40 Under 40: The Rising Stars in New York City Food Policy (Class of 2016)

by Charles Platkin

The New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College has released its inaugural class of New York City’s 40 under 40 who are working to transform the food system. The New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College honorees include policymakers, educators, community advocates, farmers and innovators who are making significant strides to create healthier, more sustainable food environments, and who use food to promote community and economic development.

New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College’s 40 under 40 inaugural class reflects the Center’s broad perspective around food policy: food policies are not simply regulations imposed by governmental bodies; we believe that food policy impacts millions of New Yorkers every day, at home and at work and in our community. Food policy is not just about what we eat, it impacts our relationships, social equity, the environment, and even employment.

The Class of 2016 Rising Stars in New York City Food Policy are:


Name: Alyson AbramiAlyson Abrami

Birthday: 08/12/1977

Grew up in: Huntington, New York

Job Title: Director, Food and Nutrition Programs, Children’s Aid Society

One word you would use to describe our food system: Hopeful

Food policy hero: Margo Wootan

Your breakfast this morning: Oatmeal with local apples and cinnamon

Favorite foodie hangout: The farmers’ market

Social media must follow: Civil Eats [@CivilEats]


 

Yemi AmuName: Yemi Amu

Birthday: 9/19/1980

Grew up in: Lagos, Nigeria

Job Title: Co-Founder Oko Farms LLC, Farm Manager at Moore Street Farm

One word you would use to describe our food system: Progressing

Food policy hero: Marion Nestle

Your breakfast this morning: 2 soft boiled eggs

Favorite foodie hangout: Farmers’ markets

Social media must follow: @kitchenbutterfly @afrolems


 

Kate BarneyName: Kate Barney

Birthday: 4/19/1983

Grew up in: Atlanta

Job Title: Fare Resources, Operations Director, Northeast

One word you would use to describe our food system: Pivoting

Food policy hero: Too many to list! Joel Kimmons’ work inspires and informs my work with Fare Resources.

Your breakfast this morning: Chicken bone (feet actually) and horseradish broth, coffee (Parlor Coffee Santa Clara from Colombia) with coconut oil and cinnamon, Meat Hook spicy Italian sausage with greens, nutritional yeast and lemon. I take breakfast very seriously.

Favorite foodie hangout: Seasonal suppers at the badass Crown Heights-based caterer The Pixie and The Scout and Eatsy lunch at our client and friend Etsy.com’s headquarters.

Social media must follow: Stephen Satterfield @isawstephen (Food Writing Fellow for Civil Eats and founder of Whetstone Magazine) and @heyokreal for an inspirational pick-me-up.


 

Sabrina Baronberg

Name: Sabrina Baronberg

Birthday: 11/25/1978

Grew up in: Denver, Colorado

Job Title: Senior Director, Food and Nutrition Programs

One word you would use to describe our food system: Reactive

Food policy hero: Tom Frieden

Your breakfast this morning: Sadly my 8 month old daughter’s leftovers—some combination of bananas, yogurt, and oatmeal.

Favorite foodie hangout: The farmers’ market of course!

Social media must follow: https://www.theperennialplate.com/


 

BeauchampAlex-Name: Alex Beauchamp

Birthday: 12/29/1983

Grew up in: Lubbock, Texas

Job Title: Northeast Regional Director, Food & Water Watch

One word you would use to describe our food system: Brittle

Food policy hero: Karen Washington

Your breakfast this morning: Yogurt

Favorite foodie hangout: Rucola in Boerum Hill is the best restaurant in New York City

Social media must follow: @tomphilpott and @foodandwater (of course).


 

Ellie Berens

Name: Ellie Berens

Birthday: 12/20/1983

Grew up in: Oyster Bay, NY

Job Title: Development and Outreach Manager, Wellness in the Schools

One word you would use to describe our food system: Evolving

Food policy hero: Michelle Obama

Your breakfast this morning: Spinach and Kale Smoothie with lots of ginger

Favorite foodie hangout: Pearl Oyster Bar

Social media must follow: Food 52 [@Food52]


 

Bianca BockmanName: Bianca Bockman

Birthday: 10/03/1980

Grew up in: Hoboken, NJ

Job Title: Community Healthy Food Advocate at the Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation (NEBHDCo)

One word you would use to describe our food system: Exploitative

Food policy hero: Cooperation Jackson in Mississippi. Through both engaging in and challenging government, they’ve been building Black political power in part through food and food policy projects like coops and land trusts.

Your breakfast this morning: Homemade Egg and Cheese and Avocado on Whole Wheat Toast.

