FamilyFarmed is a non-profit organization committed to expanding the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food, in order to enhance the social, economic, and environmental health of our communities.
Charlotte Flinn is co-founder and president of Flinn Consultants, a 25 year-old consulting firm assisting industrial, service, professional, academic, government and not-for-profit clients to achieve and sustain optimum levels of business, leadership and organizational effectiveness. Consulting strengths include strategic planning, leadership and management development and executive coaching. She is Chair of FamilyFarmed board and has been associated with the organization for some 15 years. Charlotte is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate in Philosophy from Queens College in New York and a graduate in Organization Development from the Center for Organization Development at Loyola University in Chicago. Her leadership with environmental firms, sustainability and urban agriculture initiatives supports her long-standing interest in the environment in a sustainable economy. Flinn Consultants is best known for its long term client relationships and its ability to partner with owners, entrepreneurs and senior executives. She lives with her husband in Highland Park, Illinois from which they have launched their four children into independent careers.
Hank Adams is a technology entrepreneur who most recently was Chief Executive Officer of Sportvision, Inc., growing the leading sports tech company for 14 years before selling it in 2016. He is currently working on building a startup business in the food tech space.
Earlier, Adams was founder and CEO of Real Fans Sports Network, building it into a Top 5 Site on AOL in 1995 as the first social media sports site. In 1997, America Online bought Real Fans. Adams then spun Real Fans out from AOL in 1999 to form Ignite Sports Media, which he then subsequently merged with Sportvision in 2002.
Adams currently serves as Chairman of the Chicago Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and is on the Board of Chicago's 1871 business incubator. He is an investor, advisor and executive coach to multiple startups, including TeaSquares, a graduate Fellow of FamilyFarmed's Good Food Accelerator program, and has developed relationships with key food business influencers in the such as Michael Pollan and Kimball Musk.
A Colorado native, Adams graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Colorado with a BA in History and a BS in Finance, and earned an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He is married with three sons and lives in Evanston, IL.
Rob Gordon is responsible for all aspects of the firm including investment management, marketing and relationship management, and the overall operating environment. Additionally, he is charged with ensuring the long-term viability of the firm as an independent, focused money management organization. He has 31 years of investment related experience.
Prior to joining Driehaus Capital Management in 2006, Mr. Gordon was formerly president and CEO of Banc of America Capital Management, the investment arm of Bank of America. He has also held management roles at ARIS Capital Management, a New York based fund of hedge funds, Fidelity Investments and Lehman Brothers. He earned a B.A. in international relations from Bucknell University and an MBA from Suffolk University.
Markowitz joined The PrivateBank in January 2017 as Managing Director and National Government Lending Director. This followed her tenure with the U.S. Small Business Administration (2009-17), during which she served as the SBA's Midwest Regional Administrator and then, at President Barack Obama's request, served on his Cabinet as acting National SBA Administrator. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Markowitz to serve on the City of Chicago’s Small Business Advisory Council in March 2013.
Prior to her time at the SBA, Markowitz served as the Chief Financial Officer for the Obama for America Presidential Campaign in 2008 and was previously a financial operations consultant for the launch of the Obama Exploratory Committee. She also served on the Obama for America Board of Directors from 2007 to 2009.
For more than 17 years, Markowitz provided finance and risk management expertise to a host of leading global institutions. Markowitz has a deep background in managing hyper-growth startup organizations, providing board level governance as well as designing and implementing global financial operations departments.
She received a B.S. degree from the University of Missouri and an MBA from DePaul University. From May 2010-June 2017 she served as a trustee on the board of the Lycee Francais de Chicago and is a member of the Chicago Economic Club. Markowitz lives in Lincoln Park with her husband Jeff and their daughter Maura.
Adam B. Murphy MD, MBA, MSCI is an academic urologist who studies the underpinnings of prostate cancer and health disparities faced by African Americans and other ethnic minorities. In his research he noted that dietary habits, vitamin deficiencies, food desserts and zip codes were very predictive of prostate cancer and prostate cancer mortality. In Nigeria food storage quality suffers exposing their population to aflatoxin from molds and excess cancer risk. It became clear that good food is prevention and prevention is the best medicine. Dr. Murphy works to educate men about the connection between diet and cancer prevention and general health. He joined the board of Family Farmed to support their efforts to improve access to Good Food for all. Dr. Murphy is an Assistant Professor at Northwestern Medicine in the Department of Urology.
As Director of Innovation with the Environmental Law & Policy Center, Jamie works to advance breakthrough solutions in clean energy, transportation, environmental quality, and emerging technologies and business models in the Midwest. He is the former Chicago Director of Energy and Climate Innovation with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, for which he led initiatives on energy efficiency, sustainable development, food and other environmental priorities in the office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and across a network of global megacities.
