Please check back for more updates and information on our presenters!
Onika Abraham is the director of Farm School NYC, which offers adults comprehensive, professional training in sustainable agriculture that is grounded in social and food justice. A farmer and educator with more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit management, Onika completed the Farm and Garden Apprenticeship and Certificate in Ecological Horticulture at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) in Santa Cruz, CA.
Liz Accles, Executive Director of Community Food Advocates, has over 25 years of experience in promoting social and economic justice through policy advocacy and organizing. Prior to joining CFA, Liz worked at the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Lambda Legal, and Community Food Resource Center where she developed and led city, state and federal campaigns. Liz is a Trustee for the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation for Low-Income Women and Children, and has previously served as a member of Planned Parenthood Federation of American’s National Board of Directors.
Juana Acevedo Peña
Juana Acevedo Peña is a Market Champion and advocate with DC Greens. Juana works at the Mount Pleasant Farmers' Market. There she informs customers about the Produce Plus program, collects, their feedback, and works to develop the market into a vibrant, welcoming space. A former teacher from the Dominican Republic, Juana now lives in the Columbia Heights neighborhood with her family. She loves to cook healthy meals for her children and introduce her neighbors to new vegetables at the market!
Suzanne Adely recently joined the Food Chain Workers Alliance as their North-East regional organizer. A former educator, she has a background in law, community organizing and international labor advocacy. From 2011-2014 she worked as the UAW Global Organizing Institute India project coordinator and since has collaborated with several community-based and international organizations on behalf of workers in New York, Middle East & North Africa.
Ingabire Amida Adam
My name is Ingabire Amida Adam. I am a junior in high school and I live in Buffalo, NY. I am a Community Organizer at Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP). I have been involved in food system work since the beginning of my freshmen year. I have done a lot of work in my community, such as farming on MAP’s urban farm, selling fresh produce to people who don’t have access to it via MAP’s Mobile Market. I have also attended the People’s Climate March in D.C., went to NYC to meet with other youth that worked on food justice issues. In addition, I enjoy fashion and think people express themselves and their personality through what they wear.
Ashia Rain Aubourg
Ashia Aubourg is a student at Syracuse University pursuing a dual major in Food Studies and Policy Studies. She has dedicated most of her high school and college career to working/ volunteering in many aspects of the food system whether that be managing and urban farm, assisting with local food policy development, or ensuring that vulnerable populations have access to healthy and culturally appropriate foods. Ashia directed a youth summer program dedicated to mobilizing youth to get involved in community outreach with the ultimate goal of providing resources to food insecure populations in Cambridge, MA.
Christie grew up on a farm in Wisconsin, and holds an M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She joined the Crossroads Board of Directors in 2012, and became Executive Director in 2013. Christie also serves on the board of the Farmers Market Coalition, and was recently appointed to the USDA’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee.
Jim is an Agricultural Economist for USDA Rural Development. Jim obtained a MA in Cultural Anthropology and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the University of Florida. Before joining USDA, he worked internationally with nonprofits and government agencies on agricultural development targeting smallholder producers. Jim joined USDA in 2007 and has worked to improve market opportunities for small and mid-size producers through research, technical assistance, and grant support. Jim has published multiple articles on food hubs, value chains, local food distribution, and foodservice procurement. He is currently on the management team of USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” Initiative.
Andrea works at Turtle Tree Seed, a Biodynamic seed initiative within Camphill Village in Columbia County, NY. Camphill is an integrated community where people with developmental differences are living a life of dignity, equality, and purpose.
Kira Bennett Hamilton is a Client Services Coordinator for The Carrot Project, a nonprofit that facilitates access to financing and business support for farmers and food entrepreneurs in the Northeastern US. A California native, she has previously worked with nonprofits and farmers' collectives in the Bay Area and in Bloomington, Indiana. Kira studied food communications at the University of Gastronomic Sciences, in Italy.
Anne C. Bellows
Anne Bellows is Professor of Food Studies and Director of Graduate Food Studies Programs at Syracuse University. She also serves on the International Board of FIAN International, a program dedicated to human rights and the right to food and nutrition. She recently published the co-edited book, Gender, Nutrition and the Human Right to Adequate Food: toward an inclusive framework (Bellows, Valente, Lemke, Núñez BdL, Routledge, 2016).
Dr. Christine Bergmark has 25+ years of experience working in food system development, research, and education, both nationally and internationally. She is a strong entrepreneurial professional, skilled in Economic Development and Strategic Planning. She possesses impressive Leadership abilities, and has a rich background in Economic and Community Development, Creative Development, Marketing and Public Policy. She has managed programs with a $5-12 million annual budget. She operates a 140 acre organic farm in Maryland, Even’ Star Farm, with her husband and daughter. She is a broad thinker and currently consults on policy, food systems, agriculture and tourism programs.
Linda Berlin is the Director of the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture. For over 8 years she has led a team of approximately ten staff working across the spectrum of sustainable agriculture with a common goal of enhancing the environmental, economic and social sustainability of Vermont farms. Programs at the Center are focused on agriculture and climate change, pasture management, local foods and new farmers. Linda’s research as an Extension Associate Professor explores farm-to-school and food access, with an emphasis on identifying best practices. Past research also focused on enhancing our understanding of consumer views of organic and local foods.
Ruth Berlin, LCSW-C, founded the Maryland Pesticide Network in 1994 and its sister non-profit organization the Maryland Pesticide Education Network in 2014. Her work on the issue of pesticides has been recognized locally and nationally. She was appointed to the Maryland Governor's Pesticide Council in 1997 and was a member of the Council until December 2004. Ruth is a past board member of Beyond Pesticides and the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. She is currently a steering committee member of the Maryland Environmental Health Network.
Emily Best, is the General Manager of Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative (TOG) in southern PA. She came to TOG from a farming background, having apprenticed at New Morning Farm for four seasons, where she managed farm markets, ran the greenhouse operations, and managed several crops. TOG has been selling locally grown, organic produce in metropolitan Washington, D.C. since the late 1980’s. Emily will share how TOG’s market has changed as the number of local food producers and food hubs serving the metro D.C. market has grown. Emily serves on several Boards and is the Chair of USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Advisory Committee. She will moderate this session.
Bhutanese Organization of Philadelphia
Empower the Bhutanese population in Philadelphia in all aspects of development: employment, education, cultural integration and citizenship and envision a self-sufficient, progressive and productive Bhutanese community that contributes in nation building.
Leila Borrero-Krouse has been a stalwart provider of services to immigrants throughout the Delmarva region for the past twenty-five years. Since 2013, she has been working with CATA - The Farmworkers' Support Committee as a community organizer and a BIA-certified Immigrant Specialist. Previously she worked as an immigration specialist at Catholic Charities where she earned a reputation as one of our community’s most trusted and dedicated legal service providers. In recognition of Ms. Borrero-Krouse’s work, the Maryland Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs honored her with the “Faith-Based Champion Award” in 2010.