Favorite foodie hangout: Bed-Stuy Fresh and Local –  an organic grocery, prepared foods counter, and juice bar that recently converted to being a worker-owned coop through NEBHDCo’s Cooperative Business Project.

Social media must follow: I must say, I don’t do much social media (does that make me old?), but I do appreciate Just Food’s Facebook posts when they come through my newsfeed.


 

Leanne Brown author photo in book - credit Jordan Matter

Photo credit Jordan Matter

Name: Leanne Brown

Birthday: 1/12/1985

Grew up in: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Job Title: Author of Good and Cheap

One word you would use to describe our food system: Unfair (but I would add that it is transitioning as well so I don’t think it’s hopeless)

Food policy hero: Karen Washington

Your breakfast this morning: A bowl of yogurt and a mango. Mango season has me eating them like crazy!

Favorite foodie hangout: The table in my little backyard with delicious food I’ve made myself! But for incredible diversity of crazy stuff to try Smorgasburg is always a fun time.

Social media must follow: Dave Itzkoff [@ditzkoff] on twitter. He is spit-take funny.


 

Dan Carr_2Name: Dan Carr

Birthday: 8/29/1981

Grew up in: Broomfield, CO

Job Title: Q Farms Farm Manager Sharon, CT. Beavertides Bee Farm Owner, Falls Village, CT

One word you would use to describe our food system: Evolving

Food policy hero: Craig Haney the Growing Farmer’s Initiative Director at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.

Your breakfast this morning: Two Q Farms eggs fried on low heat, a handful of Claytonia (Miner’s Lettuce) from my friend Zach Wolf, and a piece of toast with butter and Q Farms fall honey.

Favorite foodie hangout: Plantin’ Seeds Farm Kitchen Canaan CT (near the Massachusetts border)

Social media must follow: Randy Oliver’s blog Scientificbeekeeping.com


 

Jeni Clapp
Name:
Jeni Clapp

Birthday: 6/5/1980

Grew up in: Jersey shore

Job Title: Director of Healthy Eating Initiatives, NYC Health Department

One word you would use to describe our food system: Complicated

Food policy hero: Mike Jacobson

Your breakfast this morning: Smoothie with avocado, dates, and peanut butter…and coffee

Favorite foodie hangout: Double windsor in south slope is my neighborhood go to

Social media must follow: POLITICO’s Morning Agriculture daily emails are a must read


 

Challey ComerName: Challey Comer

Birthday: 10/20/1981

Grew up in: Liverpool, NY

Job Title: Chief of Staff, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets

One word you would use to describe our food system: Expanding

Food policy hero: Richard Ball, Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture & Markets and owner of a 200-acre vegetable farm in Upstate New York.

Your breakfast this morning: I am an avid consumer of dairy products. Yogurt from Maple Hill Creamery (maplehillcreamery.com). It’s been exciting to watch their operation expand. Maple Hill Creamery is now working with 40 dairies in my home region of Central New York.

Favorite foodie hangout: The pick-up location for my 607 CSA share (the607csa.com).

Social media must follow: Spring is a great time of year on Instagram. My account (@challeycomer) and feed are filled with baby farm animals, flowering trees and foraged foods. Some favorites are @lucky_dog_farm @windfallfarms @mollyoliverflowers @wayside_cider @sawkillfarm @chaseholmfarm


 

Taisy Conk

Photo credit: Reeve Jolliffe

Name: Taisy Conk

Birthday:  5/9/1985

Grew up in: Upper Manhattan/Washington Heights

Job Title: Director of Community Food Action at New Settlement Apartments

One word you would use to describe our food system: Capitalist

Food policy hero: The organizing members of the Central Brooklyn Food Coop.

Your breakfast this morning: Espresso with milk first thing, and kefir strawberry yogurt in a thermos on the 4 train.

Favorite foodie hangout: Corbin Hill farm share distribution at the New Settlement Community Center – hands down. I always have fun chatting with our shareholders and staff about food and family.

Social media must follow: @museumofcityny @bambambaklava on IG, @NextCityOrg @neiltyson @marionnestle @CASAbronx on Twitter


 

Molly CulverName: Molly Culver

Birthday: 4/13/1981

Grew up in: Guilford, CT

Job Title: Farm Manager, The Youth Farm/Owner, Chief Creative, Molly Oliver Flowers

One word you would use to describe our food system: Inefficient/Racist

Food policy hero: Karen Washington

Your breakfast this morning: Bread Alone’s Cranberry Walnut toast with Peanut Butter and Nutella, then leftover homemade pizza (I always have 2 breakfasts)

Favorite foodie hangout: 61 Local Public House in Cobble Hill

Social media must follow: @theyouthfarm


 

Sarita DaftaryName: Sarita Daftary

Birthday: 6/6/1981

Grew up in: New Fairfield, Connecticut

Job Title:  Food Dignity Project Consultant and former Project Director at East New York Farms!; currently Program Director for the Green Light District at El Puente

One word you would use to describe our food system: Inequitable

Food policy hero: The hundreds of gardeners all over NYC who started gardening guerilla-style in vacant lots in the 1970s, whose work led to the creation of the Greenthumb program.

