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Speakers
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Speakers

The Event is Sold Out

Marco Antonio Abarca

CEO - Ready Foods Inc
 

CEO - Ready Foods Inc

Marco grew up in Denver and graduated from Regis Jesuit High School. After attending Yale College and Stanford Law School, he spent four years working with the Migrant Farmworker Project of California Rural Legal Assistance. Marco returned to Denver in 1992 and began working in his family's Mexican food business. In the nearly thirty years he has been with Ready Foods, Marco has transformed the company into a medium sized soup and sauce company. This year, Marco and his wife Cathy have become empty nesters. They are looking forward to finally tackling their large stack of unread books.

Flora Archuleta

Executive Director - San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center

Executive Director - San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center

Flora Archuleta is a San Luis Valley native, who has worked in the non-profit sector for the past thirty-five years. She has been employed as the Executive Director with the San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center for the past twenty years and is recognized as an Accredited Representative with the Department of Justice.

Paola Babb

Community Food Connector - Denver Department pf Public Health and Environment

Community Food Connector - Denver Department pf Public Health and Environment

Paola is a native Spanish speaker originally from Jalisco, Mexico, but has lived in Colorado most of her life. Her mother and father always provided, but as undocumented immigrants they did not always have access to healthy foods and resources. Currently, she is a Public Health Specialist at DDPHE where she supports the communities in the West Colfax neighborhoods to drive the change needed to design a local food system that works for them. Paola has a lot of passion and experience in convening the voices of those most impacted and with lived experience to move this work forward.

Mary Ann Bash

School garden leader - Parents for Parity
 

School garden leader - Parents for Parity

Public School Garden Leader – Parents for Parity Finding abandoned, bond-funded planters bordering the basketball court of an under-resourced, low-performing public school led Mary Ann on a journey with partners in the Montbello community of Denver to improve literacy and science achievement through gardening. Over 14 years, the school garden has become the nexus of joyful botany, biology, chemistry, environmental science learning; community engagement; cultural sharing; and food sovereignty. New mission: get big land-owning public schools to budget for a garden leader. We live by Cicero’s mantra: “If you have a library and a garden you have everything you need.”

Chelsie Begoody

Community Health Programs Associate - Southwest Colorado Area Health Education Center

Community Health Programs Associate - Southwest Colorado Area Health Education Center

Kayla has dedicated her career to innovative solutions to improving food access and security in the nonprofit sector. As CEO of Fresh Food Connect, she aims to make homegrown food within reach across Colorado and the country. As former Executive Director of The GrowHaus, she collaboratively built up a food system in a NE Denver food desert, encompassing farming/production, distribution, retail, education and community outreach. Since 2018, Kayla has served on the board of advisors for Planet2Plate, a NY social enterprise launching a food incubator in Milwaukee. Kayla studied business management, has a Permaculture Design certificate, and speaks Spanish.

Kayla Birdsong

CEO - Fresh Food Connect
 

CEO - Fresh Food Connect

Kayla has dedicated her career to innovative solutions to improving food access and security in the nonprofit sector. As CEO of Fresh Food Connect, she aims to make homegrown food within reach across Colorado and the country. As former Executive Director of The GrowHaus, she collaboratively built up a food system in a NE Denver food desert, encompassing farming/production, distribution, retail, education and community outreach. Since 2018, Kayla has served on the board of advisors for Planet2Plate, a NY social enterprise launching a food incubator in Milwaukee. Kayla studied business management, has a Permaculture Design certificate, and speaks Spanish.

Terrance Boyd

CEO - Wild Boyd Farm LLC
 

CEO - Wild Boyd Farm LLC

Terrance K Boyd is the CEO of Wild Boyd Farm and currently lives in Matheson, Colorado. Terrance can be witty and reserved at the same time. He started Wild Boyd Farm business to provide for his family. During the pandemic it became a bigger vision to provide to his community while learning new skills. Terrance finds it highly motivating to use his analytical skills in the agricultural industry. He was most recently interviewed and featured on Denver Channel 7, local news, and, featured in Rocky Mountain PBS. For more information about Terrance and Wild Boyd Farm visit: www.Investingwithyou.org.

