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Thank Yous, Farewells, Welcomes, and Plans: NFSN Advisory Board Update

NFSN Staff Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Artwork by Bonnie Acker
By Helen Dombalis, NFSN Executive Director

In addition to an incredible group of Partners and Staff, National Farm to School Network (NFSN) is fortunate to have a Board of Directors housed at Tides Center (our fiscal sponsor) and an NFSN Advisory Board of smart and passionate advocates for the work we do. As we ring in a New Year, I extend my sincere thanks and say farewell to outgoing board members and am excited welcome in the new cohort.

First, a huge amount of gratitude goes out to the entire 2019 board. This past year was significant  for NFSN, including our executive transition and strategic planning for 2020-2025 (more on that to come). Thank you to:

  • Betsy Rosenbluth, Vermont FEED
  • Brandon Seng, Michigan Farm to Freezer
  • Caree Jackson Cotwright, University of Georgia - College of Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Dan Carmody, Eastern Market
  • Erin Croom, Small Bites Adventure Club
  • Haile Johnston, The Common Market
  • Johanna Herron, Alaska Division of Agriculture
  • Laura Edwards-Orr, sustainable regional food systems advocate
  • Miguel Villarreal, Sam Ramon Valley Unified School District
  • Ricardo Salvador, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Rodney Taylor, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Simone Washington, Lawyers for Children
  • Vanessa Herald, University of Wisconsin - Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
In particular, I am honored to have started my tenure as Executive Director alongside Miguel as 2019 board chair. He is a tireless champion for nutritious, local, and just food in schools, and he inspires me every time we connect. Miguel, thank you for your six years of service to NFSN and for a lifetime of dedication to our mission. 

Along with Miguel, we say farewell to Dan, Johanna, and Rodney. Dan’s leadership in board governance and the executive transition, Johanna’s longtime farm to school experience and passion as an NFSN Partner, and Rodney’s day-to-day work as a farm to school practitioner have been meaningful beyond measure.


Miguel with NFSN staff at the 2019 NFSN Annual Meeting. 
As we say these thank yous and farewells, we are also excited to announce the addition of eight new board members in 2020:
  • Anneliese Tanner, Austin Independent School District, Executive Director of Food Services and Warehouse Operations
  • Bertrand Weber, Minneapolis Public Schools, Director, Culinary and Wellness Services
  • Catherine Compitello, The Beacon Fund, Director of Nutrition and Activity
  • Jamese Kwele, Ecotrust, Director of Food Equity
  • Janie Hipp, Native American Agriculture Fund, CEO/President
  • Silvia Abel-Caines, Organic Valley, Staff Ruminant Nutritionist
  • Sommer Sibilly Brown, Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition, Founder and Executive Director
  • Wande Okunoren-Meadows, Little Ones Learning Center, Executive Director

We are also thankful to those stepping into leadership positions on the board this year:

  • Haile Johnston, Chair
  • Laura Edwards-Orr, Vice Chair
  • Simone Washington, Governance Committee Chair
  • Erin Croom, Programs and Policy Committee Chair
  • Betsy Rosenbluth, Strategic Plan Implementation Committee Chair (new board committee in 2020)

Finally, as a sneak peek into the work of the board this year, they will be focusing on:


Many thanks again to our outgoing Advisory Board members, and welcome to our new members! I’m looking forward to an exciting new year together. 

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