In Michael's twenty five plus year career in restaurants, hotels, universities and hospitals he has always tried to stay true to the lessons of his early mentors. In the Lehigh Valley, he has held several Executive Chef positions in local restaurants before entering into the contract dining market with Sodexo in 2008.
Aaron works as Manager for Carilion Clinic Community Outreach and Development, where he oversees Carilion’s systems-wide community health needs assessment projects, community benefit, grants, and health educations programs. Aaron is on the Board of Directors at the Presbyterian Community Center in SE Roanoke City. He serves on the Steering Committee and Chairman for the Data Collection and Tracking Committee for Healthy Roanoke Valley, a partnership of over 50 community partners working to create strategies that tackle the issues plaguing the health of the area.
Greg Bowen is the Principal of Land Stewardship Solutions, LLC. Greg is a certified planner and has received numerous planning awards for comprehensive plans and rural preservation programs. He also worked at the Southern Maryland Agriculture Development Commission. Greg is currently the Director of the American Chestnut Society. He earned his BA at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and his MS in Urban Planning and Policy Management at Johns Hopkins University.
Cleo Braver, owner of Cottingham Farm, is an environmental lawyer turned organic farmer. She is a strong advocate for organic and regenerative farming. She formed the Eastern Shore Food Hub is working on establishing aggregate distribution for small farmers. She serves on the boards of Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage and Maryland Pesticide Education Network.
Reverend Heber Brown
Rev. Dr. Heber M. Brown, III is a community organizer, beginner farmer, social entrepreneur and Senior Pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. He is the Founding Director of Orita’s Cross Freedom School, an educational platform based on the Freedom Schools of the 1960's. In 2015, he launched the Black Church Food Security Network which provides seed funding and support to help churches begin growing food on their land. The Network also links Black Churches and Black Farmers in partnership in an effort to create a community-controlled, alternative food system based on self-sufficiency and Black food and land sovereignty.
Holly Budd is an organic farmer who serves as Chair for Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association. She works to build sustainable networks of individuals and organizations in support of small farms, family gardens and ecologically sound businesses.
Joanne Burke is a Clinical Associate Professor, and Director the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Dietetic Internship in the Department of Agriculture, Nutrition and Food Systems, College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. She also serves as a Senior Faculty Fellow in the UNH Sustainability Institute, and a member of r the UNH task Force on Food Security. As a member of the Food Solutions New England network (FSNE) and the New Hampshire Food Alliance (NHFA) she is committed to advancing racial equity, food justice, access to healthy food and democratic engagement in emergent food systems. Joanne is an author of A New England Food Vision.
Jameel is one of the Urban Garden Apprentices at Sankofa Village Community Garden. He enjoys learning and watching the growth of plants he has cared for from seed. He also enjoys taking field trips and speaking with others to learn about nature as well as systemic inequity and the causes behind it.
Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia
The mission of the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia is to improve the quality of life of Cambodian-Americans in Greater Philadelphia through direct service, advocacy and cultural education.
Kate Cardona is Groundswell’s Outreach and Equity Coordinator. She works to connect with community partners, coordinates and develops Groundswell programs and curriculum, and supports Groundswell in their commitment to the creation of an equitable local food system. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Kate has been a part of various organizations working for food justice in NYC such as Corbin Hill Farm, Just Food, and the Community/Farmworker Alliance. Kate moved to Ithaca four years ago to deepen her knowledge of food production on a small organic farm. She is inspired by people’s movements for liberation, land, and power around the world and her commitment to justice is guided by this work.
Asha is a social justice educator, community organizer, and environmental justice advocate who is excited to be building the Community Advocates program at DC Greens! Before joining the DC Greens team, Asha served in the Obama Administration as the Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Asha is an alumna of Wellesley College, where she earned her B.A. in Peace and Justice Studies with a concentration in Urban Development and Sustainability.
Jordan Carter is Education Coordinator at DC Greens, an organization that drives long-term systems change to advance food justice in the nation’s capital. In this role, Jordan coordinates a team 19 Market Champions who work to inform D.C. residents about the Produce Plus farmers' market nutrition incentive program and build their neighborhood farmers’ markets into vibrant community spaces. Jordan is earned his B.A. in Kinesiology and Nutrition Science at Whittier College, and is currently completing his master’s degree in Public Health Nutrition at George Washington University. Jordan has also worked with DC Central Kitchen and FoodPrints.
Ela Chapin is Director of the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, a program of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board that provides business planning and technical assistance to farm, food and forestry businesses. She has been instrumental in facilitating expansion of the program and providing professional development trainings for agricultural service providers in Vermont. In addition she has designed and helped host three National Farm Viability Conferences over the past decade. She is involved with several financing organizations, serving on the boards of Community Capital of Vermont and the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative.
Clarissa is a junior studying Global Environmental Change & Sustainability and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. As one of the leaders of Real Food Hopkins, Clarissa also strives to place environmental and sustainability issues at the forefront of the conversation among the Hopkins community through her role in the Hopkins Students Government Association.
Kate Clancy is a food systems consultant, Visiting Scholar at the Center for a Livable Future Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, and Adjunct Professor at Tufts University. Shi is also Visiting Teaching Professor at the Falk College, Syracuse University, and Senior Fellow in the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, University of Minnesota. She has worked as a nutrition and policy advisor at the Federal Trade Commission, and at several nonprofits such as the Wallace Center. Kate has published, taught, spoken, and consulted widely on sustainable agriculture, food systems, and food policy with government agencies, universities, and nonprofits around the country. She is the deputy director of the EFSNE Project. Kate lives in Maryland.
Abby Cocke joined the Baltimore Office of Sustainability in 2011. Prior to that, she got a BA in Environmental Studies at UMBC, and worked for five years at the Parks & People Foundation, first as a Community Organizer, and then as the Manager of Community Greening Programs. Her current work focuses on vacant lot greening, urban agriculture, and green school initiatives. She is an Ednor Gardens resident, and grew up in Baltimore County. Her hobbies include biking, growing things, and local theater.
Eliza is the Food Access Coordinator at RIPHI. She coordinates the Food on the Move program, a mobile produce market that brings fresh fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods around Rhode Island. Eliza holds an undergraduate degree in Science and Technology Studies from Brown University. Her research has focused on topics including food policy, conservation history, and biology education. Eliza has studied food systems for the past ten years. She began thinking about farming and food access student at the Food Project, a food justice training program for high school students in Boston, Massachusetts. Since then, she has been involved in numerous projects related to social justice and food.
Marcy joined the Revolution Foods team this year and brings to the team a background in Nutrition Education in both the clinical and school setting. Based in Philadelphia, Marcy oversees Revolution Foods presence in the Philadelphia School District. Marcy has a BS in Elementary Education from Catholic University and a MS in Health Education from St. Joseph’s University. Marcy is a long time volunteer for Back on My Feet, Philadelphia and enjoys running and cooking in her spare time.