Jonathan Cable

Graduate Research Assistant - Colorado State University-College of Agricultural Sciences

Graduate Research Assistant - Colorado State University-College of Agricultural Sciences

Jonathan is currently pursuing a Master of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University with a specialization in Teacher Development. A native of rural Northeast Colorado, he found his passion for agriculture through 4-H programs and hands-on experiences around his hometown of Brush. He graduated from CSU in 2022 with a B.S. in Landscape Architecture and enjoys exploring the intersections of community development, rural resilience, and agricultural literacy. A passionate Aggie, Jonathan continues to pursue new ways to support and inspire the next generation of agricultural leaders to create a more inclusive and sustainable industry and world.

Carlos Casteñeda


 

Nicholas Colglazier

Executive Director - Colorado Corn Administrative Committee

Executive Director - Colorado Corn Administrative Committee

Nick developed his passion for agriculture growing up working on his family farm. That passion helped lead him to being the executive director of the Colorado Corn Administrative Committee where he helps the board directors develop strategic vision and lead the programs of the corn checkoff program. Prior to this he was the director of the Colorado Competitive Council and lobbyist for Colorado Farm Bureau where he worked to impact policy at the state level.

Brian Coppom

Colorado Agricultural Future Loans Program Manager - CO Department of Agriculture

Colorado Agricultural Future Loans Program Manager - CO Department of Agriculture

Brian is the Program Manager for the CDA's newly launched loan program, focused on making capital accessible to beginning, underserved, and underrepresented farmers, ranchers, and food processors. Prior to joining the CDA, Brian served as the Executive Director of the Boulder County Farmers Market for eight years and has 20+ years of experience in business development and grow-stage companies.

Adam DeGroot

CEO - DeGroot's Vegetable Farms
 

CEO - DeGroot's Vegetable Farms

Adam DeGroot is the founder of DeGroot Logistics, a 3PL based in Chicago focused on food & beverage markets. He also operates 4D Farm Product Sales, a fruit & vegetable sales and brokerage business. From his background in production agriculture from growing up on a 4th generation grain and vegetable farm in central IL, he developed an early appreciation for commodity markets and the transportation markets that make them tick.

Jim Ehrlich

Executive Director - Colorado Potato Administrative Committee

Executive Director - Colorado Potato Administrative Committee

Jim Ehrlich is the Executive Director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. Jim has a B.S. in Agronomy from Colorado State University and has spent his entire adult life working in agriculture. First as a farmer, then as an agronomist for Coors Brewing Company, and now represents Colorado’s potato growers with a true passion for potatoes and potato growers. His mantra is potatoes are good for you, and farmers are the life blood of our country.

Jesus Flores

Farm Manager - Rio Grande Farm Park
 

Farm Manager - Rio Grande Farm Park

As the RGFP Manager, Jesus applies his extensive farming and agriculture knowledge as well as his other professional experience in business administration, community support, education, and advocacy. Jesus is very passionate about farming. He says, “Where there is a lot of water, there is a lot of life.” Jesus enjoys conversing with people, hearing their stories, teaching what he has learned along the way, and sharing experiences and risks.

Hollis Glenn

Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA)

Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA)

Hollis Glenn is the Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA). Previously he served for seven years as Director of the Inspection and Consumer Services Division at the CDA. Hollis serves on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Feed Control Officials and on the FDA's Governing Council for the Partnership for Food Protection. In 2021, Governor Polis appointed Hollis to represent the CDA on the Colorado Food System Advisory Council. And he was a “Who’s Who in Agriculture” honoree by the Denver Business Journal in 2020. Hollis has over 15 years of dedicated public service for the state of Colorado.

