NEFNE Research Team, Staff and Advisors

The Research Team

The Partnership put out a call for food systems researchers who would bring a strong equity lens to our research, who reflect the geographic, age, gender, racial, and ethnic diversity that make up our region, and who were interested in being part of a team that would explore how New England can meet 30% of its food needs within the region by 2030. Ultimately, sixteen researchers were engaged in this project across 4 research teams, each tasked with a set of questions to explore in detail.

Dr. Sarah Amin, PhD – University of Rhode Island

Dr. Sarah Amin is an Assistant Professor and Director of Community Nutrition Education (SNAP-Ed, EFNEP, & CYFAR) in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Rhode Island. Her research lies at the intersection of health promotion and community-based research. She works in partnership with the community to develop and test innovative nutrition education approaches that promote positive health outcomes and reduce disparities among racially and ethnically diverse families. She completed her post-doctoral training at Tufts University and received her PhD in Nutrition from the University of Vermont, MPH from Brown University, and BS from Wheaton College.  [Dietary Patterns Team]

Laura Barley – formerly at American Farmland Trust

Laura Barley is the Farm Viability Planner for the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture in West Springfield, MA, where she helps to manage the Farm Viability Enhancement Program and support succession planning opportunities. Prior to her work with the state of Massachusetts, she was a Program Manager with the American Farmland Trust, where she co-authored the 2020 Farms Under Threat: New England report that examines recent trends in farmland loss and launched an interactive Agricultural Viability Index website to analyze the Northeast regional agriculture system. This work will inform the development of the production milestones methodology for the New England Feeding New England project, including the analysis of current production levels, soil suitability, and future conversion of agricultural land. Laura will also contribute to connecting current dietary patterns to regional food production, as well as analyzing local food market trends. Laura has previously worked as an analyst for Organic Valley CROPP Cooperative, as a farmers market manager in Boston, and has completed the Tufts’ Agriculture Food and Environment masters’ program. [Dietary Patterns, Market Demand, and Production Teams]

Ramón Borges-Méndez, PhD – Clark University

Ramón Borges-Méndez, PhD, born in Puerto Rico, has worked in the US, Latin America, and Asia. He is an Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Community Development at the International Development, Community, and Environment Department at Clark University (Worcester, MA), where he is coordinator of the undergraduate Urban Studies concentration, and he teaches graduate courses on food systems, inequality, labor economics, migration, and globalization. He holds an MCP and a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Prof. Borges-Méndez is co-founder and Director of Development of Fundación Bucarabón in Maricao (Puerto Rico), currently Co-Chairs the board of directors of Worcester Common Ground Community Development Corporation, and he is a member of the Massachusetts State Council of the Conservation Law Foundation. He has occupied leadership positions in organizations and nonprofits such as the Massachusetts Endowment for the Humanities, Farm-to-Institution New England, the Latino Education Institute/WSU, the Mauricio Gaston Institute/UMASS-Boston, and the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA). He has been a consultant for the World Bank, the US Dept. of Labor, The Ford Foundation, SEIU-1099 Health Care Workers NYC, the Brookings Institution, and the United Nations. His research has been published in CENTRO Journal, the Economic Development Quarterly, Local Environment, Agriculture and Human Values, and the Journal of Extreme Events. Prof. Borges-Méndez’s research has been supported by the USDA, The Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundation, The Immigrant Learning Center, Working Cities Challenge/Boston-FED, The Ford Foundation, The Leir Foundation/Clark University, American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies, among other organizations. [He participated in the Market Demand and Production Teams.]