Dennis Derryck is Professor of Professional Practice at The Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at the New School for Public Engagement. He has over 30 years of experience in both research and executive management positions, and he has been involved in three successful start-ups. His most recent start-up, now entering its seventh year, is the Corbin Hill Food Project (CHFP), a mission and values driven social venture that provides fresh food to those who need it most and with a long-term vision of sovereignty. Dennis has a BSc. in Mathematics from Manhattan College, and MSc and PhD in Education Supervision and Administration from Fordham University.
Kevin Dixon is a graduate of Sayre High School, and while in high school was an entrepreneur with the Rebel Ventures crew. After HS Kevin re-joined the crew as Cinematographer, mentor and co-Executive Director.
Olivia works to educate, connect and empower grassroots food and farm groups in the northeast. Based out of Maine, her previous experience includes participatory food systems research, capacity building with local farms, launching a farmers market, and managing rural farm stands. Olivia has a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.P.A. from the University of Washington.
Leah Douglas is a reporter and policy analyst with the Open Markets Institute, where she researches economic consolidation and monopolization in the food and agriculture industry. She is the editor and primary reporter for Food & Power. Her writing on food, agriculture, and land policy has appeared in The Nation, the Washington Monthly, CNN, Fortune, Time, Slate, Civil Eats, and more. Before joining Open Markets, Leah held a variety of jobs in the food system, including working on farms, co-running a CSA, and facilitating the development of food co-ops.
Acour Dour is a senior at SUNY Buffalo State college currently going for a philosophy major and religious studies minor. Acour is also a chairperson for the Buffalo Black Lives Matter Chapter and a member of the core team for Just Resisting. As a member of Buffalo’s BLM chapter, Acour establishes deep connections with community members as well as city officials in hopes of creating a world in which policy reflects and meets the needs of all members in the community.
Laura began her career in family farm activism with Farm Aid where she staffed and managed a national farm crisis hotline, developed a web-based platform to connect thriving farmers with farmers in need. At Red Tomato, Laura spent seven years learning the ins and outs of the entire operation before stepping into the role of Executive Director, in partnership with Founder Michael Rozyne, in January 2015.
Michael N. Elonge is a University of Maryland Extension Senior Agent, and a tenured faculty with University of Maryland, College Park. His teaching focuses on financial education. His scholarly work has been accepted and presented to more than fifteen peer review conferences (State, National and International). He is also author of four scholarly journal article, and a novel, Dogs vs Humanity (available at Ebay.com)
Beatrice Evans is a DC Greens Community Advocate. Her past as a DC Greens Community Champion and her undeniable passion and talent for connecting with people have made her a prominent voice in the DC food access and policy scene.
Alex has been with Revolution Foods since 2015. Based in Chicago, he oversees Revolution Foods’ growth in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, with a primary focus on community feeding programs and large district partnerships. He has a BA in Journalism from the University of Missouri and has worked in education, both domestically and internationally, since 2011. Alex serves on the Auxiliary Board at Association House of Chicago - a community settlement house that provides guidance to new refugees and immigrants.
Tiffany Finck-Haynes, B.A. is the food futures campaigner at Friends of the Earth. Prior to joining Friends of the Earth, she worked as a community health organizer at Many Languages One Voice, running campaigns to improve equitable access to affordable, culturally and linguistically appropriate health-related information, services, and care. She also completed an independent research study in Bolivia focused on the impacts of climate change on bee populations and implications of pollinator declines for the food systems and global ecosystems.
Jill is an Agricultural Marketing Specialist with USDA’s AMS. She is a community economic development practitioner with nearly 20 years of field experience in the United States, leading grassroots organizing, advocacy, and project management to support national, state, and local organizations’ initiatives. Jill has worked with the communities to research, develop, and manage mid-scale supply chains for regionally differentiated agricultural products. Jill holds an MS in community economic development and is completing a PhD in resource economics, focusing on industrial organization and behavioral economics.
Sarah Fritschner is the coordinator of Louisville Farm to Table, a Metro Louisville program that works with farmers and consumers to increase Kentucky farmers’ percentage of Louisville’s $3 billion food market. In that capacity, she works with public and private schools, universities, entertainment venues and others to increase the amount of Kentucky food they serve, while working with farmers to increase their sales, and working to improve the infrastructure – distribution, processing etc -- that can move food from farm to destination. Before taking this job in 2009, she was a food journalist for more than 30 years and the author of several cookbooks.
Before joining MDSC, Tom supervised student advocates’ case work in Cardozo School of Law’s Immigration Justice Clinic, led litigation and advocacy efforts protecting rights of poultry processing workers as a staff attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, and was a health outreach worker and pesticide safety trainer with the Maine Migrant Health Program. He won the National Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health’s 2013 award for health and safety advocacy. He has a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where he represented clients for two years in the Immigrant Rights Clinic, and a B.A., magna cum laude, from Amherst College, where he majored in Latin American Studies.
Valeria Fuentes is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer based in Baltimore. She is passionate about addressing social issues through art and design platforms specifically in addressing food equity, racial justice, and immigration. She recently received her BFA in Architectural Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Within her practice she constantly challenged the extent to which architecture affect people’s lives in Baltimore City. She founded Kinetic Kitchen, a mobile food education program focused on providing healthy cooking and nutrition education. She will continue finding ways to challenge existing systems in place through the power of art and design.
Alex Galimberti is a food professional turned activist. After ten years working in restaurants he became an organizer and advocate for workers in the food system. As Senior Advocacy & Collaborations Advisor at Oxfam America he works building partnerships with workers and advocates to support better conditions for the people who produce, process, and prepare our food. The current campaign that he works on is called Lives on the Line and it uses innovative multi-stakeholder strategies to call on the poultry industry to improve working conditions. His formal education includes an Associate Degree from the Culinary Institute of America and a Master Degree in Food Studies from Boston University.
Jessy is responsible for program management and development, any advocacy efforts, and coordinating organizational partnerships among other things. Jessy works closely with the farmers at Flats Mentor Farm to develop and refine all programs and services to fit the individual. Prior to joining World Farmers, Jessy worked with a local NGO in the Marsabit region of Kenya, lived and worked on a farm in the Green Mountains, and led federal, state, and local policy efforts as well as movement building work at the Community Food and Justice Coalition in Oakland, CA.
Sarah Gardner, Ph.D
Sarah Gardner, Ph.D. teachers planning and policy at Williams College. Together with filmmaker David Simonds, Sarah produced "Forgotten Farms," a film that examines class divides in food and farm communities. Forgotten Farms highlights the New England dairy farmers who tend to 1.2 million acres of farmland in New England.
