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Meet the FoodCorps Fellows

The FoodCorps Fellowship Program is a professional and educational program that provides service member alumni with the opportunity to further develop their leadership skills and explore professional interests while supporting and strengthening FoodCorps program implementation across the country.

Arizona, Kathleen Yetman

Kathleen was born and raised in Prescott, Arizona where she discovered the joy of gardening in her grandmother's backyard. Some of her fondest childhood memories are of helping harvest sugar snap peas and eating raspberries right off the bush. It’s important that she grew up not only knowing where her food came from, but also the individuals who so lovingly cultivated it. This experience led her to become involved in the food movement and continues to inspire her to share the joy and wonder of gardening with children. Kathleen received her BA in History from Lewis & Clark College in 2007 before returning to Arizona where she envisions a more environmentally sustainable, healthy, and interconnected future.

Kathleen served in the inaugural class of FoodCorps service members on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation teaching gardening and nutrition to elementary students in the isolated community of Cibecue. This is her second year as the Arizona fellow. She supports service members in Native communities across the state while forming lasting relationships with local partners to increase children's access to fresh local food.

Arkansas, Rachel Spencer

Studying Environmental Health Science at the University of Georgia and interning at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Environmental Health Services Branch, Rachel developed a passion for work at the intersection of sustainability and public health. She went on to lead UGA’s efforts to start a campus community garden, bring Real Food Challenge's Southeast Youth Food Activist Summit to Athens, GA, and establish the university's Office of Sustainability.

With FoodCorps last year, Rachel juggled a one acre garden plot and chickens while working with teachers to bring middle school science classes outside to the garden. She regularly worked with her students to cook healthy snacks during the school year. This past summer she helped coordinate regular deliveries of garden produce to the local food bank, and hosted two Garden Chef camps for elementary and middle school students.

California, Kala Cuerington

Born and raised in California, Kala has spent six out of the last seven years on the east coast for school and her FoodCorps service. Kala studied sociology in college and is very interested in the role that food plays in society, along with how we can develop students' understanding of healthy food, systematic injustice, and cultivation skills.

Kala spent last year serving with FoodCorps in New Haven, Connecticut at Common Ground High School which is located on an urban farm. There she led cooking clubs and after school programs and helped to start a School Garden Resource Center. She also worked with the non-profit CitySeed and New Haven Public Schools' dietitian to develop systems for getting healthy local produce into the expansive school district. On her own time, she served as the chair of New Haven Food Policy Council's school food working group. In the past, Kala has volunteered with the Food Bank of NYC's CookShop program, worked in farmers markets, stocked shelves at Trader Joes, and taught nutrition and cooking classes at low income schools in California's Monrovia and Baldwin Park School Districts.

She will be leading twelve outstanding service members from San Diego to Ukiah to help kids enjoy, prepare, grow, and gain access to the bounty of fruits and vegetables that California provides.

Connecticut, Dana Stevens

Dana has shared her passion for health through farming and environmental education over the past 10 years across New England. She has spent time teaching children and adults about the environment on an re-created 18th Century Sloop on the Hudson River, helped run an indigenous living and survival skills camp in upstate New York, farmed in southern New Hampshire, northern coastal Maine and western Massachusetts, and is now entering her third year with FoodCorps. In August 2011, she was a Service Member in the inaugural class of FoodCorps, serving Machias, Maine, where she helped begin and grow farm to school programs that included local purchasing, food systems education, and school garden programs. Last year as a FoodCorps fellow, she helped establish and coordinate the FoodCorps program in Connecticut.

Dana believes firmly in the three pillars (Knowledge, Engagement, and Access) of the FoodCorps program as the recipe for attaining health at the individual, community, and global levels. She returns to Connecticut this year as a second-term fellow.

Hawai'i, Amelia Pedini

Originally hailing from the Greater Boston area, Amelia joined City Year Philadelphia, assigned to a team that ran a social justice and service-learning program with high school aged youth. Many of these service projects consisted of fun workdays on urban farms and she was able to share her growing passion for food justice with her students. She spent the following summer at a Farm Camp in the Catskills of New York state, leading her to another year of AmeriCorps service where she taught cooking and nutrition in schools through the Food Cadre of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Amelia served as the FoodCorps New Mexico fellow last year, supporting the efforts and celebrating the successes of her service members and co-host sites, Farm to Table and the Community Engagement Center at the University of New Mexico. She will continue to serve this year as the fellow for FoodCorps Hawai'i, excited to lead a new team of service members who share her vision for healthy children, a happy planet, and a future where all can thrive.