Brian Donahue, PhD – formerly at Brandeis University

Brian Donahue is Professor Emeritus of American Environmental Studies at Brandeis University. Donahue holds a BA, MA, and PhD from the Brandeis program in the History of American Civilization.  He co-founded and for 12 years directed Land’s Sake, a non-profit community farm in Weston, Massachusetts.  For three years he was Director of Education at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, and now sits on the boards of the Massachusetts Woodland Institute, the Friends of Spannocchia, and The Land Institute. Donahue is author of Reclaiming the Commons: Community Farms and Forests in a New England Town (Yale University Press, 1999), which was awarded the book prize from Historical New England; and The Great Meadow: Farmers and the Land in Colonial Concord (Yale Press, 2004), which won book prizes from the New England Historical Association, the Agricultural History Society, and the American Society for Environmental History.  He also published American Georgics: Writings on Farming, Culture and the Land (Yale Press, 2011), an anthology co-edited with Edwin Hagenstein and Sara Gregg. Donahue is co-author of Wildlands and Woodlands: A Vision for the New England Landscape (Harvard Forest, 2010) and A New England Food Vision: Healthy Food for All, Sustainable Farming and Fishing, Thriving Communities (Food Solutions New England, 2014). He and his family co-own and manage Bascom Hollow Farm, in Gill, Massachusetts, which raises beef cattle, pork, pumpkins, and timber. [Dietary Patterns Team Lead, Production Team]

Holly Fowler, MBA – Northbound Ventures Consulting, LLC

Holly Fowler, MBA is co-founder and CEO of Northbound Ventures Consulting, LLC, a small, woman-owned firm based in Montpelier, Vermont and centered around food systems, outdoor recreation, population health, and community economic revitalization. She routinely supports organizations and institutions nationwide to identify and implement strategies that prioritize equitable development. Prior to starting Northbound, Holly served as the Senior Director of Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility for Sodexo North America, the world’s second largest provider of institutional food service. There she guided progressive operational and sourcing practices across all markets – corporate, academic, healthcare, leisure, and government. Holly holds a Professional Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems Leadership from the University of Vermont, a Masters in Business Administration from Babson College, and a BA from Bowdoin College. [Market Demand Team Lead]

Michelle Klieger, MBA – Helianth Partners, LLC

Michelle Klieger is the co-founder of Helianth Partners, LLC a consulting firm that identifies and deploys innovations that create more equitable solutions in our agricultural systems, by creating the building blocks that are required to move the system from the current state to the desired future.  As an agricultural economist, Michelle uses her lens to examine on-farm profitability, rural economic activity, and local environmental metrics. With this understanding, she strategically considers value chain solutions that are needed to realize the desired outcomes. Michelle is a professional speaker, the author of The Demise of Free Trade, and host of The Grower and The Economist podcast. She is a professor of Economics at Bentley University and holds a Masters in Agriculture Economics from Purdue University and an MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.  [Market Demand Team]

Hannah Leighton – Farm to Institution New England

Hannah Leighton is the Director of Research and Evaluation at Farm to Institution New England (FINE), a six-state cross-sector regional network that is transforming the food system by mobilizing the power of New England institutions. In this role, Hannah oversees FINE’s metrics project, manages internal and collaborative research efforts, and leads FINE’s efforts to measure the impact of farm to institution activity across the region. Prior to her work at FINE, Hannah spent several years writing about food, working in hospitality, and farming on vegetable and small-scale livestock farms across the country. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from the New School University and a Master’s degree in Sustainability Science with a concentration in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. [Market Demand Team]

Ashley McCarthy – University of Vermont

Ashley McCarthy is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on meeting the food and nutrition needs of the growing population while improving sustainability and resiliency to disruptions in the food system. She’s particularly interested in the role that regional food systems could play in overall food system resilience and sustainability. Ashley uses a variety of methodological approaches in her work, including geospatial analysis, quantitative food systems modeling, and statistical analysis. She received her BA in Economics from Creighton University and MS and PhD in Agriculture, Food, and Environment from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Ashley is located in Burlington, VT. [Production Team]

April McIlwaine – University of Vermont

April McIlwaine is a MS candidate at the University of Vermont in the Food Systems program. She holds a degree in Biology from SUNY Purchase and was the recipient of the Women in Tech award in 2019.  She has worked on a number of urban organic farms and taught farm and environmental education to NYC youth through the educational non-profit City Growers. Her current masters project seeks to create a publicly accessible narrative exploring the history of land use in Burlington and the effect residual issues, such as soil contamination, have on community gardens and gardeners. Her work with NEFNE was for the production milestones team where she calculated the land use acreage data for the region. She also worked alongside Dr. Ramón Borges-Méndez and Dr. Eric von Wettberg to assess Urban Agriculture (UA) throughout the region including a review of UA’s socio-cultural benefits and identification of UA indicators present in New England.  [Production Team]