Senior at Parkway West HS in Philadelphia
3 years experience working with Rebel Ventures
Co-created Rebel Crumbles
Phil Gottwals is the Managing Director and a Principal Consultant at ACDS, LLC. He has over 30 years of experience consulting for food and resource based industries. He is well known for his expertise in local food systems, and was a co-founder of Friends & Farms. In addition to consulting, he is a food systems instructor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland.
Neith Grace Little
Neith Little is the urban agriculture Extension Educator for Baltimore City. Prior to this position, Neith worked as an agricultural Extension Educator for Dakota County, Minnesota (part of the Twin Cities metro area), where she worked with both local-market vegetable growers and commodity crop farmers on nitrogen management practices to protect water quality. Neith has also worked at Hampshire College Farm, where she helped with the bid process for the college's new dining services contractor, drafted the college's policy for local and sustainable food sourcing, worked with the farm managers to develop a farm business plan, and worked as Assistant Grower on the farm's 250-share vegetable CSA. Neith earned an M.S. from Cornell University in Soil and Crop Sciences and a B.A. from College of the Atlantic in Human Ecology.
Gabrielle Greene is a Market Champion with DC Greens. Gabby works at the Minnesota Avenue-Benning Road Farmers' Market, informing her neighbors about the Produce Plus program, collecting community feedback, and developing the market as a welcoming and accessible space.A lifelong Washingtonian, Gabby also volunteers with food access organizations across the city, and takes pride in connecting her neighbors to the resources they need to live a healthy life.
Ken Greene is founder of the first seed library in the country, a project he germinated in a small town library. Today, the Hudson Valley Seed Library has grown into the Hudson Valley Seed Co., a national seed company and seed farm devoted to producing seed for home gardeners and farmers, fostering a regional seed-saving community, and celebrating seeds through art. In 2016, twelve years after starting the seed library, Greene started Seedshed, a new non-profit organization focused on growing community through the wonder of seed.
Sarah works with NSAC’s member organizations and allies to empower and mobilize grassroots food and farm voices nationwide. She staffs NSAC’s Grassroots Council and facilitates its work developing grassroots advocacy campaigns. Raised in rural Florida, her prior work has included community-led efforts to improve small farm viability, increase fresh food access, and build leadership in rural communities in the Pacific Northwest.
Lucy Handman is a senior in high school and lives in Buffalo, NY. Over the past few years, she has become engaged in food issues through Massachusetts Avenue Project, or MAP. Last summer Lucy volunteered with MAP and found out about NESAWG. She attended the conference with other MAP Youth in the fall of 2016. This summer, she returned to MAP as a Community Organizing Specialist, working on various projects like this one: submitting her own workshop to NESAWG’s Youth Track. In her spare time, Lucy acts as a Youth Ambassador to the Just Buffalo Writing Center. She does a lot of reading, creative writing, swimming, filmmaking, and attend classes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi.
Rev. Darriel Harris
Rev. Darriel Harris is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Church, a PhD student in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, and a research assistant at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. For the past four years, Rev. Harris has led the Baltimore Food and Faith Project, interacting with hundreds of faith groups, supporting congregations in the enhancement of practices and conceptualization around food.
The Youth Food Justice Network or YFJN (Formerly NEYFJN) was established in the spring of 2014 following expressed needs from youth organizations doing food justice work to unite as an integral part of the larger food justice movement. The YFJN was created with the mission to build shared learning space for youth organizations involved in the food movement. We organize youth-led regional summits and local exchanges to connect and build strong solidarity bonds among food justice organizations that create a just, equitable and fair food system for all.
Dominique Hazzard is Community Engagement Specialist at DC Greens, an organization that drives long-term systems change to advance food justice in the nation’s capital. She manages city-wide community engagement for Produce Plus, a farmers’ market nutrition incentive program that supports the growth of farmers’ markets in neighborhoods that are underserved by healthy food retail. Dominique holds a degree in Environmental Studies from Wellesley College. She is a Harry S. Truman Scholar, and previously worked as a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center. Originally from Prince George’s County, MD, Dominique now calls D.C.'s Anacostia neighborhood home.
Clare Hinrichs is a professor of rural sociology at Penn State University. Her work focuses broadly on the organization, dynamics and governance of sustainability transitions across the food and agricultural system. At Penn State, she teaches undergraduate courses on food systems and on environmental sociology, as well as graduate courses on the sociology of food and agriculture and on sustainability frameworks, theories and practice. She currently serves on the Administrative Council for USDA’s Northeast-SARE region.
Leo Horrigan has 20 years of experience in public health, and previously 20 years in newspapers. He has produced three documentary films, two of them for the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) and its FoodSpan curriculum about the food system -- "Out to Pasture" and "Food Frontiers." As a writer, he has contributed to everything from blogs to journal articles to book chapters.
Audrey has been with The Common Market since 2014 and is the Director of the Mid-Atlantic. As director, she works on operations, sales, food safety, and more. She has a BA from Yale University in Political Science and has experience on political campaigns and in restaurant management. She is currently a Fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program in the Eastern Regional Network. She serves on the Alumni Board of Managers for Central High School of Philadelphia. She also volunteers with Camp Sojourner, a leadership camp for girls. Audrey enjoys eating delicious foods and running.
Neena Hussey is a full-time student at Syracuse University working towards a Bachelors degree in food studies. These past four summers she has worked for the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) in Buffalo NY first as a growing green youth, then as a Mobile Market Specialist, next a Community Organizer and most recently an AmeriCorps Able Team Leader. Working at MAP has provided her the opportunity to addressing issues of food access, sustainability while promoting diversity and equity within the food system. Recently She was elected Vice President of Service for her Fraternity and as such plans to host service events and educational actives in relation to the food system.
Eric Jackson is a founder and Servant-Director of Black Yield Institute (BYI). Eric has over ten years of experience in community organizing, higher education, and youth development, and program management. He is blessed to have worked and grown with people in the creating change, mostly in the areas food security, education, and organizational capacity building. Under the auspices of BYI, Eric is currently building Black Land and Food Sovereignty praxis by organizing communities to address food apartheid by creating community-controlled food ventures and through facilitating sharing and learning for the purpose of building a base for movement building.
Christine came to the John Merck Fund (JMF) in 2008, after 20+ years working for small, community-based human service and environmental nonprofit organizations in Maine and Massachusetts. Prior to coming to JMF, she was executive director of EarthWorks, a small urban greening organization based in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Her work in Maine included four years as executive director of an educational organic farm, and two years working on clean energy and climate change issues. After serving for the past three years as JMF’s Director of Programs, Christine recently moved into a new role as the foundation’s first executive director.
As communications director for National Farmers Union, Andrew Jerome oversees development and implementation of the organization’s communication-related strategies, including media relations, event planning and coverage, state division communication coordination, publication distribution, digital media management and member outreach. Growing up, Jerome lived on a family-owned tobacco and cattle farm in southern Maryland. He graduated from West Virginia University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism with an emphasis on public relations and American politics and policy.
