Charlotte Flinn, President, Flinn Consultants (Board Chair)
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.org 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.
Mari Gallagher, Principal, Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group and Founding President, National Center for Public Research
Mari Gallagher is President of Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group, a national firm based in Chicago. She authored the breakthrough study that popularized the term “Food Desert” nationally in 2006 and encouraged Congressman Bobby Rush to enter “Food Desert” language into the Farm Bill. In large part because of Mari’s work, millions of dollars have been invested in underserved areas across the country. She has been tracking the Chicago Food Desert each year and has played a major role in seeing its reduction by 40%. Directing, tracking, and measuring community investment impact is a core specialty. Mari also has hands-on experience. As a former practitioner, she developed a $75 million shopping center anchored by a full-service grocery store that included community employment programs with the grocer for retail jobs and with the unions for construction jobs. Mari’s research includes other content areas, too. Her research includes identifying practical solutions and how to move stakeholder groups into effective action. Mari is President of the National Center for Public Research and Adjunct Associate Professor at Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University in Boston, where she guests lectures from time to time.
Markus Schramm, Founder and CEO, Manna Organics
Markus was born and raised in Bavaria, Germany. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering. In 1993 Markus relocated to the USA. Markus is the founder and CEO of Manna Organics, LLC, an organic certified commercial bakery in Lisle, IL. Products are distributed nationally and into Canada, and include organic certified sprouted Manna Bread®, artisan organic baked goods, as well as a line of certified gluten-free organic breads.
Jennifer L. Worstell, Attorney/Shareholder, Polsinelli Shughart PC
Jennifer L. Worstell is a partner in the Chicago office of Polsinelli Shughart PC, a National Law Journal Top 100 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 and creditor bankruptcy representation. Jennifer serves on the firm’s Women’s Initiative, Pro Bono and Summer Associate Recruitment steering committees. 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 Good Food Financing Conference. She is currently the President of the Chicago Mortgage Attorneys Association, a member of the Chicago Chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women, the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation, and the Old Town Triangle Association Neighborhood Improvement Committee, and is a Treekeepers volunteer with Openlands.
Jim Slama, Founder and President (Also a member of the Board)
For the past two decades, Jim Slama has been a national leader in promoting environmental sustainability and the Good Food Movement. Leading up to the formation of FamilyFarmed.org and the Good Food Festival, Jim had an accomplished track record in environmental advocacy. In 1996 Jim launched Sustain on the heels of creating a successful multimedia campaign that shut down an incinerator that released 150,000 pounds of lead into the air annually. Sustain went on to become one of the country’s leading environmental communication groups and had many regional and national victories. These included the Keep Organic Organic Campaign, developed in partnership with the Organic Trade Association. The effort helped generated 275,000 comments to the USDA opposing standards that would have allowed food that was genetically engineered irradiated and grown in sewage sludge to be called organic. Other victories included stopping the state of Michigan from drilling for oil on the shores of Lake Michigan and forcing Congress to adopt a real recycling program when it was exposed that they were only pretending.
Jim and his companies have received a great deal of recognition. FamilyFarmed.org’s work earned the Yahoo! for Good Green Award. In 1999 Jim was named by Crain’s Chicago Business to its “Forty Under Forty” annual list of leading young business and civic leaders. Jim also received the Chicago Tribune Good Eating Award for his contributions to the Chicago food and beverage world. Jim was the founding publisher and editor of Conscious Choice magazine. During his 14 years tenure, Conscious Choice was named nine times by Utne Reader as a member of the Best of the Alternative Press. His work has been featured in Crain’s Chicago Business, The New York Times, Ode Magazine, Chicago Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Holly Haddad, Associate Director
Holly has a shared background in non-profit administration and program management, as well as in natural foods. She has worked for the Program on Agricultural Technology Studies at the University of Wisconsin, managed new program development at a Community Action Program in Washington, and conducted community development corporation research in Washington, D.C. She has also served on the Board of Directors for a new, international media project that was nominated in its inaugural year for two awards by the Independent Press Awards. Holly has designed and incubated several new community-based programs such as Family Development, Mobile Food Van, Community Voice Mail and Transitional Housing. She has performed research for publication on national models of community owned corporations and contributed to several surveys regarding family farming in Wisconsin and Illinois. Holly also has a background in natural and specialty foods retail management, sales, and distribution, along with direct work experience on organic family farms and with family owned wineries.
