National Food Recovery Dialogue Keynote Speaker: Jessica Felix-Romero, PhD.


Jessica Felix-Romero, PhD. is the communications director at Farmworker Justice, a national advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of farmworkers in the United States. She has more than 7 years of strategic communication and messaging experience about the food system and is enthusiastic to support the Food Recovery Network in being the leading organization fighting food waste and feeding communities. Her doctorate is in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University where she developed her research expertise in food systems and conflict. Her research using the sustainable agriculture model of permaculture as a peacebuilding and community development tool continues inspire her to explore the interconnections between food and social justice.

Dean of University of D.C. CAUSES, host of NFRD 2017: Dr. Sabine O'Hara

Dr. Sabine O'Hara is Dean and Director of Land-grant Programs for the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). As Dean of CAUSES, she is responsible for academic, research and community outreach programs in the tradition of landgrant universities, and is leading the University’s efforts to building a cutting edge model for Urban Agriculture and Urban Sustainability that improves the quality of life and economic opportunity for urban populations.

Dr. O'Hara earned a doctorate in environmental economics and a master's degree in agricultural economics from the University of Göttingen, Germany. She serves on the board of directors of several national and international organizations including as president of the International Society for Ecological Economics, International Advisory Board member of King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah, and editorial board member of several academic journals.



stacy carroll

Stacy Carroll holds a masters degree from Wagner College, and has spent the majority of her career as an event planner, and consultant for the hospitality and consumer food industries.  At Hungry Harvest she is the face of partnerships, working to connect organizations with actionable opportunities to increase their sustainability efforts, and join the fight against food waste and hunger. Most recently, she was an invited educator on the topic of food waste for the James Beard Foundation/Chef Action Network Bootcamp at Glynwood Farm, NY. She resides in the District of Columbia with her partner and their Yorkshire terrier, Little.


Kaimana Chee

Kaimana Chee is the Executive Chef of Uncle’s Hawaiian Grindz, a modern Hawaiian restaurant located just north of Baltimore, MD.  Additionally, he is a Culinary Concierge Chef for Hampton Creek and an advocate for their “Just” product line promoting sustainable and healthier food products across the nation. Chef Kaimana was born and raised in Hau'ula, HI, a small town on the north shore of O'ahu.  Growing up in the “catering business,” Kaimana learned his craft from his parents, grandparents, and other relatives who specialized in traditional Polynesian, Hawaiian and Asian cooking techniques. While he never attended formal culinary school, Kaimana honed in on those techniques through his travel across the continental U.S. and Japan.

jonathan deutsch, ph.d.

Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D., is Professor of Culinary Arts and Food Science at Drexel University. He is the James Beard Foundation Impact Fellow, leading a national curriculum effort on food waste reduction for chefs and culinary educators.  Before moving to Drexel, Deutsch built the culinary arts program at Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York (CUNY) and the Ph.D. concentration in food studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. At Drexel, he oversees the Drexel Food Lab, a culinary innovation and food product research and development lab focused on solving real world food system problems in the areas of sustainability, health promotion, and inclusive dining. He is the author or editor of seven books including Barbecue: A Global History (with Megan Elias), Culinary Improvisation, and Gastropolis: Food and Culture in New York City (with Annie Hauck-Lawson) and numerous articles in journals of food studies, public health and hospitality education. He earned his Ph.D. in Food Studies and Food Management from New York University (2004), his culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America  (AOS, Culinary Arts, 1997), and is an alumnus of Drexel University (BS, Hospitality Management, 1999). A classically trained chef, Deutsch worked in a variety of settings including product development, small luxury inns and restaurants. When not in the kitchen, he can be found behind his tuba.

steven finn pic.JPG

Steven Finn

Steven Finn is the Vice President of Food Waste Prevention for LeanPath. In this role, he leads our teams in helping our clients take control of their food waste, reducing waste and costs while engaging employees to institute a culture of food waste prevention. He is also a member of the LeanPath leadership team with extensive experience and expertise in food waste reduction and prevention strategies, speaking frequently at industry events and providing education and leadership for our clients. Most recently, Steven was the Managing Director of ResponsEcology, a sustainability and change management consulting firm helping organizations to reduce waste and drive transformational culture change with triple bottom line impact. Steven combines 25 years of strategy and control experience in the supply chain sector with a passion for sustainability and conscious capitalism. He has conducted extensive research into the problems of food security, water security, and global food waste, and has developed innovative public-private partnerships to capture and redistribute excess food to mitigate hunger.