Dominique N. Jones
Dominique N. Jones is a D.C. Native who is currently pursuing her M.A. in Organizational Development from George Washington University. For the past seven months, she has served as a Site Manager for six urban farms in Ward 8 Washington D.C., with the 11th Street Bridge Park. As a Ward 8 resident who has lived in the surrounding food desert her entire life, helping to provide fresh produce to a long-neglected community is just one of the many rewarding experiences about increasing food security and food equity!
Vikki Ayanna Jones
Vikki Ayanna Jones, mother of 5 Suns and 22 grandchildren, Founder and CEO of Sankofa Village Projects and Sankofa Village Community Garden, Horticulturist, Penn State Extension Master Garden 2016, Urban Agriculture Educator and Urban Agriculture Specialist...Developed the Sankofa Village Community Garden which now houses 17 raised beds 4x12, designed it to be handicap accessible and teach 5 to 13 years of age children urban ag in a summer camp environment. Educate City Of Pittsburgh Learn and Earn Students in Urban Ag for the summer and train them to mentor campers to maintain, grow, harvest and id garden crops. Provide a gardening experience for elders of a adult day-care.
Ann is a value chain coordinator who previously served as Executive Director of Fair Food. Fair Food aims to build a sustainable and humane local food economy for the Delaware Valley by connecting regional family farms to the Philadelphia marketplace. In 2003, she opened the Fair Food Farmstand in the Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia’s first all-local grocery store. Ann is Faculty Director of the University of Vermont’s Food Hub Management Certificate Program, and is currently a member of Philadelphia’s Food Policy Advisory Council.
With a passion for fungi, Mateo works throughout the Jasper Hill Farm company, making and tasting cheese, solving problems, and making sure that they are staying true to their mission.
Sonia has worked at the intersection of social justice, food justice, education and the arts since 2001 in both university and non-profit community settings. As a seasoned photographer (and photography educator) and beginning videographer, she is especially interested in new media, designing information for beauty and accessibility, and visual storytelling for social change. A permaculture practitioner, Sonia lives and works on an historic farm in Upper Marlboro, MD where she spends as much time as she can tending gardens. Sonia holds a BS in Psychology and a MA in Education Policy & Leadership.
Wes has worked on sustainability and food policy issues for the past 9 years. He staffs NSAC’s Marketing, Food Systems and Rural Development Committee. Prior to NSAC Wes spent six years at NSAC member organization, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, working on food access, farmers markets and working-lands conservation policy; and leading efforts to create a more risk and scale appropriate regulatory environment for farms and local food businesses. Prior to that he worked for the Illinois Environmental Council.
Divya is a junior studying International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. She believes in using food as a way to fight for social justice. As one of the leaders of Real Food Hopkins, Divya is also one of the Real Food Calculators on campus.
Marla Karina Larrave
Marla works with grassroots members to link identified priorities and needs with policy efforts and advocacy opportunities on a national scale. She facilitates NSAC’s work on equity within the food and farm system through the Diversity Committee and alongside member leaders. Having grown up in Los Angeles with deep farming roots in Guatemala, her previous experience includes progressing community-based and leadership initiatives with people of color, migrants and indigenous communities both in the U.S. and abroad. Marla holds an M.A. in International Development from American University and a B.A. in Global Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Dena Leibman’s commitment to conservation and sustainable agriculture has propelled her through a long career in wildlife biology, publications, and managerial positions in communications. She is now Executive Director of Future Harvest – Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a farmer-based nonprofit working to advance sustainable agriculture in the lower MidAtlantic. Dena is also co-owner of ZigBone Farm Retreat, a 100-acre sheep and goat farm and naturally built retreat center.
Michele has been with the Maryland Farmers Market Association since the organization's founding in late 2012. She previously served as Executive Director of Crossroads Community Food Network, a non-profit committed to building a healthier, more inclusive food system in Maryland's Takoma/Langley Crossroads. During her tenure, Michele led Crossroads' growth from a seasonal farmers market to a thriving, nationally-recognized non-profit operating both community-based and statewide programming. She holds a Master’s in Social Work with a focus on Program Management, Policy, and Community Organizing.
Lorraine Lewandrowski is a dairy farmer and an attorney practicing agricultural law in New York. Lorraine has worked for decades on farmer justice concepts and advocated for farmers in a variety of arenas. Other areas of interest and law practice include environmental litigation representation of endangered species. She has served on state level commissions including the New York State Solid Waste Management Advisory Board and the New York State Milk Promotion Advisory Board.
Alex Linkow leads the Fair Food Fund, an innovative Fair Food Network program that provides financing and business assistance to good food enterprises that connect small and mid-size farms with consumers hungry for local, sustainably grown food. As Program Director, he oversees the fund’s investment portfolio, including deal sourcing, due diligence for investment opportunities, and raising grant and program-related investment capital. Alex also manages the fund’s business assistance offerings, which includes one-on-one support and an annual Business Boot Camp.
Ivory Loh is a senior majoring in public health and minoring in psychology at Johns Hopkins University. She is passionate about promoting both human and planetary health, and hopes to pursue a Masters in Public Health and a dietetics internship after she graduates. Ivory has been in Real Food Hopkins since her freshman year and is now one of the leaders of the club.
Abel Luna grew up as a farmworker working since he was 15 years old. His grandfather was in the infamous Bracero farmworker program and was exposed to toxic pesticides, from which he suffered his whole life. He worked with the Rural Migrant Ministry in New York winning groundbreaking legislative improvements for agricultural workers including improving minimum wage laws. Abel is Migrant Justice’s Leadership Development Coordinator.
Julia is an Economist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. She graduated with her PhD in Agricultural Economics and Operations Research from Penn State in 2014. While at Penn State, she worked on research addressing the spatial distribution of organic agriculture operations in the United States with her adviser, Ted Jaenicke. More recently, her research has been geared toward food safety, food handling practices, and the economic impact of foodborne illness outbreaks. When not doing economics, Julia enjoys activities such as dancing and eating an entire watermelon in one sitting (not at the same time).
Kristen Markley provides resources and peer to peer sharing opportunities throughout the Mid-Atlantic states for hospitals who are interested in supporting regional, equitable, and sustainable food systems. For eleven years, she was the National Farm to Institution Program Manager for the Community Food Security Coalition. She is a former vegetable farmer and has a deep understanding of the challenges of managing a successful farm operation.
Executive Director of the Kokua Hawaii Foundation and NFSN Core Partner, Natalie McKinney has been actively involved in promoting legislation that has led to Hawaii’s first hire of a Farm to School Coordinator in the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture to strengthen farm to school in the state.
Suzanne McMillan is Content Director for the ASPCA’s Farm Animal Welfare campaign. Her work aims to improve the lives of animals raised for food by strengthening their legal protections and ensuring standards for humane claims made on food packages. She also works with private farm animal welfare certification programs as well as multi-sector coalitions like the GFPP to transform the food system for animals, people and the planet alike. Suzanne has a degree in Agricultural and Food Law.
