The Maine Food Strategy Steering Committee provides leadership, programmatic, and fiscal oversight for the initiative. They were chosen through an open nomination process and approved by current committee members. There is no mandate on who can be on the committee, but members are typically those who have strong ties to different sectors in Maine’s food system, with an emphasis on having a range of representation.
**Welcome new Steering Committee members!**
The new 2019 - 2020 cohort
Holly works as a Local Forager for Whole Foods Market in Portland, ME where she works to build relationships with local producers, farms, distributors, and community organizations serving the food systems throughout the state. She is an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional and along with her certifications as a HACCP manager for retail and a PCQI (Preventive Controls Qualified Individual), she works with cheesemakers and local producers to develop food safety plans for retail. Holly is passionate about promoting local food producers and helping to find opportunities to build better relationships with consumers and retailers. Prior to starting at Whole Foods, Holly and her husband have owned and operated restaurants in the Chicago area and she has a background in nonprofit management, fundraising, and special events. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Chicago with a degree in Political Science.
A first generation American, Sasha grew up in Maine and is thrilled to be back and settling in Mid Coast. Sasha earned a B.A. in Geology from Smith College, and an M.S. in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England. Organization, problem solving and increasing efficiency are the threads that run through both her professional and personal pursuits. Sasha has worked in fields as diverse yet connected as academic research, outdoor education, and non-profit evaluation, supplemented by catering and gardening throughout the years. Sasha enjoys locally grown and foraged food, and is excited and grateful to be part of MFS’ efforts. When not landscaping or editing, Sasha can be found reading cookbooks and talking for hours around the dinner table.
Amy Carrington is the Internship Coordinator and Program Specialist for USM’s Food Studies Program. She is an advocate, community organizer, and an avid gardener and farmer. She has extensive experience supporting new American farmers and believes in the value of intercultural knowledge. She has connected low-income customers and local farmers in mutually beneficial relationships. She enjoys raising her small herd of Nubian and Nigerian gotas, as well as her human kids. She is a recipient of the Girl Scout Gold Award.
Erin Percival Carter is Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Maine Business School. In her research, she uses behavioral experiments to better understand how people make judgments and decisions about authenticity, morality, and their own well-being. She is particularly interested in how these factors affect purchases of more or less sustainable products. When she is not doing academic work, she operates a small-scale livestock operation with her husband Cody (supervised by toddler Thea) focused on preserving and improving multiple heritage breeds of livestock. As a result, she's full of anecdotes ranging from shipping two nearly 30 pound geese to Maine from Oregon via USPS, teaching classes with styptic powder stains on her hands, or the tragedy of mistiming cashmere harvest.
Kristina is passionate about working at the intersections of social change, sustainable food systems, and collective healing. She currently serves as the Markets Manager for the Somali Bantu Community Association, Outreach & Research Administrator for the Cumberland County Food Security Council, and is on the Leadership Team of Food Fuels Learning. Previously, she engaged with her love for local food as the Production Manager and Head Chocolatier for Ambrosia of Nantucket, where she grew and wild-harvested botanicals to create artisanal products. Kristina has also interacted with food systems through her roles as a fishmonger, rural and urban farmer, cafeteria worker, and farm to table caterer. She received her B.A. in Anthropology, Sociology, and International Studies from Elmira College and her M.A. in International Development and Social Change from Clark University.
Justin is the Inventory Specialist for Rosemont Market in Portland. He has recently come to this position after Managing the Unity Food Hub for the previous 3 years. His involvement in the Maine food system spans a variety of points along the supply chain. He works in the fields of Mount Apatite Farm in his home town of Auburn. You can find him serving customers at the Lewiston Farmers Market through the summer. He has lead the team effort to conduct a food hub feasibility study funded with Local Food Promotion Program funds for the Non-profit Grow L+A. He contributes most to the operations of food distribution from packing, food safety planning, distribution, and process efficiency improvement. Justin is a challenge solver and outdoor enthusiast. Please say hi, he enjoys good conversation and is currently interested to learn more about Aquaponic farming.