Christian Peters, PhD – USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Food Systems Research Unit

Christian Peters, PhD is the Research Leader of the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Food Systems Research Unit in Burlington, Vermont. He comes to the USDA from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University where he taught in the Agriculture, Food and Environment graduate degree program for 11 years. He joined Tufts University as an assistant professor in 2010 and was promoted to associate professor, with tenure, in 2016. Dr. Peters studies the sustainability of food systems using computational modeling and through interdisciplinary research. He is interested in understanding how dietary patterns influence sustainability, how much food can be supplied through locally and regionally scaled systems, and how transdisciplinary approaches can help to design and study such systems. Some of his best-known work includes development of a framework for estimating land requirements of diets and human carrying capacity, and a spatial modeling approach for mapping potential foodsheds. His work is well grounded in the Northeast, but also national in scale, and he is a widely acclaimed researcher in food systems. He received his BS in Environmental Sciences from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and his MS and PhD in Soil and Crop Sciences from Cornell University.  [Production Team Lead]

Scott Richardson, PhD, MBA – Northbound Ventures Consulting, LLC

Scott Richardson, PhD, MBA is co-founder and Partner of Northbound Ventures Consulting, LLC. He brings a broad range of public health, operations, finance, and strategy experience to his work serving the public, private, and philanthropic sectors. Previously, Scott was the Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives for Project Bread, Massachusetts’ statewide anti-hunger organization, where his responsibilities included identifying, implementing, and measuring the impact and feasibility of new projects to improve access to healthy food for underserved populations. Scott’s research on improving public school nutrition has been documented in several academic journals. Scott holds a PhD in Population Health Sciences with a focus on nutrition from the  Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, an MBA from the FW Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College, a BA from Rutgers College, and a Professional Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems Leadership from the University of Vermont. [Dietary Patterns and Market Demand Team]

Nicolas Rockler – Kavet, Rockler and Associates

Nicolas Rockler is an economic consultant specializing in regional impact measurement, modeling, and assessment.  He is highly experienced in the development and application of regional econometric, input-output, and hybrid models.  He has more than 35 years experience as a regional economist.  Since 2006, Dr. Rockler has been CEO of Kavet, Rockler and Associates, a Vermont consulting firm.  He has served on the staff of the Multiregional Planning Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  While there, he conducted research on climate change, completed several studies for the Economic Development Administration on the long-run impact of public infrastructure investment, done research for the Joyce Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  Current project work concerns the State of New England’s food industries and agricultural sector performance, evaluation of Vermont Capital Improvement Program, and development impact consequences of hazardous waste disposal in Western New York State.  Dr. Rockler completed his Ph.D. at MIT with his dissertation titled, “Regional Economic Performance and Public Infrastructure Investment.”  He received BA and MA degrees in regional science at the University of Pennsylvania.  Prior to attending MIT, Dr. Rockler was a senior economist at Data Resources, Inc. (DRI, now Global Insight, Inc.) and F.W. Dodge, both subsidiaries of McGraw-Hill, Inc. at the time.  Prior to that position, he was an economic analyst at Abt Associates, Inc. and an economist at HSMM, an engineering firm (now part of AECOM).  [Economic Impact of the Food System]

Scott Sawyer, PhD – Project Editor, Researcher and Designer

Scott Sawyer, PhD, is an Adjunct Professor at Pitzer College where he teaches an introductory course of food systems. He most recently was the research director for the San Diego Food System Alliance, where he helped to develop San Diego County Food Vision 2030.  He formerly worked at Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, where he contributed to the development of Vermont’s Farm to Plate Initiative. Scott lives in Southern California with his wife, daughter, and bernedoodle. [Economic Impact Team, Project Editor and Report Designer]