Your breakfast this morning: Toast with crunchy peanut butter, honey, and sliced apples

Favorite foodie hangout: the East New York Farmers Market!

Social media must follow: The Color of Food [@browngirlfarmin]


 

Meserete DavisName: Meserete Davis

Birthday: 6/13/1980

Grew up in: Brooklyn, NY

Job Title: Food & Menu Management Research & Development Supervisor, NYC SchoolFood

One word you would use to describe our food system: Evolving

Food policy hero: I currently do not have a food policy hero

Your breakfast this morning: Ackee & saltfish, boiled dumplings, boiled plantain and green tea with mint

Favorite foodie hangout: Schmorgasburg, A Brooklyn Flea Food Market

Social media must follow: FOODYDIY and FULLYRAWKRISTINA on Instagram 


 

David DeVaughnName: David D DeVaughn

Birthday: 11/18/1984

Grew up in: Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Job Title: Senior Manager, Policy & Community Partnerships at City Harvest

One word you would use to describe our food system:  Preferential

Food policy hero: Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference organizers

Your breakfast this morning: Oatmeal with fruits and nuts

Favorite foodie hangout: Jeepney

Social media must follow: @PolicyLink


 

Leah EdenName: Leah Kabran Eden

Birthday: 11/15/1981

Grew up in: Maryland

Job Title: Policy Fellow at United Way of New York City

One word you would use to describe our food system: Resilient

Food policy hero: Dan Barber and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME)

Your breakfast this morning: Scrambled egg with toast from Maison Kayser and a cup of Counter Culture coffee

Favorite foodie hangout: Shelsky’s of Brooklyn

Social media must follow: @FPAction, @Heritage_Radio and @chuckabbott1


 

Curt EllisName: Curt Ellis

Birthday: 12/15/1979

Grew up in: Portland, Oregon

Job Title: Co-founder and CEO of FoodCorps

One word you would use to describe our food system: Unjust.

Food policy hero: Deb Eschmeyer, co-founder of FoodCorps and Executive Director of the First Lady’s signature childhood obesity initiative, Let’s Move

Your breakfast this morning: Yogurt and marionberries

Favorite foodie hangout: My neighborhood farmers’ market

Social media must follow: @foodcorps on Instagram and Twitter


 

SONY DSC

Photo credit: SONY DSC

Name: Ashley Fitch

Birthday: 3/16/1983

Grew up in: Washington, DC

Job Title: Senior Project Manager – Mount Sinai Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program (DSRIP), Former Director of the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program at Wholesome Wave

One word you would use to describe our food system: Complex

Food policy hero: Farmers

Your breakfast this morning: Fried egg with arugula and shaved parmesan

Favorite foodie hangout: Queens

Social media must follow: divebarny on Instagram for craft beers and single malts


 

Ben FlannerName: Ben Flanner

Birthday: 12/25/1980

Grew up in: Wisconsin, close to Milwaukee

Job Title: CEO / Director of Agriculture – Brooklyn Grange

One word you would use to describe our food system: Complex

Food policy hero: Marion Nestle

Your breakfast this morning: Milk with granola and apples, toast with honey and butter

Favorite foodie hangout: Brooklyn Grange

Social media must follow: @camporossofarm


 

 

Colleen FlynnName: Colleen Flynn

Birthday: 11/18/1977

Grew up in: All over the place. I was born in Isfahan, Iran and call Colorado home

Job Title: Director of Programs at Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC)

One word you would use to describe our food system: Fragmented

Food policy hero: Tanya Fields, Founder and Executive Director of The BLK ProjeK

Your breakfast this morning: Soft boiled egg, kale and smoked salmon

Favorite foodie hangout: Home cooked meals with family and friends

Social media must follow: East New York Farms! [@ENYFARMS]


 

 

Roy FriasName: Roy Frias

Birthday: 7/24/1990

Grew up in: East New York, Brooklyn, New York

Job Title: Youth Program Director, East New York Farms!

