Staff

Melina Barker

Melina Barker

Director

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.

Contact Melina

Wren Huff

Wren Huff

Operations Manager

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.

Contact Wren

Committee Chairs

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Nell Tessman

Fundraising

Nell collaborates with other advisory committee members and staff to support fundraising efforts of the OFSSGN, including identifying prospects, reviewing grant proposals, and supporting alignment between available funding and strategy.

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Kelso Brasunas

Finance

As the Finance Chair, Kelso provides financial oversight for the OFSSGN, in coordination with OFSSGN staff and the Finance Committee. She drafts the budget, approves expenses, time sheets and reconciliations, and provides support to the Operations Manager as they maintain sound financial practices. 

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Nadia Kelem

Communications

Nadia coordinates social media, the quarterly newsletter, website updates and other communications.

She was the FoodCorps service member for the Oregon Farm to School & School Garden Network from 2020-2022.

Contact Nadia

Steering Committee

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Jaime Arredondo | Executive Director, Capaces Leadership Institute

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.

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Suzanne Easton | Grants Program Manager, East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District

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.

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Jill Cuadros | Nutrition Services, Euguene School District 4J

Jill works with Eugene School District 4J to build a scratch-based menu that is local, sustainable, culturally inclusive and seasonally based. Jill is an American Culinary Federation trained chef, as well as an avid back yard gardener & chicken farmer.
 
Jill has multifaceted experience in working with students and nutrition, including Willamalane Parks & Recreation District, Lane Community College and University of Oregon before coming to 4J. Jill specializes in nutrition, children, and culinary arts, with a focus on building sustainable programs through expanding staff & community capacity. Her deep knowledge of day-to-day production cooking operations will help her lead development of infrastructure necessary to expand scratch cooking and nutritional literacy in schools.
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Michelle Welton | Executive Director, Grow Portland

Michelle (She/Her) is the current Executive Director at Grow Portland, a role she's held for three years. A fifth-generation Oregonian, Michelle holds a degree in International Studies, and has over two decades of nonprofit experience. Michelle spent the initial years of her career at numerous Pacific Northwest camps and retreat centers supporting outdoor education, youth and family programming, fundraising events, and retreat center management. Since 2008, Michelle has served throughout the Portland community, primarily in social services and refugee resettlement including roles in volunteer coordination, program management and staff support, community outreach, development, and grant writing and oversight.

Michelle serves as the Board President for the Rose City Rollers, empowering youth and adults through sport and community building. Michelle is a passionate urban gardener, coach, outdoors person, and prides herself on being the world’s greatest aunt.

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Angela Hedstrom | Farm to School Coordinator, Ecotrust

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.

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Rebecca Slosberg | Co-Executive Director of Programs & Staff, Rogue Valley Farm to School

Rebecca has been working with Rogue Valley Farm to School for most of its life as an organization (over a decade) and it has been exciting and amazing to watch it evolve.

I love working together as a small team to be creative and find the best way to connect kids with food, gardens, and farms.  Being outside with students and watching them make a connection or find a peaceful contented moment is what makes this work meaningful for me.

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Nell Tessman | Program Officer, Gray Family Foundation

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.

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Aaron Poplack | Oregon Program Manager FoodCorps (Chair)

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.

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Michelle Markesteyn | Farm to School Coordinator, Oregon State University

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.

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Reeba Daniel | Founder & Garden Leadership, Keep Growing Seeds

Reeba Daniel, she/they, founder of R&ARIE and Keep Growing Seeds has created a self-care support system powered by creating hyper intentional products, wellness event management, food product maker and small business collectives creator.
 
Reeba is a farmer focussed on cultivating medicinal and culinary herbs that are culturally specific, heirloom and ancestral. They are a food autonomist and teach folks how to grow their own food by using easily accessible household items. A passion of theirs is creating access for those marginalized and so serves as the DEI chair for the Farmers Market Fund. Reeba's Keep Growing Seeds Library provides seed rentals to the community and a children's self-care garden.
 
Reeba spends most of their time surrounded by nature and the love of their family. A homeschool caregiver, they employ the empowering act of social justice, foraging, growing food and adaptive sensory experiences to share resiliency skills and grow a self-care toolkit that they have for life. 
 
It is with great excitement to share my skills on the OFFSGN steering committee!
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Karen Wagner | Garden Education manager/Regional Hub Procurement Lead, Sustainable Living Center/Walla Walla Valley Farm to School

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!