Sarah Schumann – Shining Sea Fisheries Consulting

Sarah Schumann is the principal of Shining Sea Fisheries Consulting, a mission-driven research and education firm specializing in fisheries, wild seafood, and environmental information and decision-making. Shining Sea combines roots in the commercial fishing community with a commitment to sound science, public engagement, and systems thinking to support coastal and ocean environments and the fishermen who make their livelihoods in these places. Shining Sea’s business model blends contract consulting with pro-bono services to support fishing communities and their allies in advancing healthy fishery habitats and resilient seafood systems. Sarah is also a commercial fisherman in Point Judith, RI, the author of Rhode Island’s Shellfish Heritage: An Ecological History and Simmering the Sea: Diversifying Our Cookery to Sustain Our Fisheries, and editor of the online multimedia journal Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Marketing. [Production Team]

Dr. Joshua Stoll, PhD – University of Maine

Dr. Joshua Stoll, PhD, is an assistant professor in the School of Marine Sciences at the University of Maine. His research focuses on questions about coastal community resilience, ocean governance, fisheries policy, and food systems. Joshua is the co-founder of the Local Catch Network and has been working to elevate the role of seafood in local and regional food systems for more than a decade. He holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Bates College, a Masters in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University, and a PhD in Ecology and Environmental Sciences from the University of Maine. Prior to returning to Maine, he was an early career research fellow in the Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere Program at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Sweden. [Production Team]

Dr. Eric von Wettberg, PhD – University of Vermont

Dr. Eric von Wettberg, PhD, is an associate professor in Plant and Soil Science and the former director of the Food Systems graduate program at the University of Vermont.  He has studied the genetics and agroecology of a number of legumes over the past decade, with an aim towards improving the climate reliance of nutritious, culturally meaningful crops.  His work aims to preserve crop genetic diversity, introduce new crops to the northeast, and improve the sustainability of crop rotations and cropping systems.  He is keen to bring his experience working with the Vermont Land Trust, the Association of Africans Living in Vermont, and the Vermont Indigenous Heritage Center to bear on providing farmland access to new farmers, and facilitating the production of climatically resilient and nutritious crops. [Production Team]

Research Support Staff

Ellen Kahler – Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund

Ellen Kahler is the Executive Director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) which manages Vermont statewide food system development efforts known as Vermont Farm to Plate. VSJF/VT Farm to Plate is part of the New England State Food System Planners Partnership and provided grants management and administrative support to the New England Feeding New England project. Ellen was actively involved in working with all the researchers associated with this project and in ensuring the project deliverables were achieved. After Sarah Axe left her role at the end of March, 2022, Ellen served as the primary staff working with the researchers to complete the project and publish the results. Ellen helped shape and publish the 2011-2020 Farm to Plate Strategic Plan and the 2021-2030 Vermont Agriculture & Food System Strategic Plan, as well as support the development and work of the statewide Farm to Plate Network. Ellen has served on the Working Lands Enterprise Fund since its inception in 2012, which annually distributes grants to food system businesses and service provider organizations, and was appointed by Governor Phil Scott to serve on the Future of Agriculture Commission in 2021.

Sarah Axe – New England Feeding New England

Sarah Axe served as the New England Feeding New England Project Manager from February 2021 – March 2022. She was responsible for supporting the Partnership as it began this project, interviewed and assembled the team of 16 researchers, developed and invited participants to the 10 focus groups that were conducted, and identified and secured the Research Advisory Committee. She now serves as an Agricultural Marketing Specialist at USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service. 

Research Advisory Committee

A Research Advisory Committee of 23 content matter experts was assembled to support this project. They provided feedback on the methodology and data sources and how the research fits together. The advisors also reflected on their state specific knowledge and how it might reflect on the regional project.

Molly Anderson – Middlebury College, Vermont

Molly Anderson is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Food Studies at Middlebury College, Vermont.  She directs the Academic Program in Food Studies and teaches courses on agroecology; hunger; food sovereignty; food justice; and environmental, social and cultural problems in our food system.  Her current research is on narratives of food system transformation and better food system governance.  She works on teams at the local, state, regional, national and international levels and is a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems.  She tries to contribute regularly to Working Groups and the annual meetings of the Civil Society & Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism of the Committee on World Food Security.  She also participates in the (national) Inter-institutional Network on Food, Agriculture & Sustainability, and has attended Vermont Farm to Plate Food Access Working Group meetings for several years.   She enjoys travel (especially to meetings in Rome) and helps to tend the large garden that supplies most of her family’s food through the year.  It’s a great space to learn about agroecology on the ground!