Prior to these roles, Jamie spent 10 years with global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, during which time he specialized in corporate strategy, economic development and resource efficiency. These efforts — including work with the Rocky Mountain Institute, Africare, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Packard Foundation — address some of the planet’s most pressing challenges through solutions that span industries, sectors and ideologies.
Rooted in his family’s Spanish culinary traditions, having advised consumer packaged food clients, and as a lead in launching Chicago’s Good Food Task Force to align municipal food purchasing and programs with Good Food values, Jamie is committed to mission-driven, market-based food system improvement. He holds a B.A. from Indiana University, a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Lauren Rosenthal is an attorney from Chicago focusing on real estate law and land conservation. She has been a Commissioner on Illinois Nature Preserves Commission since 2007 and served as Chair of the Commission from 2010 to 2012. Ms. Rosenthal has recently joined the board of the Illinois Environmental Council, a statewide organization that promotes sound environmental policy and protections for land, air, water, wildlife, and human health. She has been a committed advocate for sound environmental policy and has organized environmental leaders in support of various political candidates including President Obama, Governor Quinn and congressional candidates. She Chaired Environmentalists for Obama in the 2008 Presidential Campaign, served on the Executive Committee of the Energy and Environmentalists for Obama in the 2012 campaign and worked on the transition team for President Preckwinkle at the Forest Preserve District of Cook County in 2010. A graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law (1982) and Northwestern University (1979), Ms. Rosenthal loves shopping for, preparing and eating local, good food.
Markus Schramm is the founder and CEO of Manna Organics, LLC. He was born and raised in Bavaria, Germany and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering in Munich. He moved to the USA in 1993, following a job offer from a Chicagoland based company. He and his wife started their own business – Manna Organics, LLC – in 2007, when they acquired Nature’s Path’s sprouted Manna Bread® division. They leased a warehouse in Lisle, IL, a suburb of Chicago, and converted it into a organic and kosher certified commercial bakery producing sprouted Manna breads, gluten free sliced breads, artisan Bavarian style sourdough breads. They have recently launched a line of bagged organic snack items, including kale chips and nutty snacks. Markus’s life long passion for good foods has become the building ground for his family’s company.
Bobby Turner is a professional in the Natural and Organic industry bringing 20+ years of experience in retail operations, supply chain management, and supplier relations. He is currently the Vice President of Purchasing and Distribution at Whole Foods Market's Midwest Region overseeing 8 states and a Canadian Province. While passionate about the retail business, he is also active in the local food movement and commits personal time participating on the board of directors for several nonprofit organizations in Chicago. When not busy contributing to the natural and organic movement, he spends his time practicing yoga, cycling, and traveling.
Jennifer L. Worstell is a partner in the Chicago office of Natarajan | Worstell LLC, and was formerly a partner in a National Law Journal Top 75 firm. She concentrates her practice in the representation of financial institutions in real estate finance matters, including loan originations and modifications, creditors’ rights, loan enforcement, representation of buyers and sellers of real estate and general corporate and litigation support. Jennifer is a 1994 graduate of Indiana University, majoring in Business and French. In 1998, she received a JD from the Indiana University School of Law and an MBA in Finance from the Indiana University Kelley Graduate School of Business. Jennifer is also a 2008 graduate of The John Marshall Law School with an LL.M in Real Estate Law.
In 2011, Jennifer was on the Advisory Board and the Co-Chair of the Financing Farm to Fork Conference, and on the Advisory Board and the Chair of the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Good Food Financing Conferences. She was Co-Chair of FamilyFarmed's Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference in 2015, 2016 and 2017. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of FamilyFarmed and as the Board’s Treasurer. Jennifer is a past president of the Chicago Mortgage Attorneys Association, is on the Advisory Board of The John Marshall Law School Center for Real Estate Law, and is a member of the Chicago Chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women, the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation, the Old Town Triangle Association Neighborhood Improvement Committee, and is a Treekeepers volunteer with Openlands.org.
Jim Slama founded FamilyFarmed at a time when few people recognized the term “Good Food movement,” and demand for locally, sustainably, humanely, and fairly produced food was still a tiny sliver of the overall consumer market.
Under Slama’s leadership during more than 15 years since, FamilyFarmed has become an important catalyst in the booming, consumer-driven rise of the movement. He has helped to build a robust Good Food cluster in the nonprofit's home base of Chicago while expanding the national scope and impact of its work.
In 2004, Slama created FamilyFarmed’s highest-profile event, the Good Food Trade Show. Held each March in Chicago, the event — the nation’s oldest and biggest trade show focused on local and sustainable food — evolved into the three-day Good Food Festival and Conference (which is being rebranded as the Good Food Expo beginning with the March 2018 show).
