Hunger Symposium 2012 – Speakers


Morning Panel: The Food Sourcing Challenge

Moderated by David Grossnickle, Product Sourcing Manager, Feeding America

Mark Alan Hughes, Philadelphia’s first Director of Sustainability, former advisor to Mayor Nutter, member of the Food Charter and Food Policy council, and PennDesign faculty member

Alison Hastings, Manager of the Office of Strategic Partnerships, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission

Carolyn Dimitri, Associate Professor of Food Studies, NYU Steinhardt

John Kasper, Director of Marketing, Agricultural Products Group (APG), North America, FMC

Full bios

Afternoon Panel: Food Sourcing Strategies and Solutions

Moderated by Carolyn Beeler, Health and Science Reporter, WHYY

Greg Boulos, Partner at Blackberry Meadows, and Principal at Hollymead Capital

Diane Letson, Director, Product Sourcing, Retail Partnerships, Feeding America

Gabriella Mora, Project Manager, The Food Trust

Haile Johnston, Founder of Common Market

Full bios


Keynote Speaker:

John W. Fisk, Ph.D, Director, Wallace Center at Winrock International

John W. Fisk, Ph.D

John Fisk, Ph.D, has an extensive history as a national leader in sustainable and equitable food systems.  He currently serves as the Director of the Wallace Center at Winrock International, based in Arlington, Virginia.  Under Fisk’s leadership, the Wallace Center has emerged as a national force in food systems and a leading advocate for a market-based solutions strategy and regional food systems, linking a larger number of people and communities to “good food”— food that is healthy, green, fair, and affordable. Under Fisk’s direction the Wallace Center has implemented the Health Urban Food Enterprise Development initiative which has provided thirty grants, on-going technical assistance and thought leadership in the use of enterprise approaches to addressing food access needs in communities that currently have limited access to healthy food.

Key resources developed at the Wallace Center under the direction of Dr. Fisk include: Regional Food Hub Resource Guide (in partnership with USDA-AMS); Community Food Enterprises- Local Solutions in a Global Marketplace; Innovative Models-Small Grower and Retailer Collaborations; Sysco’s Journey from Supply Chain to Value Chain; and, Charting Growth- Developing Indicators and Measures of Good Food. (see and

Fisk is a founding board member of the Food Routes Network (steward of the Buy Fresh Buy Local brand), and serves as an editorial board member of the Journal of Sustainable Agriculture.  He is an active member of the Sustainable Agriculture Food Systems Funders Group. Prior to joining the Wallace Center, Fisk served as founding board chairperson and later as Director for Programs and Development at Michigan Food and Farming Systems, a statewide sustainable food systems organization, where he lead work to mobilize initiatives that progressed values-driven markets for sustainably produced agricultural products.  Fisk has provided food systems consulting to several Michigan-based organizations including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  In his work with the Kellogg Foundation, he provided strategic leadership to the national Food and Society Initiative (FAS), including assisting in the initiatives design, grantee support and review, and directed the FAS Networking Conference for six years which became one of the premiere conferences in the nation for advancing sustainable and equitable food systems change.

Fisk is a published author of agricultural research and has written several book chapters on sustainable food and farming systems.  He has served as a Fellow in the Donella Meadows Leadership Program for Systems Thinking at the Sustainability Institute and was also awarded a C.S. Mott Fellowship of Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University.   Fisk holds a PhD in Crop and Soil Sciences from Michigan State University, a Masters in Agronomy from University of Missouri-Columbia and a Bachelor degree in Environmental Studies-Agroecology from the University of California-Santa Cruz.

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Special Presentation on the 2012 Farm Bill

Caryn Long

Caryn Long serves as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Council of Feeding America Food Banks. Caryn brings to the Council extensive knowledge about anti-hunger policy and legislation, having previously served as a Senior Policy Analyst in Feeding America’s Washington, D.C. office and as a Congressional Fellow in the Office of Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA) during the consideration of the 2008 Farm Bill. Prior to these experiences, she spent more than 6 years with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Caryn received her undergraduate degree from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, and received an Management from the University of Maryland University College.

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Panelist Bios

Morning Panelists

Mark Alan Hughes is a Distinguished Senior Fellow on the faculty of PennDesign and an Investigator at the US DOE’s Energy Efficient Buildings Hub. He is a Faculty Fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a Senior Fellow of the Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Penn’s Fox Leadership Program. He was Chief Policy Adviser to Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the founding Director of Sustainability for the City of Philadelphia, where he led the creation of the Greenworks Plan. Hughes holds a BA from Swarthmore and a PhD from Penn.

Alison Hastings is the Manager of the Office of Strategic Partnerships at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC). DVRPC is the regional planning forum for the Greater Philadelphia region, with a focus on transportation, land use, the environment and economic growth. Alison manages DVRPC’s Regional Food System Planning project among other projects.  This program illustrates the Commission’s commitment to combining innovative ideas with traditional regional planning processes. DVRPC’s Regional Food System Planning work has received national attention and is often cited as a best practice.  In October 2011, DVRPC’s Eating Here: Greater Philadelphia’s Food System Plan was recognized by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association with a planning excellence award. Besides her work at DVRPC, Alison also serves on Philadelphia’s Food Policy Advisory Council, and is a board member of the Pennsylvania Hunger Action Center.

