NAFSN Leadership


NAFSN is guided by a Leadership Circle of food systems professionals from throughout the North America.

The legwork of NAFSN is accomplished by a team of student staff members from Cornell Univ & interns from other universities. 

In this way, NAFSN blends experiences, expertise, and energies to forge an inclusive, multi-generational, cross-sectional network of food systems professionals.

NAFSN Student Staff & interns 2024

Liam Du

CARAT Web Developer & Jobs Bot 

Cornell University

Arson Blackburn

Website Updates

Cape Fear Comm College

Queen Guobadia

Webinar Producer & Co-Host         

Cornell University

Katie Kennedy

New Jersey ACRE Project Intern

Montclair State University

Emily Lau

Social Media Manager 

Cornell University

Cindy Seng

Website and Outcomes Manager

Cornell University

Dani Vaynshtok 

CARAT Insights Generator 

Cornell University

Winnie Zou

COM-FED Data Analyst

Cornell University

NAFSN Leadership Circle 2024

Kathryn Barr


Kathryn (Katie) currently works for The Common Market and is a champion for Farm Stops, a new "consignment" model  that support small and mid-scale producers with direct-to-consumer sales venues. She is the author of "How to Start a Farm Stop: A Pattern Language for Local Food Systems."  Katie served a subject matter contributor to the development of CARAT and currently sits on the CARAT Circle. READ MORE.

Mandy Coriston


Mandy Coriston is a NJ native writer, editor, consultant, and advocate who supports food equity and sovereignty, environmental stewardship, agricultural education, and veterans' causes. She chairs her township’s Environmental Commission and is a Rutgers Certified Master Gardener, a member of the New Jersey Food Democracy Collaborative, and a founding board member of the New Jersey Home Bakers Association. READ MORE.

Natalie Cruz


Natalie is an Afro-Latina culinary professional, decolonized food systems expert, and food writer. Natalie is currently writing a cookbook on the African Diaspora in Latin America and  the Food for Thought column on Substack. She is also the Community and Volunteer Program Manager at the Riverdale Neighborhood House in the Northwest Bronx, NY. Natalie serves as NAFSN's Co-Director. READ MORE.

Lin Diaz Maceo


Lin is an analytical researcher of cultures, histories, and policies, (com)passionate writer, and social justice advocate excelling at pattern recognition and focusing on multidisciplinary collaboration and global interconnectedness. Their work includes environmental justice, sustainable food systems, and regenerative ag. In addition to being a Slow Food delegate at Terra Madre in 2024, Lin is NAFSN's Book Club Host and sits on the ACRE Circle. READ MORE.

Ali Ghiorse


As a long-time, bi-coastal advocate for more just, equitable, resilient and regional food systems, Ali is the founder of The Foodshed Network (TFN), an education platform and resource to amplify changemakers and bridge communities in Fairfield County, CT. TFN convenes two local initiatives: Greenwich Food Alliance and The Foodshed Forum. Ali serves on NAFSN's Productions Circle and TFN is a key partner for NAFSN events. READ MORE.

Dr. Gilbert Gillespie


Gil is a sociologist retired from Cornell University, where he worked to support more civic forms of local food system social "infrastructure." In "retirement," he now lives in rural Iowa with his wife on her family's farmstead where they operate a small-scale farm producing food for local consumption. He is also an active member of the Iowa Food Systems Coalition. Gil serves as a co-chair of NAFSN's Capacity Building Circle.

Erica Hall


As the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Florida Food Policy Council, and a long time food equity champion and environmental activist, Erica works to address gaps and affect policy within the food system through integrity and collaboration for the benefit of Floridians and the environment. She currently serves as a co-chair of NAFSN's Capacity-Building Circle. READ MORE

Kim Hines


As the former executive director of Augusta Locally Grown in Augusta, GA, and an adjunct assistant professor of food systems studies at Augusta University, Kim currently provides full time support to NAFSN's programs: CARAT, ACRE, COM-FED & PRODUCTIONS.  She also speaks as a subject matter expert on trends in community food systems employment. Kim serves as NAFSN's Co-Director out of Washington, DC. READ MORE

Sagdrina Jalal


As principal of Sage D Consulting, Sagdrina's extensive food systems work includes serving as founding Executive Director for the Georgia Farmers Market Association,  a board member for the national Farmers Market Coalition, and an advisor for Tuskegee University’s Organic Farming Project. In 2022, she collaborated with Black growers and farmers market leaders to curate the Anti-Racist Farmers Market Toolkit. She leads NAFSN's Community Food Systems Consultants Forum. READ MORE.