Patrick Baur – University of Rhode Island

Patrick Baur is Assistant Professor of Food Policy and Innovation in the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Program, Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Sciences at the University of Rhode Island. He has a doctorate in environmental science, policy, and management from the University of California, Berkeley and prior to starting at URI was a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Postdoctoral Fellow. His research blends political ecology, social-ecological systems science, and science and technology studies. He seeks to learn from practitioner perspectives on navigating competing demands on food production and to identify ways to better support diverse and equitable opportunities in sustainable food systems. Current research includes the politics of farm mechanization and automation, evaluating and governing equity dimensions of urban agricultural intensification, and participatory mapping of alternative food provisioning networks.

Kristen Cooksey Stowers – University of Connecticut

Kristen Cooksey Stowers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences. She has a strong interdisciplinary background in health equity, agricultural economics, public policy, and medical sociology. Her program of research focuses on reducing inequities in diet-related health outcomes by improving macro- and micro-level food environments through sustainable policy solutions. She conducts community-engaged and mixed methods research to examine: (a) the impact of food swamp environments on racial, geographic and socioeconomic disparities in diet-related health outcomes; (b) the potential of inclusive public policy processes (e.g., zoning) to prevent disparities in diet-related health status regardless of racial/ethnic minority and citizenship status; and (c) the influence of micro-level food environments (e.g., food pantries, family child care homes) on health risks in food-insecure populations, communities of color, and other historically marginalized groups. Dr. Cooksey Stowers’ research has been funded by NIH (i.e., NIA, NHLBI), the USDA, the Food Trust Center for Healthy Food Access, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Reinvestment Fund. Her leadership experience includes service with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and an appointment as a Public Service Leader Scholar with the USDA in Washington, D.C. Since coming to Connecticut in 2016, she has worked with community partners and residents aiming to improve grocery store access in the North Hartford Promise Zone. She also serves as a board member of the Connecticut Food Bank advising on their Hunger to Health initiative with health care organizations throughout the state. She mentors both undergraduate and graduate students.

Vanessa Garcia Polanco – National Young Farmers Coalition

Vanessa Garcia Polanco co-designs the strategy and implementation of Young Farmers’ policy campaigns, ensuring the team is pursuing and advocating for equity-driven, farmer-centric research, policy, and programmatic interventions. She serves as an organizational council member and co-chair of the Farming Opportunities & Fair Competition Committee of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. She is a Food Solutions New England Network Leadership Institute alumna, formerly a RI food Policy Council Member, and worked previously at the US Department of Agriculture, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, and the University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension. She is a James Beard Foundation Scholar, an Agriculture and Food Human Values Society Innovation Leader, and a 2021 Emerging Leader in Food and Ag.  She is an alumna of Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the University of Rhode Island College of the Environment and Life Sciences. As an Afro-Dominican immigrant, she brings her experiences and identities to her policy and advocacy activities for a bright and just food system.

Laura Ginsburg – Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets

Laura Ginsburg is the Dairy Development, Innovation, and Policy Lead at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. In this role she leads dairy focused efforts for the Agency on behalf of Vermont and the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center, one of four national centers funded by the USDA and representing the eleven states of the Northeast. The NE-DBIC provides funding, research, and business assistance to farms, processors, producer associations and is currently managing over $38 million. Laura received her master’s degree from the University of Montana, where her thesis research focused on the state’s dairy supply management system and impacts on farmer decision making. She received a Fulbright scholarship to conduct a study in New Zealand of free market system impacts on dairy farmers. Laura authored the Dairy Brief chapter of the Vermont Agriculture and Food System Plan.

Gray Harris – formerly at Coastal Enterprises of Maine

Gray Harris recently became the Senior Advisor, Food Systems Finance, Rural Business-Cooperative Service at USDA Rural Development. Prior to her current position, she served in a number of senior leadership roles at Coastal Enterprises of Maine (which she held while serving on the NEFNE Advisory Committee). She is a senior executive with a proven track record of success in driving strategy, delivery and operations, who has dedicated her career to creating healthy, vibrant, sustainable and financially viable food systems celebrating rural communities and entrepreneurs. Experienced in recognizing the potential in opportunity and builds cross-functional teams to drive towards quantifiable results. Proven expertise mission-driven finance and creative investment solutions, innovative financial tools and structures, and creating opportunities, particularly for people outside of the economic mainstream. A creative problem-solver who thrives on collaboration and grounding big vision in action and impact and who works to bridge political and cultural divides, to identify and achieve shared goals.