Iowa, Marlie Wilson

Marlie's interest in food and agriculture stems from a young age, growing up surrounded by a close extended family of magnificent home-cooks, restauranteurs, family farm advocates, and CSA farmers. This interest in the food system grew into a well-defined passion after a study abroad researching urban agriculture in Havana, Cuba, where she traveled the city exploring rooftop vineyards, backyard pigs, and fabulous container gardens. On her return to the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU, she dove deeper into a concentration on Food Justice, taking internships with Farm Aid in Boston and Just Food in New York City, and staying busy on campus as a leader of Oxfam America at NYU and a co-founder of the university's Student Food Cooperative.

Marlie served with FoodCorps at The Food Project in Boston, MA last year. While her roots are in the Northeast, she had the opportunity to conduct a research project on women in agriculture throughout the midwestern region in 2011. She is thrilled to return for a longer stay in one of the friendliest and most welcoming states in the country.

Maine, Laura Budde

Laura moved to Vacationland in July 2011 for the first term of FoodCorps to serve two school districts in the capital area. After her service term, she stepped into the Fellow position for another year of breaking ground and making connections around healthy food. Laura is proud to continue with FoodCorps for a third year, supporting the growth and impact of FoodCorps in Maine.

Laura grew up in suburban Minnesota with a small backyard garden and a mother who loved to cook. Her value of good food lead to a formal education in Sustainable Food Systems from the University of Michigan. She has traveled around the world with Semester at Sea and farmed her way through the PNW and Appalachia. When Laura's not brooding chickens in her basement or fishing upstream, she is on her yoga mat or slow cooking farm fresh goodies.She aspires to start her own diverse farm someday with an emphasis on well-being through community meals and yoga practice.

Massachusetts, Alex Freedman

A native of the SF Bay Area, Alex was lured to Massachusetts for college. During that time at Tufts University, his interests in social justice, environmentalism and eating delicious things catalyzed into a passion for food justice. In pursuing his interest in sustainable food systems, Alex helped manage the Tufts student garden, led campus food advocacy campaigns, worked with Tufts Dining Services to improve sustainability, and spent a summer on a mobile farmer's market in Washington, DC.  

Alex is excited to take on the role of MA fellow after serving the previous year with CitySprouts in Lynn, MA. In that role, he maintained school gardens at two elementary schools and collaborated with teachers to integrate those gardens into standards-based curricula. Once summer started, he served with Cambridge, MA, middle school students, teaching gardening, cooking, and leadership skills.

Michigan, Daniel Marbury

Daniel is grateful to have grown up gathering almost every night around the dinner table with his family to share a homemade meal. He loves inspiring young people see food as a fundamental connection to nature, and attributes his passion as an educator to his years as a summer camp counselor at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell, Georgia. Daniel’s own connection to local food and farming developed at the University of Alabama while serving as president of the University of Alabama Environmental Council and volunteering with the first on-campus farmers market and first student-run community organic garden.

Daniel spent the past two years as a FoodCorps service member with the Michigan Land Use Institute in Traverse City helping school food service to feature seasonal and locally grown produce in six elementary schools. He also partnered with teachers to tie student’s lunchroom experiences to classroom activities by teaching academic subject areas through healthy and local food topics. As the FoodCorps Michigan fellow Daniel is excited to offer his two years of service experience to support this year’s current class of service members in his state.

Mississippi, Liz Broussard

Six years ago, Liz interned on an organic vegetable farm near her hometown in New Hampshire and learned firsthand how educational and transformative growing her own food could be. The experience was empowering, brought her closer to those she worked with, and gave her a stronger appreciation for the land at her fingertips.

Since then, she has gotten her knees dirty on several other farms throughout the country, conducted surveys on how to make healthy foods more accessible, spearheaded food and composting initiatives on her college campus, and advocated for backyard chicken legislation in her hometown. The summer before joining FoodCorps, she worked on a small organic sheep farm, making yogurt and Feta, learning Georgian folk songs, and performing with the Bread and Puppet Theater in Glover, Vermont.

Liz was a service member in Connecticut last year, and she is very excited to be in warmer weather (with a longer growing season) to support ten talented and thoughtful service members in the great state of Mississippi.