PGentry headshot.png

Patty Gentry

Patty Gentry joined No Kid Hungry in 2008 and began her journey on the fundraising side, supporting  over 80 culinary events. In early 2014, Patty’s passion for ending childhood hunger and the role young leaders could play in the solution brought her to take on the role as Senior Manager of Grassroots Advocacy & Youth Engagement. She is working to create long-term, meaningful engagement opportunities for young leaders and individuals in the fight to end childhood hunger. Originally from Sims, Indiana, Patty attended Manchester College, and joined No Kid Hungry after working with several youth and hunger & homelessness-focused nonprofits in Indiana and Washington, D.C. Most recently as program coordinator for the Institute on Philanthropy &; Voluntary Service, where she advised and supported college students throughout the service-learning immersion program. In her spare time, she
loves to be outside biking, hiking and walking around as many historic downtowns as possible.

tony sky veggies pic 2 .jpg

Tony Hillery

Tony Hillery is the Founder and Executive Director of Harlem Grown. Tony founded Harlem Grown in 2011 to address the health and academic challenges facing public elementary school students in Harlem. Prior to starting Harlem Grown, Tony owned and managed the limousine business TZR Transportation, a ground transportation service catering to the entertainment industry. Having worked in the fast-paced, profit-driven industry with Hollywood A-listers and corporate executives, Tony found himself wanting to give back to his community in New York City. Tony had also experienced personal challenges growing up and wanted to mentor youth as they become young adults, teaching them to take care of themselves and our planet. Harlem Grown has continued to expand to serve over 4,000 students per year while growing and providing over 3,000lbs of fruits and vegetables to children and families in Harlem. Tony continues to inspire youth and adults alike and has touched thousands of lives through his work at Harlem Grown. Tony is a 2017 CNN Hero nominee.


Kate Johnson

Kate Johnson is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at GRACE Communications Foundation. Her interest in sustainable food systems emerged while earning a BA in Environmental Studies from Skidmore College with a concentration in environmental health and food systems policy. In her position at GRACE, Kate helps to direct the Foundation's issue advocacy campaigns, pitch initiatives to peer organizations and media publications, and manages the Foundation's robust social media presence. Kate is incredibly passionate about strategic communications, and is a firm believer in the power of words and media as tools for positive social change.

Ellen Meyer.jpg

Ellen Meyers

Ellen Meyer is an economist working on the sustainable management of food at EPA. She works to improve measurement and analysis of food loss and waste, promoting the US goal of reducing food loss and waste 50% by 2030. Before that, Ellen managed membership for City Parks Alliance and worked for the Mayor’s Office in Baltimore as an AmeriCorps VISTA doing greening projects on vacant lots, helping to create and maintain community green spaces. Ellen holds a bachelor’s degree in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University and a master’s degree in Environmental Policy from George Washington University.


Katherine Miller

Katherine Miller is an award-winning communications executive, campaign strategist and social media expert. She is the Founding Executive Director of the Chef Action Network (CAN), a nonprofit organization giving back to the chefs who cook from their souls, donate their time and talent, and help us better understand the many complex issues related to food. Miller is also the Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy at the James Beard Foundation where she oversees the Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change along with program areas designed to influence positive changes in public policy and industry practices. In September 2017, she was named “The 2017 Most Innovative Woman in Food and Drink” byFortune and Food & Wine. In her professional life, before food politics, she developed and managed integrated campaigns for many of the world’s leading social responsible corporations and major foundations including TIAA-CREF, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and the United Nations Foundation. he is a graduate of Loyola University of New Orleans and in her free time she is perfecting her bread baking techniques.