Kate Greenberg

Commissioner - Colorado Department of Agriculture

Commissioner - Colorado Department of Agriculture

Kate Greenberg was appointed to serve as Colorado’s first woman Commissioner of Agriculture by Governor Jared Polis in December 2018. As Commissioner, Greenberg provides leadership and direction to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, which serves producers operating more than 38,700 farms and ranches in the state. She is a member of numerous state boards and commissions, current board president of the Western U.S. Agricultural Trade Association, and vice chair of the Western Association of State Departments of Agriculture. Commissioner Greenberg is the recipient of the Emerging Conservation Leader Award from Western Resource Advocates and a 2019 Who’s Who In Agriculture

Sarah Hackney

Coalition Director - National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
 

Coalition Director - National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Sarah Hackney has served as the Coalition Director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition since 2019, leading NSAC’s strategic direction, coalition management, and capacity-building. Previously, she served as NSAC’s Grassroots Director, organizing grassroots food and farm voices over multiple farm bills through lobby days, advocacy trainings, and nationally coordinated campaigns. Previously she worked to improve small farm viability, increase fresh food access, and build leadership in rural communities in Oregon and Washington State. Raised in Florida helping tend cattle and citrus groves, she is an enthusiastic home gardener in Washington, DC. Sarah holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Dartmouth.

Kelly Romero-Heaney

Assistant Director of Water - Colorado Department of Natural Resources

Assistant Director of Water - Colorado Department of Natural Resources

Kelly took her post as the Assistant Director of Water Policy for Colorado’s Department of Natural Resources in June 2021, a role that has put her 20+ years in natural resources and water management to good use. And she recently stepped into a dual role as the Water Policy Advisor to Governor Polis. Formerly the Water Resources Manager for the City of Steamboat Springs CO, an environmental consultant, a forest hydrologist and a wildland firefighter, Kelly’s experience has helped her to connect the dots across her portfolio of water policy issues.

Brandon Hernandez

Owner/Senior Partner - Whole Brain Consulting
 

Owner/Senior Partner - Whole Brain Consulting

Brandon Hernandez is the owner of Whole Brain Consulting which is an outsourced operations firm focusing on QA/QC, Supply Chain and Logistics, Co-Manufacturer Sourcing and Private Equity Due Diligence in the food/CPG industries. Aside from his duties for Whole Brain, he also sits on the board of Naturally Boulder and the Naturally Network.

Sarah Hinkley

CEO/Co-Founder - Barn Owl Precision Agriculture

CEO/Co-Founder - Barn Owl Precision Agriculture

Sarah is the CEO and Co-Founder of Barn Owl Precision Agriculture, a company providing farmers robotic operations support and data driven analysis to help secure our food supply and implement regenerative farming practices. Sarah was born in Colorado Springs with roots in La Junta. She holds a bachelor’s in business management from Texas State University, a master’s in healthcare administration from Colorado State University, and has been in many different food industry leadership roles since 2008. A family history, love of farming, and a need to secure our food system have brought Sarah back to her roots.

Hanmei Hoffman

Farmer - Hoffman Farms
 

Farmer - Hoffman Farms

Hanmei was born and raised in southern China. Her family farmed and raised sweet potatoes and mangos. She came to America as an immigrant, eventually meeting her future husband. They were married in 2012 and have 3 young daughters together. Hanmei became a US citizen in 2016. Hanmei had the idea to take their family garden that consisted of 1 acre and turn it into an urban farm in 2014. From there their operation grew and they now farm over 100 acres in mixed vegetables and commodity corn in the Greeley area.

Lindsay Hull

Director, Nutrition Services - Mapleton Public Schools

Director, Nutrition Services - Mapleton Public Schools

This is Lindsay's 8th year serving as the Nutrition Services Director for Mapleton Public Schools. Since joining Mapleton, she has led the department into creating a next level program by adding a chef, implementing innovative scratch menu items, launching a production kitchen, implementing seasonal menus, and offers fresh fruits and vegetables on salad bars to increase accessibility. She is committed to purchasing food locally when possible and utilizing sustainable products. This is the first year the district has received the local foods grant and it was a success. Lindsay has her Master's Degree in Nutrition and is a Registered Dietitian.