Montana, Kirsten Gerbatsch

Kirsten is proud to be the FoodCorps Fellow in Montana. While she feels most at home on farmland surrounded by mountains and wilderness, Kirsten actually grew up in the crowded suburbs of New Jersey. Her interest in food education and sustainable agriculture took root early on during her studies at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. She volunteered with urban farms and food banks on the weekends. She also began to cook for herself and realized she had a lot to learn about food. Kirsten’s service work and culinary interests inspired her academic and career goals; she found herself studying American agricultural history and working on a small, organic CSA farm. Since joining FoodCorps Kirsten has decided to pursue a career in national food and agricultural policy in order to help transform the school food environment and build healthier, more resilient rural communities.

For the last two years, Kirsten served in rural, northern Michigan with the Michigan Land Use Institute in Traverse City. She helped to build and revitalize six school gardens, taught hands-on food, cooking, and garden-based education with elementary, middle and high school students, and led a farm to school professional development day for elementary school educators throughout the region.

New Mexico, Kendal Chavez

As a child, Kendal had the giant Sequoias, coastal foothills, and vast plots of farmland to frame her worldview. She was blessed with a family that celebrated foods of the Earth and honored those special moments together in the garden. Holiday gatherings were planned around fresh citrus and persimmons, birthday parties centered around hand-picked herbs and flowers. In college, the essential services and unique opportunities provided by the garden space became too important not to pursue and after a winding path through a permaculture certification, a role as a compost educator for the San Francisco Department of the Environment, and the assistant sustainability coordinator position at her university, she happily joined the FoodCorps family.

Kendal has had the amazing opportunity to serve for the past two years as a garden coordinator at an elementary school in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her experience has been a balancing act of curriculum planning, community organizing, experiential learning models, cooking with kids, and co-creating a school garden ecosystem that serves over 300 students a week. This year Kendal will support a team of incredibly diverse service members across the state.

North Carolina, Leah Klaproth

Leah was born and raised in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley in central California where she raised goats and held leadership positions in her FFA chapter. She spent her years at UC Santa Cruz dabbling in non-agricultural studies: psychology, Portuguese, and marine science. After graduating she left for service in the Peace Corps, returning to her agricultural roots in rural Zambia where she dug fishponds with tilapia farmer cooperatives and worked with women’s groups in kitchen gardens.

Leah returned to the US with a desire to pursue service work domestically, and served for a year with AmeriCorps in Oregon as an environmental educator. She moved to North Carolina to serve with FoodCorps and has spent the past two years teaching in gardens, cooking in classrooms, and serving tasty, local samples in lunchrooms around High Point, NC. She is thrilled to spend this year as the North Carolina fellow, supporting Service Members and bridging the gap between farm and school across the state.

New Jersey, Sarah Dixon

Hailing from mid-Missouri, Sarah is excited to bring FoodCorps to New Jersey in partnership with Rutgers Cooperative Extension and NJ Farm to School Network.  Studying sociology and gender studies at the University of Missouri, Sarah’s focus on families and health led to her interest in just food systems and slow food.  Sarah has worked and volunteered as a food-based educator on campus, with non-profits, and inside a youth correctional facility.

Last year Sarah served in Gaston County with North Carolina Cooperative Extension.  She had the pleasure of growing gardens and teaching garden-enhanced nutrition education with 10 different elementary schools alongside community volunteers.   As well, Sarah had the opportunity to help create a student-designed garden at Carr Elementary with a grant award from Annie’s Homegrown Grants for Gardens, and connect local church communities to a newly built community garden in her own neighborhood.

Oregon, Emily Ritchie

Hailing from agriculture-friendly Portland, Oregon, Emily Ritchie is passionate about simple, fresh food for all and believes school gardens are terrific places to spark interest in healthy eating in the next generation. She especially has a passion for cheese and studied an Alpine cheese in Switzerland a few summers back. Her flock of 6 chickens are all named after delicious cheeses too.

A graduate from Occidental College's Urban and Environmental Policy program, she developed skills to tackle food justice problems in America. During her year as a FoodCorps service member in Tillamook, Oregon, Emily combined her passions for advocacy and food justice, serving more than 300 youth by building up the capacity and sustainability of garden-based education programs at Food Roots. As the FoodCorps Oregon fellow, Emily catalyzed Boat to School in the state. School districts served Pacific pink shrimp, rockfish, sole, tuna, cod, and crab to students around  Oregon--from the coast to the high desert. She is happily serving her second year as the fellow in Oregon.

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