Staff and Board

Dan PullmanDan Pullman is Board Chair and a Boston-based investor and advisor to sustainable food and agri/aqua-culture companies. He is a Managing Partner at Fresh Source Capital, LLC, an investment firm focused on the food and agriculture sector and is as a founding member of Sprout Lenders, LLC.  In addition to FERN, Dan is active on various corporate and advisory boards including the Yale Sustainable Food Project, FoodTank, FarmPlate, The Carrot Project and the Fair Food Fund.  Dan spent ten years as investment banker (MLC and Growthstone) for companies in the clean-tech, software, media, and sustainability sectors. Previously, he was an executive in software technology (Excelergy, Swift Rivers, First Data Interactive), consumer products (Cannondale), and media (Sports Illustrated) companies in various leadership roles including CFO, COO and Vice President of Sales.  He graduated from Yale College and the Yale School of Management.

Ralph LoglisciRalph Loglisci is a national food and healthy policy writer and media consultant. He’s served as the director of communications for several national organizations, such as the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, The Berman Institute of Bioethics and Wholesome Wave. Additionally, Ralph spent several years as the Project Director for the Johns Hopkins Healthy Monday Project based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future (CLF). His primary focus was leading behavior change communications research and serving as an advisor to both CLF and the national Meatless Monday campaign. Ralph’s entrance into food and health policy was spurred by his experience of losing 200 lbs. through diet and exercise. Previously he spent nearly 15 years as an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist.

Nat BrownNat Brown Nat Brown is a former Senior Software Architect at Microsoft where he had also served as a programmer and manager, eventually launching the XBox console project. Since leaving Microsoft he has worked for, launched, and sold several software startups. Nat currently builds independent mobile apps, advises and mentors Seattle-area startups, and gets to spend time with his two children and his wife, Tina Tsiakalis, a busy midwife and owner of Center For Birth.

Mike L. RankowitzMike L. Rankowitz is a retired executive of Morgan-Stanley who worked for the company from 1980 until 2001. He has since sat on a number of boards including Carlyle Funds, New York Racing Association, International Dyslexia Association, and Trinity School. He has two sons and lives with his wife in New York City.

Leslie WilliamsLeslie Williams was born and raised in Seoul, Korea. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and Harvard Law School. After an early legal career, she took time off from work to raise her daughter. Leslie then founded and managed The Perennial Chef, a high-end retail prepared food and catering business in Westchester County, NY. (The Perennial Chef closed in 2012). Leslie is an avid organic gardener and adventuresome cook. She has a strong interest in the environment and all things related to food particularly, food safety and security.

Alison CayneAlison Cayne is owner of Haven’s Kitchen, a recreational cooking school, specialty food shop, and event space in Manhattan. Before founding Haven’s Kitchen, Alison began working towards her Masters Degree at New York University’s Food Studies program. In addition, Alison is on the boards of Just Food and Edible Schoolyard NYC, a contributing editor at Domino magazine, and a blogger for Huffington Post and USA Today.

Samuel FromartzSamuel Fromartz is Editor-in-Chief. He is a veteran journalist who focuses on the intersection of the environment, food and sustainable business. He began his career at Reuters news agency in the mid-1980s, working as a correspondent in Washington and as deputy editor for the Reuters Business Report in New York. Since leaving the news agency, his articles have appeared in Inc., Fortune, Business Week, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic magazine’s Life channel, among other publications. He is the author of Organic Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew (Harcourt, 2006) about the evolution of the organic foods industry and is currently working on a book about grains and bread for Viking/Penguin. He lives in Washington, D.C. and blogs at ChewsWise

Tom LaskawyTom Laskawy is a co-founder and Executive Director. A veteran of both online and traditional media with 17 years of management and strategic planning experience for startup organizations in film, television, and the Internet, he is also a Contributing Writer at Grist magazine where he covers food politics and the environment. His writing has been published online in the American Prospect, Slate, The New York Times and The New Republic.

Susan WestSusan West is the Executive Editor of the Food & Environment Reporting Network. Since 1995, her consulting company, West Gold Editorial, has helped launch and improve publications and websites including Dwell, Cooking Light,, and Discovery Communications. Susan has been the founding editor in chief of travel magazine Afar, executive editor of Smithsonian, and a co-founder of Health. Her work at those publications earned four National Magazine Awards and a gold for best magazine from the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism awards. A longtime geek, Susan started her career covering geology and geophysics, climate change, the environment, and health topics at Science News and Science 80 magazines.

Paula CrossfieldPaula Crossfield is a co-founder and Managing Editor. She is a founding editor of Civil Eats, a site with over 40 contributors covering sustainability and food, and has been a contributing producer at The Leonard Lopate Show on New York Public Radio, where she focused on food and food policy issues. Her work has appeared in The NationThe Washington Post and The New York Times online.

Dennis ChamberlinDennis Chamberlin is the Director of Photography for the Food & Environment Reporting Network. He is an associate professor at the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University where he teaches photojournalism and multimedia storytelling. He has over 25 years experience as a photojournalist for a variety of publications including National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, and TIME. A former staff photographer at The Denver Post, he was also a member of the staff atThe Fort Wayne News-Sentinel that was awarded a Pulitzer in 1983. He grew up in the midwest, spent most of his career working in Europe and now calls Iowa home.

Naomi StarkmanNaomi Starkman is Strategic Communications Advisor and a Founding Board Member. She is a founder and editor of Civil Eats, and a food policy consultant to Consumers Union and many others. Naomi served as the Director of Communications & Policy at Slow Food Nation ’08 and has worked as a media consultant at The New YorkerVanity FairGQ and WIRED magazines. She was previously a senior publicist at Newsweek magazine and was the Director of Communications for the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). From 1997 to 2000, she served as Deputy Executive Director of the S.F. Ethics Commission. Naomi works with various clients on food policy and advocacy and is an aspiring organic grower, having worked on several farms.

Chuck AbbottChuck Abbott is a Contributing Editor. With three decades of Washington experience, Abbott is an old hand at covering U.S. food and agriculture policy at the national level, ranging from the “Nutrition Facts” labels on food and the never-ending tussle over food stamp rules to renovation of the farm program. Abbott, who grew up on a farm in northern Illinois, was a long-time Reuters commodities correspondent in Washington after a stint as national farm editor for United Press International. You can sign up for his daily newsletter, the Ag Insider, here on our Web site.

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