Meet the Team
Chief Operating Officer
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Main Office: 855 Main Street, Suite 910, Bridgeport, CT 06604
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As a member of Wholesome Wave’s executive team, Skye is responsible for building diverse alliances and strategic partnerships. Skye also oversees national strategy and operations for the National Nutrition Incentive Network and Fruit & Vegetable Prescription health intervention. In five years with Wholesome Wave, she has had a leadership role in scaling these programs to 38 states at nearly 730 farmers markets, retail outlets, community health clinics, and hospitals in a way that honors unique communities.
Prior to joining Wholesome Wave, Skye worked on brand strategy and marketing for corporations including Unilever, Nestle, Meadwestvaco and Royal Bank of Scotland. She has an MBA from Sacred Heart University.
Skye feels very fortunate to focus her professional efforts on building a sustainable food system that will allow everyone to thrive, especially the small and mid-sized farms like those that helped feed her father’s family when he was growing up. Skye received her Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Albertus Magnus College, and her Master of Business Administration from Sacred Heart University. She lives in Milford, Connecticut with her husband and daughter.
My first food memory is: My dad making rhubarb pie with rhubarb that grew in our backyard.
If you came to my house for dinner tonight, I would make you: Patricia Wells’ Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic.
Sharon Hametz manages relationships with institutional funders, including foundations, government funders, and corporate foundations. Sharon has had a long, varied career in the public health field, with jobs that included running an immunization program in Uganda, coordinating maternal child health education in the Bronx, overseeing operations for a youth organization in Brooklyn, and fundraising for Planned Parenthood. Now that she has landed at Wholesome Wave, she can happily pursue her interests in food, health, and economic development all at the same time. Sharon did her undergraduate work in Anthropology at Vassar College, and holds Master’s Degrees in Public Health and International Affairs from Columbia.
My first food memory is: Baking chocolate spritz cookies with my sisters.
If you came to my house for dinner, I would make you: If you’re bringing kids, some variation on chicken and rice. With oven-baked sweet potato fries. If you’re not bringing kids, shellfish, most likely mussels.
Leah manages the day-to-day operations, planning and coordination of the National Nutrition Incentive Network of 60 partner organizations. Prior to joining the National Nutrition Incentive Network team, she organized the implementation and evaluation of pilot projects in Wholesome Wave’s Innovations Lab, and led the development of a collaborative, citywide farmers market network in Bridgeport. Leah first came to Wholesome Wave while studying food policy at Connecticut College’s Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy. Affordable local food access has proven to be the perfect venue to apply her background in Sociology and Spanish and she’s thrilled to be working with, and learning from the committed, passionate group at Wholesome Wave, as well as the talented partner organizations in our network. Leah loves when the celebration of food extends outside of work and can often be found trying new recipes, bringing friends together for a potluck at her home in Bridgeport, or searching for a new favorite spot in NYC’s Chinatown with her boyfriend, Isaac.
My first food memory is: Eating tomato sandwiches with my mom in the summertime. Just some good bread, juicy tomatoes, mayo and salt– messy and delicious.
If you came to my house for dinner I would make you: If I was feeling ambitious, I might attempt paella with whatever ingredients happen to be fresh and on hand. I have a basic technique down after watching my host-mother in Sevilla, Spain make it on special occasions. Before I left, she wrote down a rough recipe for me that has translated surprisingly well from her kitchen to mine.
Catherine leads the day-to-day program operations, planning, and coordination of the FVRx program’s national clinic network of partners and the New York City program partnership with the Health and Hospitals Corporation. Catherine is passionate about building innovative partnerships across sectors in order to increase access to nutritious and affordable foods for underserved communities. Prior to joining Wholesome Wave, she worked with the Center for Community and Family Services as a program coordinator to establish Cooking Matters Los Angeles, a cooking-based nutrition education program of Share Our Strength. She has also worked with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on the Stellar Farmers Market Program and the Healthy Hospital Food Initiative. Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in Nutrition from New York University. She lives in Brooklyn, NY and during her free time, Catherine can usually be found either eating her way through the city, perusing the farmers market, or in her kitchen trying to perfect the lemon bar.
