Kirks is grateful to have worked alongside and learned from the dedicated and passionate folks at Dandelion Chocolate, Tomales Farmstead Creamery, and The Coffee Club, Princeton’s first student-run coffee shop. She is honored to be supporting the incredible farmers, makers, and merchants working to make positive change in our food systems.
A California native, Jessica enjoys all things food related-cooking, teaching, learning, and of course tasting! Her previous food experience includes six years at Dandelion Chocolate on their Chocolate Experiences Team as Event Manager where she led tasting programs with diverse local food manufacturers and learned a lot about chocolate. She has also spent time teaching cooking and nutrition classes in Bay Area after-school and summer programs. An advocate of tasty, sustainable, and fun food she can be found browsing the cookbook section of her local book store, or perusing the best in-season produce at her neighborhood farmers market.
Born and raised in the SF Bay Area, Natalie majored in Environment Studies and minored in Food Systems at the University of Vermont. While in Vermont, Natalie became immersed in Burlington’s vibrant local food community. She interned at the Intervale Food Hub’s Gleaning & Food Rescue program and the Real Food Challenge to audit the university’s food purchases. Now based in Portland, Oregon, Natalie is thrilled to be working to support sustainable food crafters nationwide.
Margo grew up in Hillsboro, Oregon, surrounded by a vibrant farming community. This early introduction to food-related careers inspired her to work at a Native Plant Nursery, a U-Pick Berry Farm, and a Minneapolis start-up that is revolutionizing sustainable takeout containers. She attended Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. To round out her International Studies major and French minor, she studied abroad in Rabat, Morocco. During her time in Rabat, she discovered that her hometown’s connection to food—which seemed so unique in America—was the status quo in countries like France and Morocco. This experience solidified her resolve to strengthen communities through food. With that goal in mind, she completed an apprenticeship with the Anne Saxelby Legacy Fund after graduating from Macalester College in 2022. She is excited to continue making fresh, sustainable food more accessible for all.
Born and raised in the greater Bay Area, Claudia grew up exploring nature and immersing herself in the vibrant art and food scenes. After studying media and food systems at UC Berkeley, she went on to pursue work as a professional cook, landing in the kitchen at Standard Fare, a community-oriented, sustainability-driven lunch counter in West Berkeley. With invaluable training from talented cooks of varied backgrounds, Claudia has started a series of home-grown food pop-ups in support of local charitable causes. With a passion for building community and sharing food, she loves bringing people together and using the profits to bring food and other supplies to neighbors in need. Claudia is excited to broaden her knowledge of the food industry and sustainable production with the hope of playing a role in a more just and joyful food future.
Giulia Oltranti is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley where she studied the environment and food systems. Growing up in an Italian household she was constantly surrounded by delicious fresh food made from scratch. This upbringing served as an inspiration for her to pursue baking as a hobby. During college, she shared her expertise and love of baking by teaching a popular baking DeCal at Berkeley. Giulia channels her creativity by documenting her food adventures through photography and blogging. Throughout her undergraduate years, she worked with organizations such as the Berkeley Student Food Collective, UC Berkeley Food Pantry, and Bay Area nonprofits where she discovered her deep passion for food systems work. Driven by a desire to make a positive impact, she hopes to raise awareness about the benefits of embracing plant-based diets for environmental sustainability and human health through sharing simple and accessible recipes. In her free time, Giulia can be seen experimenting with new recipes and baking up a storm in her kitchen.
Anna is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, where she majored in Public Policy and History. She is interested in all things sustainable food, and is excited to put her energy towards building a more equitable food system. She spent her time in college shopping at farmer's markets, helping coordinate summer meal sites across the state, and working with her local food policy council. As a lifelong North Carolinian, there is nothing she appreciates more than a ripe summer tomato with salt and pepper.
For the last decade, Sandra has focused her talents on specialty coffee, where she became an industry leader and international expert. She is a certified Q Instructor through CQI, a seasoned green buyer, roaster, barista, and published author. Sandra was the founding Director of The Crown: Royal Coffee Lab & Tasting Room, and is co-host of the bilingual podcast Cafetera Intelectual.
Christine is an Executive Producer of the 2022 James Beard Award-winning documentary, Gather. She serves on the Board of Directors for Civil Eats and Une Femme Wines. She is an executive advisor to the California Film Institute's gender equity initiative, Mind the Gap, where she underwrites the annual Creation Prize, honoring a first-time female filmmaker for exceptional vision and creativity. Christine is also the founder/underwriter of the Athena Film Festival's Chinonye Chukwu Emerging Writer Award. Her most recent personal project is a collaboration with the Rodale Institute, converting her family's third-generation farm property into a Rodale-run organic fruit-growing research station.
Madeline Nguyen (she/her) is a food writer and researcher with work focusing on the intersections between food, identity, and rhetoric. In 2018, she attended Ballymaloe Cookery School and started her Masters program in World Food Cultures and Mobility at the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG), which she completed the following year. She believes that there's a power in words that can only be punctuated by the perfect bite and that the best stories are not only shared at the table, but cover the contents of that table and where that food comes from. Her past work on Vietnamese culinary history can be found in "The New Gastronome" and "Sandwich Magazine."