Getting in early on the water gardening boom of the 1990s, Chris has built hundreds of water features, from small fountains, to water gardens, to natural swimming pools. He has done it all with the goal of mimicking nature to keep them healthy and clean. Chris has taught many classes on water gardening and erosion management. He loves to enhance habitat and bring moving water to the public, and has won many awards at the Portland Flower Show over the years. Chris has participated in the York County Extension Board and Master Gardener program board for a number of years, volunteering time and resources for food related causes. Being an avid beekeeper, environmentalist, and small farmer, he is constantly looking for ways to increase local food, efficiently and responsibly. He loves music, playing guitar, and enjoying family and friends. The company he and his wife built, and the family farm, is situated on a southeastern slope in southern Maine.
Harriet Van Vleck
Harriet Van Vleck returned to MidCoast Maine after teaching ecology in Oregon, supporting biogeochemical research at Arizona State University, and conducting her Ph.D. and post-doctoral research at the University of Minnesota. Harriet’s research focused on the impacts of agricultural management on soil nutrient cycling and greenhouse gas emissions, and her post-doctoral work with the University of Minnesota and The Nature Conservancy focused on the potential economic, ecological, and social impacts of restoring a wide range of grass-based land uses in western Minnesota, part of a statewide prairie conservation plan. Harriet is Coordinator for the Merrymeeting Food Council, on the Lead Team of the Maine Network of Community Food Councils, is actively involved with the Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative, and on the board of the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation. She lives in Bowdoinham with her family.
Continuing Steering Members -
Molly Clark, along with her husband Gabe, owns and operates Cold Spring Ranch; a beef cattle operation in New Portland, Maine. They sustainably manage over 600 acres of pastures, hayfields and woodlands to produce 100% grass fed beef year round. Molly also works for the Healthy Community Coalition of Greater Franklin County where she is involved in several initiatives to promote children’s health; including as the local coordinator of the nationally recognized Let’s Go! program. Molly graduated from Colby College with a degree in Environmental Science and has advanced degrees from the University of Vermont in Natural Resource Planning and Nursing. She has nearly 20 years of experience working with various organizations around the issues of agricultural land conservation, natural resource protection, public policy, clinical care, and community health. Through all of these lenses, Molly has an appreciation for the deep and complex connections between food, farming, the environment, and health. Molly has served on the board of the Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society and is part of the Maine Farm to School Network.
Michele is establishing new roots and building a hard cider and fermented foods business on a recently purchased orchard in Springvale, Maine. Her day job is with the Coast Guard in Boston where she works on the maritime energy and marine planning policy in the Northeast. Over the last 8 years, Michele has worked for several federal government agencies which include the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, U.S. Department of Energy and the Bureau of Land Management focused on renewable energy policy development and stakeholder engagement. Additionally, she spent over 10 years in various project management and marketing roles in high tech and academia. She started her career as a U.S. Peace Corps in Uzbekistan as a Women’s Small Business Development Volunteer. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin and a dual Master’s (Business Administration and Public Policy & Administration) from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Until they finish building their super energy efficient house, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three cats. Her passion is helping people know where their food comes from and eating their way to better health.
Mark developed and implemented marketing initiatives at Barber Foods for 19 years. He is the founder and CEO of Marketing Strategy Decisions, a strategic management and marketing consultancy. Mark serves as Secretary of the Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association and on the board of directors of the Treehouse Institute.
Kristen Miale is the President of Good Shepherd Food Bank, Maine’s largest hunger relief organization. Good Shepherd Food Bank works with a network of over 400 ending hunger organizations to distribute over 23 million pounds of food throughout the state to people in need. Before her role as President, she was the founder and program director of Cooking Matters for Maine, a local chapter of Share Our Strength’s nationally recognized cooking and nutrition education program for low-income families. Prior to her work with food security, she worked for over a decade in the private equity and business consulting fields. After volunteering for hunger relief organizations, she decided to make her passion for ending hunger her occupation. She received her undergraduate degree from Boston College and her Masters in Business Administration from Boston University where she studied both entrepreneurship and non-profit management. In addition to serving on the Steering Committee of the Maine Food Strategy, she also serves as Senate President Michael Thibodeau’s representative on the Commission to End Student Hunger. Kristen’s past board work includes Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine where she served as Treasurer and the Cumberland County Cooperative Extension.
Anne is a third generation farmer and food promoter whose family farm, Wholesome Holmstead, features dairy products and meat, and ag tourism opportunities. Her lifelong involvement in agriculture includes leadership and professional experience in local, regional and national agricultural organizations.