It Takes a Region Conference - 2015

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Plenaries | Workshop Sessions | Discussion & Work Groups
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Presenter Bios

Peter Allison
Peter Allison is the network director for Farm to Institution New England (FINE), a six-state collaboration working to support our regional food system by increasing the amount of regionally grown and processed food served in schools, colleges, and  hospitals. Peter is the founder of the Upper Valley Farm to School Network and has more than 30 years of experience with private, public, and nonprofit organizations on leading edge sustainability initiatives.

Jim Barham
Bio coming soon!
Sessions: Distribution and Food Hubs Work Group Sessions

Hilary Baum
Bio coming soon!
Session: Fracking & Farms

Amanda Behrens
Amanda Behrens manages the Maryland Food System Map Project for the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, which aims to geographically assess and improve the food system in Maryland. Previously, she worked with an organic farm and a growers cooperative in Montana. She holds a master’s in public health and an M.S. from Tufts University.
Sessions: Diet, Geography, Access, and Public Health Work Group Sessions

Joanne Burke
Dr. 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, regional levels and beyond. She is one of the regional 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.
Sessions: Diet, Geography, Access, and Public Health Work Group Sessions

Erica Campbell
Bio coming soon!
Sessions: Food Systems Planning Work Group Sessions

Kate Clancy
Kate Clancy is currently a food systems consultant, Visiting Scholar at the Center for a Livable Future Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Adjunct Professor at Tufts University, and Senior Fellow in the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, University of Minnesota (she resides in University Park, Maryland). She is the deputy director of the USDA-funded five-year EFSNE systems project in the Northeast United States, and engaged with many initiatives including Agriculture of the Middle and It Takes a Region. She was a member of the Institute of Medicine committee that recently published a framework to assess the health, environmental, social, and economic effects of the US food system.
Sessions: Sustainable Dietary Guidelines

Norm Conrad
Bio coming soon!
Session: Non-GMO Seed & Feed in NE Dairy

Derek Denckla
Bio coming soon!
Session: Northeast Food Shed Alliance

Steve Gilman

Steve Gilman farmed organically for more than 30

years in the Saratoga, NY area, growing for farmers

markets, restaurants, and later a CSA—sometimes

wondering why he ever was a poli sci major. Since

2007 he has worked on organic farming and food

system initiatives as the policy coordinator for the

seven state chapters of the Northeast Organic

Farming Association, Interstate Council (NOFA-IC).

He also leads the NESAWG Food Safety work group


Vern Grubinger, Land Grant Stakeholder Accountability

Vern Grubinger is an extension professor at the

University of Vermont. Vern has worked with farmers

for decades on issues related to sustainable food

production. He is an Extension specialist and coordinator

of the Northeast SARE program.



Joan Gussow, Food Censorship & Misinformation

Joan Dye Gussow, Mary Swartz Rose Professor Emerita and former chair of the Columbia University Teachers College, Nutrition Education Program, lives, writes, and grows organic vegetables on the west bank of the Hudson River.  Long retired, she is still co-teaching her course nutritional ecology at TC every fall.  She is author, co-author or editor of five books including The Feeding Web: Issues in Nutritional Ecology, This Organic Life and her latest book, published in November, 2010,  Growing, Older:  A Chronicle of Death, Life and Vegetables.







Becca Jablonski

Becca Jablonski is a Special Assistant Professor of Food Systems and Community and Economic Development in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University. She has worked across most aspects of the food system, most recently serving as a Fellow with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a Visiting Scholar with the USDA's Economic Research Service, an Agricultural Economic Development Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County, and as part of a small team commissioned by the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Services to build a methodological framework to evaluate the economic impacts of food hubs (local food aggregation and distribution businesses). Becca’s research and extension efforts focus on evaluating rural/regional economic development initiatives and policies, with an emphasis on identifying strategies to improve agribusiness performance and enhance regional food systems. She is particularly interested in assessing the impacts of alternative food system initiatives and strengthened rural-urban linkages to farmers, supply chain participants, and rural economies. Becca holds a PhD and B.A. from Cornell University and an MS from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.



Ann Karlen

NOTE: Bio  needed – AT has reached out 7/24




Ruth Katz

Ruth has worked on farm and food issues, in education, advocacy, program development and fundraising roles for over twenty years.  She co-founded Just Food, a NYC organization focused on direct markets, urban farming, food education, farm and food justice, and training-of-trainers.  She served as its executive director from 2000-2006.  She's also worked in staff and consulting positions with Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Farm Aid, Karp Resources, Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet, the United Nations Development Program and the Rauch Foundation. Ruth is especially interested in nimble organizations working together to complement each other’s work. Previously, Ruth lived in Gabon, Central Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer, an experience that kindled her interest in these issues. 


Sophia Kruszewski

Need bio – RK to obtain mid-August




Arthur Lerner

Arthur Lerner lives in New London, Connecticut. He has been active in the fields of sustainable agriculture and food systems since he was a student at Hampshire College in 1991. He has participated in projects to grow farms and gardens in both rural and urban areas, and endeavors to connect environmental stewardship with social justice and public health. He co-founded FRESH New London in 2004.




Amy Little

Amy Little has been organizing for social change on the local, state, and national levels for more than three decades, doing community organizing, coalition building, legislative and electoral campaigns.  She founded the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture, has been a Senior advisor for members of Congress, was national staff for Citizen Action/US Action and Progressive Action Network, and coordinated national field work on three Presidential campaigns. Amy lives in the Hudson Valley of New York. Amy may be contacted at amylittle(at)nesawg(dot)org.