My first food memory is: Plain rice in hot water. I didn’t like food when I was very young, and I wanted food to be as bland and uninteresting as possible. Thankfully, things changed when I started playing sports and was hungry all the time, and then suddenly realized food is delicious.
If you came to my house for dinner, I would make you: My current favorite dish to make is spaghetti cacio e pepe – who knew the combination of just four ingredients (butter, cheese, pepper, pasta) could be so perfect? Paired with balsamic-glazed brussels sprouts and grilled peaches for dessert.
As a Senior Development Associate, Rebecca conducts research, writes grants and reports, and provides administrative support to help Wholesome Wave to do what it does best – empower people to make healthier food choices. She previously worked in development at a number of community food and environmental organizations in the Midwest and is a recent graduate of Indiana University. There she received her Masters and B.S. in Public Affairs with concentrations in nonprofit management, sustainable development, and policy analysis. Rebecca is dedicated to working in the food system since it allows her to work at the intersection of human and environmental health and equity. She loves to cook for family and friends and is motivated by her desire to make responsible food choices in her personal life. In her spare time, Rebecca can be found wandering in nature or practicing for ballroom dance competitions. My first food memory is: putting chocolate chip faces on Mickey Mouse pancakes with my dad. If you came to my house for dinner I would make you: squash soup with sausage in the winter, and fish and fresh salsa in the summer.
Fiona is responsible for helping the communications department with communication and public outreach through blogs, social media, and developing new partnerships. Prior to taking on this role she organized an on-campus local food distribution system, worked at a livestock farm in Rhode Island, and, most recently, acted as a Communications Intern for WW. Fiona has long harbored a passion for food, and in the past five years has been driven by the principle that nutritious, affordable, and culturally appropriate food is a human right, and thus should be available to all. Through her work with farms, she has also developed a conviction that small and midsized farmers deserve greater viability in their profession. She sees these aspects of food justice at the core of Wholesome Wave’s mission and if grateful to be part of the team. Fiona holds a Bachelors degree from Brown University. She lives in New Haven, and spends her free time cooking, hiking and making pottery.
My first food memory is: Routinely sharing amazing Chinese food with my family and close family friends, between the ages of 3 and 5. We were living in London at the time and grew to be reliable customers at the local Chinese place around the corner from our apartment. I still remember, with clarity, the particular warmth and feel of the aluminum takeout boxes, whose cardboard lids were opened rapidly each time the group of us sat down to share another meal together.
If you came to my house for dinner, I would make you: crunchy kale salad, homemade pesto pasta, and lemon pound cake.
Amanda is responsible for implementing the FVRx Program pilots and providing technical assistance to FVRx partners. Prior to joining Wholesome Wave, Amanda spent the last 10 years working with non-profits in the U.S and internationally to support the plight of refugees and internally displaced people. After her children were born, Amanda became interested in the intersection of food and medicine and saw the FVRx Program as a pivotal tool in empowering both physicians and patients. Amanda now dedicates her time to operationalizing the FVRx Program and championing it as one of Wholesome Wave’s innovative programs that helps to create a just and sustainable food system. Amanda holds a Masters degree from the University of Kent in Canterbury and a Bachelors degree from the University of Massachusetts. She lives in Norwalk, CT with her husband and two children.
My first food memory is: One of my first food memories has to be blowing out my birthday candles on a plate of donuts. I can vividly remember the donut shop smell and coveting the brown cardboard box tied with string that we took them home in.
If you came to my house for dinner tonight, I would make you: I would probably make you a Thai green curry from scratch because it feeds lots of people and tastes so good.