Master Gardener Coordinator of University of Maryland Baltimore City Master Gardeners.
Lauren Melodia works with the Center For Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship (CADE) and also with Milk Not Jails. CADE is a 501(c)( 3) devoted to increasing the number and diversity of successful farm enterprises in the Northeast. Milk Not Jails is an urban-rural grassroots alliance seeking to end Upstate rural NY dependency on the prison economy, while improving the criminal justice system. Lauren has most recently teamed with farmers who are interested in developing on farm production of dairy products
Maximilian Merrill’s has substantial educational and experiential background in agricultural issues, including undergraduate and graduate degrees in natural resources and hydrology, a J.D. from Vermont Law School, and an established track record representing clients’ interests with regulatory and legislative leaders in Washington D.C. His wide range of past clients includes agribusinesses, trade associations, and non-profit coalitions. His love for agriculture continues to also thrive in his personal life, where he makes regular visits to his once fallow family farm in Pennsylvania to pound in more fence posts, reclaim fields, and raise bison.
Qiana is the Executive Director of Just Food, a New York City based food justice nonprofit organization. She is a trained Community Advocate and enjoys sharing the gift of learner-centered trainings, cultivating community leadership, exploring the intersectionality of food justice, and advocating for sustainable and equitable food/farm policies on the local, regional, and federal level. Qiana earned her Food Hub Management Certificate from the University of Vermont and her B.S. in Marketing from Hampton University. She serves on the Organizational Council of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, a member of Alliance for Food and Racial Equity and a former board member of NESAWG.
Birchrun Hills Farm is a family owned dairy farm in the highlands of Birchrunville, Chester Springs. The Millers offer handcrafted raw milk cheese.
Lisa manages 2 acres of seed saving gardens at Turtle Tree Seed, a Biodynamic seed initiative within Camphill Village in Columbia County, NY. Camphill is an integrated community where people with developmental differences are living a life of dignity, equality, and purpose.
Denzel Mitchell Jr. is an educator, farmer, chef, and longtime justice advocate. Born in Guthrie, Oklahoma, he and his wife arrived in Baltimore in 2006 and joined its pioneering urban agricultural movement. Denzel founded the Greening and Nutrition program at Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School and brought Baltimore's heirloom Fish pepper back to the region’s culinary palette. He left the classroom to pursue vegetable farming and operated Five Seeds Farm until 2015. He is currently the Brownfields Greening Coordinator at Baltimore City’s Office of Sustainability and is a “biscuithead” at Blacksauce Kitchen. He lives in Union Square with his wife, 5 children, and his daughter’s dog.
Carys Mitchelmore, PhD
Carys Mitchelmore, PhD, is a Professor for the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in Solomons, MD. Her expertise lies in aquatic toxicology and her research experience includes investigating the uptake, metabolism, fate and toxic effects of metals and organic pollutants. Dr. Mitchelmore is also co-author of the 2005 National Research Council (NRC) report “Oil Spill Dispersants: Efficacy and Effects.”
Debra Moser has served as adjunct professor for the Carey School of Business at Johns Hopkins University. Combining her passions of art and business, she became Executive Director of The Metropolitan Center for the Visual Arts in 2004, where she led a team in building a new, comprehensive art center in Montgomery County. Currently, Debra splits her time between MeatCrafters, an artisan meat company producing naturally cured sausages and salamis (co-founded with her husband), and as partner in Central Farm Markets which together serve thousands of people each year in metro Washington. She also serves on the boards of Future Harvest CASA and the American University Entrepreneurship Program.
Betsy Nicholas, Executive Director of Waterkeepers Chesapeake, has over 16 years experience in environmental law and policy. Before joining Waterkeepers in 2012, she was an US Dept. of Justice Environmental and Natural Resources trial attorney, focused on regulatory takings. Her prior work as General Counsel for Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (UCR), focused on protection of the river and watershed, industrial storm water; sanitary sewer overflow; water consumption; and legislation. Before that, she was an associate for law firms in New York and Washington, DC. Betsy has a JD cum laude from Tulane University Law School in Environmental Law, and a University of Florida BS in Botany/Ecology.
Ayanna Nugzi is the founder and director of the Sankofa Village Community Garden. She manages both the garden and it's programming for youth and adults. She has been an activist and advocate for urban agriculture, community gardening and the black community for decades. In addition to her role at Sankofa, "Mama Ayanna" has mentored countless black youth, serves as a Board member at Grow Pittsburgh, is a member of the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, and is a certified Master Gardener.
Nancy is the Education, Outreach and Advancement Coordinator for the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology (https://agresearch.umd.edu/agroecol). In this role, she works with diverse stakeholders including the agriculture and environmental communities, federal, state, and local governments to identify practices and solutions to promote the economic and environmental sustainability of Maryland’s agriculture and forestry. She is also the Co-Chair of the Chesapeake Foodshed Network. In addition, she is part owner of Eve’s Cheese. She earned her MA and BA from Washington College.
Immaculate is responsible for outreach and communication with all farmers, particularly small & beginner farmers; marketing assistance at Farmers Markets; as well as supporting with wholesale/CSA development and communication. As a first-generation immigrant, daughter of farmers, and former congressional intern for a Representative on the House Agriculture Committee, she is continuing to take steps towards finding her role in this fight against hunger and for food justice.
Curtis Ogden is a Senior Associate at the Interaction Institute for Social Change (IISC). Curtis brings to IISC his experience in education, community development and organizing, leadership development, and program design. Through his role at IISC, Curtis provides design and facilitation support to the FSNE Process and Network Teams and is lead facilitator/trainer of the FSNE Network Leadership Institute. In addition to his work at IISC, Curtis is on the Advisory Board of EmbraceRace and a member of the Research Alliance for Regenerative Economics.
R. Dennis Olson, Senior Research Associate & Policy Analyst for the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, advises the meatpacking division director on food, agriculture and trade policies, and provides strategic analysis for organizing, collective bargaining, legislative and strategic alliance initiatives. He represents UFCW on the Center for Good Food Purchasing National Campaign Committee, and helps convince public institutions to implement the program. He represents UFCW in the National Poultry Workers Coalition, which successfully opposed a USDA proposal to increase slaughter line speeds in poultry plants, and challenges poultry companies to respect workers’ rights.
Brendan O’Neill has nearly 20 years of experience working as a community organizer and educator. Additionally, he worked as an Adjunct Instructor at teaching courses on community organizing, Latin American Studies, and globalization. Since 2007, he has worked closely with Vermont’s migrant farmworker communities as an ESL teacher. He is a co-founder and current Strategy and Campaign Coordinator with Migrant Justice in Vermont.
Tatyona is a Sankofa Village Community Garden Apprentice and has worked in the garden for several years. She loves to grow fruits, vegetables and flowers, and enjoys learning about nature and the food system. The field trips and learning session from this summer have opened her eyes to the system around her and how it impacts peoples lives and health.