Carolyn Dimitri, Associate Professor of Food Studies at NYU, is an applied economist with expertise in food systems and food policy. Her research includes a wide range of work on different aspects of the food system. At the farm level, she is studying urban agriculture in 15 cities around the US, with a focus on whether farming in urban areas is profitable for small and medium sized farms. At the consumer level, she examines access to food in NYC, including a spatial analysis of the food environment in Manhattan. Dr. Dimitri is conducting an economic analysis of the effectiveness of economic incentives, provided as matching funds to federal nutrition consumers, on fresh fruit and vegetable consumption. Dr. Dimitri is widely recognized as the leading expert in the procurement and marketing of organic food, and has published extensively on the distribution, processing, retailing, and consumption of organic food. Prior to joining the NYU faculty, Dr. Dimitri worked as a research economist at the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture for more than a decade. She earned a PhD in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a BA in Economics from the University at Buffalo. She blogs at

John Kasper is the Director of Marketing for FMC Corporation. In this role he has been instrumental in leading the Agricultural Products Group, North America, in its strategy and marketing to support and expand the FMC product portfolio. FMC’s goal is to ensure a safe, high quality food supply for consumers through a full line of products designed to promote plant health and sustainability in today’s agricultural markets. At FMC, Kasper has lead the marketing and communication efforts for more than 30 agricultural crop protection products, including positioning new innovative products and chemistries in the marketplace. Prior to joining FMC, Kasper has had an extensive career in agriculture, starting at a Cornell University cooperative for over 10 years, moving to Agway Cooperative as a field crop advisor. He then spent ten years with Gowan Company based in Arizona in sales, marketing and business development functions. John also served as Northeast marketing manager for UAP and then joined NISSO Agriculture in 2002 as the Director of Marketing and was promoted to Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 2006. John is an avid gardener and produces a wide range of crops at home. Kasper is based out of the FMC Corporation headquarters in Philadelphia, Pa.

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Afternoon panelists

Greg Boulos has spent the past seven years in Pittsburgh working for environmental non-profits and as an Eco-Preneur. As an initiator of over 12 ‘green’ companies, he has pioneered efforts in urban homesteading, social enterprise, biofuel education, energy auditing, urban farming, alternative water systems, compost management, LED lighting systems, micro-enterprise, and small-scale manufacturing. During that time, he and his partners acquired Blackberry Meadows, an 85 acre organic farm, which has been producing nutritious food for a healthy community for the last 20 years. Greg spends the majority of his time farming vegetables and maintaining the homestead. He is a principal with Hollymead Capital Partners, developing “long-tail” solutions to local food infrastructure and building community wealth. He also serves as Mid-Atlantic regional governor for Slow Food USA, and serves on the board of the Pennsylvania Farmers Union and Rotary Club of Pittsburgh. Greg holds a Masters of Science in Sustainable Systems from Slippery Rock University.

Diane Letson, Director of Product Sourcing and Retail Partnerships at Feeding America, has been with Feeding America since November 1996 and has held various food sourcing positions including working with nationally recognized, branded manufacturers, piloting a strategic initiative that focused on the local cultivation of food, assisting with network training, and eventually working with retailers to secure donations from the store level. At Feeding America Diane has been instrumental in leading and creating Certified in Food Resources curriculum for food bank members, served as a member of the Legendary Customer Service task force, developed an onboarding process for her department that is used as a “best practices” approach within Feeding America, and served on strategic planning team and pilots.

Gabriella Mora, MPH, Project Manager in Research and Consulting at The Food Trust, has been with the Trust since 2010. Her main project focuses on the emergency food system in Central Montgomery County, PA. Through this work, Gabriella manages a group of food pantries to form the Nutrition Coalition, and together the group focuses on improving the quality of food donations, as well as increasing healthy, fresh food donations. The project has seen a great deal of success in leveraging community partners and resources to help those in need. In addition to her experience in Coalition organization and group strategic planning activities, Gabriella works on several of the Trust’s regional and national food policy initiatives that include the 2012 Farm Bill and City of Philadelphia’s Hunger-Free Hospital Initiative. She earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Health from Temple University in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

Haile Johnston is a Philadelphia-based social entrepreneur who works to improve the vitality of rural and urban communities through food systems reform and policy change. He is the Co-Director and a founder of the Common Market Philadelphia, a nonprofit distribution enterprise that connects communities in the Delaware Valley to sustainable, locally grown food. Common Market operates on a scale that allows it to provide safe, nutritious, fresh and affordable food to all communities while supporting local family farms. The Common Market partners with nearly 100 schools to provide farm-to-school logistics in Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, and is the region’s trusted source for local, farm food.

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