Michel Nischan is a three-time James Beard Foundation award winning celebrity chef with over 30 years of leadership experience advocating for a more healthful, sustainable food system. He is Founder & CEO of Wholesome Wave, Co-Founder of the Chefs Action Network, as well as Founder and Partner with the late actor Paul Newman of the former Dressing Room Restaurant. He and his Wholesome Wave team were successful at influencing legislative language for the recently passed Federal Farm Bill, supporting affordable access to healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables for low income consumers. He’s also the author of three cookbooks and a variety of articles focused on sustainable food systems and social equity through food. A lifetime Ashoka fellow, Nischan serves on the board of the Amazon Conservation Team, and The National Young Farmers Coalition.
My first food memory is: Canning tomatoes with my mom and I can distinctly remember trying to put my thumb and pinky together to show her how old I was.
If you came to my house for dinner tonight, I would make you: I would make a perfectly roasted chicken and vegetables from my garden.
Julia directs the organization’s 60-partner, 25-state National Nutrition Incentive Network, develops and implements program strategy, and manages day-to-day logistics. Prior to joining Wholesome Wave, Julia practiced in the private sector as a city planner designing projects with strong community engagement and a focus on social, environmental, and economic equity for all community members. With an entrepreneurial spirit, Julia started three businesses focused on local food in the San Francisco Bay Area. Combining her passions for local food, community empowerment, and innovative, large-scale social impact, Julia is thrilled to be at Wholesome Wave actively working at the forefront of the local food systems movement. Julia holds a Masters of City Planning from UC Berkeley and Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Urban Studies and Planning from UC San Diego. She lives in West Hartford, CT with her husband, son, and two cats.
My first food memory is: Persian rice steaming on the stovetop.
If you came to my house for dinner, I would make you: I love cooking from different ethnicities: Persian, Indian, Mexican, Thai… Of course it all depends on the time of year and what’s growing in the garden.
Holly oversees and is responsible for all tasks involved in the management of the Wholesome Wave Office and the organizations HR functions, policies and procedures. Holly has a Bachelor of Laws degree from Southampton University, England, and spent time working in a number of legal and administrative positions before her journey brought her to Connecticut in the Fall of 2010. Having spent many years channeling her passions and skills into active volunteer positions with community groups, supporting and empowering victims, offenders, children and the elderly in various capacities, she was thrilled to join Wholesome Wave. Holly is excited to combine her passion and skills in a role supporting both the underserved communities of America, and the dedicated, talented and enthusiastic staff of Wholesome Wave. Passionate about food, Holly loves to bake, cook and host family and friends at her house in Hamden, CT. She enjoys reading, crafting, getting involved in community events and exploring new places with her husband and stepson.
My first food memory is: Baking with my mum; she always made great birthday cakes for my sisters and me, and was very creative about them. I loved helping and have carried her tradition forward, any occasion provides a good excuse to bake!
If you came to my house for dinner, I would make you: Mediterranean shepherds pie; a twist on the traditional baked English dish the diced roasted potato’s, red wine, and fresh red pesto add another dimension of color, flavor and texture.
Schumacher is a Founding Board Chair and Board Consultant for Wholesome Wave. From 1997 to 2001, he served as President Clinton’s Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at USDA.
Prior this, Schumacher served as Administrator of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, worked as a senior Agri-lender for the World Bank, and served as Commissioner of Food and Agriculture for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. After Harvard College, he studied at the London School of Economics and was a research associate in agribusiness at the Harvard Business School, working with Professor Ray A. Goldberg.
Schumacher was a member of the 21st Century Sustainable Agricultural Task Force of the National Academy of Sciences whose report was published in 2010. In 2007, Schumacher jointly oversaw the preparation of the Task Force Report of the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, titled “Modernizing America’s Food and Farm Policy: Vision for a New Direction”(2008). He has received leadership awards from the James Beard Foundation and the EOS Foundation.
My first food memory is: My family making strawberry jam from just picked local berries.