Erin Lane – USDA Northeast Climate Hub

Erin Lane is the Coordinator for the USDA Northeast Climate Hub. The Hub focuses on communicating how we can adapt our farms and forests to climate change, and how working lands can contribute to climate mitigation. Erin has worked for the USDA Forest Service since 1997 in both management and research.  She also has expertise in fire ecology of New England. Her current research is aimed at finding solutions to climate change by storing carbon in the soil. Erin is passionate about collaborating on teams and developing partnerships.

Dr. Isaac “Ike” Leslie – University of Vermont

Dr. Isaac “Ike” Leslie (they/them) is an Extension Assistant Professor of Community Development at the University of Vermont. Ike researches and organizes with Vermont communities for social and environmental change. Ike is an environmental sociologist specializing in justice, sustainability, and economic viability in food systems. They also research and organize with LGBTQ+ farmers and rural residents. They earned a Ph.D. in Sociology/Community & Environmental Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as an M.A. in Sociology and M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of New Hampshire. They also own and operate Magnetic Fields Farm, an agroecological fruit farm that attracts and sustains multiracial rural queer farm community.

Kate Masury – Eating with the Ecosystem

Kate Masury is the Executive Director at Eating with the Ecosystem, a small non-profit whose mission is to promote a place-based approach to sustaining New England’s wild seafood, through healthy habitats, flourishing food webs, and short, adaptive seafood supply chains. As the organization’s sole full time staff person, Kate performs many roles from organizing and running educational and outreach events, to coordinating a citizen science project with 86 participants from across New England to collect data on the availability and preference for local seafood in the New England marketplace, to conducting key informant interviews with seafood supply chain businesses about shifting species distributions, coordinating efforts to increase access to local seafood in the emergency food system, to designing fisheries interpretive signs in collaboration with local fishing communities and local seafood guides for restaurants and chefs. She has built an advisory network of chefs, fishermen, scientists, and other seafood supply chain members who lend advice and support to the organization. Kate is also a member of the Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative, Food Solutions New England, and the Local Catch Network.

Ken Meter – Crossroads Resource Center

Ken Meter is one of the most experienced food system analysts in the U.S., integrating market analysis, business development, systems thinking, and social concerns. Meter holds 50 years of experience in inner-city and rural community capacity building. His local economic analyses have promoted local food networks in 144 regions in 41 states, two provinces, and 4 tribal nations. He developed a $9.85-milllion plan for local food investment for the state of South Carolina, and completed similar studies for New Mexico, New Hampshire, Hawai‘i, Alaska, Mississippi, Indiana, Ohio, and Minnesota. He developed strategic regional food plans for nearly 20 regions across the U.S. Meter consulted with the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and Colorado State University as one of 14 co-authors of a toolkit for measuring economic impacts of local food development. He is author of Building Community Food Webs, published by Island Press in 2021. He is one of 3 co-editors of Sustainable Food System Assessment: Lessons from Global Practice, published by Routledge (UK) in 2019. Meter is also a member of the International Economic Development Council, where he presented at several annual meetings. He has taught at the Harvard Kennedy School and the University of Minnesota.

Jacob Park – University of Johannesburg (South Africa) and Castleton University, Vermont

Jacob Park is Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg (South Africa) and Associate Professor in Castleton University (USA), who specializes in innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainability management, with a special focus/expertise in energy, climate change, and food system issues in emerging and developing economies in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Caribbean islands regions. He is the Co-Chair, Shareholder Consortium, Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, and served as the Coordinating Lead Author of the UN Environment Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6) Report, Lead Author for the United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment initiative, and as an Expert Reviewer for a number of IPCC publications including the Sixth Assessment Report. He is a Co-Executive Editor of Subsistence Marketplaces, Associate Editor at the Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, Academic Editor (Adaptation) at PLOS Climate, and Editorial Adviser: SDG 10 for Springer Sustainable Development Goals Book Series. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Vermont Food Bank and on the editorial boards of Business Strategy and the Environment, and Emerald Emerging Market Case Studies.