Maria Payan is a consultant with the Socially Responsible Agriculture Project, and Executive Director and a founding member of the Peach Bottom Concerned Citizens Group. She has worked for years to educate people about and advocate for socially responsible agriculture through forums, films, community events, and even after-school programs for children. Maria has been instrumental in working with communities to fight the expansion of industrial animal facilities throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and New York. She is committed to keeping independent farmers viable, while striving to preserve our natural resources and rural heritage for future generations.
Tehawisoron Kenny Perkins
Kenny Perkins is the Lead Uncle for Ohero:kon ("Under the Husk"), a traditional four-year passage rites ceremony that has been revived in his Mohawk community. He is also a Mohawk Traditional Singer, the Akwesasne Farm Steward and one of the partners in Seedshed's Native American Seed Sanctuary.
Kimberly Perry is Director of Food Security at AARP Foundation, where she oversees a portfolio to examine, highlight, operate, fund and advocate solutions that fight hunger and poverty. Ms. Perry is well-known and respected for her social entrepreneurship and advocacy campaigns, which have driven critical policy change to improve the lives of nearly 40 million children and their families across the globe. Her work is steeped in a philosophy that everyone, no matter their resources, has a meaningful role to play in the quest for justice, and that transformative change is achieved when the most disenfranchised are empowered to lead.
Assateague COASTKEEPER Kathy Phillips, Executive Director of Assateague Coastal Trust, is an advocate for the health of the Delmarva coastal watersheds; assuring existing laws to protect water quality are enforced, pressing for enactment of stronger measures to safeguard our waterways and standing up to polluters and policymakers to hold them accountable. Phillips is a member of the Maryland Clean Agriculture Coalition, the Bay Enforcement Network and was a key witness in Federal Court for the Waterkeeper Alliance ground breaking Perdue/Hudson Clean Water Act lawsuit to bring Integrator Liability and accountability to EPA CAFO Clean Water Act permits.
Lorette Piciano is the Executive Director of of Rural Coalition/ Coalicion Rural, an alliance of farmers, farmworkers, indigenous, migrant and working people from the US, Mexico, Canada and beyond. With 50 grassroots member organizations, Rural Coalition serves as a advocacy voice of African-American, American-Indian, Asian-American, Euro-American, Latino and women farmers, ranchers and rural communities.
Vanessa Garcia Polanco
She grew up in in the fertile Cibao Valley of the Dominican Republic. Growing up, local food was not an option, it was the rule. She moved from the D.R. six years ago, and in the U.S. she is an active community leader in her new home of North Providence, RI, at the University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension and as a member of the Rhode Island Food Policy Council. She sees sustainability through community development as an interdisciplinary tool to empower individuals to enact behavior change and improve their quality of life and environmental conditions.
Matt Quinlan is the Public Policy Manager at Family League of Baltimore, where he leads the organization’s legislative campaigns around increasing access to quality public education and community schools, supports for infants and young children, and out-of-school time opportunities. He also serves as the organizer for the Baltimore Partnership to End Childhood Hunger, a city-wide coalition of public, private and community groups working to strengthen front line anti-hunger safety net programs for children and families in Baltimore City. Matt believes that successful legislative campaigns are led by those most impacted, and is constantly working to increase the shared potential of community organizing and public policy change.
Bonnie Raindrop has been keeping bees for ten years and, as the legislative chair for the Central Maryland Beekeepers Association, she works with bee clubs and others on solutions to reverse the devastating loss of pollinators. She serves on the executive committee of the Maryland Smart on Pesticides Coalition, which spearheaded Maryland’s passage of two first-in-the nation pollinator protection laws in 2016 and 2017. She also serves on the board of directors of the Maryland Pesticide Education Network.
Anu Rangarajan is Director of the Cornell Small Farm Program and is on the faculty in Horticulture. She recently has completed a study for USDA titled, “The Promise of Urban Agriculture” which highlights opportunities and challenges in supporting commercially-viable urban farms.
Molly Riordan Bucknum
Molly Riordan Bucknum is the former Urban Agriculture Development Program Associate for the Cornell Small Farms Program, and author of the forthcoming report, “The Promise of Urban Agriculture,” a national scan of commercial urban farming and the programs and policies that support viable, thriving urban farm businesses. She has worked across the food system in farming, farmer training, local food distribution, market development, food service, and policy development. She earned her Masters in Regional Planning from Cornell University, and since February 2017 has been the Good Food Purchasing Coordinator for the City of Philadelphia Departments of Public Health and Procurement.
Rafaela has a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley and a Master’s degree in Social Welfare from the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA. Rafaela has over five years of experience working with vulnerable populations across the globe and in different capacities. She helped develop income-generating activities for HIV+ orphans and their caregivers; she has also provided social services to human trafficking survivors; and she investigated current programs working to mitigate the rising teenage pregnancy rates in Nicaragua. Rafaela's wide range of experiences all merge at the intersection of vulnerability, service access, and risk mitigation of potential trauma.
Kathryn Ruhf leads the EFSNE Project's Outreach Team. Kathryn was the NESAWG coordinator from 1992 to 2012. She has written and taught about regional food systems and led several food systems projects.
As a member of USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Local Food Research and Development Division, Ms. Schaffstall works to address both food access and market access issues through the evaluation of creative marketing strategies and business structures. Her most recent and current work focuses on food value chains, community-driven initiatives for food system development, mobile markets and urban agriculture.
Katie Smith is a sophomore at Johns Hopkins University studying chemical and biomolecular engineering. She is a part of the Real Food at Hopkins club and the Food Systems Working Group executive board that works to spread awareness about food systems and to support JHU in its commitment for more just and sustainable food. She also works for the JHU Dining Department as a Food Procurement Coordinator to research and facilitate product shifts in dining halls on campus. She is passionate about sustainability and access to nutritious food.
Lindsay is a planning and food systems consultant. Since 2016, she is the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Regional Food Systems Value Chain Coordinator as part of Food LINC. Lindsay has worked with the Washington Regional Food Funders, the Montgomery County Food Council, and the Accokeek Foundation. She is in her second term on the Board of the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association. She is a member of Future Harvest CASA, Virginia Association of Biological Farming, and VA Farm Bureau. Lindsay is part of the current class of VA Agricultural Leaders Obtaining Results, a two-year leadership development program for agricultural professionals.
Julie Sorensen is the Director of the Northeast Center for Health and Safety, a program of the Bassett Healthcare Network in Cooperstown, NY. Julie received her PhD in Epidemiology from Umea University, in Umea, Sweden, holds a Masters in Medical Anthropology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. Julie’s research interests include qualitative research methods, social marketing, intervention development, intervention dissemination and human behavior research.
