Niaz has been a community organizer for over 30 years. The life changing moment came in 1994 when as a Greenpeace campaigner she switched from organizing in communities fighting for environmental justice to organizing fishing communities. From the start she recognized the similarities between family farmers’ fight for a more just and ecologically responsible land-based food system and that of community-based fishermen fighting to fix the broken sea-based food system. She has been serving as the coordinating director of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance since 2008. One of the first things NAMA did after Niaz took the helm was to join the National Family Farm Coalition as its first non-farming member. The two organizations entered into an innovative shared-leadership model on May 1, 2018, putting Niaz in the new role of serving the work of both organizations and further cementing the relationship and interdependence between land and sea.
Frank Salustri is the founder of RI Fishmonger, an artisanal fishermen-led Co-op located in Westerly, RI. For as long as he can remember, fishing, farming, and food have been life passions of his. With over 15 years of experience in hospitality, lifelong fisherman turned commercial in 2018, and 3 years of farm hand duties he brings a well-rounded perspective to the food industry. His vision for local and regional food systems is one that is supported largely in part by local and regional hospitality industries and lies at the center of his works. Connecting hospitality and food systems is how he aims to shed light on the opportunities that exist to engage the community with its harvesters and to develop new avenues of ownership for fishermen.