If you came to my house for dinner, I would make you: Roast chicken in a pot with local carrots, parsnips, onions and mushrooms from the local farmers market, with a side of Massachusetts cranberry sauce.
Steven provides support and coordination for incentive program partners in the national network, and maintains a critical eye towards key needs and innovations in the field. Throughout his undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh where he earned a BS in Biology and Sociology, Steven worked as a research assistant in the field of public health. Following graduation, he continued his public health focus by working as a nutrition educator for Clemson University, teaching in low-income, rural communities where his desire to apply practical solutions to large food-system challenges became fully formed. He loves the ever-evolving nature of his work, and is energized by the drive of his talented coworkers. Steven lives in New Haven and in his spare time tries to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible and increase his spotty cooking skills.
My first food memory is: Sitting in the crowded kitchen of my grandmother Frannie’s farmhouse and eating her signature corn bread, smothered with October beans and onions, washed down with a cold glass of milk.
If you came to my house for dinner, I would make you: A lemon-stuffed, herb rubbed chicken, served with a baked apple and butternut squash soup, topped with a cranberry relish.
Amy is part of the Operations Team assisting the Finance Director and Office/HR Manager in accounting and administrative responsibilities. Prior to taking on this role, Amy worked as an Administrative Assistant at Fairfield University for 9 years. While working full-time, Amy earned her Bachelor’s degree from Fairfield University with a major in Sociology & Anthropology, and minors in Psychology and Environmental Studies. While at Fairfield U., Amy was a mentor to students in the Environmental Residential College, worked in the campus garden, and was a staff leader on a service trip to Immokalee, Florida where she learned about the justice issues tomato farmers face. She is very passionate about environmental issues, particularly public health, and loves making homemade cleaning products. Amy is excited to be a part of the Wholesome Wave team and is eager to learn more about equitable and sustainable food systems for all, as well as work closely with individuals with similar passions. Amy lives in Bridgeport and enjoys traveling, going to concerts, skiing, and playing the djembe.
My first food memory is: Making Rice Krispie treats and being really excited watching the marshmallows rise up in the microwave.
If you came to my house for dinner, I would make you: Pasta fagioli and garlic bread with fresh parsley. For dessert: chocolate pudding pie with banana layered on top of a graham cracker crust.
Eva is a Manager for the National Nutrition Incentive Network. Prior to joining Wholesome Wave, Eva served as the National Technical Assistance Coordinator for the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project where she developed a national community of practice for land-based beginning farmer training programs. Eva’s passion for creating a sustainable food system is motivated by the desire to ensure everyone has enough to eat, farmers are able to make a living off the land, and communities are healthy and resilient. She has a Masters of Science from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and a Bachelors degree from Mount Holyoke College. Eva lives in Providence, RI with her husband and baby boy and enjoys cooking, reading science fiction, and knitting tiny things for her little one.
My first food memory is: Eating medjool dates dipped in tahini at the kitchen table with my mother.
If you came to my house for dinner, I would make you:
Improvised seasonal soup with ingredients from my CSA and whatever I can find in the cupboards, a loaf of crusty sesame bread from the bakery down the street, a fresh salad, and apple crumble for desert.
Craig is a seasoned finance and operations executive with over 25 years of experience working in both the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds. During his 20 year career in the financial services industry, Craig worked at American Express, JP Morgan Chase and American International Group. He was also a founding partner and Chief Operating Officer at a boutique management consulting company, GFR Consulting.
Craig’s not-for-profit sector work started as Board President for a large social services agency on Long Island called ACDS. And for a brief time he was also their interim Executive Director, and is currently an Advisory Board member. Additionally, he was the Deputy Director of Finance and Operations at the Paul J. Aicher Foundation here in Hartford. Craig also is on the Board of Oak Hill (CT Institute for the Blind), the state’s largest, privately held social services agency, and is a member of the board’s Finance Committee.