Catherine is currently a graduate student at UC Berkeley pursuing a Master’s in Public Health Nutrition. Originally from Washington State, she grew up sandwiched by tree fruits on one side and seafood on the other. Her interest in food retail and marketing is informed by her desire to see a more sustainable, healthy and just food system realized. In her past work experiences, she found joy in engaging with producers at farmers’ markets and leading farm-based education programs for learners of all ages. In her free time, she can often be found wandering the aisles of Monterey Market in Berkeley, pointing out edible plants on hikes and swimming in the Bay!
In 2018, Laura graduated from the University of Gastronomic Sciences with a Masters in Food, Culture and Communications: Marketing and Sustainability of High-Quality Products. Most recently she was the Event and Communications Manager for the first ever Terra Madre Nordic event held in Copenhagen. She has worked in the food, beverage and hospitality industry from the age of 15 and gained her Bachelors degree from the Culinary Institute of America. She believes that farmers are the stewards of our land and it is important to honor and respect the work they do. She finds the easiest way to support farmers is to vote with your dollar by purchasing products at your local farmers market or store. "Eat well and in good company!" Laura is now making her way through Spain, Portugal and France where she is getting an International Master on Wine Tourism Innovation.
After graduating from SUNY Buffalo State with a B.S. in Forensic Chemistry, Max pivoted to the restaurant industry, ultimately applying his education to the world of food and beverage. In 2015, with a growing passion for food culture and how it influences people and their community, their overall wellbeing and relationships with others, he jumped from one coast to the other. The last 6 years have been spent working in the California olive oil industry, most recently overseeing a quality assurance program. He has cherished discovering the bounties that the California landscape has to offer and taking every opportunity to learn and taste along with the producers and crafters of the golden state. His free time is ideally spent at the local farmers market, checking off places on his neverending list of restaurants, breweries and wineries to experience, and when he isn’t filling his belly, he is likely hiking or spending time with his partner, friends and two dogs, Bengal and Cali.
A Bay Area native, Jessica is passionate about the intersection of food, sustainability and social impact. Formerly the Partnerships & Programs Manager at the Good Food Foundation, she’s thrilled to return after spending time at Ireland’s Ballymaloe Cookery School and San Francisco bakery Josey Baker Bread.
Julia graduated from UC Berkeley in the College of Natural Resources in 2020. She is interested in empowering local food producers as well as environmental health and supply chain analysis. She recently completed a fellowship and published her research focusing on the relationship between wage policy and restaurant workers’ health and nativity status. Julia’s background in sustainability research and environmental organizing have motivated her to continue building a better future for the planet. When she isn’t busy baking, you can find her paddle boarding, knitting, hiking, or playing volleyball.
Simran is a senior at Northeastern University with a major in Marketing and dual minors in Sustainable Business Practices and Environmental Studies. Originally from San Diego, she loves morning beach walks at any time of year, though her semesters in Boston have also given her a newfound appreciation for living and cooking seasonally. Most recently, she completed a summer course in Copenhagen, studying Nordic Culinary Culture with a focus on sustainable food practices and biodynamic farming. She's delighted to join the Good Food Foundation team and contribute to meaningful sustainable action and awareness. In her free time, she can be found writing, watching sea creature videos, baking scones, and ticking foodie recommendations off her ever-growing list.
Katherine is a gastronome, writer and adventurer hailing from the Bay Area. As an Outreach & Communications Intern with the Good Food Foundation in Summer 2014, Katherine assisted with sustainability vetting for new applicants to the Good Food Guild. In her previous role, Katherine served as the Executive Assistant to co-owner Cindy Daniel of Healdsburg SHED, a former member of the Good Food Merchants Collaborative. During her time at the Good Food Foundation, Katherine served as our Merchants & Communications Manager.
Vivian graduated from UNC with a self-designed major in Environmental Cultural Studies. Vivian is extremely passionate about food, access, and sustainability. She loves food because she believes that we can learn so much about the world around us through food studies. In her free time, she loves to hike, read, play piano, and of course, find new foods to try. She is always looking for what to eat or cook next and welcomes recommendations.
After graduating from the University of Southern California in 2015, Hillary spent a year abroad, eating her way through Asia and Central America. It was on this trip that her passion for sustainability and small-scale food production developed, as she worked on a permaculture farm as well as in the kitchen of an eco-resort. Hillary then returned to California, where she combined her interest of food and business to help launch the Los Angeles market for office-catering startup, Chewse. Hillary is excited to be apart of the Good Food Foundation and have a hand in elevating our food system.
A current student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Jackie is double majoring in Political Science and Environmental Studies. While studying abroad in Ireland this past fall, she interned with the Prime Minister and dedicated her time to a research project on sustainable rural development, specifically focusing on agriculture. This project helped spark her commitment to the food system. Since then, she has worked with multiple organizations to decrease food insecurity on campus, hoping to eventually work in a field that is committed to an intersection of sustainability and agriculture.