Jaden Huynh

Student - Spirit of the Sun
 

Student - Spirit of the Sun

I am.a Vietnamese, Chicana, and Native mother. My tribes are the Arapaho, Ute, and Cheyenne nation. My son is the love of my life. I am a sophomore at CU Denver with a biology major. I also am pursuing a minor in political science and honors and leadership. I am an avid fighter against climate chaos and I promote a minimalistic lifestyle.

Chris Lopez

Founder - AlamosaCitizen.com
 

Founder - AlamosaCitizen.com

Founder of AlamosaCitizen.com, native of Alamosa and the San Luis Valley. Chris Lopez is a journalist of 42 years who has led two newspaper companies from the top as Executive Editor and Vice President of News Operations in California and Texas. He is former staff member of The Denver Post and Pueblo Chieftain. He is focused on entrepreneurism in journalism, and with his wife, MaryAnne, launched AlamosaCitizen.com in August 2020. He is the host of the Valley Pod, a podcast that talks to all the interesting people of the San Luis Valley.

Andrea Loudd

Community Leader/Navigator - Andrea's No Cost Groceries/Market

Community Leader/Navigator - Andrea's No Cost Groceries/Market

I have been active in Villa Park community for 3 years. My focus is being an oasis in a food desert and to end food apartheid in my community. The strongest weapon against hunger unity. I could not move forward with the support of the Village. DFR,SWFC,FIC and DHS have been there from the beginning of 2022, No Cost Farmers Market which was our pilot season. My goal is to be never ending until hunger ends. Hunger will always have an enemy, Community Unity.

Mark Madic

Manager - Southern Colorado Innovation Link
 

Manager - Southern Colorado Innovation Link

Mark Madic serves as Manager of Southern Colorado Innovation Link in Pueblo. The program is the first of its kind to provide startups support in creating new ventures and jobs across the region. Along with a significant partnership with the Pueblo Food Project, Mark has helped organize and run accelerator programs and custom consulting with food related ventures and consumer packaged goods concepts. This includes the 2022 Entrepreneur Development Program, a 19-week accelerator that graduated 10 new food businesses. It also includes co-organizing the Sun Soil Water Summit and Pitch Competition, which receive support from Whole Foods and New Hope.

Elisabeth Martino

Rancher/Food producer - Martino Cattle Co
 

Rancher/Food producer - Martino Cattle Co

Elisabeth Martino is a 5th generation rancher and Pueblo native. Elisabeth attended CSU- Pueblo, where she pursued a degree in criminology. Today, Elisabeth works closely with her family raising cattle to bring the best local beef to tables and restaurants across Colorado, and underserved communities through collaboration. Elisabeth is also a member of Colorado Farm Bureau where she is an active advocate of local agriculture.

Roberto Meza

Cofounder and CEO - East Denver Food Hub
 

Cofounder and CEO - East Denver Food Hub

Roberto Meza is a first-generation farmer and local food advocate. Originally from Mexico, Roberto is the cofounder of Emerald Gardens, a year-round greenhouse farm in Bennett, CO. and CEO of East Denver Food Hub, a local food supplier based in Denver. His work lies at the intersection of policy, sustainable agriculture, food systems, and environmental stewardship. He is Board President of the National Young Farmers Coalition, board member of Zero Food Print, Co-chair of the Land Access Committee for Mile High Farmers, and Governor-appointed member of the Colorado Agricultural Commission.

Yvonne Montoya

Workshop Facilitator - Colorado Arts and Artists Associates

Workshop Facilitator - Colorado Arts and Artists Associates

Yvonne J. Montoya, Ph.D., is a creator, learner and advocate of sharing one’s voice. Her training centers around human interaction. Dr. Montoya has facilitated workshops related to work-life wellness, emotional labor, topics such as substance abuse, mental health, microaggressions, overcoming stress and trauma, and organizational socialization and retention. She uses experiential education practices, Teatro, Theatre of the Oppressed pedagogy, and hands on learning to engage challenging subject matter. Dr. Montoya is a Ford Fellow and has been honored as an Outstanding Faculty Member in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Colorado State University Pueblo.