Conor Butkus, Office Administrator
Originally from Portland, OR, Conor learned early the importance of local food while interning at an organic farm in middle school. Throughout the years he has been a committed advocate, organizing the first Chicago chicken coop tour, starting a neighborhood chapter of the Chicago Food Policy and Advisory Council, and gardening wherever possible. Since moving to Chicago he has worked extensively in public health and youth engagement, working with youth to improve their health and communities. He graduated from Bard College at Simon’s Rock with an interdisciplinary B.A. in Political Science, Law, and Sociology.
James Pirovano, Forager
James Pirovano 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 Gardner, he has been an active volunteer on local organic farms and for food businesses looking to increase their local purchasing. James joins the team as FamilyFarmed.org’s Forager, building markets and sales for local farmers and food producers by connecting them with trade buyers and consumers.
Lily Baker, Administrative and Marketing Assistant
Lily learned the importance of Good Food early in life. Daily meals around the dinner table, visits to the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, and weekly trips to her family’s CSA farm instilled in her a love of strange looking vegetables and sharing food with friends and family. In 2011 Lily graduated with Honors in International Studies from the University of Chicago, where she wrote an undergraduate thesis based in part on her work with Food Sovereignty organizations in Guatemala and Mexico. She has also spent time working on a diverse collection of small farms, including a goat dairy in Vermont, a winery in Oregon, Radical Root Farm and Growing Home in Illinois, and King’s Hill Farm in Wisconsin. Lily is excited to join FamilyFarmed.org’s work supporting sustainable food systems in the Chicago region and around the country.
Atina Diffley, Lead Trainer – Wholesale Success/On-Farm Food Safety Workshops
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.
Lloyd Yanis, Good Food Festival & Conference Show Director
Lloyd Yanis brings more than twenty years of exposition management experience to the annual event, including responsibility for managing over 400 similar events — ranging in attendance from 50 people to 150,000 — in consumer and trade-show arenas. Lloyd’s career highlights include eight years as manager of the Miami Boat Show, the third largest trade show in the United States. As General Manager of the boating industry’s trade association, he was significantly involved in the development of a nationwide tour of twenty-five annual boat shows with 500,000 annual attendees.
Kim Bartko, Good Food Festival & Conference Program Director
Since 2008 she has worked with FamilyFarmed.org to bring exceptional speakers and inspiring, educational workshops to the thousands of consumers who attend the annual festival. Her work developing the Good Food Festival programming is grounded in her passions for sustainable farming and responsible environmental practices, home gardening, and the culinary arts. Kim honed her creative, organizational, and management skills in a 20-year career as an executive in the book publishing business, where she held positions in both the editorial and design areas. After leaving the corporate world Kim launched Bartko Design, a communications and graphic design firm. She successfully navigated the challenges faced by small business and gained a deep understanding of the education, support, and opportunities that entrepreneurs need to thrive. The insight she gained while running her own business informs the programming she develops for the Good Food Financing Conference, which provides small farmers and food entrepreneurs with critical business skills, access to financing networks, and experts’ insight into emerging business opportunities in the Good Food space. Kim graduated from the University of Denver with a degree in Comparative Literature and Graphic Arts. She lives in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood where she gardens and cooks with her husband, Matt.
Grant Kessler, Good Food Festival & Conference Marketing Director
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.
John Beske, Graphic Design
John Beske is a designer and art director who creates the graphic identity for FamilyFarmed.org. He was the co-founder and long-time creative director of Sustain, and designed most of its successful campaigns. As creative director at Sustain, John oversaw the design of the Keep Organic Organic Campaign, which helped generate 275,000 comments opposing USDA standards, which would have allowed food that was genetically engineered, irradiated and grown in sewage sludge to be labeled as organic. John’s work with Sustain helped prevent oil drilling on the shores of Lake Michigan, encouraged the creation of tough federal clean air standards that save 15,000 lives per year and helped to force Congress to develop a real recycling campaign. He is the president of John Beske Communications, which provides marketing and design solutions for a range of small businesses and nonprofit groups.
Kathy Nyquist is a strategy consultant providing business development services for local food system entrepreneurs and investors. With FamilyFarmed.org, she is leading multiple feasibility studies which investigate the commercial viability of local food system infrastructure projects. Kathy has ten years of food industry experience at Kraft Foods, where she most recently led integrated marketing planning for a $5 billion product portfolio. She previously managed accounts at the nation’s top two advertising agencies where she developed national campaigns for Coca-Cola, Keebler, Frito-Lay and Miller Brewing. Today, Kathy is Principal at New Venture Advisors LLC, and co-chair of the Financing Farm to Fork conference. Kathy recently graduated from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the world’s top-ranked business school, where she earned an MBA with honors in Strategic Management, Finance and Entrepreneurship. She is the recipient of the 2009 Dean’s Award for Strategy for achieving the highest academic record in Strategic Management.