FERN Board

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.

Aileen Burdick lives in Rye, NY with her husband and four children. Since leaving Wall Street for motherhood, she has held various volunteer positions in schools, town and other nonprofit organizations. Aileen enjoys reading, organic gardening and occasionally loves to cook. She is passionate about food being nutritious and satisfying.

Lori Fontanes—writer/photographer/backyard farmer—grows over twenty kinds of fruits, vegetables, cover crops and heritage waterfowl on land previously used for lawn. Her work has appeared in publications such as Backyard Poultry, Countryside, Acres, Grit and EcoWatch. Lori lives in Rye, New York where she serves on the city’s Conservation Commission/Advisory Committee and Sustainability Committee as well as the YMCA Cross-District Wellness Committee. She speaks frequently about healthy food and the environment for various community organizations.

Samuel 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.

Joanne Kelley is Chief Executive Officer of Philanthropy Colorado and a board member of United Philanthropy Forum, the national network of organizations that provide leadership, education and advocacy for foundations and philanthropic agencies. A graduate of the master’s program at Northwestern University’s Medill School, she worked for more than two decades as a journalist in Washington, New York, Chicago and Denver covering a variety of topics including the environment, agriculture and nonprofits, as well as Congress, Wall Street and the high-tech sector. Her other passions include: All things food, hiking with her family and serving on the Board of Trustees of her alma mater Wells College in upstate New York.

Susan West was executive editor of FERN from 2011 to 2015. As a principal of West Gold Editorial consulting, she has helped launch magazines such as Dwell and advised publications and websites from Cooking Light to WebMD. She co-founded Health magazine, which won four National Magazine Awards during her tenure. She was the founding editor in chief of the travel magazine AFAR and executive editor of Smithsonian magazine.