But first of all, Craig considers himself a husband and father. He and his wife Deb together have five children and live in West Hartford. Craig teaches religious education to special needs children at St. Peter Claver Parish in West Hartford. Craig and Deb enjoy trying to stay in shape despite their love of cooking and eating.
My first food memory is: As an eight year old, cooking chicken cutlets, as my very pregnant mother was supervising me from the kitchen table. She couldn’t stand up anymore and gave birth to my brother later that night. That started a tradition that continues today, of my mom and I cooking together.
If you came to my house for dinner tonight, I would make you: Grilled or pan seared lemon, garlic chicken breasts, topped with homemade tomato and Vidalia onion bruschetta. A small seasonal salad and wine of course.
Katie Merritt is responsible for coordinating research across Wholesome Wave’s initiatives. Prior to joining Wholesome Wave, Katie learned to advocate for a fairer food system interning at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in Washington, DC. There she was able to articulate the interconnections between agriculture and human health, including agriculture’s role in climate change mitigation and adaptation while completing a graduate degree in Environmental and Occupational Health at the George Washington University. As an avid supporter of small- and mid-sized farms, Katie first learned to cook using local and seasonal produce while studying health through a multidisciplinary lens in Boulder, CO. As her love for food grew and her degree came to a close, she moved to California living around the Bay for two years while managing a large kitchen. For fun, Katie can be found playing with her hula hoops, cooking, or on long hike.
My first food memory is: A sign of things to come, I recall noting to a peer in elementary school that the white marks on his finger tips were due to a zinc deficiency and that he should eat some olives to solve that.
If you came to my house for dinner, I would make you: I would roast you a chicken with veggies soaking up the fat underneath.
Maryanne is responsible for establishing partnerships and managing nutritional incentive activities funded by the USDA Double Value Coupon Program on the Wholesome Wave team working across 17 states. Prior to joining Wholesome Wave, Maryanne spent over a decade growing youth and women’s development programs while living in sub Saharan Africa. She began her career volunteering at WIC and supporting Partners in Healthy Babies hotline in New Orleans for the office of Public Health. Maryanne is excited to apply her experience growing local networks to benefit American businesses and diverse families in need. Maryanne holds a Masters in Public Health degree from Tulane University and a Bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University. She lives in Waterbury, CT with her husband and two sons.
My first food memory is: eating our family vegetable garden’s harvest, first miniature corn and then endless zucchini. I was about 5 years old and living north of Boston. My mom is second generation Irish and her relatives had a large farm in central New Jersey. Her childhood was consumed by summer harvests and canned goodness. She wanted to do the same for her family, except results were inconsistent and thus memorable.
If you came to my house for dinner, I would make you: a version of a Kenyan curry with local spices, sautéed greens and chapatti. My Kenyan husband would make his mom’s chapatti recipe and I would make the curry.
Lauren is responsible for managing a portfolio of DVCP operators within Wholesome Wave’s national network, helping them to develop capacity and programmatic self-sufficiency. Her heart lies in working to ensure all people regardless of place or means have access to real food and to support farmers who act as stewards of the land. Lauren has earned degrees in English, public health nutrition, and culinary arts and has held multiple positions in these fields: as writer, editor, personal chef, and public health practitioner. A lover of fruits and vegetables, Lauren finds not much more beautiful than a ripe slice of watermelon – red with black seeds, like from her childhood. She lives happily in Brooklyn.
My first food memory is: eating stove-top popcorn drizzled with melted butter and salt in my parents’ bed with my family of 4 for Friday night TV.
If you came to my house for dinner, I would make: something Asian, spicy, and loaded with veggies – a Thai curry, and Indian dal, a Vietnamese bahn mi chay?
