To create the inclusive, diverse and resilient food systems of the future, we need bold and knowledgeable change agents to transform public policy.
After years of advocacy, serving in the Obama Administration, and working in the private sector, I’ve witnessed one salient need rise to the top: trained human capital. We must invest in the leaders of tomorrow to ensure they have the skills and tools for their innovative ideas to survive.
Which is why I’m thrilled to announce Arizona State University’s Food Policy & Sustainability Leadership 2019-2020 class. With a commitment to shaping food and farm policy in the public interest, the inaugural cohort of leaders hails from across the country including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C.
These 20 rising stars represent business, nonprofit, and academia, modeling the community necessary for food system transformation. They’re passionate about reducing food waste, regenerative agriculture, and climate resistant agriculture. They’re dedicated to school food reform and food sovereignty.
They are the future of food.
Meet the Leaders
Liz Broussard is a transplant from Concord, New Hampshire who is making Jackson, Mississippi home. She currently serves as a project coordinator at the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), where she supports the Mississippi Food Justice Collaborative, a network of organizations working to improve access to healthy food and transform Mississippi food systems through collaborative, values driven work. Liz's work focuses on capacity-building, bridge-building, and systems change. Prior to joining NCAT, Liz served as the state fellow for the FoodCorps Mississippi program, connecting kids to healthy food in schools and supporting a cohort of 10 service members across the state. Liz holds a BA from Cornell College with a double major in Environmental Food Studies and Music.
Angel Cruz is the academic and extension initiatives manager at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), based at NC State University, as well as the coordinator for the North Carolina Local Foods Council. CEFS focuses on research, extension, and education in sustainable agriculture and community-based food systems. Angel’s work at CEFS focuses on sustainable agriculture education and developing a diverse career pathway in agriculture and food systems across the state. Angel’s family history is deeply rooted in agriculture, from the tobacco fields of rural Appalachia where she grew up to the sugarcane fields in Cuba where her father hails. She received a PhD in agroecology from NC State University and received a Fulbright Fellowship and a Borlaug Global Food Security Fellowship to fund her research on soil health and food security in El Salvador.
Katie has spent her career supporting the development and commercialization of new food and agriculture technologies. She currently works as Apeel Sciences' senior manager of regulatory affairs, leading Apeel's global regulatory program focused on obtaining market access for Apeel's novel shelf life extension technology developed to reduce postharvest food loss and waste - from farm to retail shelf to home. Prior to joining Apeel, Katie worked for Syngenta as a study director in Syngenta's Product Safety Department focusing on protein quantification and analysis of genetically engineered crops. With a passion for sustainable agriculture, Katie later transitioned to Regulatory Affairs where she held various roles in global regulatory operations, regulatory program management, and regulatory policy advocacy. Katie received a BS in biochemistry and an MBA from North Carolina State University and was later recognized with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the University for contributions to agriculture. Today, she can usually be found hiking with her husband and dog in and around Santa Barbara, CA where she is currently based.
Cindy Farlee serves as an associate program officer and youth/beginning farmer and rancher liaison for the Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF). NAAF is a private charitable trust that provides grants to eligible organizations for business assistance, agricultural education, technical support, and advocacy services to support Native farmers and ranchers. She is a citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and grew up on a cattle ranch on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in northcentral South Dakota. Cindy is a first-generation college graduate with a BA in Indigenous and American Indian Studies with an emphasis in sovereignty from Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU).
Devin Foote is a food systems program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. In this role, he supports the foundation’s efforts to promote thriving children, working families and equitable communities. A native of mid-Michigan, he grew up working with family in the vegetable, dairy, and row crop farming sectors. Since 2010 he has lived and worked in Detroit, MI as an educator, farm manager, site developer and aggregator of all things Grown in Detroit; working with residents to develop a more robust, local, and regional food system. He has worked with local, state, regional, and national institutions to strengthen U.S. agricultural policy. Previous experience includes managing direct market farms in New York state, working with U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow on Agriculture, Health, and Trade policy, and supporting the Food and Society Fellowship program at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Most recently he worked with the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service on Child Nutrition programs. He holds a Master’s degree from Michigan State where he was a graduate affiliate with the Center for Regional Food Systems focusing on small farm viability.