It includes tracks on financing, food policy, school food, producer issues, and food trade issues — plus a Festival that is a public celebration of the growing Good Food movement, with chef demos, DIY workshops, and more. In the event’s 13-year history, more than 700 unique speakers have participated. And the March 2017 Festival & Conference attracted a record attendance of more than 7,500.
This event has produced several evolutions in FamilyFarmed's program lineup. The Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference was launched in 2009 in partnership with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business to help better connect rising food and farm businesses with Good Food investors and buyers.
The Good Food Business Accelerator (GFBA) evolved from the Financing & Innovation Conference in 2014 and over its first three years has graduated 27 competitively selected food and farm entrepreneurs who received an intensive six-month curriculum, technical assistance, mentorship, networking opportunities and connections to the growing community of investors in this sector.
FamilyFarmed never stands still under Slama's leadership. The organization on April 30 co-produced the successful Frontera 30th Anniversary Celebration fundraiser with Chef Rick Bayless' Frontera Farmer Foundation. The organization has also recently held two Good Food is Good Medicine symposiums and is working to develop a broader program focused on the major impact food has on health.
Bob Benenson is leveraging four decades of experience as a journalist in his role as FamilyFarmed's communications manager. He spent 30 years covering politics and elections for Congressional Quarterly in Washington, D.C., including 11 years (1998-2009) as the publishing company's politics editor. After relocating to Chicago in 2011, Bob changed tracks and merged his desire for a mission-driven second career with his lifelong passion for food. His roles with FamilyFarmed include serving as managing editor for its Good Food on Every Table website, and he was lead editor and co-writer for its Direct Market Success farmer training manual. Bob also is an accomplished photographer whose work can be found at bobbenenson.myportfolio.com/ and at www.facebook.com/bblakeshoreview/.
Chelsea was fortunate enough to grow up in a household that valued Good Food, which allowed her to develop a passion for sharing that Good Food with others at a young age. After graduating from Northwestern University with a BA in Psychology, Chelsea spent the summer helping develop Sustainable Nantucket’s Farm to School Program and educating kids in their youth garden. That summer Chelsea received just as much of an education as her students and knew she would always work to spread the Good Food love and grow the movement.
In the past five years Chelsea has lived, learned, and worked around the world, expanding her food knowledge along the way. She has served as an AmeriCorps at City Harvest in NYC in their nutrition education department, worked on farms in South America, managed the front of house at a bakery in DC, and assisted in event planning, operations and marketing at a variety of food focused non-profits, incubators, and urban farms. In 2015 Chelsea graduated from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy (aka the Slow Food University) with a Master’s in Food Culture and Communications: Human Ecology and Sustainability.
Chelsea was thrilled to move back to Chicago in 2016 and join the FamilyFarmed team as the Program Assistant, supporting our Good Food Business Accelerator and our farmer training program, Growing Success.
In her spare time, you can find Chelsea running around the city, wandering farmer’s markets, cooking up curious concoctions with the best seasonal and local produce, and photographing/writing about farms, farmers, food and animals (mostly goats). You can take a peek at her work here and on instagram.
Katie Daniel is FamilyFarmed’s development maven. Growing up, she moved all across the country and developed a love affair with food along the way. She comes from a multi-generational dairy farming family in southwest Wisconsin, and graduated with a B.A. in Gender & Women's Studies from the University of Wisconsin.
Katie began her nonprofit career in Madison, Wisconsin, at the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF). There she spent nearly seven years wearing many hats in the areas of outreach, donor relations, bookkeeping, event planning and fundraising. During that time she also volunteered with the Women’s Medical Fund, assisting low-income women access reproductive healthcare. After helping FFRF make exponential gains in membership and fundraising, she moved to Chicago and worked at the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC), where she played an instrumental role in advancing WBDC’s development strategy.
Katie brings nearly a decade in nonprofit management and development to FamilyFarmed. Her love of food and passions for social justice and sustainable agriculture make FamilyFarmed a perfect home. She loves spending time with her significant other (Scott), animals (especially cats), reading, video games, the Badgers, Packers and EATING.
Rebecca brings 10+ years of high level administrative experience to both the Good Food Accelerator and the Wholesale Success program at FamilyFarmed.
After receiving her Bachelor's of Fine Arts Degree in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Rebecca worked in museums and fine art galleries on the West Coast, assisting a broad range of professionals in these institutions. She was employed with the J. Paul Getty Museum, and moved on to manage fine art and commercial art studios, specializing in creative arts office administration and artist/client relations. Her most recent previous employment was as Production Coordinator and Studio Manager for a prominent commercial advertising photographer in Los Angeles, during which time she honed her project coordination and small business management skills.
Upon returning to Chicago, Rebecca’s strong personal interest in sustainable living sparked her desire to expand her own knowledge, as well as others’, of the Good Food movement. She is happiest when surrounded by good food, good art, and great people.