Elizabeth is so excited to join Wholesome Wave as an Associate with the Double Value Coupons Program. Her passion for food and food systems is rooted in her experience growing up in the rural Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. After graduating from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and International Studies, Elizabeth moved to Western Colorado to serve as an Americorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America). She has spent the past year working as the Local Foods Access Coordinator and exploring the beautiful San Juan Mountains. Elizabeth sees an inextricable link between sustainable food systems, food access and health equity and is excited to be working at the intersection of these issues. She loves the outdoors and is always looking for new adventures, especially if they involve hiking, cycling, camping or snowboarding.
My first food memory: I remember standing on a footstool next to the kitchen counter helping my father stuff manicotti shells. Both of our hands were covered in the gooey green spinach filling, which made me laugh and laugh. I felt so special that I was allowed to help perform what was, in my mind, one of my father’s most sacred tasks.
If you came to my house for dinner, I would make you: spicy red curried lentils with seasonal veggies, a big salad from the garden, and cast iron peach cobbler topped with bourbon whipped cream for dessert.
Andy Ollove helps to develop programs that strengthen local supply chains by connecting food from small farms to low-income consumers. Prior to Wholesome Wave, Andy worked with City Harvest and Just Food in NYC where he supported programs that connect local farms to food-insecure residents and worked with grocery retailers to improve produce offerings. Andy graduated from NYU Gallatin with a B.A. in Urban Studies and Sociology. His focus there was in learning how broken systems perpetuate structural inequity, paying extra attention to those whose voices are heard the least. At Wholesome Wave, he is excited to work as part of a team that is working to rebuild the food system in a just and sustainable way. Andy lives in Brooklyn where he spends as many afternoons as he can making tiny jokes in parks around the city.
My first food memory is: my grammy laughing at me because I poured milk into the bowl before the cheerios.
If you came to my house for dinner, I’d probably make you: a fresh juice and a sandwich with fresh bread from Sunset Park and whatever vegetables are up in the garden that night. Summer squash and cherry tomatoes if you came tonight.
Janel will oversee the day-to-day finance operations for Wholesome Wave. She is a certified public accountant and has worked in both the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds, most recently within risk management for a financial services firm. Janel also teaches business courses at Post University and serves as the Treasurer of the Board for Girls on the Run of Greater New Haven. Janel is passionate about serving the community and is thrilled to be able to work alongside a talented group of people, championing for a worthy cause. Janel holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of New Haven and a Bachelors in Accounting from Lynchburg College. She lives in Hamden, CT and in her spare time enjoys cooking, competing in Tough Mudders and playing kickball in New Haven’s league.
First food memory: Making tasty treats in my Easy-Bake oven.
If you came to my house for dinner I would make: Salmon en croute with lemon dill sauce and steamed vegetables.
Terri is personal executive assistant to CEO and Founder, Michel Nischan, supporting him in all of his day-to-day activities, as well as adding heft to his office’s emerging marketing and event strategies. Prior to joining Wholesome Wave, Terri worked with leading marketing and event firms in the celebrity food world, and produced high-profile events and accredited education programs for the hospitality industry. Partnering with state and local groups, she introduced topics such as sustainable seafood, green restaurant practices, and buying local to regional culinary/foodservice communities. She is an advocate for conservation, and a more sustainable food system, with a belief that raising awareness is the first step to implementing change. Terri is an adventurous cook, loves the outdoors, music and travel. She lives in Wilton, CT with her son, Golden Retriever, and kitty.
My first food memory is: Picking black grapes hanging from the trellis overhead in my grandfather’s garden. The plump green circles of flesh, easily sliding out of the bitter dark skins, and the sweet smell of ripened fruit filled the air.
If you came to my house for dinner, I would make you: A culinary cocktail, with herbs and bitters. Honey glazed salmon, broccoli rabe sautéed with garlic and oil, and warm fregola.
Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Margaret fell in love with food at the age of three at her first bite of a tempura roll. Independent and studying away from home since grade school, Margaret learned the fine art of ordering take-out and rarely set foot in a kitchen. It was after working countless late nights as a television producer in Manhattan, dining at many of the great restaurants of the world, when Margaret realized it was truly time to learn to cook the beautiful food she was enjoying, rather than order it. She left her job in New York and entered the professional program at Tante Marie’s Cooking School in San Francisco – ranked in the top 10 private culinary schools in the country by Gourmet Magazine. At Tante Marie’s, Margaret became dedicated to learning about local, seasonal foods and the best ways to prepare them. This led her to an externship at Chez Panisse in Berkeley and to Slow Food International as a member and supporter of sustainable farming – passionate about how our food choices affect the rest of the world. Later Margaret became the private chef for musical icon Prince, and soon after combined her two careers in food and entertainment as the Culinary Producer for successful food shows on Bravo, Cooking Channel, Food Network and FOX. Margaret has worked for notable chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Michael Chiarello, Michel Nischan and Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson. Her culinary media experience lead her to lead the celebrity chef marketing partnerships for Delta Air Lines, and later to head up culinary marketing for the healthy frozen food start up, Luvo. Her uniquely diverse skills execute high profile projects that deliver successful results and she is thrilled to be a part of the incredible team at Wholesome Wave. Margaret lives in Fairfield, CT with her husband Garrett and their one-year-old son, Teddy.
My first food memory is: My first (favorite) food memory is when I was sitting at a sushi bar with my sister as a kid, and I had never tried anything except tempura. The sushi chef reached over the counter, took one of my shrimp tempura, wrapped it into a beautiful “sushi” roll and handed it back to me. It was probably the moment I fell in love with food.
If you came to my house for dinner tonight, I would make you: I would make…my favorite simple (easy meal) seared salmon rice bowl with wilted Kai Lan (Asian greens).
Molly is the FoodCorps service member for the 2015-2016 year. Prior to Wholesome Wave, Molly has spent her time as a sharecropper on a student farm, advocated for local Connecticut farmers in the “Buy 10% Local” campaign, worked in the first year of New Haven Farms, and has engaged herself learning the intricacies of what makes a healthy and sustainable food system possible. As a highly motivated, creative, and realistic individual, Molly truly sees a future for herself working in the realm of food policy – with Wholesome Wave a perfect place to start that venture. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Resource Economics from the University of Connecticut. Within her Economics degree, she graduated with a dual concentration in Environmental Policy and International Development, as well as obtaining a minor in Women’s Studies. She is from the small town of North Branford, CT. Molly finds pleasure in her passion for photography, and loves discovering local musicians and the feeling of community at smaller concerts in Connecticut. She takes comfort in long runs and hilly bike rides, as well as cuddles with her big orange cat named Simba.
My first food memory is: Making homemade peach pie with my dad late in the summer each year – it was tradition. When my family moved, we took the peach tree from our old home with us, because our Italian neighbors were able to grow it for us from a pit! It had always been special symbol for my family, and gave us a bounty of delicious fruit every year.
If you came to my house for dinner tonight, I would make you: Because my family just received eggplant in our farmshare this week, I would make you some eggplant parmesan served with a fresh garden salad, and a plate of my favorite Italian cheeses (burrata, scamorza, and pecorino) to start!
Darrow Isaacman-VanWertz works to build strong regional food systems by connecting local food businesses with mission-driven investors. She provides business planning, investor coordination, and deal structuring assistance to food hubs that serve small farmers and low-income customers. She also develops and shares resources based on the HFCI team’s work. Darrow’s background includes food systems projects for a credit union’s commercial lending division, active transportation advocacy, and community organizing. She believes in the potential of regional food systems to improve health, strengthen economies, and minimize environmental degradation. Darrow has a Masters in Public Policy from Duke and a BA in history from Yale. Originally from North Carolina, Darrow now lives in New Haven where the smells of the city’s famous pizza waft through her windows.
My first food memory is: Visiting my grandparents in California and eating orange and red raspberry “hats” off my fingers.
If you came to my house for dinner, I would make you: Shrimp and grits.
