FINE's Network Advisory Council (NAC) plays a critical role - not just to guide FINE as an organization, but also to represent the network we serve. The NAC supports our small staff of six people in our work to coordinate research, communications, events and programs for a network of stakeholders across six states and five institutional sectors. The NAC helps keep us informed, accountable and relevant.
We are delighted to welcome nine new members (meet them below), joining thirteen returning members, creating our largest NAC cohort ever. (YES we said that last year too - we keep growing!) These members were selected from an outstanding pool of applicants, and represent the broad and dynamic New England food system we are working to influence.
Kimberly Acosta joined the City of New Haven’s Food System Policy Division as a Food Policy Analyst in November 2020. She manages the inclusive, community-led process to create New Haven's first Urban Agriculture Master Plan. The Plan will ultimately ensure equitable access to land and opportunities, so that all communities are able to fully experience the economic, social, health, and environmental benefits of urban agriculture. Prior to this role, she was the Food System Administrator for the Division from January - November 2020. From 2017-19, she was an AmeriCorps VISTA for the CT Food Justice Project. From 2017-18, she worked at New Haven Farms (now Gather New Haven) as the Farm-Based Wellness Program Assistant and Community Health Ambassador Program Manager. From 2018-19, she worked at CTCORE-Organize Now! as the Food Justice Network Coordinator. In 2016, she graduated from the University of New Haven with a B.A. in Psychology, with a concentration in community/clinical. Her experiences as a lifelong New Haven resident partially drives her passion for centering equity and justice in all of her work.
Ellie Bomstein has been working in food systems since 2013. She has been a lifelong food lover and was drawn to food systems work because of its ability to influence every other system that’s critical to creating a just and vibrant world. She currently serves as a Project Manager at the Wallace Center where she helps support the Food Systems Leadership Network, which connects current and emerging leaders, strengthens individual and collective leadership capacity, and fosters collaboration across communities. Before joining the Wallace Center, Ellie worked in state and local policy advocacy and in local food distribution. She has a Masters in Regional Planning from Cornell University and a BA from the University of Michigan. She lives in her hometown of Washington, DC but can never seem to stay away from the mountains for long.
Tom Brewton works at Food Connects, a food hub in Brattleboro VT that procures from over 120 local and regional producers, and delivers to over 300 wholesale customers throughout Vermont, New Hampshire, and western Massachusetts. As their Institutional Sales Associate, Tom gets to work with over a hundred food service professionals to support their local and regional sourcing efforts for their respective institutions, including public K12 schools, private schools, colleges & universities, hospitals, and senior living facilities. Prior to joining Food Connects, Tom worked for the largest wholesaler in the United States, C&S Wholesale Grocers, where he acted as the primary point of contact for more than 100 national vendors ensuring pricing integrity and item accuracy across the C&S network. In his role, he collaborated across multiple departments including procurement, supply chain, and transportation to drive mutual savings with vendors. Tom graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Marketing and a minor in Civic and Community Engagement. Outside of work, Tom enjoys making pottery and training for the occasional triathlon.
Jennifer Calloway (she/her/hers) oversees sales and marketing for Harvesting Good. Harvesting Good is a wholly owned for-profit subsidiary of Good Shepherd Food Bank. Its mission is to improve access to nutritious food for people in need and strengthen regional food systems by creating food processing infrastructure for farmers in the Northeast. Prior to joining Harvesting Good, Jennifer co-founded Genuine Foods, a purpose-driven food service management company. She helped grow the company from one K-12 account in New York City to hundreds of accounts across a dozen states and in three additional sectors - higher education, healthcare, and meal kits. She still serves as an advisor to their board. Jennifer started her career in political communications in Washington, D.C. She was the press secretary for DC Public Schools, served as director of communications and special projects for the DC Commission on National and Community Service, and was a vice president at Spitfire Strategies, a strategic communication firm. Born and raised in Southern California, she’s been an east coast transplant for more than twenty years. Jennifer has a B.A. in English from the University of Southern California and an M.A. in Public Communication from American University. She lives with her partner, and their two dogs in Yarmouth, Maine.
