Congratulations to the Fall 2018 Leadership Retreat Participants!

Congratulations to the Fall 2018 Food Systems Leadership Retreat attendees! We are excited to host this group of food systems leaders in Kansas City, MO for 2.5 days of experiential workshops, connection with peers, and time for reflection. This cohort brings with them a wide array of skills and experiences, and we’re looking forward to the rich discussions that will emerge. Get to know some of your fellow FSLN members and their organizations below! About the Retreat: The Retreat will be facilitated by Joseph McIntyre of 10 Circles Consulting ( and Christina Garza of the Social Change Institute ( Joseph has been part of the Leadership Retreats’ conception and design since we first piloted this out in Detroit in October of 2017, and we’re excited to have Christina, a Spring 2018 New Orleans retreatant, join as a co-facilitator! Both Joseph and Christina bring with them a deep understanding of systems leadership and the lived experience so critical in sharing these skills. Throughout the Retreat, we’ll learn, develop and practice the tools of systems leadership. On the evening of Day 1, the Retreatants will attend an evening dinner and panel at Thelma’s Kitchen, where we’ll be joined by leading figures in the Kansas City good food movement to discuss trends and challenges, and get a better understanding of the place we’re in. Learn more about this donate-what-you-can restaurant: On Day 2, we’ll travel to the Males to Men Foundation’s Nile Valley Aquaponics for a Learning Journey with Dre Taylor. Dre is not only revolutionizing the urban agricultural scene in KC (his aquaponics farm produces 100,000 pounds of local fresh fish and veg!), but through his work he’s transforming the lives of the many youth and community members he partners with. In true Learning Journey fashion, we’ll go beyond sharing technical knowledge of aquaponics and hear how this program is catalyzing change within KC. Learn more about Nile Valley Aquaponics here: About the Participants: Andrea Cullers Associate Professor MSSU, Chair JFAN, Joplin Area Food Action Network Joplin, MO Though her academic work focused on clinical research, Andrea realized that she can better serve her community by working in food access issue areas and encouraging community members to be more engaged with their food system. She’s excited to attend the Leadership Retreat and learn new skills that will support a strengthened network to benefit the Joplin community and better meet the needs of its food insecure population. Angel Mendez Director of Operations, Red Tomato ( Plainville, MA Angel has worked with Red Tomato for 17 years, from its startup phase to now overseeing its finance, transportation logistics, and ERP systems. Angel’s excited to strengthen his leadership skills, specifically in facilitation, organizing, and implementing the change that he would like to see. Anne Massie President, NWI Food Council ( Crown Point, IN Anne has spent the last decade volunteering for NW Indiana local food initiatives, assisting local farmers with market sales, sourcing local food for events and connecting farmers and consumers out of pure passion--and now leads the NW Indiana Food Council. Amongst other outcomes from this Retreat, Anne hopes to hone her leadership skills to offer the best guidance to my team, stakeholders in our community, and the growing state-wide network of food activist groups. Beau G Heyen President/CEP, NourishKC ( Kansas City, MO Beau has been a key player in the Kansas City food system y growing NourishKC, bringing the “Dining with Dignity” restaurant-service model to the city, and stirring up conversations around equitable food access. Constantly inspired by meeting other like-minded leaders, is excited to share ideas, offer feedback, and engage in dynamic discussion around how others are approaching this work. Carolina Mueller Acting Chapter President, Central Texas Young Farmers Coalition ( Austin, TX Moved by food systems, especially as they relate to food access and racial justice, Carolina is eager to access a space where she can develop stronger leadership, conflict transformation, and other necessary skills for food systems transformation – and then take everything she learns back to share with my community. Caroline Michniak Grow Eastern Market Program Manager, Eastern Market Corporation ( Detroit, MI With a background in economics and communication, Caroline has been involved in connecting farmers to restaurants, retails and processors for the last 2 years. Recognizing that big picture planning takes skills, resources, and time, she is excited to further her knowledge of methods for collaboration and big picture planning. Cary Junior General Manager, SouthEast Michigan Producers Association (SEMPA) Sumpter Township, MI A food hub specialist, board member, and economic development consultant servicing nonprofit and food system developments and small businesses, Cary is excited to continue learning new strategies and models and to develop relationships with fellow food systems leaders. Christina M. McDougall Executive Director, Hoosier Farmers Market Association, Inc. ( Indianapolis, IN With 20 years of experience in education, outreach, engagement, marketing, and fundraising, Christina continues to learn new skills and techniques to develop her own as well as my team's, board's and members' productivity and effectiveness. She’s ready to connect with other food systems leaders through this retreat to focus on the core and the limits of our collective edges without distractions of deadlines or addressing program problems. Daniel Craig Wellness & Prevention Coordinator, CKF Addiction Treatment ( Salina, KS Daniel Craig has a strong background in planning and coordinating health promotion activities and through this Retreat he’d like to develop and utilize leadership competencies to engage communities around his food systems assessment and the work of the newly formed North Central Regional Food Council. E'licia L. Chaverest Assistant Director, Alabama A&M University Small Farms Research Center ( Normal, AL E’licia works to develop educational program for producers, secure grant and other resources, and assisting farmers with becoming more profitable. She is excited to attend the Retreat and use it as an opportunity to learn strategies to develop partnerships with community leaders and network with like-minded emerging leaders to build a networking team. Hilda Gutierrez Food Access Director, Sustainable Food Center ( Austin, TX At the Sustainable Food Center, Hilda oversees the SFC’s incentive project, farm stand project and engagement efforts focused on low-income residents. Working in an environment with lots of players involved in food systems work, she is excited to learn tools to maximize collaboration efforts and strengthen her own skills for building the capacity of her team. Hyde Taidghin O'Brien Marketing & Outreach Manager, The Land Connection ( Champaign, IL After working in the local food movements in a variety of urban settings, Taidghin is now bringing his experiences to a more rural setting to try and affect change on both a local and regional food system. A firm