Alaine Janosy is an independent sustainability consultant specializing in agricultural production systems and procurement. She works with food companies to create, enable, and expand strategies that drive adoption of regenerative farming practices. Alaine has worked extensively in sustainable agriculture and food production systems. Her past experience includes work with many top companies and organizations such as Nestlé, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Fairway Market, Slow Food USA, and Accenture. She is on the board of Global Seed Savers, a nonprofit organization that partners with farmers to promote food sovereignty and climate resilient agriculture. She holds an MA in food systems from New York University and a BA in international affairs from The George Washington University. In addition to her considerable sustainability experience, Alaine is also a trained pastry chef.
Ali recently returned to her home state of Colorado with the goal of starting a business dedicated to fostering a regional grain economy. For the last four years, Ali worked in brand marketing at Annie's, where she played a leading role in the brand’s efforts to advance regenerative agriculture as part of General Mills. Prior to joining Annie’s, Ali worked in the White House for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to end childhood obesity. Ali also served as the special assistant to the director of the National Park Service and created Let’s Move Outside!, a program to promote physical activity on America’s public lands. She has an MBA from UC Berkeley-Haas and a BA in politics from Princeton University.
Brandee Kitzmiller is the garden educator for the nonprofit Island Grown Schools on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. She works to teach and empower children to make healthy eating choices, learn to grow food and connect to local farms. Before working with Island Grown School Brandee served as a service member with FoodCorps for two years in New London, CT. Brandee grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and has a BS in public health and nutrition from George Mason University.
Sarah Lemon is a livestock agroecology apprentice at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, where she continues to hone her skills as a grazier and advocate of regenerative livestock production. Sarah’s work focuses on translating key agricultural ideas between the farming and academic communities and the general public. Prior to joining Stone Barns, Sarah apprenticed at the Heifer International learning center, Heifer Ranch, outside Little Rock, Arkansas. As a young Arizonan, Sarah dreamt of becoming a bona fide cowgirl and feels blessed to be able to continue realizing that dream in a beneficial and sustainable way. She has a MS in geophysics from UW–Madison and a BA in geology from Colgate University.
Kelly McClelland is a nutrition program manager at the Crim Fitness Foundation in Flint, MI. Her role involves managing the organization's SNAP-Education programming and exploring community assets and barriers related to healthy food access and physical activity. Additionally, Kelly supervises the FoodCorps members who serve in the Flint Community Schools. She also serves on the leadership board for Edible Flint, an organization that supports Flint residents in growing and accessing healthy food. Kelly has a BS in food science from Michigan State University and completed two food-focused years of AmeriCorps service with Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest and FoodCorps.
Marcus V. Miller is a consultant within Deloitte’s Enterprise performance offering. In his current role he focuses on implementing, transforming and revitalizing his client’s overall business operations. Before joining Deloitte, Marcus spent two and a half years as a finance analyst within GE’s financial management program (FMP). When Marcus is not consulting, he is redefining financial literacy within agriculture as the CFO of Sankofa Farms LLC and reinvesting in the community through volunteer organizations such as Junior Achievement and Engineering 4 Kids. Marcus currently resides in Atlanta, GA and is a proud product of Maplewood, NJ, where his interest in accounting and community development began. Marcus holds a BS in accounting from North Carolina A&T SU, where he became a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity Inc.
Paige Mollen is a life-long educator who has dedicated her career to making quality education accessible to all learners and empowering students to become leaders in their communities. She is co-founder and president of the Mollen Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention of childhood obesity. In her role she focuses on integrating food education and physical activity into core curriculum in schools. Prior to starting the Mollen Foundation in 2008, Paige spent 22 years as an educator, national consultant and strategist facilitating innovative solutions for students with learning and behavioral challenges to learn and thrive in public schools. She currently serves as the education chair for the Arizona Farm to School Network. She holds a bachelor’s degree in special education from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in education from Northern Arizona University.
Karli Moore (Lumbee) grew up on a family farm in southeastern North Carolina and serves as an associate program officer at the Native American Agriculture Fund in Fayetteville, AR. She has experience with family farm operations, youth-led food sovereignty initiatives, corporate agribusiness, international agriculture projects and land grant institutions. Karli earned her bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and agricultural business management from NC State University. She will soon finish a dual master’s program in agricultural economics and international rural development from the University of Arkansas, with studies at Humboldt University in Berlin (Germany). She has experience in both tribal communities (working for her family’s direct-market beef business on her ancestral homelands) and global contexts (conducting rural development research in Slovakia). Karli served on the inaugural board of directors for the Native Youth Food Sovereignty Alliance and is a member of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). She is a Park Scholar, Udall Scholar and sister of Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, Inc.