Eric Rimm – Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Eric Rimm is professor of epidemiology and nutrition and director of the program in cardiovascular epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School. He is internationally recognized for his extensive work in the study of the health effects of moderate alcohol consumption, whole grains, micronutrients, and polyphenols. He also studies the impact of local and national nutrition policy as it relates to the improvement of diets of school children, the 1 in 8 Americans on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and other federal nutrition assistance programs. He served on the National Academy of Sciences’ food policy advisory committee for the USDA’s Economic Research Service and previously served on the scientific advisory committee for the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. He is also a nutritional advisor to the Boston Red Sox and the Liverpool Football Club in the English Premier League. He has published more than 800 peer-reviewed publications during his 28 years on the faculty at Harvard. Eric has received several awards for his work including the American Society for Nutrition Innovation Award.

Rachel Schattman – University of Maine

Rachel Schattman is an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Maine, and a fellow at the George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions. The overarching goal of her research and outreach is to facilitate agricultural and food system resilience in a changing climate while simultaneously protecting natural resources. In pursuit of this goal, she works with specialty crop producers and agricultural advisors to identify and address production challenges, specifically through the lens of climate change adaptation. This approach is grounded in complimentary traditions of agroecology and participatory action research (PAR). Prior to starting her position at the University of Maine, she owned and operated a diversified vegetable farm in Monkton, Vermont. She has served with the University of Vermont Extension as a sustainable agriculture research associate, a food safety educator, and a local food program coordinator. Additionally, she was a postdoctoral research fellow with the United States Department of Agriculture Northeast Climate Hub. To learn more about Dr. Schattman’s work, visit the University of Maine Agroecology Lab website (

Tom Sproul – formerly at University of Rhode Island

Tom Sproul recently began a new data science product management role in Amazon Device Economics to pursue his love of building tools. Previously he was a professor at the University of Rhode Island with a research background in Agricultural and Resource Economics, with a focus on risk modeling, insurance and risk management. He has done research on a variety of topics, including pollution regulation, farm policy, strategic behavior in fisheries, and behavioral economics and finance. Here, he shares his perspectives on offshore wind energy, and how resource economics research can help us understand the benefits and tradeoffs of developing wind farms.   

Lindsey Williams – University of New Hampshire

Lindsey Williams is a social scientist and policy specialist with over 18 years of experience in research, teaching, and practice on ocean and coastal management issues, including 10 years in federal government service in several budget, policy, and communications roles.  Her current work focuses on the science-policy interface, negotiation and consensus building, and collaborative processes particularly as they relate to coastal and environmental matters. She holds a PhD in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of New Hampshire, a Master of Marine Policy from the University of Delaware, and Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Colby College.  In addition to her professional roles at the University of New Hampshire, Lindsey works as a consultant, advisor, and lecturer.  She is the founder and President of RiverSea Advisors, the founder of Eight Legged Octopus, and also serves as an At Large member of the City Council in Dover, NH.

Estimating Resilient Eating Focus Group of Food and Nutrition Experts

A distinguished group of food and nutrition experts was assembled to provide input and feedback to the Dietary Patterns Research Team:

  • Joanne D Burke, PhD, RD, LD-Nutrition, Equity & Food Systems Consultant, Newmarket NH & University of New Hampshire Clinical Professor Emerita
  • Wendi Gosliner, DrPH, Senior Researcher and Policy Advisor, Nutrition Policy Institute, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Rebecca O’Reilly, MS, RD, Manager, Heart Disease and Diabetes, Div. of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Vermont Department of Health
  • Mike Puglisi, PhD, Assistant Extension Professor, University of Connecticut, Department of Nutritional Sciences and EFNEP Director for the state of Connecticut
  • Maya Vadiveloo, PhD RD FAHA, Associate Professor of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Director, PhD Program in Health Sciences, University of Rhode Island
  • Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health