believer that no food system is totally insular, he is eager to meet emerging food systems leaders from around the country to better understand the challenges that face food systems in different areas. Jesse Schaffer Farm Manager, Jones Valley Teaching Farm ( Birmingham, AL Jesse’s journey in food justice stretches from the production of food and youth education to community building and anti-oppression work through to his current capacity as the Farm Manager of an urban teaching farm. Through this retreat, he hopes to better understand how to connect the dots of his diverse food systems experience, strengthen his own leadership capacities to bring back to his community and nonprofit, and ultimately shift his focus from the farm scale and hyper-local food system to larger systemic shifts. John Porter Urban Agriculture Program Coordinator, Cooper Farm Urban Agriculture Education Center Omaha, NE A convener and facilitator for various urban agriculture and local food organizations, John works to build collaboration and capacity in the Omaha area. He is eager to develop leadership skills more specifically based around local food systems and to form collaborative relationships with others working in the field. Katie Nixon Food Systems Specialist, West Central Missouri Community Action Agency ( Appleton City, MO As a farmer, food systems special, and Food Hub President, Katie is on her way to making a long lasting difference in her community. Through this retreat, she is excited to not only understand how to be a more effective leader who can work across all segments of the food system, but meet, engage, and work with others who strive for systems change in their communities. Kolia Souza Consultant and University Researcher, Kansas Alliance for Wellness ( Manhattan, KS Kolia is a community-engaged food systems researcher whose focus is on increasing healthy food access in Kansas communities. She believes that her state is on the precipice of developing a strong collective impact strategy and she is eager to learn develop tools that will support the key players in her state by defining issues and creating a framework for actionable change. Lindsey Shaw Vista Coordinator, Society of St. Andrew ( Jackson, MS As a researcher focused on the intersection of food insecurity and type 2 diabetes, Lindsey is passionate about finding new ways to get fresh healthy food in the hunger relief system. Through this retreat, she is hoping to better understand leverage points in local food systems, how to successfully engage, communicate, and collaborate with key food systems players, and how to build a more effective network of food systems advocates. Lucinda Perry Jones Director of Strategic Initiatives, Operation Food Search ( St. Louis, MO In her work, Lucinda is leading a transformational organization shift: from focusing solely on meeting the immediate demand for food, to implementing upstream solutions that break the cycle of hunger. She is interested in connecting with other leaders working in food systems and taking away practical tools to continue to move her organization towards becoming a systems leader. Melanie Heckt Northside Fresh Coalition Program Facilitator, Appetite for Change ( Minneapolis, MN A young, emerging leader who has committed to being involved in this work for the long haul, Melanie is excited to strengthen her leadership and facilitation skills, learn tools that are specific to food systems change, and learn from and share experiences, challenges, and successes with her peers. Pete Huff Program Officer, Wallace Center ( Menomonie, WI Pete Huff is the Program Officer at the Wallace Center and oversees the Pasture Project, a multi-project initiative that works to regenerate soil health and family farms through livestock grazing systems in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. His experiences have provided him with skillset that ranges from local to global with an emphasis on strategic planning, project management, policy analysis, and network facilitation. Pete is most looking forward to taking some time out of a busy schedule to connect and learn with others working to create change in their communities. Rodger Cooley Executive Director, Chicago Food Policy Action Council ( Chicago, IL As the Executive Director of the Chicago Food Policy Action Council, Rodger has worked for 18+ years in urban agriculture and sustainable urban food systems developing policy and projects. He’s eager to engage with food system leaders from other cities to learn about their experiences, build cross connections and networks, and learn technical trainings for getting to deeper root causes, including issues of systemic/historic racism and equity. Sandra Renner Food Systems Project Associate, Center for Rural Affairs ( Lyons, NE Through her work, Sandra is creating change and strengthening the food systems in rural Nebraska (think forming food policy councils, farm to school, outreach, business development, and more). As someone who is challenging the status quo, she’s ready to broaden her skillset and connect her work to the larger movement by learning and utilizing tools for effective systems change. Sue Beckwith Director, Texas Center for Local Food ( Elgin, TX Sue has more than 25 years experience as a project manager, has worked in agriculture since 2007, and is the founding Executive Director of the Texas Center for Local Food. She has recently been called upon to broaden her work to help convene/catalyze a statewide collaborative of those working toward a more equitable and just food system in Texas. Through this retreat, she is hoping to strengthen her leadership skills to better support collaboration and the increased effectiveness of working for equitable food system change in Texas. Terese Hill East Side Table Coordinator, HealthEast Care System ( Saint Paul, MN Terese has 14 years experience in food service and retail, food business incubation, community engagement through food access, and food and nutrition education, but she’s hungry for that next level of leadership. She’s excited to further develop her facilitation, negotiation, and advocacy skills to better position her community partners so they can create that long-lasting change they’re passionate about. Tracy Gagnon Community Food Systems Developer, Oregon Food Bank ( Portland, OR A social justice advocate, Tracy works with communities to come up with self-identified solutions to build food security. She’s ready to move from the abstract question to practical intervention, to get the skills to guide partners into action, and to better understand herself as a leader. Trina Ragain Director of Advocacy & Research, Operation Food Search ( Saint Louis, MO Trina is responsible for engaging policymakers, government agencies, and direct service providers in identifying innovative programmatic and policy solutions to addressing food access barriers. In addition to learning about and adopting the mindset and practices of a “systems leaders,” Trina is excited to build relationships with others in the region and find inspiration and connections through learning about what others are doing in this space.

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