PVGrows Forum 2016 Program Details

Notes and Resources

Resources List from Racial Equity Panel


11:30 Registration opens
12:00 Welcome & Overview
12:30 Lunch
1:00 Keynote: A conversation with Jessica del Rosario
1:30 Break
1:35 Room 1:Health Equity 101 (Equidad en Salud)
Room 2: Growing Food for Health (El Cultivo de Alimentos para la Salud)
2:35 Break
2:40 Room 1:Racial and Economic Equity
and Healthy Food (La Equidad Racial y Económica y la Comida Sana)
Room 2:Year-Round Local Food Access (Durante todo el año Acceso a Comida Local)
3:40 Break
3:50 Breakouts: A chance for discussion with panelists and forum participants
4:40 Break
4:45 Closing and Next Steps
5:00 Local food samples and cash bar until 7pm.


Health Equity 101
Kelly Coleman
Cristina Huebner-Torres
Rachel Stoler
Kathy Wicks

Year-Round Local Food Access
Nico Lustig
Andrew Morehouse
Jessica Van Steensburg

Racial and Economic Equity and Healthy Food
Heather Bialecki-Canning
Glenroy Buchanan
Neftalí Durán
Frank Martinez Nocito

Growing Food for Health
Shawn Robinson
Clem Clay
Deborah Habib
Elizabeth Wills-O’Gilvie


Keynote:Jessica del Rosario

Jessica del Rosario Jessica del Rosario has a diverse background in program management and cross-sector facilitation, spanning the non-profit and for-profit sectors. She currently serves as Project Director for the Massachusetts Convergence Partnership, a public/private funder collaborative focused on improving community and resident health outcomes. In this role, Jessica recently led a statewide work group that developed policy, programmatic, and research recommendations for the Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan in the areas of food access, security, and health. She is now on the steering committee for the Massachusetts Food System Collaborative, an entity promoting and facilitating implementation of the Plan. Jessica previously worked at The Boston Foundation, most recently as Program Officer overseeing the Foundation’s housing and community development portfolio. Earlier in her career, Jessica held various positions at hunger relief organizations (two food banks, a food pantry, and a soup kitchen) and private sector firms (human resources, technology, management, and policy consulting). Jessica received a Bachelor’s degree in sociology and political science from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Public Administration from Seton Hall University. A first generation Filipino American, Jessica is guided by an inquisitive nature and a belief that her leadership is at its best when in service to others. She lives in Quincy, Massachusetts with her partner Tim.

Heather Bialecki-CanningHeather Bialecki-Canning, North Quabbin Community Coalition
Heather Bialecki-Canning is the Executive Director of the North Quabbin Community Coalition. NQCC’s mission is to improve the quality of life for all those living, and working in the North Quabbin Region. NQCC has been an integral part of identifying community needs, addressing barriers, and helping to right disparities in the fields of health and wellness for all.

Glenroy BuchananGlenroy Buchanan, Pioneer Valley NE Growers Coop
“Food should be a right, not a privilege. Just like we should have clean air to breath, fresh clean water to drink, healthy foods to eat, and adequate shelter.”

Margaret ChristieMargaret Christie, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture
Margaret served as CISA’s executive director from 1997-1999, when the Local Hero program was launched, and interim executive director in 2008. She is instrumental in new project development at CISA and is now focused on infrastructure and research projects related to large-volume sales of locally grown products. Prior to joining CISA, Margaret worked for the University of Massachusetts Integrated Pest Management Program and the Northeast Organic Farmers Association, Massachusetts chapter. She has a master’s degree in rural sociology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a bachelor’s degree in sustainable agriculture from The Evergreen State College.

Kelly ColemanKelly Coleman, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture

Kelly has been with CISA since 2005. Kelly oversees CISA’s grants (from submission to reporting) and manages CISA program staff in the areas of building markets, farm to consumer, infrastructure, and public issues and education. Kelly also coordinates the statewide partnership of Buy Locals and facilitates CISA’s budgeting process. She received a master’s degree from Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and spent several years promoting sustainable agriculture and environmental issues in California before moving back to her native Northeast.