Zachary Korosh 


Zachary Korosh is a Ph.D. student in the City and Regional Planning program at Ohio State University's Knowlton School of Architecture, with a focus on community development and economies. He pursued undergraduate studies in environmental design and political science at the University at Buffalo, where he received a master’s degree in Urban Planning. Zachary's academic interests extend to cooperative living, alternative economic solutions, and advocating for a more accessible planning process. READ MORE.

Vivian Le


Vivian is a food systems professional who thinks we can eat our way out of our problems! Vivian brings her experience in community-based food systems communications to work as chair of NAFSN's Productions Circle overseeing, among other things, our Finding Your Future in Food Systems webinars and podcasts. She produced an European season of the series in 2023. Take a listen! Vivian currently works for the Rodale Institute in NC. READ MORE.

Ariana Lipsman


Ari is a food studies scholar, food writer, and former entertainment industry professional with an interest in the relationship between food and the environment. She uses the skills she gained while working in film and while getting her master's in Food Studies at NYU to tell stories that get people to care about where their food comes from and demand a more sustainable, equitable food system.  She serves on the ACRE Circle. READ MORE. 

Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman 


Heidi is Senior Extension Associate with the Community and Regional Development Institute (CaRDI) in the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University. Current projects include the CALS NYS Internship, an initiative to connect employers and communities with exceptional and motivated College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students. She's a Co-Chair for the NAFSN Capacity-Building Circle. READ MORE.

Daniela Ochoa Gonzalez


Daniela specializes in Spanish, English and French content and training to reach zero waste, improve food systems and expand regenerative agriculture practices, and currently works as a project manager at the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. As a member of the Capacity-Building Circle she helps forge connections and collaboration. READ MORE.

Martha Page


As principal consultant for Beartown Advisors, LLC, in Western MA, and former executive director of Hartford Food System in CT, Martha brings extensive experience in community-based nonprofit leadership and value chain development. She currently sits on the Board of Berkshire Agricultural Ventures, and serves as a member of NAFSN's ACRE Circle. READ MORE.

Sara Prout


Sara is a lifetime non-profit development professional and accomplished relationship manager, finding joy in increasing efficacy and matching resources with remarkable regional programs — especially those addressing local and global environmental and political concerns related to sustainable agriculture and food systems, community food security and farmland conservation.  She chairs NAFSN's ACRE Circle. READ MORE

Dr. Brian Raison


Brian is an Ohio State University faculty member teaching on-campus and working statewide in the Extension community development program area as a leadership specialist. His current research and teaching focus is leadership development, and he recently wrote the "The Encouraging Mentor." He has also worked extensively in strategic planning, often within the local food systems arena. He assists NAFSN with capacity building. READ MORE.

Nikki Seibert Kelley


Nikki, of Wit Meets Grit, works as a Southeast-based consultant to increase the capacity of organizations and businesses through innovative, equitable, and inclusive economic development. One of her recent projects is Growing Local SC, which she led with support from the USDA Regional Food Systems Partnerships program. Nikki served a subject matter contributor to the development of CARAT and currently sits on the Capacity-Building Circle. READ MORE

Jodee Smith


Jodee Smith has worked in the public sector supporting grassroots and statewide efforts to revive and strengthen innovative local and regional food systems in Indiana for more than 10 years. Working in asset based community development, Jodee leverages innovative practices, funding, and network connectivity to catalyze and support equitable, healthy, sustainable and resilient food systems throughout IN. She currently chairs the CARAT Circle. READ MORE

Joyce Tian


During her undergraduate years at Cornell University, Joyce was the lead student researcher for the development of the Community and Agriculture Resilience Audit Tool (CARAT). Her supportive role included helping to coordinate convening of the subject matter experts who contributed to CARAT from throughout the US for two years. Now a volunteer member of the CARAT Circle, Joyce helps lead CARAT Information sessions to increase interest, accessibility, and use of this open-source, asset-mapping tool. READ MORE

Debra Tropp


Debbie is a retired USDA AMS chief and analyst who currently works as a consultant to provide training, technical assistance, and grant support on local/regional food systems issues to communities, government agencies, foundations and NGOs. She serves on the Lyson Center's Advisory Board and led the three-year development, including peer-revew and publishing, of the CARAT tool with food/ag subject matter experts from throughout the US. READ MORE

Dr. Kareem Usher


Kareem is an associate professor of City and Regional Planning at The Ohio State University's Knowlton School of Architecture. As a public scholar, Kareem strives to create a peaceful, joyful and loving world through community-engaged planning research - the co-production of knowledge between community members and faculty, with the site of inquiry being food systems at the neighborhood scale. He chairs NAFSN's COM*FED Circle. READ MORE