Wendy Moschetti

Executive Director - Nourish Colorado
 

Executive Director - Nourish Colorado

Wendy is the Executive Director of Nourish Colorado, a Denver-based, statewide-focused organization that strengthens connections with farms, ranches, and communities so that all Coloradans have equitable access to fresh, nutritious foods. Nourish coordinates statewide initiatives that increase fresh foods in public institutions and produce access for participants in nutrition assistance programs such as SNAP and WIC. Wendy actively works on state and federal policy priorities that advance Nourish’s mission and collaborates with hundreds of partners across the state and nation to get policies passed that build a more equitable, resilient food system.

Kristie Nackord

Vice President | External Affairs - Palmer Land Conservancy

Vice President | External Affairs - Palmer Land Conservancy

Kristie serves as a strategic advisor and lead on external affairs at Palmer Land Conservancy and oversees all brand, philanthropy, and new market development. Throughout her career, Kristie has worked in the water, agricultural and nonprofit sectors, including as a consultant working with diverse communities and land trusts, helping to build and amplify conservation across the West. She believes conservation is a solution to a secure water (and local food supply) future, and is interested in advancing policy, tools, and frameworks that support the health and well-being of people and nature.

Thai Nguyen

Founder and Executive Director - Kaizen Food Rescue

Founder and Executive Director - Kaizen Food Rescue

Thai is a swiss army knife, activator, southpaw and mom of three children and two rescue pups. She is a FLTI family leader, and wear many hats with Kaizen as the founder and executive director. Thai has accumulated lived experiences with war atrocities and food insecurity that scaffolded and evolved her healing journey, altruism and building her passion around spaces affected by food apartheid and food waste. Since July 2019, Kaizen Food Rescue has distributed over 11,061,639 pounds of fresh food to thousands of families in 93 zip codes.

Erin Nissen

Manager - Nissen Farms, LLC
 

Manager - Nissen Farms, LLC

Erin is the 4th generation to farm Nissen Farms, LLC near Mosca, CO. She graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics. Farming alongside her father Lyle, Erin raises fresh market potatoes, Quinoa and multi-species cover crops for incorporation and feeding to their 150 head of cattle. Drought and the ensuing water limitations on their 1,320 irrigated acres have led to major changes in the way the Nissen’s farm. Cover cropping, crop rotations and improved irrigation practices have helped to reduce water use by about 30% in the last 15 years.

James Pritchett

Dean - Colorado State University - College of Agricultural Sciences

Dean - Colorado State University - College of Agricultural Sciences

Pritchett is the Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences (CAS) and the Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) at Colorado State University (CSU). Guided by the land grant mission, Pritchett catalyzes strategic planning, directs administration, and leads operations for research, learning and engagement activities. Pritchett is an agricultural economist whose work spans agricultural policy, agribusiness management, water resource economics, community development and interdisciplinary land management strategies. Originally from southeastern Colorado, Pritchett is a two-time alumnus of CSU and received his PhD from the University of Minnesota.

Kennedy Pugh

CEO/ Teaching Artists - Colorado Arts & Artists Associates

CEO/ Teaching Artists - Colorado Arts & Artists Associates

Kennedy is a producer and international performing artist. Kennedy received the Colorado Creative Industries Governors Award 2022.. He is a teaching artist using various art forms for social justice and bring awareness to a plethora of topics. He is the Executive Producer for the award winning film "Kilroy & The Boy Soldier" . This film that shines light on soldiers/veterans and post traumatic stress.