Clem-ClayClem Clay, Grow Food Northampton
Clem Clay was hired in December, 2014, as executive director of Grow Food Northampton, whose community farm, community garden, education programs, and numerous food access programs all promote food security and advance sustainable agriculture in the region. Clem managed The Trust for Public Land’s Connecticut River Program from 2004 to 2014, where he helped to protect the land that is now the Northampton Community Farm. He serves on the board of Land For Good, which seeks to ensure the future of farming in New England by putting more farmers more securely on more land. Clem has been a farmer, garden educator, and farmers’ market manager, and holds degrees in soil science from UC Berkeley and in public policy and administration from UMass Amherst.

Neftalí Durán, Nuestras Raices
Neftalí Durán is Culinary Director at Nuestras Raíces, a grassroots urban agriculture organization based in Holyoke MA. Nuestras Raíces works to create healthy environments, celebrate “agri-culture,” harness our collective energy, and to advance our vision of a just and sustainable future.

Neftalí Durán was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, and his interest in the region’s infinite gastronomy grew when he moved to Los Angeles in 1997. Chef Duran is currently focused on educating around indigenous culinary traditions and cultivating synchronistic food styles that draw on Oaxacan roots.

Duran owns and runs an artisan bread bakery where he handcrafts sourdough breads and bakes in a traditional wood-fired oven, selling to a dedicated clientele through an intimate network of retail outlets, CSA farms and farmers markets in the heart of the of the local food movement in New England.

Chef Duran has been featured on Food52.com and The Cooking Channel, and as a signature pitmaster at the Cook ‘n Scribble Longhouse Food Revival series in upstate New York. Duran was the sole Mexican chef invited to participate in the Native American Culinary Association’s Indigenous Food Symposium in December 2013, from which he was recruited to compete in the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian’s Native Chef Cooking Competition, where he was awarded the Smithsonian Chef of the Year.

Deborah HabibDeborah Habib, Seeds of Solidarity
Deborah Leta Habib, Ed.D lives in Orange, and is co-founder of Seeds of Solidarity Farm and Education Center with her husband Ricky Baruc. Seeds of Solidarity ‘awakens the power of youth, schools, and families to Grow Food Everywhere to transform hunger to health, and create resilient lives and communities. Their programs and family farm practices promote physical, emotional and spiritual health, and food resiliency for all. They are among the founders of the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival, a community-led event that has successfully ignited artistic and agricultural vitality in their economically marginalized rural region. In addition to extensive and innovative work with children, childcare providers, youth and families, Seeds of Solidarity’s food access work and teachings increasingly include partnerships that reach survivors of violence, those in recovery, and those incarcerated. Deb holds a doctorate in cultural diversity and curriculum reform from the University of Massachusetts. Visit seedsofsolidarity.org to learn more and 2016 workshop and teaching schedule.

Cristina Huebner-Torres, Caring Health Center
Cristina Huebner-Torres is Director of Community Programs and Research at Caring Health Center, Inc. (CHC), a federally qualified health center and refugee resettlement clinic in Springfield, Massachusetts. CHC serves approximately 14,000 patients each year in over 19 languages. CHC provides adult and pediatric primary care, women’s health services are provided by a team of midwives from Baystate, dental services, an infectious disease clinic, and ancillary services including Women, Infants and Children (WIC), research and wellness.

Nico LustigNico Lustig, Franklin County Community Development Corporation
Nico Lustig is the Food Business Development Specialist, at the Franklin County Community Development Corporation’s (FCCDC) Western MA Food Processing Center. Nico is a long-time supporter of organic, local grown food and co-operative businesses. She worked as a manager of a retail food co-op for 10 years before switching to the manufacturing sector of the food system. Now at the FCCDC, Nico is working with farms and food businesses making value added products and extending the season through light processing methods. She works on all aspects of food product businesses, offering support for business plan development, regulatory compliance and marketing strategies. Nico’s primary work is with the Pioneer Valley Vegetable Venture, connecting local food with local schools. Nico is motivated by her desire to improve the regional food system, increasing both revenue for local farmers and access to nutrient rich foods for schools.

The Western MA Food Processing Center is a shared use commercial kitchen dedicated to startups and expanding food producers. Now entering the 15th year, the Food Processing Center has supported the development of over 300 farms and food businesses through business assistance, alternative financing options and providing a fully certified, shared use production facility. The Franklin County CDC is a regional non-profit organization serving Western MA for 36 years with the mission of stimulating a more vital, rural economy.