Christine C. Caruso
Christine C. Caruso, PhD, MPH (she/her) is a public health/environmental psychologist and community-based researcher, with expertise in food systems, school climate, participatory process, and health equity. Christine is currently a Professor of the Practice in the College of the Environment at Wesleyan University. She also has an Affiliate Faculty appointment in the Department of Public Health Sciences, at the UConn School of Medicine. Most recently she served as Chief of Research and Advocacy at the Hispanic Health Council, a nationally recognized community based organization located in Hartford, CT, which works to address health equity among vulnerable populations. Christine continues to support school food advocacy in her home state as a member of the Connecticut Farm to School Collaborative. Christine has over 20 years of experience in community health and food systems work. She began focusing on institutional food in 2016, while serving as Research Fellow for School Food Focus/FoodCorps, where she was co-investigator for a study exploring values-based procurement practices in school food programs across the US. Christine has published widely and presented nationally and internationally on school food and institutional procurement practices. She earned her PhD in Environmental Psychology, with a concentration in Food Studies from The Graduate School of the City University of New York. Christine also holds an MPH in Community Health from Boston University, as well as an MA in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University.
Stephanie Pike is the Rhode island Farm and Sea to School Director, hosted through Farm Fresh Rhode Island. She works in a statewide capacity with the Network, stakeholders, governmental, and non-governmental partners to increase utilization of Rhode Island grown, made and harvested food, and promote Farm to School activities in school districts. Stephanie is a registered dietitian with a background in community nutrition education with food insecure populations. She is a native Rhode Islander and is proud to support local food and education and advocacy through her work.
Vince Razionale serves as the General Manager of Farm Connex, one of the programs at the Center for an Agricultural Economy, where he oversees the industrious team working to connect rural farmers and food producers to a variety of market channels. His work within the food system has ranged from being a cheesemonger to working for food and beverage producers of a variety of scales. He gets the most satisfaction and joy in helping build systems within growing organizations that lead to efficiency, customer and employee satisfaction, and creating scalable market opportunities for good food. Throughout work in the food system and in other communities where he works and serves, Vince is continuing to learn and grow on issues of antiracism, queer allyship, food security, and patriarchy-dismantling. He lives in northern Vermont with his partner, two kids, four cats, one dog, and 8 chickens.
Mike Webster (he/him) is the owner of Tory Hill and Manager of Dining Services at The Hotchkiss School, where he focuses on combining culinary traditions with sustainable agriculture in an effort to create an enjoyable dining experience while educating the future leaders of America. As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, food is an important priority and a primary focus for Mike; bringing REAL food to REAL people is an ongoing goal. Mike has worked to create a progressive dining program, centered on local, sustainable and ethical cuisine. Mike lives in Lakeville, CT with his wife Lynn, twin daughters Olive and Emilie, and Remi – the Dog.
Helen Rortvedt is NOFA-VT's Director of Programs, leading strategic collaboration across our various programs to advance our mission of building a Vermont agricultural system focused on people, land, and justice. Helen joined NOFA-VT in 2019 as the Farm to School Program Director and led the Local Food Access Team from 2020 to 2023. Prior to joining NOFA-VT, she served as the Executive Director at KidsGardening, working to advance the school and youth gardening movement across the country. She was also part of the founding team at Food Connects in Brattleboro, Vermont, where she helped to establish and grow farm to school programs in southern Vermont with a strong focus on school nutrition programs and local purchasing. She is a graduate of St. Olaf College and holds an M.A. in Sustainable Development from SIT Graduate Institute. Helen can often be found daydreaming about her next overseas adventure, and lives with her husband in the Old North End of Burlington, Vermont.
Finally, a huge thank you to outgoing members Kristen Dunphey, Renee Page, Christopher Howland, Andy Cox, and Shelley Goraj. Your service to FINE and the network has had tangible results and we know we will continue to find ways to collaborate in the future.