Brad Reubendale

CEO - So All May Eat / SAME Café
 

CEO - So All May Eat / SAME Café

Brad Allen Reubendale is CEO of So All May Eat / SAME Cafe, a nonprofit donation-based restaurant with a mission to serve healthy food to everyone, regardless of ability to pay. He has over 20 years of experience working to deliver quality programs to under-resourced people. Brad has a BA from Missouri State University, a MDiv from Denver Seminary, and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from University of Colorado Denver, but the most important education he ever receives is when he shuts up and listens to other people's experiences. Brad lives in Denver with his husband and three pets..

Abe Rosenberg

Local Foods Local Places Program Director - San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition

Local Foods Local Places Program Director - San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition

Abe Rosenberg is a farmer, chef, community organizer, and creative from the San Luis Valley in Southern Colorado. His efforts to help foster an equitable local food network has created new opportunities for youth and communities in the San Luis Valley to grow, access and prepare healthy local foods through various projects and initiatives. In his spare time, Abe creates original music and art and studies natural medicine.

Russ Sands

Section Chief - Water Supply Planning - Colorado Water Conservation Board

Section Chief - Water Supply Planning - Colorado Water Conservation Board

Russ Sands is the Section Chief for the Water Supply Planning Section of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). Over the past 15 years, he has worked to bring together diverse perspectives and teams to build the nexus between water, climate and resilience. At the CWCB, Russ leads a team of experts who focus on all these areas in addition to balancing municipal, agricultural and environmental and recreational needs. This includes helping to lead the update to the Colorado Water Plan which comes out in January 2023.

Andrea Saucedo

Community leader/ Pueblo Food project volunteer

Community leader/ Pueblo Food project volunteer, Avondale

I am a native Spanish speaker, Originally from Zacatecas Mexico. I have lived in Pueblo Colorado most of my life. My family migrated to pueblo Colorado October 21,1988. Growing up as a child our family didn’t have access to healthy foods due to us being undocumented and my parents working in the fields. My parents berely made enough money to meet our basic needs. I am currently a resident of Avondale Colorado. I have been a community leader for the past 3 years. My role as a community leader is advocacy.

Esperanza Saucedo

Community Leader - Project Protect Food Systems, Promotora

Community Leader - Project Protect Food Systems, Promotora

My name is Esperanza Saucedo. I am a native Spanish speaker, originally from Zacatecas, Mexico. I have lived in Pueblo Colorado most of my life. Growing up in the USA was not always easy as an undocumented immigrant. I did not always have access to healthy food and resources; as my parents were too afraid to ask for help due to their immigration status. Currently I am a promotora for Project Protect and my role is to advocate for farm workers. I also lead nutrition security efforts in Southern Colorado.

Micah Schwalb

Attorney
 

Attorney

Micah Schwalb is an attorney working at the intersection of food, agriculture, and the law. His clients include family-owned farms and ranches, commercial dairies, agritourism businesses, implement manufacturers and dealers, rural lenders and utility providers, farmer-owned coops, CFTC-regulated financial institutions, water-focused trade associations, conservation-minded private foundations, and land-grant universities. He is also a co-author of the Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Plan and general counsel for Kansas Potatoes Ltd.

Cleave Simpson

Senator - Colorado General Assembly
 

Senator - Colorado General Assembly

Born and raised in Alamosa, a Colorado and San Luis Valley Native. A Colorado School of Mines graduate. Was elected to the Colorado Senate in November of 2020 representing senate district 35, the largest legislative district in the state – 16 counties. Have been active in farming and ranching for 30 years and am the 4th generation of my family to make the San Luis Valley home. The last 6 plus years have been leading the Rio Grande Water Conservation District as their General Manager working to bring our community together to improve our water security standing.

Elliott Smith

CEO - Kitchen Sync Strategies
 

CEO - Kitchen Sync Strategies

Kitchen Sync Strategies is a social enterprise brokerage and consulting firm that supports small producers and food hubs to sell their products to institutions across the US. Co-founded by Elliott Smith in 2019 with a mission to help bring more people in relationships with their food and farmers, Kitchen Sync works with institutional buyers seeking to make economic, environmental, and social impacts with their procurement, with suppliers like regional food hubs and food hub networks seeking to enter the institutional food market channel, and with public and nonprofit sector supporters of building fairer, more nourishing regional food economies.