One word you would use to describe our food system: Partitioned

Food policy heroes: Sarita Daftary-Steel & Anim Steel

Your breakfast this morning: Oatmeal, and a fruit smoothie

Favorite foodie hangout: East New York Farms’ Farmer’s Market (shameless plug)

Social media must follow: N/A


 

 

Rachna GovaniName: Rachna Govani

Birthday: 7/4/1985

Grew up in: New Jersey

Job Title: Co-founder/CEO Foodstand

One word you would use to describe our food system: Extractive

Food policy hero: SO MANY, but Karen Washington.

Your breakfast this morning: Overnight chia pudding with cocoa and honey.

Favorite foodie hangout: Union Square Greenmarket

Social media must follow: Obviously @thefoodstand =) but also @civileats


 

Daniel_Gross
Name:
Daniel Gross

Birthday: 37-years-old

Grew up in: Los Angeles

Job Title: Founder and Executive Director, Brandworkers

One word you would use to describe our food system: Changeable

Food policy hero: Rank & file food worker

Your breakfast this morning: Coffee and a banana

Favorite foodie hangout: Brandworkers member potlucks

Social media must follow: Food Chain Workers Alliance [@foodchainworker]


 

Molly HartmanName: Molly Hartman

Birthday: 12/29/1985

Grew up in: Los Angeles, California

Job Title: Senior Advisor for Food Policy, Office of the Mayor

One word you would use to describe our food system: Complex!

Food policy hero: My heroes are people who are making real change in a very practical way. People who are growing, distributing, and providing food to people who need it.

Your breakfast this morning: Coffee. I’m not a big breakfast person.

Favorite foodie hangout: I like to get to the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket every Saturday if I can. And locally I like Alice’s Arbor in Clinton Hill. Good food and drinks!

Social media must follow: You should definitely follow my office @nycfood!


 

Ben Kallos

Name: Ben Kallos

Birthday: 2/5/1981

Grew up in: Upper East Side, NYC

Job Title: Member of the NYC City Council from District 5

One word you would use to describe our food system: Improving

Food policy hero: State Senator Liz Krueger and Jamie Oliver

Your breakfast this morning:  Greek Yogurt and Fruit with Milk from Local NY dairy farms

Favorite foodie hangout: Fairway on the Upper East Side, the variety of salad toppings is fantastic

Social media must follow: @GrowNYC @American_Heart @MomsRising


 

Jessie Kerr-Vanderslice

Name: Jessie Kerr-Vanderslice

Birthday: 11/9/1984

Grew up in: Rhode Island (smallest state, biggest heart)

Job Title: Director, Grow to Learn NYC (GrowNYC)

One word you would use to describe our food system: Bewildering

Food policy hero: Alice Waters

Your breakfast this morning: Toast with peanut butter and banana, lots and lots of coffee

Favorite foodie hangout: Providence, RI! But for NYC- the veggie vendors in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Pea shoots for days…

Social media must follow: Grow to Learn, of course! #Growtolearnnyc on Instagram and Facebook [@GrowtoLearnNYC]


 

Name: Ashley Lederer, MS, RDAshley Lederer

Birthday:  12/7/1976

Grew up in: The Woodlands, Texas

Job Title: Founder, Thoughtful Food Nutrition

One word you would use to describe our food system: Dynamic

Food policy hero: Marion Nestle

Your breakfast this morning: Plain kefir with banana slices and a handful of granola, black coffee

Favorite foodie hangout: Union Square Farmers Market

Social media must follow: Helena B. Evich, senior food and agriculture reporter at Politico (@hbottemiller ) on Twitter


 

Adam LiebowitzName: Adam Liebowitz

Birthday: 3/19/1980

Grew up in: Westchester, NY

Job Title: Food and Environment Program Officer, North Star Fund

One word you would use to describe our food system: Oppressive

Food policy hero: Ricardo Salvador

Your breakfast this morning: Oatmeal with lots of toppings

Favorite foodie hangout: Chinatown

Social media must follow: Tanya Fields [@theblkprojek]


 

Javier LopezName: Javier Lopez

Birthday: 6/8/1980

Grew up in: All over NYC

Job Title: Assistant Commissioner, Systems Partnerships, Center for Health Equity New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Food policy hero: Beatriz Beckford

Your breakfast this morning: Spinach, kale, banana, peanut butter and ginger smoothie

Favorite foodie hangout: Smorgasburg, Phatty Beet Burger (chickpea & olive)

Social media must follow: Change lab solutions [@ChangeLabWorks]


 

Annie NovakName: Annie Novak

Birthday: 2/11/1983

Grew up in: Evanston, Illinois

Job Title: Founder and Director Growing Chefs, Manager of the Edible Academy at the NYBG and Co-Founder and Farmer at Eagle Street Rooftop Farm