Laura Downing, Fund Xpansion Officer, is responsible for relationship management with external partner foundations as well as supporting the development department in securing sustainable institutional funding. Prior to joining Wholesome Wave, Laura served as the Associate Development Director for the Riverbrook Regional YMCA where she helped grow their financial resources by cultivating new funding sources. After graduating with a BFA from Adelphi University, Laura worked for several financial institutions where she developed her analytical skills. Several years ago, she switched gears to work in nonprofit financial development and has never looked back! Laura is passionate about health and food advocacy. She is thrilled to be part of an organization that engages the whole community in talking about food, equity and ways we can rebuild our food system from the ground up. Laura lives in Wilton, CT with her son Max and she enjoys the beach, spending time with family and friends and of course, enjoying great food!
My first food memory is: Picking apples at a beautiful farm in Rhinebeck, NY that overlooked the Hudson River then making delicious fresh applesauce with my mom.
If you came to my house for dinner, I would make you: Chilled sesame soba noodles with shrimp and avocado. For dessert, homemade butterscotch pudding.
Ed Kelly is Chief Xpansion Officer, heading up Wholesome Wave’s Marketing and Development teams. By drawing on his deep relationships and developing innovative alliances, Kelly identifies and capitalizes on opportunities to realize the next level of Wholesome Wave’s growth.
In his more than 25 years at American Express Publishing, Kelly led significant bottom-line growth by diversifying the portfolio through organic investment and global expansion, serving as CEO and President for nearly 15 years until its sale to Time Inc. in 2013. Kelly oversaw affluent lifestyle brands Travel + Leisure, Departures, Food & Wine, Executive Travel and Black Ink, including their respective print, digital and experiential initiatives.
He has leadership expertise building, growing and revitalizing magazine brands in extremely challenging environments, and a distinctive ability to identify and capitalize on business opportunities to drive revenue and profits, by leveraging strategic assets and developing innovative, client solutions to win in the marketplace. He is highly regarded for building alliances; developing, inspiring, and retaining talent; and creating a high-performance culture of collaboration, innovation, passion and fun.
Kelly’s charitable commitments are also significant. He serves as a board member of the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club and co-founded The Kelly Gang, a group of fellow Kellys, who have together raised over $700,000 for charity.
Gabrielle is Communications Manager, handling Wholesome Wave’s public-facing communications including website, video, social media, press relations and printed materials. Before joining Wholesome Wave, Gabrielle Langholtz was Communications Manager of the NYC Greenmarkets for eight years and editor-in-chief of the James Beard Award-winning magazines Edible Manhattan & Edible Brooklyn for nine. She’s also author of The New Greenmarket Cookbook, which NPR called one of the best books of 2015. A former vegetarian married to a livestock farmer, she has tapped sugar maples, foraged knotweed, gotten in the way of swarming bees and been bitten by a ewe, but spends most of her time typing. Her favorite vegetable is the Kentucky Wonder bean.
Sandy is a Program Manager reporting to the VP of Programs. Prior to joining Wholesome Wave Sandy spent 15+ years in direct-to-consumer marketing. She managed brands in the beauty, banking, healthcare, supplements and CPG sectors to name a few. She is now sharing her talents to focus on meaningful non-profit work. Sandy holds a B.A. from The College of Wooster.
Sandy has been educating her family for years about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle with food as fuel. She vehemently believes that everyone should have the opportunity to live their best and healthiest life, beginning with fruits and vegetables on their tables. She encourages everyone to improve food equality among neighbors.
Sandy lives an active lifestyle with her husband and 3 children. She resides in Milford and is an avid crossfitter.
My first food memory is: My mother’s backyard garden, eating everything from fresh peapods to strawberries while sitting in the dirt.
If you came to my house for dinner tonight, I would make you: Depending on the season, we’d probably grill. I know for sure we’d have coconut ice-cream and berries for dessert.