Karen Spiller 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 works with diverse stakeholders, including community residents and businesses, state and local agencies, policy makers, corporations, foundations, community-based organizations, and healthcare providers. Karen currently serves organizations in various roles that include Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts, The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. Karen serves as Massachusetts Ambassador and Process Team member of Food Solutions New England.
Karakwino Tina Square
Tina Square is a Cultural Educator with the Native North American Traveling College and Lead Auntie for Ohero:kon which offers age-appropriate, culture-based teachings and activities in safe, sacred spaces to nurture the physical, emotional, and spiritual well being of Onkwehonwe youth and their supporters. She is a partner in Seedshed's Native American Seed Sanctuary.
I am a staff person at Penn's Netter Center for Community Partnerships and volunteer ED of Rebel Ventures. I am lucky to have amazing young colleagues. Together we run the Rebel Ventures crew.
Maryland Delegate Dana Stein
Delegate Dana Stein has been a long-time advocate for solutions to climate change. In 1992 he founded Civic Works, a nationally-recognized “urban Peace Corps” that transforms the lives of young adults through community service in Baltimore City. Since being elected as a legislator from Baltimore County in 2006, Dana Stein has sponsored legislation that would have a direct impact on reducing climate change. Delegate Stein has served on the House Environmental Matters Committee beginning since 2007, and was later named Vice Chair of the Environment and Transportation Committee and became chair of the Natural Resources Agriculture and Open Space subcommittee. In 2010, Dana published a novel, Fire in the Wind, a novel about the effects of climate change.
Collin Townsend is a student and chef with over a decade of experience in the restaurant industry. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and is currently finishing his bachelor's degree in Food Studies at Syracuse University. At present time, he is working on his honors undergraduate thesis involving the use of prison labor in the food system, as well as managing the kitchen at Al's Wine and Whisky in Armory Square. Collin Townsend resides in Syracuse, NY.
Jennifer grew up in a bilingual home in Honduras, graduated from Texas A&M University, and recently worked on a farm in Virginia. Drawing on her additional skills and background in education, culinary arts, and hospitality, she helps food entrepreneurs grow and strengthen their businesses.
Dr. Sara Via
Sara Via, PhD is a Professor and Climate Extension Specialist at the University of Maryland, College Park and works with MDA and NRCS on soil health outreach and education. Dr. Via is also working to introduce Maryland farmers to the impacts of climate change and to provide common-sense ways to make Maryland's farms more resilient.
A grassroots community organization working to build self determination in the Vietnamese community in Philadelphia and South Jersey. VietLead has a community garden, Resilient Roots, in Camden, NJ.
Amy has served as the Manager of the Administrative and Support Services for the Division of Food Services at the School District of Philadelphia for the past 6 years. She is responsible for menu development and food purchases for full service locations, manages the relationships with our pre-plate meal providers, and serves as the Division's compliance officer overseeing adherence to all Federal and State program regulations. Amy received her undergraduate degree in Public Health/Nutrition from West Chester University and her Master’s Degree in Health Informatics from Temple University. Amy is a past President of the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Craig Watts grew up on his family’s farm in Fairmont, NC. Following college graduation with a business degree, he returned home in 1991, a time when large corporate poultry processors were ramping up recruitment of local farmers. Craig signed a contract in 1992, thinking it was a lifeline to come back to the farm; like many contract farmers, he soon learned it was not. Less than two years after Craig paid off his loans, his processor forced him back into new loans and debt to upgrade his chicken houses. In 2008, he decided to speak out and connected with RAFI to learn advocacy. Today he is an eloquent and outspoken critic of the contract system. He and his wife Amelia have three children.
Mike Weaver is President of the Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias, which represents broiler, pullet, egg producers and turkey growers in West Virginia and Virginia. He is also President of the Organization for Competitive Markets and National Wild Turkey Federation, a retired Special Agent for U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement and former State of West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Law Enforcement Section Conservation Officer. Mike owns and farms 350 acres in Pendleton County, West Virginia, raising broilers for Pilgrim’s Pride that are processed at the Moorefield, WV processing plant, and angus beef cattle.
Zaire is a junior at Parkway West High School. He is a leader and entrepreneur at Rebel Ventures.
Farm Manager, Strength to Love II Farms (SLF).
Rebekah Williams is the Youth Education Director at Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) in Buffalo, NY. At MAP, Rebekah is responsible for hiring, supervising, and supporting approximately 50 teenagers each year. Involved in direct service with youth, Rebekah engages with them in open dialogue and exploration on personal and community issues surrounding race, identity, nationality, gender, sexuality, religion, trauma, relationships, privilege, and oppression. In addition to working with teenagers, Rebekah is MAP’s representative on the Crossroads Collective, a collaboration of Buffalo organizations working to bring about a just transition from an extractive economy, to one that relies on renewable energy and sustainable agriculture, ensuring that the transition benefits all people and communities. Rebekah leads the Crossroad Collective's food justice working group, encourages and engages young leaders in its work, and along with the Collective's partner organizations Rebekah coordinates trainings and events to engage the broader community in the movement.
Ron Williams, Jr.
Ron Williams, Jr. is the owner of Dorchesters Farm FoodHUB. Since 2012, he has been exploring the waters of Maryland’s Eastern Shore as a licensed MD Blue Crabber, Oyster Harvester and registered Seafood Dealer. While crab and tidal fishing, he began agricultural farming to supplement his income and fell in love with it. His aquaculture and agricultural food hub will provide fresh, healthy products to retail, wholesale and institutional customers throughout the Washington Metropolitan region. Mr. Williams is a Washington, D.C., native. He currently lives and works on Kent Island as he prepares to launch a retail space in Prince George’s County, MD.
Craig Willingham is the Deputy Director for the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute at the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. There he works with a team focused on a variety of food policy research and action areas including, good food jobs, food security, countermarketing, local economies, and food and technology.
Dr. Sacoby Wilson
Dr. Sacoby Wilson is an Associate Professor in Environmental Health at the University of Maryland-College Park. He has over fifteen years of experience working in partnership with community-based organizations on addressing environmental justice and health issues including working with the West End Revitalization Association (WERA) in Mebane, NC, and the Low Country Alliance for Model Communities (LAMC) in North Charleston, SC. He is a member of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) and on the Board of Community-Campus Partnership for Health (CCPH). He received both his MS and PhD from the School of Public Health, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Alexander J. Wright JD is the General Manager and Co-Founder of the African Heritage Food Co-Op. The mission of which is to create community ownership, combat food deserts and eliminate price gouging in the poorest areas of the City. He oversees the daily operations and is the visionary driving force behind the project. Mr. Wright has a Bachelors of Science in Business Management and a Law Degree from the University at Buffalo. Before the Co-Op he managed many Non Profit Organizations and operated his own business consulting firm.
Amy Zheng is a senior studying Molecular and Cellular & Medicine, Science and the Humanities, with a Spanish for the Professions minor at Johns Hopkins University. Her interests include health disparities within maternal and child health.