Frank Martinez NocitoFrank Martinez-Nocito, Department of Transitional Assistance
Frank Martinez Nocito is a nutrition science and policy professional with a diverse background that has ranged from local food access to global health initiatives. He joined the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) in 2011 as the Director of the Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP). He now serves as the Project Director for the Healthy Incentives Program, a statewide initiative funded by a USDA-NIFA FINI Grant Program award, which builds upon the success of the pilot. Frank collaborates with numerous nonprofit organizations, SNAP retailers, and community stakeholders across the state. He earned a Master of Science degree from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Frank lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife, Jenny, and their two daughters.

Andrew MorehouseAndrew Morehouse, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts
As executive director, Andrew is responsible for overseeing the management of the organization, and building partnerships with individuals, organizations, businesses and government entities at all levels. He also works to carry out public education, and collaborate with the Board of Directors to advance the mission of The Food Bank. Previously, he directed Solutions Community Development Corporation in Holyoke, which he founded in 1995. He was also director of the Greater Holyoke Community Development Corporation and was director of Casa del Pueblo in Washington, DC. Andrew serves on the Board of Directors of Partners for a Healthier Community in Springfield, and is also the current chair of the Leadership Council of the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness.

Shawn RobinsonShawn Robinson, Prospect Meadow Farm
Shawn Robinson of Hatfield is the Director of ServiceNet’s Prospect Meadow Farm and the Assistant Director of Vocational Services at ServiceNet. Prospect Meadow Farm is a nonprofit social enterprise working farm that empowers physically, mentally, developmentally, and economically challenged individuals to find meaningful activity through work in agriculture related fields. Prospect Meadow Farm provides year round paid employment to over 40 individuals with disabilities.

2012 RachelRachel Stoler, Mass in Motion
Rachel Stoler is the Community Health Program Manager and Partnership for Youth Co-Coordinator at the Franklin Regional Council of Governments. She serves as the Mass in Motion Coordinator for Franklin County. Rachel has been living and working in Franklin County since 2003.

Jessica Van SteensburgJessica Van Steensburg, Just Roots
Jessica Van Steensburg grew up on a farm raising her own food in NH and has a passion for sustainable agriculture and energy. Her experiences include working with non-profit organizations as well as getting her hands dirty on the farm. She is currently the Director of the Just Roots which operates the Greenfield Community Farm. Formerly she was Director of Operations for the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. She received her Bachelors of Professional Studies in Equine Business Management from Cazenovia College. Her private sector job experience includes Territory Sales Management for Blue Seal Feeds, and Office Management for Jones Whitsett Architects. She helped to establish a farmers market in the town of Heath, raises heritage breed chickens and pigs on her own farm, serves on the Agricultural Commission of Heath and on the Board for the Heath Agricultural Society as well as serving as Chair of the Franklin County Food Council.

Kathy Wicks, MPH, Partners for a Healthier Community
Kathy Wicks is a Community Health Projects Manager with Partners for a Healthier Community, the Western Massachusetts Public Health Institute. Her work includes building and convening community based coalitions that work to reduce obesity and chronic disease by addressing food access issues and improving the built environment. Kathy has lived and worked in Western Massachusetts since 1997.

Elizabeth Wills O'GilvieElizabeth Wills-O’Gilvie, Gardening the Community
Liz Wills-O’Gilvie serves as Chair of the GTC Board, on the Steering Committees of the Springfield Food Policy Council & PV Grows, and is a Project Advisor to the Massachusetts State Food System Plan. Liz works as a consultant to nonprofit organizations working within and outside the Food System including helping to develop and coordinate school gardens in Springfield. Liz became involved with GTC after a group of GTC youth knocked on her door on a snowy day in 2010 to ask her questions about where she bought her food and what she thought about food access in her neighborhood. Five years later, liz was thrilled to participate in GTC’s first land purchase. That land by the way is within a stone’s throw of her family’s house in the Six Corners neighborhood. Liz was and remains inspired by the leadership our youth bring to Mason Square. Her son Evan who was a baby when she met the GTC kids has in his words “grown up like a carrot!” in the GTC gardens and believes a raw carrot or picked off the vine, cherry tomato is the best snack available most days.

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