's Communications and Conference Manager. She has worked in the sustainable agriculture movement since 2003, as an organizer, policy advocate, and researcher. She previously worked at the Organic Farming Research Foundation as the National Organizer, mobilizing organic farmers on federal policy issues, and as a project consultant for Hudson Valley-based food and farming organizations. Tracy has a master's degree in Community Development from the University of California, Davis and a bachelor's degree in Anthropology from the University at Albany. She lives in Kingston, NY.
Cheyenna Layne Weber
As Communications Manager, Cheyenna curates the stories and messages that animate NESAWG's programs and the sustainable agriculture and food justice movement. Whether in New York City or her native rural West Virginia, Cheyenna has worked at the intersections of economic justice and environmental issues with a wide range of communities. She is a founder of the Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City, SolidarityNYC, and the New Economy Coalition, and has fought for justice in every capacity from intern to executive director. She holds an MA in history from New York University and loves to learn the backstories of the people and movements who are shaping a socially and racially just future. She lives in Brooklyn.
Malaika Hart Gilpin has been community and education focused for most of her life. She got her Masters in Multicultural Education and is also a Certified Yoga Instructor. She has taught for over 16 years most recently as Director of Arts at Sankofa Freedom Academy, of which she was a part of the founding staff. She is excited to have recently joined NESAWG as the 2018 Conference Manager. Malaika is also the co-founder and co-director of the One Art Community Center, a non-profit that focuses on healing and teaching communities through the arts. One Art has created an urban eco arts village space that many come to for creative expression, peace of mind, growth and upliftment. Malaika is a part of several community groups as well as a part of the leadership of Soil Generation and she finds great joy working, growing and blossoming with other urban farmers. She loves her jobs and the people she has the honor of serving.
Allison Blansfield lives in Paoli, Pennsylvania. She is the Value Chain Coordinator for sweetgreen's east coast markets. In this role, she works directly with local and regional farmers to supply sweetgreen's stores. Formerly, she was the Director of Food Systems at The Enterprise Center, a community development corporation in West Philadelphia. There, she managed an urban farm, CSA, and kitchen incubator.
Diana Robinson lives in New York City. She is the Union Semester Coordinator at the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies at the City University of New York. Formerly she was the Leadership Development Coordinator at Food Chain Workers Alliance, a coalition of worker-based organizations whose members plant, harvest, process, pack, transport, prepare, serve, and sell food, organizing to improve wages and working conditions for all workers along the food chain. She is the daughter of immigrants from Colombia and the Dominican Republic. Diana graduated from Queens College with a BA in Political Science and is pursuing a Masters in Labor Studies.
Gary Bloss lives in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. He has over 30 years experience in the field of community planning and landscape architecture, including watershed conservation, greenways, open space, and trails. He has co-managed an organic vegetable farm and CSA since 2006.
Rev. Dr. Heber M. Brown, III lives in Baltimore, MD. He is Senior Pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. For nearly two decades, Dr. Brown has demonstrated his commitment to advocacy for social justice on every level. As the Founding Director for Cross Freedom School, and through the establishment of the Black Church Food Security Network, he has deservedly been recognized as a leading change-maker of this time.
Karen Spiller lives in Eastern Massachusetts. She is principal of KAS Consulting, providing mission-based consulting with a focus on resource matching and strategic planning for health and equity-focused initiatives. She has worked with diverse stakeholders, including community residents and businesses, state and local agencies, policy makers, corporations, foundations, community-based organizations, and healthcare providers.
Lindsay Gilmour lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She 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.
Onika lives in Brooklyn, New York. A founding member of Black Urban Growers, Onika has had her hands deep in soil for years. She has trained at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is currently the Director of Farm School NYC.