Alli is the founder of Allison Ball Consulting, specializing in growing food businesses through her one-on-one consulting and online group classes. Prior to launching her own business, Alli was essential in the development of the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses, sourcing product and coaching grocery staff for years on 18th Street, and then as Head of Grocery & Store Manager at Divisadero. She joins the Good Food team as the manager of 15 Good Food Awards committees and plays an integral part in preparing for the Blind Tasting.
Olivia is a recent graduate from Pomona College in Claremont, CA with a degree in Environmental Studies. She is originally from Maryland but now calls beautiful California her home. Olivia is obsessed with all things food, from sustainable agriculture and food justice to food trucks and international cuisines. You can probably find her any weekend surrounded by the white tents of farmers' markets, eating as many samples as possible. Although she loves trendy cafes and avocados as much as the next millennial, through her education she became more aware of the inequalities and injustices of the global food system, and is dedicated to addressing these issues in her work. Olivia is also interested in waste/material reduction, the potential and pitfalls of green consumerism, and sustainable development in China.
A recent Conservation and Resource Studies graduate from UC Berkeley, Isabel is happy to be pursing her life's passion of transforming America's food system. Her love of food (and growing it) began in her childhood at an outdoor, sleep-away ranch camp. She then used her education to deepen her understanding of the current food system and develop the tools to make it diverse and sustainable. Most recently, Isabel lived in the Swan Valley of Montana and experienced the planet's interconnectivity firsthand - be it snorkeling down a river or trekking up a mountain. She spent those months in a tight cohort cooking with and learning from her peers and seasoned conservationists. Most importantly, Isabel learned directly from farmers and ranchers about their processes, challenges, and visions for the future. Isabel is excited to put all of her energy into making an impact!
After receiving an education in business administration from the University of Oregon, Rubye is prepared to seize the opportunities that come her way. Post-graduation she spent six months roaming around Europe with one heavy backpack, then returned to Oregon for an internship on a small vegetable farm in the small town of Sisters. It wasn't long before she discovered the magic in nurturing plants so that they can, in return, nurture us. At the end of seven months as a vegetable farmer, she felt a new passion for the relationship between nature, food, and humans. With a clearer direction, she moved to Marin to her reconnect with her roots in California. Rubye is excited to be part of something bigger than herself, something that can create a positive change in the world.
Charlotte now works at Replate, which matches extra food from businesses with communities in need. She graduated from Brown University with a degree in Urban Studies and a passion for participating in and helping to elevate local and sustainable food systems.
Becky graduated with a Master of Gastronomy from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in the Slow Food capital, Bra, Italy. She received her bachelor degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She has worked as a chef, event planner, and food & spirits writer in Chicago and Los Angeles.
Originally from Diamond Bar, California, Ashley graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in Natural Sciences and is now pursuing a Master in Food Studies at NYU. Ashley’s passion is to build a more resilient food system that produces equal access to delicious food for all people.
Originally from the East Coast, Marisa moved to the Bay Area to work as the Events Coordinator at the Good Food Foundation. After over one year in this role, Marisa moved back east to pursue her masters at Yale.
Annalena is now working as a Marketing Associate for Good Food Award winning company Almanac Beer Co. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Annalena was a leader with the Real Food Challenge, a campaign to shift university food purchasing toward a just and sustainable food economy. She has also worked with Migrant Justice, a nonprofit that focuses on human rights issues in the agricultural sector.
Nick Riker now lives in Atlanta and works as the Communications and Development Strategist at Global Growers, an organization that connects the agricultural talent of the local refugee community to opportunities in sustainable agriculture.
Jen Flaxman is Director of Training for Blue Bottle Coffee, overseeing training teams and programs.
Megan Storms, a graduate of Denison University, recently interned for the Canal Market District, a farmers market in downtown Newark that accepts food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). At the market, she promoted and orchestrated a project called Produce Perks which allows costumers to get up to $10 free to buy fresh fruit and veggies at the market.
Kate Malin headed to New York City after her time with the Good Food Foundation, where she completed a Masters in Food Studies at NYU and worked as Catering and Events Coordinator at Greene Grape Provisions in Brooklyn.
Rena Kolhede is working as the Marketing & Sales Coordinator for Manicaretti Italian Food Importers, an importer and wholesaler bringing products from Italy's finest regional artisan producers to the United States.
As Senior Sustainability Analyst at Annie’s, Christina manages the sustainable ingredient sourcing strategy, conducts research that drives the company’s soil health initiative, and analyzes environmental and social impact along the supply chain.
After working at the Good Food Foundation in the winter of 2017, Rachel joined the team at WORD of MOUTH as Managing Editor. Originally from just outside Washington D.C., Rachel is a 2017 graduate of Tulane University with her B.A. in Communication Studies. While summers spent interning with D.C. non-profits cultivated her interest in social justice, it was time in New Orleans that fueled her love of food–both the eating and cooking of it.
Emily is a native of Buffalo, New York and a graduate of the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Environmental Studies. While at UVM, Emily’s studies were concentrated in nature, culture, and justice, and she was an organizer with the UVM fossil fuel divestment campaign, Student Climate Culture. She is particularly interested in the intersection of food justice with economic, racial and environmental equity.