Dan Pullman Chair is a Boston-based investor and advisor to sustainable food and agri/aqua-culture companies. He is the founding President of Sprout Lenders, LLC, an investment group focused on farmers, producers, and food system entrepreneurs that serve the greater Boston area. Dan is Chairman of the Spence Group which creates collaborative solutions with investment, philanthropic, and program partners to drive the expansion of local and sustainable food system solutions. Dan spent the last 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. In addition to FERN, Dan is active on various Boards including Yale’s Sustainable Food Project, FarmPlate, and HopSkoch. He graduated from Yale College and the Yale School of Management.
Nat Brown was the Chief Technology Officer at iLike and previously Senior Vice President at Microsoft. While there, he created and evangelized the ActiveX/COM object model in the early 1990s and had a primary role in the creation of XML, DHTML, and the first XBox. Brown was at Microsoft from 1990 to 1999 after which he served briefly as CTO at CAC Media, which sells software services for set-top boxes. He has informally advised numerous startups, currently write apps for iOS, and engages in local angel investing. Brown lives in Seattle with his family.
Alison 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 Univiersity’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.
Paula 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 Nation, The Washington Post and The New York Times online.
Samuel Fromartz Editor-in-Chief 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 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.
Ralph 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.
Mike 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.
Naomi 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 Yorker, Vanity Fair, GQ 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.
Susan 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, ConsumerReports.org, 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.
Leslie 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.