One word you would use to describe our food system: Amendable

Food policy hero: George Washington Carver

Your breakfast this morning: Vegetables

Favorite foodie hangout: The Edible Academy

Social media must follow: @FLOTUS


 

Brendan ParkerName: Brendan Parker

Birthday: 10/14/1987

Grew up in: Glen Cove, NY

Job Title: Assistant Garden Manager, Edible School Yard NYC

One word you would use to describe our food system: Anti-mycorrhizal

Food policy hero: All small organic farmers

Your breakfast this morning: Pastured scrambled eggs on Hot Bread Kitchen Multi-grain toast

Favorite foodie hangout: Roberta’s

Social media must follow: @esynyc


 

Leah PennimanName: Leah Penniman

Birthday: 6/5/1980

Grew up in: Ashburnham, MA

Job Title: Co-director Soul Fire Farm

One word you would use to describe our food system: Apartheid

Food policy hero: Karen Washington (Dennis Derryk, Malik Yakini are also great)

Your breakfast this morning: Berry-spinach smoothie

Favorite foodie hangout: My kitchen

Social media must follow: Get off the screens and look at the stars


 

Diana-RobinsonName: Diana Robinson

Birthday: 11/10/1985

Grew up in: Brooklyn, NY

Job Title: National Campaign and Education Coordinator at Food Chain Workers Alliance

One word you would use to describe our food system: In transition

Food policy hero: Karen Washington

Your breakfast this morning: Tea, oatmeal and half a grapefruit

Favorite foodie hangout: Veggie Castle in South Richmond Hill, Queens is a vegan Ital restaurant that has an amazing jerk “Chicken” sandwich and great fresh juices and smoothies.

Social media must follow: @CivilEats


 

Milan TaylorName: Milan Taylor

Birthday: 3/8/1989

Grew up in: Far Rockaway, Queens

Job Title: CEO Rockaway Youth Task Force

One word you would use to describe our food system: Hopeful

Food policy hero: Huey P. Newton (Black Panther Party Free Breakfast Program)

Your breakfast this morning: Banana

Favorite foodie hangout: Don’t have one but I’m open to suggestions

Social media must follow: Rockaway Youth Task Force (Shameless Plug) [@RockawayYouth]


 

Ashley TyrnerName: Ashley Tyrner

Birthday: 10/2/1983

Grew up in: Illinois and Arizona

Job Title: Founder & CEO of Farmbox Direct

One word you would use to describe our food system: Backwards

Food policy hero: Sam Kass

Your breakfast this morning: Kale, Spinach, Apple, Ginger smoothie. Avocado toast.

Favorite foodie hangout: Blue Hill

Social media must follow: Michelle Obama LETS MOVE! [@letsmove]


 

Claire UnoName: Claire Uno

Birthday: 4/11/1979

Grew up in: Maine

Job Title:  Assistant Executive Director at Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University

One word you would use to describe our food system: Unsustainable (in every sense)

Food policy hero: Toni Liquori, Founder and Executive Director of School Food FOCUS

Your breakfast this morning: Coffee, yogurt, fruit (banana and frozen blueberries), muesli

Favorite foodie hangout: Columbia Greenmarket, open Th/Su year round, located in between my apartment and office

Social media must follow: Politico’s Morning Ag


 

David VigilName: David Vigil

Birthday: 5/22/1981

Grew up in: Northern California

Job Title: Project Director, East New York Farms!

One word you would use to describe our food system: Divided

Food policy hero: Lorrie Clevenger, Rise and Root Farm

Your breakfast this morning: Pasture-raised fried eggs and sourdough toast. Every day.

Favorite foodie hangout: East New York Farmers Market.

Social media must follow: Owen Taylor @seedkeeping (IG)


 

Christopher WayneName: Christopher Wayne

Birthday: 5/18/1985

Grew up in: Easton, CT

Job Title: Director, FARMroots, GrowNYC

One word you would use to describe our food system: Budding

Food Policy Hero: Barbara Turk

Your breakfast this morning: Hawthorne Valley Farm yogurt and granola with frozen strawberries and New York State maple syrup

Favorite foodie hangout: Greenmarket’s Summer Fridays, where, as bartender, I’ll pour you a drink

Social media must follow: @rodaleinstitute


 

Kimberley WongName: Kimberley Wong

Birthday: 33-years-old

Grew up in: SF Bay Area

Job Title: Program Director, BronxWorks

One word you would use to describe our food system: Inequitable

Food policy hero: Karen Washington

Your breakfast this morning: Avocado and humus sandwich

Favorite foodie hangout: Farmers’ markets in the Bronx!

Social media must follow: #not62 and Welcome2theBronx.com


 

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