Brenda Platt headshot 2016.jpg

Brenda Platt

Brenda Platt leads the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Composting for Community program, which is advancing
composting to create jobs, enhance soils, and reduce waste. She has authored numerous reports including “The State
of Composting in the US” and “Growing Local Fertility: Guide to Community Composting.” She has been licensed
to operate commercial compost facilities in Maryland. In 2017, she received the USCC’s H. Clark Gregory Award
for outstanding service to the composting industry.

Sandson Head Shot.jpg

Katie Sandson

Katie Sandson is a Clinical Fellow in the Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) at Harvard Law School, where she provides legal and policy guidance to community advocacy groups, state agencies, and non-profits who are working to improve the food system. Katie also co-leads FLPC’s Food Waste Reduction initiative, which advocates for policy changes to decrease food waste. Katie received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2017.

395993_371509636253019_1829344293_n-1 (1).jpg

Josh Singer

Josh Singer, as the DC Parks and Recreation (DPR) Community Garden Specialist, builds community gardens, urban farms and develops urban Ag support systems, such as an urban garden education series with over 100 urban Ag classes a year, a garden tool share, greenhouse cooperatives, and a 50+ site community compost cooperative network serving over a 1000 active composters.  Josh is also the a co-founder and co-director of the DC’s urban Ag and food security cooperative resource network called DUGNetwork, co-founder and executive Director of the DC Food Recovery Working Group, and developed and manages the social justice websites and

Brian Turner photo.jpeg

Brian Turner

Brian Turner joined the Sodexo Quality Assurance/ Food Safety team in July 2001. Presently, Brian is the Director of Product Quality Assurance and leads the food safety efforts for the supply chain as well as in the operations for North America. Additionally, he supports the company’s food safety training programs; third-party standards review process and the maintenance of the company’s Food Safety Management Systems ISO 22000 registration. Also, Brian collaborates with a number of inter stakeholders to ensure consistent application of the food safety standards throughout Sodexo.

Brian has over 30 years of experience in food safety, food security, general safety and public health. This includes management experience in regulatory, retail, food processing, food service and training development. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Health from Illinois State University as well as holding accreditations for Certified Professional in Food Safety, Preventive Control for Human Food Training certificate and a Licensed Environmental Health Practitioner.  


Jenn Yates

Jenn Yates is a food and agriculture systems consultant who has spent the last two decades crafting winning advocacy and strategic communications campaigns. At the Union of Concerned Scientists, Jenn engaged experts and the general public to build support for a healthier, more sustainable food system. Her efforts have helped change the public discourse on how food is produced in the U.S. and taught consumers how to identify and support better alternatives. Jenn previously ran the field operations for two hotly contested political campaigns, worked for a prominent member of Congress, and coordinated the fundraising volunteer program at the Venice Family Clinic in Los Angeles. Jenn holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University and an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Mass Communications from the University of California, Berkeley.

Other NFRD 2017 Special Guests include:

clay arnold

Ona Balkus

Ona Balkus is a legislative counsel for Washington, DC Councilmember Mary Cheh, who chairs the Committee on Transportation and the Environment. Ona’s portfolio includes waste diversion, food policy, clean water, and parks and recreation. Previously, Ona was a Senior Clinical Fellow at the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, where she provided legal and policy guidance to community advocacy groups working to improve their communities’ food systems. Ona also worked on the Clinic’s Food Waste Initiative, where she advocated for policy change to decrease wasted food and promote a wide range of food recovery models. Ona received her J.D./MPH from Harvard Law School and Harvard School of Public Health in 2013.

Lee Cain

andrew cates

Jennifer campbell

Claire Cummings

luc dang

yash desai

Mike Fackler

april hua

Brenna Leasor

courtney newcomer

Kelsey Rogers

thomas straus

Lauren twele

Julian Wyant