Paula Lukats, Just Food

Bio needed. RK will reach out for mid-August inclusion.



Allen Matthews, Director, Sustainable Agriculture,Chatham University, Gibsonia, PA

Bio needed. RK will confirm for mid-August inclusion




Qiani Mickle

Qiana Mickie is the CSA Network Manager at Just Food, a non-profit that supports community leaders in their efforts to increase access to locally grown healthy food in New York City neighborhoods, especially in historically marginalized communities.  Over the past two years, Qiana has connected Northeast regional farmers to urban residents to start up and keep over 113 CSAs thriving throughout the five boroughs in her role as the CSA Network Manager.  Qiana is also active in advocating for sustainable and equitable food/farm policies on the local, regional, and federal level.  She is a member of the Steering Committee of the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG), an Interim Coordinating Committee member of the Alliance for Food and Racial Equity (AFRE), and serves on the Diversity Committee of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC).


Qiana is currently earning a Food Hub Management Certificate from the University of Vermont. She is one of only 25 students in the inaugural cohort and the program is the first of its kind in the country.  She is also completing her Food Hub Action Project with Corbin Hill Food Project, a regional food hub that provides high quality, fresh produce to New York City community members that need it the most. Through her education and work with food hubs, Qiana intends to have a larger impact on the regional foodshed by helping develop equitable food enterprises that will stimulate positive change while also building resiliency within urban and rural communities. Qiana also has BS in Marketing from Hampton University.



Glenda Neff

Need Bio & confirmation. RK to reach out mid-August

Diana Robinson tbd mid-August via RK.



Julie Obudzinski, Policy Organizing

Need bio & confirmation – RK to obtain mid-August


Curtis Ogden

Curtis Ogden is a senior associate with the Interaction

Institute for Social Change (IISC) based in Boston,

through which he provides collaborative capacity

building support to social change leaders, organizations,

and networks. Curtis has worked on several food

system initiatives, including Food Solutions New

England, Vermont Farm to Plate Network, Rhode

Island Food Policy Council, Connecticut Food System

Alliance, Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness,

and the Inter-Institutional Network for Food, Agriculture

and Sustainability


Anne Palmer,

Anne Palmer is program director in the Food,

Communities and Public Health Program at the Center

for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University. She

is also a Consumption team leader for the Enhancing

Food Security in the Northeast project.



Jeff Piestrack/NEFKE

Jeff Piestrak was directly engaged in food production

and supply chains for many years. Now he plays a

supporting role through his outreach work at Cornell

University’s Mann Library and consultancy/leadership

activities with community and regional food systems

groups. That includes helping those groups find, use,

and share information relevant to their work and

advocacy. He is a leader on the NESAWG Research

and Assessments Working Group and the Northeast

Food Knowledge Ecosystem (NEFKE) project,

currently working on WealthWorks value chain

development, which builds and protects community

assets in an inclusive and systems-oriented manner.


Steven Rosenberg, Scenic Hudson

Steve Rosenberg is Executive Director of the Scenic Hudson Land Trust and Sr. Vice President of Scenic Hudson, Inc. Scenic Hudson has conserved 35,000 acres, including more than 95 family farms, and has created more than 40 parks and preserves along the Hudson River.  Steve is leading Scenic Hudson’s campaign to secure New York City’s and the Hudson Valley’s supply of fresh, local food by conserving the region’s most important farmland.  Steve serves on the national board of the Land Trust Alliance. He graduated with honors from the George Washington University law school and received his B.A. from Northwestern University.



Michael Rozyne, Red Tomato

Michael Rozyne is the founder and executive director

of Red Tomato, a decentralized food hub that represents

40 Northeast fruit and vegetable growers.

Before that, Michael was the co-founder of Equal



Kathy Ruhf, AFRI Project Update

Kathy Ruhf was the NESAWG Network Coordinator from the network's founding in 1992 until the fall of 2012. In this capacity, she managed numerous projects, organized NESAWG's annual conferences and other events, and authored several publications. Kathy has been a strong advocate of social impact networks and regionalism as approaches to solving food system problems. Kathy will serve as an advisor to NESAWG and manage several of NESAWG's special projects. In her other work, she specializes in farmland access and tenure and beginning farmer issues. Kathy lives and works in western Massachusetts. Kathy may be contacted at kzruhf(at)verizon(dot) net.




Karen Spiller

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.



Dorothy Suput

Dorothy Suput is the founder and executive director of The Carrot Project. The Carrot Project is changing our food and agriculture economy by helping farmers and food processors extend their commitment to sustainability to their business practices. Dorothy’s has a BS from Purdue University and a Master’s degree from Tufts University’s Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning program where she focused on sustainable agriculture and non-profit management.



Mark Winne

Mark Winne was the executive director of the Hartford

Food System (1979–2003), a Connecticut nonprofit

food organization, where he developed the

City of Hartford Food Policy Council (1993) and the

State of Connecticut Food Policy Council (1998). He

co-founded the Community Food Security Coalition,

was a Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Fellow,

a Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Visiting

Scholar, and a member of the U.S. delegation to the

2000 Rome Conference on Food Security. He is the

author of Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table

in the Land of Plenty and Food Rebels, Guerrilla

Gardeners, and Smart Cookin’ Mamas.