Laura Smith

Program Director of Workforce Development - Chef Ann Foundation

Program Director of Workforce Development - Chef Ann Foundation

Laura joined the Chef Ann Foundation team in May 2022 as Program Director of Workforce Development. She is responsible for the development and implementation of the first-ever federally registered Fellowship program cultivating the next generation of diverse leaders in scratch-cook school food operations. She is also leading the collaboration with CDE and other Colorado-based partners to establish the Colorado Healthy School Food Pathway, a work-based learning experience that aims to prepare individuals for job opportunities in healthy, scratch-cook school food programs. Laura has a B.A. in Psychology (Bates College) and Masters of Public Health (Colorado School of Public Health).

Daniel Stange


 

Letisha Steele

Chief Executive Officer - Denver Food Rescue
 

Chief Executive Officer - Denver Food Rescue

Co-Chair for the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council whose mission is to influence policy that fosters food security for all community members. Having grown up in the poverty stricken coal mining region of the Appalachian Mountains, Letisha knows first hand the difficulties people face regarding health equity and the stigmas that are often placed on those from an early age due to their race, the class system that they are born in, and the lack of nutritious food that are easily accessible, all of which contribute to lifelong inequities.

John Stulp

Semi retired Farmer/Rancher - Stulp Farms
 

Semi retired Farmer/Rancher - Stulp Farms

John Stulp is a former Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture for Gov Ritter and was Water Policy Advisor for Gov Hickenlooper. The Stulp family produces wheat. sorghum and cattle near Lamar, Colorado. John continues to be an advocate for Colorado agriculture, water, rural and renewable energy issues. He and his wife Jane, are proud of their five children (all CSU graduates) and families consisting of 14 grandchildren (6th generation in Colo).

Damien Thompson

Sustainable Food Systems Specialization Lead in the Masters of the Environment Graduate Program - CU Boulder

Sustainable Food Systems Specialization Lead in the Masters of the Environment Graduate Program - CU Boulder

In addition to his training and teaching in anthropology, Dr. Thompson also holds a certification in Permaculture Design, an Advanced Permaculture Design certification. In 2018 Dr. Thompson co-founded FrontLine Farming a Denver based BIPOC and women led farming non-profit organization whose mission is to create greater equity across the food system, to support and create greater leadership and access for women and people of color in our food systems. He has taught and spoken about food justice, food sovereignty, permaculture design, small-scale urban food production, community food systems, racial equity in the food system and urban geography.

Sahar Toulabi

Colorado State University
 

Colorado State University

Dr. Sahar Toulabi is a postdoctoral scientist at Colorado State University. Her study focuses on understanding the nutritional properties of food crops and their impacts on human health and improving nutrient security. Her experience working with different sectors of the agri-food system has established strategic links between the food chemistry, nutrition science, breeding programs, producers, and consumer.

Nicholas Trujillo

Operations Manager - Food Innovation Center CSU Spur

Operations Manager - Food Innovation Center CSU Spur

A "well seasoned" food industry generalist, Nicholas cut his teeth in the culinary world before moving laterally to manufacturing, food safety, and food product development. His unorthodox career path has brought him and his family to Denver where he now manages operations at the Food Innovation Center at CSU Spur. Originally from New Mexico, he is passionate about food and its cultural influence and hopes to make Spur a conduit for industry professionals, entrepreneurs, and foodies alike to work together for a brighter and more equitable future for our food systems and food culture.