James Pirovano joined FamilyFarmed’s team in 2010 as Market Development Program Coordinator, building markets and sales for local farmers and food producers by connecting them with trade buyers and consumers. He now manages FamilyFarmed's farmer training programs —built around its Wholesale Success and Direct Market Success manuals — working with farmers and farm organizations across the country to improve their food safety, marketing and postharvest handling practices.
James has sought out Good Food all over the world: from the Philippines, where he was an Agro-Forestry Technician with the Peace Corps, to regional cuisine in China where he lived for several years. James worked for The Nature Conservancy for eight years working on projects to protect farmland and habitat for endangered plants and animals. In addition to being a Master Gardener, he has been an active volunteer on local organic farms and for food businesses looking to increase their local purchasing.
David Titus, FamilyFarmed’s Office Manager, is an administrative operations professional with over 25 years of small business experience in both for-profit and non-profit settings. Originally from southwestern Ohio, he earned his BFA in Sculpture from Wright State University. David began his career at The English Language and Multicultural Institute, a non-profit program of the University of Dayton after which he moved to Chicago in 1997 where he served extended tenures as Director of Operations at Otherwise Incorporated and as Studio Operations Manager at UBM Studios, respectively. He has also consulted on multiple small-business operations projects prior to joining FamilyFarmed.
David credits his rural Midwestern roots and extended visits to Southeast Asia as two complementary sources of his affinity for the cultural context of food and our collective appreciation of eating. An avid cook and collector of cookbooks and food writing, David relishes the creative nuances and precise science of cooking and food preparation. In his free time, (when he’s not sharing food or preparing food or shopping for food or reading about food), he enjoys watching the Blackhawks or White Sox with his partner, Gerry and rescue cat, Duncan.
Connie Christoff’s whole life has revolved around food. She learned about food from the ground up-literally-as she worked on her family’s farm in Iowa. Farming gave her a respect for the land and the process (along with the heard work) of bringing food to the table.
After graduating from Loyola University, she worked in corporate America for over 25 years for companies such as Unilever, Con Agra and McCain Foods, developing and marketing food products for retail and food service channels.
Now armed with Big Food experience and a yearning to help entrepreneurs and small businesses, Connie formed Food to Market, Inc., where she is helping Good Food companies find their place on the market shelf. A longtime CSA shareholder, Connie continues to work to build connections between the farmer and the consumer. FamilyFarmed has been a great catalyst for her to understand and be a part of the Good Food movement.
Atina Diffley is an organic farmer, activist, public speaker, and author of the 2012 award-winning memoir, Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works. From 1985 to 2008, she and her husband Martin ran the Gardens of Eagan, an urban-edge, organic vegetable farm, which he started in 1973 as one of the first certified organic produce farms in the Midwest. The Diffley’s on-farm projects now include breeding sweet corn; mentoring beginning farmers, and transitioning non-organic land to organic.
Atina’s areas of expertise include post harvest handling, brand-name marketing, greenhouse management, and organic farming systems. She is a co-author author/editor and lead trainer for Wholesale Success: A Farmers Guide to Selling, Postharvest Handling and Packing Produce, and the editor and designer of Roger Blobaum’s Organic History Website. She presently serves on the boards of the Organic Seed Alliance and the Minnesota Institute of Sustainable Agriculture.
Land use issues have been a central point of entry for the Diffley’s organic advocacy. In 1989, the 5th-generation Diffley family land was lost to suburban development and Atina and Martin collaborated with filmmakers to make the video documentary Turn Here Sweet Corn for PBS broadcasting. The Diffley’s started over on new land, but faced eminent domain again in 2006 when threatened by a crude oil pipeline owned by notorious polluters, Koch Industries. The Diffleys intervened as legal parties in the route proceeding and with the help of over 4,500 letter writing customers, attorney Paula Maccabee, expert witnesses, and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, succeeded in creating an Organic Mitigation Plan that provides protections for the soil and certification of threatened organic farms in Minnesota.
Grant Kessler is a food photographer in Chicago, obsessed with eating well, cooking with fresh, whole foods and shrinking the distance his food travels. Grant is marketing director for FamilyFarmed and the Good Food Festival & Conference, spreading the word about our mission and events. He manages our social media channels and loves networking and making connections that build a strong social community. Grant also blogs at myfoodshed.com and explores the food system through One Hundred Meals.
Briana Wells is in her second year as Event Manager for FamilyFarmed's Good Food Festival & Conference. Briana joined the FamilyFarmed team with 20 years of event management experience, running events in locations across the country that include Hawaii (the island of Maui), California and Chicago. Briana started her own event consulting business in 2014 and has thoroughly enjoyed learning and working in the Good Food space — though her appreciation for Good Food and respecting the Earth started early on as a child, with weekly weekend trips to the community recycling center and growing summer vegetables in the backyard….all while living only 20 miles from New York City! Briana is a graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans with a Bachelor of Arts degree.