Katie Poirier is the executive director of the Mollen Foundation. Her current work empowers Arizona youth and families to adopt healthy habits through engaging gardening, cooking, mindfulness, and physical activities. Previously, Katie was the project director of PHX Renews, a 15-acre community garden collaborative and health hub. Katie graduated with a BA in urban dynamics from the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University and has experience in project management, content creation, reporting, and evaluation. She lives in Phoenix and credits her initial love of food to her grandparents’ peach tree and homemade pierogis.
Emma Rotner is the Farm to School coordinator of Groton Public Schools in Groton, Connecticut. As the Farm to School coordinator, Emma works to connect students to their local food systems through taste tests in the cafeteria, garden-based lessons, and field trips to local farms. She also develops Farm to School professional development opportunities for teachers and food service staff. Prior to her role as the Farm to School coordinator, Emma was a FoodCorps service member in Groton Public Schools. Emma attended Connecticut College, where she received a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and international relations. Emma is from Durham, New Hampshire, where she grew up gardening with her parents and hiking in the White Mountains.
Nakasha Shoyinka is the administrative coordinator for the Georgia Farmers Market Association. She focuses on managing all operations and administrative processes for the organization as well as writing grants. GFMA is a nonprofit based in Atlanta whose mission is to strengthen connections between farmers markets and local producers in order to help them maintain sustainable businesses, engage their communities, and improve local food systems. Prior to joining GFMA, Nakasha served as a FoodCorps service member and is a graduate of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute. She is a proud Nigerian American and received her BA from Jacksonville State University.
Joe Snowaert is a salad bar educator with Fairfax County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services Office, where he works on integrating salad bars into the elementary school cafeterias. Prior to his current role, he completed two years of FoodCorps service. Joe first served in his home state of Michigan with the Crim Fitness Foundation in Flint and then as one of the first service members in Fairfax County, VA. Joe grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan surrounded by water and a diversity of agricultural crops. He has a BS in horticulture from Michigan State University where he concentrated on sustainable and organic growing practices.
Annalise VanVranken is the Massachusetts program coordinator at FoodCorps, a national nonprofit and AmeriCorps program working to connect kids to healthy food in school, so they can lead healthier lives and reach their full potential. Annalise’s work is focused on leading a cohort of twenty-two service members, along with their schools and sites, to create direct impact and leverage farm to school and food equity initiatives across the state. Prior to her current role, Annalise served with FoodCorps from 2014-2016 in New Jersey and as the state fellow with FoodCorps in Massachusetts. She holds a duel BA in Environmental Studies and Sociology with a Minor in Sustainability from Wells College in Aurora, New York. Annalise is born and raised in southern New Jersey, where the Garden State inspired her love of food and the people who produce it.
Carly Wyman is co-founder of Center for Getting Things Started, a nonprofit organization committed to building the regenerative economy to mitigate climate change. She wears many hats in this role including implementing education for sustainability programming, supporting hands-on reforestation projects, executing zero waste programming for events, writing grants, and more. She also works to improve indigenous Hawaiian health outcomes in her role as agriculture program instructor with Hui Malama Ola na 'Oiwi (501(c)3), a native- Hawaiian healthcare organization in Hilo, Hawai'i. Previously, Carly served as a FoodCorps service member on the island of Hawai'i, serving three low-income schools through offering gardening and nutrition education. Her passion for sustainable agriculture grew through her experiences working full-time on organic farms in Colorado and Hawai'i. Carly holds a BA in International Affairs and Political Economy from Lewis & Clark College. When she is away from work, you will probably find her in her garden or hiking through the lava flows of the Big Island.
Kathleen Yetman is the executive director of Prescott Farmers Market, a small nonprofit based in her hometown of Prescott, Arizona. Kathleen's work is focused on increasing capacity for small farmers and ranchers in Yavapai County while also ensuring that everyone has access to fresh locally-grown foods. Prior to joining Prescott Farmers Market, Kathleen served as a FoodCorps service member on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in Eastern Arizona where she served an additional two years as the Arizona FoodCorps Fellow. She earned a BA in history from Lewis & Clark College. She feels joy when exploring the garden and tending her fruit trees with her two small children.
Guest Post By Debra Eschmeyer
Pictured above, Debra Eschmeyer recently joined the Swette Center as a Senior Fellow and Head of Innovation. She recently served as the VP of Communications and Community Affairs for Danone North America and was the Executive Director of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative and senior White House Policy Advisor for Nutrition. She co-founded the national nonprofit FoodCorps and started an organic farm in her hometown in rural Ohio.