Tripp Wall

MP - Trailhead Capital
 

MP - Trailhead Capital

Entrepreneur, investor, fiduciary and advocate for conscious capital, regenerative agriculture, water/land conservation, and nutrient-dense food access Part of a team that helped manage alternative, public, and private assets at Alliance Bernstein Consultant for the Alliance Bernstein PW and Alternatives platform Managed and invested for a family office, started multiple companies, managed investments at Grubb and Ellis, and managed public and alternative assets for multiple trusts Food system disruptor with Alfalfa’s Market in Boulder, CO (former CEO) Chairman of The Colorado Wildlife Foundation and Western States Water CU-Boulder undergraduate degrees and graduate studies, Colorado Master Angler, USA Cycling Coach

Ashley Wheeland

Director of Public Policy - Hunger Free Colorado
 

Director of Public Policy - Hunger Free Colorado

Ashley Wheeland, MA, JD is the Director of Public Policy at Hunger Free Colorado. Her passion for policy has included work as the Policy Attorney at the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, the Director of Policy and Advocacy at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, and now in this role. Throughout her career she has worked with many community-focused organizations, state legislators, Congressional members, and state Administrations to put forth policies to help more Coloradans access health care and food. Ashley is a Coloradan from birth, born in Greeley, and grew up in Montrose, Trinidad, and the Denver metro area.

Elicia Whittlesey

Farmer Training Program Coordinator, Fort Lewis College – The Old Fort at Hesperus

Farmer Training Program Coordinator, Fort Lewis College – The Old Fort at Hesperus

Elicia began her farming journey at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in California over 10 years ago and has been at the Old Fort since 2015. “I farm because I love the sense of power in doing physical tasks together. In a world where so much work happens digitally, it’s refreshing and important to help people experience the power of their own bodies transforming the ground and coaxing food from the fields.” Elicia holds a bachelor’s in Environmental Analysis from Pomona College and a master’s in Geography from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Mancos with her daughter and husband, where they let dandelions take over their yard alongside a few apple trees, herbs and flowers.

Dana Wood

Community Investment Manager - Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger

Community Investment Manager - Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger

Dana manages the Food Pantry Assistance Grant (FPAG) and the Colorado Healthy Food Access Grant for the Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger. She works closely with community, grantees, and the Blueprint team to ensure funding processes are equitable and meet community needs. She thrives on building relationships with community and has a passion for systems change. Dana has 10 years of experience in managing grant funded programs and projects that focus on community engagement, health equity, food access, the built environment, and COVID-19 vaccine equity. She lives in Glenwood Springs, CO.

Jessica Wright

Director of Healthy Food in Institutions - Nourish Colorado

Director of Healthy Food in Institutions - Nourish Colorado

Chef Jessica Wright leads the work Nourish Colorado does to support Healthy Food in Institutions with a focus on creating sustainable farm-to-institution programs where nourishing, from-scratch meals are the standard. She brings extensive experience from the restaurant world where she handled multi-restaurant purchasing bids, implemented menu-management software, developed training programs, and opened restaurants. She is passionate about elevating the roles of the people who work in institutional kitchens, reinforcing the value they provide in feeding their community, while supporting their professional development through enhanced operating practices and culinary skills.

Stella Zhu

Basic Needs Coordinator - Fort Lewis College (Grub Hub)

Basic Needs Coordinator - Fort Lewis College (Grub Hub)

Stella joined Fort Lewis College as its Basic Needs Coordinator in Spring 2022, and helps oversee campus basic needs initiatives and the campus pantry, the Grub Hub, with an incredible group of student leaders. As part of the Student Well-being team, she seeks to foster a culture of care where every student has access to safe and reliable food, shelter, and a community that meets them where they are. Experiences in immigrant communities and mutual aid spaces that reimagine how we care for another guide her commitment to culturally responsive models of food access that center client-choice and belonging.

THE SPEAKERS

Meet the wide range of speakers representing various locations throughout Colorado for the 2022 Colorado Food Summit.

THE PLANNING COMMITTEE

Given the focus on leveraging food policy, we our planning committee is made up of representatives from each of the state’s food policy councils/coalitions, which are in turn representative of the diversity of Colorado’s food systems.

Stay Up to Date

We invite anyone connected to Colorado’s food system to be a part of this important discussion. Please add your email here to stay up to date with the latest information about the regional and statewide gatherings.

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