Melina is the Director of the Oregon Farm to School & School Garden Network. Melina has been active in the farm to school and school garden movement for many years. She helped to found Rogue Valley Farm to School in southern Oregon where she served as Program Director for 12 years. Melina holds a MS in Environmental Education and lives on a small homestead in southern Oregon with her husband and two children. She enjoys hiking, gardening, pottery and cooking with her family.
Wren is the Operations Manager of the Oregon Farm to School & School Garden Network. After 10 years working within the insurance industry, she began her farm to school journey working at the Oregon Dept of Education helping to administer the Oregon Farm to School grants. She has loved every step since. Wren studied musical theater in New York City, and now enjoys annoying her children by belting out broadway soliloquies. She also enjoys baking, gardening, and board games with her family.
FoodCorps Service Member
Nadia is the FoodCorps service member for the Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network. Since 2014 she has been a garden and culinary educator for nonprofits in California, Oregon and Colorado, and now is excited to be involved in Farm to School in Oregon. She has a B.A. in Global Food Systems from the University of Redlands. When she’s not out in a garden (or these days, behind a computer with her dog at her feet) she is outside snowboarding or hiking, or in the kitchen taking up every inch of counter space and trying out new recipes.
Jaime is a proud immigrant from Las Ranas, Michoacan, Mexico. He has over 16 years of experience working in community-based non-profit organizations. Some of his favorite roles have included: tour guide, smiles provider, peace maker, convener, agitator (with a smile), storyteller, and wannabe graphic designer and handy Person. Jaime enjoys running, spending time with family, volunteering, and watching sports. His favorite foods are mole and sandwiches. He’s been happily married for 11 years to his beautiful wife Aracely and is a proudparent of two daughters.
Molly has worked in the field of Farm to School in Oregon for over a decade. A graduate of The UCSC Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture- Molly loves creating opportunities for children and families to access healthful foods and learn about how it's grown. Molly has worked as a Sustainable Agriculture Educator at Kalapuya High School for five years - coordinating educational opportunities on the Bethel Farm for students ranging from kindergarten through highschool. Molly lives on a homestead outside of Eugene with her spouse, 2 year old daughter, 2 cats and 9 chickens.
Suzanne has served as the Grants Manager for EMSWCD for over seven years. She oversees grants for restoration, urban gardening, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture and environmental education. She served on the EMSWCD’s Equity Team for four years and has led changes toward more equitable grantmaking. Her Masters Degree is in Wildland Resource Science from U.C. Berkeley. A resident of Northeast Portland, Suzanne loves to garden, hike and read.
With nearly 20 years of experience in nonprofit leadership and fundraising, Sheila has been putting her faith in topsoil and planting sequoias for a while now. When she’s not glued to her computer or trying to change the world, you’ll find her laughing with her daughter, talking to her chickens or hiking in the woods whenever possible.
Angela has 15+ years of experience teaching and learning about food in four states. She has worked in early childhood and elementary school classrooms, kitchens, on farms, and in gardens with students, teachers, families, farmers, chefs, and cafeteria staff.
Originally from Southern Oregon, Dr. Creighton Helms has over a decade of experience as a former high school science teacher and current elementary school administrator. Prior to a career in education, he served as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. He has a passion for connecting with Gervais and surrounding communities, and sees the OFSSGN as an outstanding opportunity to do just that!
Edward Hill is an innovator and driver of work at the intersections of food justice, food systems improvement, and BIPOC food economies for Black and Brown People in the Pacific Northwest. Starting as an organic small-acre farmer apprentice in Olympia, WA, he continues to promote and demonstrate how community-based food systems, equity, and green workforce development intersect. He has advocated for innovative environmental and food-based programs and business development for the Black community in the Northwest.
Danielle’s background is in experiential and culturally-responsive nature education, mindful practices and equity work. In her role at OHSU, she facilitates all middle school components of the university’s health science pathways program for racially diverse 6-12th grade students. Danielle loves working with people and with land, and finds nothing more fulfilling than helping a human or non-human friend grow.
Michelle is a mom on a mission to make it easy to raise happy, healthy kids and help our farmers prosper. For over 25 years she has gotten her hands dirty on farms 4-4,000 acres in size, taught in school gardens, researched ways to make it easier to get local foods on our tables, and then advocated for policies that do just that. Michelle helped craft the first farm to school and school garden legislation in Oregon, establish the Oregon Farm to School & School Garden Network, and shape the farm to school program at the Oregon Department of Education. She served as the first Western Regional Lead to the National Farm to School Network, directed FoodCorps in Oregon, and served as the Farm to School Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Ecotrust. Michelle also helped launch a national school food company, and founded the country’s first farm to school edutainment production company to close the gap between nutrition education in the cafeteria, classroom and community. She lives in the heart of the Willamette Valley with her two growing boys. Michelle’s favorite vegetable to grow is eggplant.
You can often find Aaron canning and fermenting whatever comes across his kitchen counter, exploring new trails across the state, or looking for a new book to read (preferable in a hammock). When he’s not outside or in the kitchen, Aaron works with communities around the state to place emerging AmeriCorps leaders in schools, where they support young folks in building a healthy relationship with their food. It’s an honor to serve on the Network Steering Committee, as we continue to build our farm to school community across Oregon.
Rikkilynn Starliper has served as the Child Nutrition Director for the Umatilla School District since 2013. During this time, she has established herself as a dedicated champion for child nutrition. She understands the crucial role nutrition plays in supporting student learning and works to ensure students have access to healthful meals throughout the school day, as well as evenings, Saturdays and summers. Her most recent project involved converting a vehicle into a mobile food van so students throughout the community can participate in out-of-school meals. Rikkilynn is relied upon throughout the region and across the state for her knowledge, most notably in the areas of Community Eligibility, Farm to School, community partnerships and Wellness Planning.
As Program Officer for Gray Family Foundation, Nell is committed to increasing access to resources and opportunities that unify youth and communities in their efforts to be strong stewards of their environments, their health, and each other. She has worked as a garden-based educator, program manager, evaluator, and grant manager in schools, youth-serving organizations, local government, and at a national child health nonprofit. Nell has a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Policy from Portland State University, with focus on food justice and place-based education and proudly serves on the Think Tank (formerly known as the Board of Directors) for Growing Gardens. She lives in Northeast Portland with her family and loves to grow veggies in her garden, play on her basketball team, and hang out in the forest with her kid.
Karen has spent two decades working to expand access, availability and affordability of fresh local farm products in Eastern Oregon. Her work began as a founder and developer of regional farmers’ markets, and director of the OR Farmers’ Markets Association, leading to work with the regional food bank conducting community food assessments, and feasibility studies for food system infrastructure and expansion. Working now to raise awareness of and participation in the local food system with school administration, teachers and students, providing experiential education in the garden, classrooms and the kitchen!