FERN Staff

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. His most recent book is In Search of the Perfect Loaf: A Home Baker’s Odyssey (Viking, 2014), a memoir that explores bakers, grains and bread. He lives in Washington, D.C. and blogs at ChewsWise.com. He can be reached at sam@thefern.org.

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 was formerly a Contributing Writer at Grist magazine where he covered food politics and the environment. His writing has been published online in the American Prospect, Slate, The New York Times and The New Republic. He can be reached at toml@thefern.org.

Brent CunninghamBrent Cunningham is the Managing Editor. Cunningham was deputy editor of the Columbia Journalism Review from 2001-2014. He has written for The Washington Post, USA Today, The Nation, Lapham’s Quarterly, CNN.com and Nieman Reports. His critical writing about the media was included in the anthology “Our Unfree Press: One Hundred Years of Radical Media Criticism.” And his writing about food was selected for the “Best Food Writing” anthology in 2012 and 2014. He is at work on a book about a West Virginia town that is trying to build a healthier food culture. It is slated for publication by Simon & Schuster in 2016. He can be reached at brent@thefern.org.

George BlackGeorge Black is Editor-at-Large. In his 30 years in journalism, including stints as foreign editor of The Nation and a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, George Black has written about everything from the civil wars in Central America and the democracy movement in China to climate change in South Asia and energy conflicts in the American West. From 2004-2014 he was executive editor of OnEarth magazine, published by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). He continues to write a regular column for onearth.org and is a frequent contributor to the newyorker.com. His most recent book, Empire of Shadows: The Epic Story of Yellowstone, was a finalist for the 2013 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A frequent traveler to India, he is now at work on a new book, his seventh–a personal journey through the history and culture of the Ganges, to be published by St. Martin’s Press in 2016. He can be reached at george@thefern.org.

Dana Dugan is Social Media Editor. She has worked in the environmental field for over 15 years, including several years in the environmental consulting industry. She has also spent time as an intern at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and as an educator at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. In 2007, she made the move into the world of nonprofit news, joining the team at Environmental Health News/The Daily Climate. She became their assistant editor and took on the task of developing and managing their social media presence until the end of 2014. Dana is a Philadelphia native currently residing in Wilmington, Delaware. She can be reached at dana@thefern.org

Kristina JohnsonKristina Johnson is Assistant Editor. Her writing has appeared at Fast Company, Civil Eats, and The Guardian. She was previously in the trenches of ag policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council, campaigning to remove antibiotics from livestock feed and to reduce food waste. She graduated with a B.A. in Religious Studies from Davidson College, where she led students and farmers in a successful crusade to bring local, sustainable fare to campus. Before moving west, Kristina earned a second degree at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. She can be reached at kristina@thefern.org

Dennis ChamberlinDennis Chamberlin is the Director of Photography. 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. He can be reached at dennis@thefern.org.

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. She can be reached at naomi@thefern.org.

Elizabeth RoyteElizabeth Royte is a Contributing Editor. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash; Bottlemania: How Water Went On Sale and Why We Bought It; and The Tapir’s Morning Bath: Solving the Mysteries of the Tropical Rain Forest, and has written on environmental issues for The New York Times magazine, National Geographic, Harper’s, Outside, and other magazines. Royte is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review and a contributing editor for OnEarth magazine. Her work has been anthologized in The Best American Science Writing for 2004 and for 2009, the environmental omnibus Naked, and Outside Magazine’s Why Moths Hate Thomas Edison. A former Alicia Patterson Foundation fellow, she is the recipient of Bard College’s John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service.

Chuck AbbottChuck Abbott is Editor of FERN’s Ag Insider. 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. He can be reached at chuck@thefern.org.

Courtney EshlemanCourtney Eshleman is the Development Coordinator. She has years of experience in membership and fundraising. Her prior ventures in development were at the Pennsylvania Association for Justice and Longwood Gardens. Courtney grew up in rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where her family has farmed for many generations. She currently resides in Philadelphia. She can be reached at courtney@thefern.org.