FERN Staff

Theodore Ross (he/him)is Editor-in-Chief. He is an editor, writer, and television producer with more than 20 years of experience at national publications, websites, and productions. Prior to joining FERN, he was a Supervising Producer for Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, on Netflix, and Game Theory with Boman Jones, on HBO, running news departments on these satirical news shows. Before that, he was an Executive Editor of The New Republic, and an editor of Harper’s Magazine and Men’s Journal. Stories he edited twice won James Beard Awards for Investigative Journalism, including one in partnership with FERN, as well as a Newswomen’s Club of New York Front Page Award for In-depth Reporting, and other media awards. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, The New Republic, The Atlantic, VICE, BusinessWeek, and many other publications, and he is the author of Am I a Jew?, a memoir published by Penguin in 2012. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and can be reached at [email protected].

Tom Laskawy (he/him) is a co-founder, Publisher and Executive Director of FERN. A veteran of both online and traditional media with over twenty-five years of management and strategic planning experience for startup organizations in film, television, and the Internet, he was also 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 [email protected].

Brent Cunningham (he/him) is Executive Editor. Cunningham was deputy editor of the Columbia Journalism Review from 2001-2014. He has written for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Nation, Pacific Standard, Lapham’s Quarterly, Vox, 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. His writing about food has been included in the Best Food Writing anthology. In 2020, he won a Mirror Award for a piece on the loss of local news in West Virginia. He can be reached at [email protected].

Dana Dugan (she/her) is Audience Engagement Editor. She has over two decades of experience in the environmental sciences. While in college getting her B.S. in Environmental Science, she interned at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. She followed up that experience as an instructor at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. Her professional development continued as she moved into the private sector, where she worked as a consultant, analyzing the impacts of transportation and other construction-related projects on natural resources. After many years in this industry, she decided it was time to head back to the nonprofit world. In 2007, she joined the team at Environmental Health News/The Daily Climate as a researcher and assignment editor. A few years in, when it was clear that a social media presence was essential for the organization, she was tasked with the newly formed role of Social Media Editor, and developed and managed their social media presence until the end of 2014. She’s been leading FERN’s audience engagement efforts since June 2015. Dana is a Philadelphia native currently residing in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. She can be reached at [email protected]

Deni Chamberlin (she/her) is the Director of Photography. Deni is an associate professor at the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University and teaches photojournalism and multimedia storytelling. She 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, Deni was also a member of the staff at The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel that was awarded a Pulitzer in 1983. Growing up in the Midwest, she worked in Europe for many years and now calls Iowa home. [email protected].

Elizabeth Royte (she/her) is Senior 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. She can be reached at [email protected].

Chuck Abbott (he/him) 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 the Ag Insider daily newsletter, or purchase full access to all the stories, here on our Web site. He can be reached at [email protected].

Samuel Fromartz (he/him) is a co-founder and Editor-at-Large. He is an author and veteran journalist who focuses on the intersection of the environment, food and farming. 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. As a freelancer, his articles appeared in Inc., Fortune, Business Week, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, 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 book, In Search of the Perfect Loaf: A Home Baker’s Odyssey (Viking, 2014), was a memoir that explored bakers, grains and bread. It won the IACP award for Literary Food Writing in 2015 and was short-listed for The Art of Eating book prize. During his time as Editor-in-Chief of FERN, the organization has won three James Beard journalism awards and many other media awards. He lives in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at [email protected].

Petruce Jean-Charles (they/them) is FERN’s Assistant Engagement Editor. Prior to joining the team, Petruce worked at USA Today as an emerging platforms editor creating posts and projects for social media platforms. They graduated from American University with a Master’s in Public Affairs and Journalism under the Investigative Reporting track. They have a passion for reporting on marginalized communities and have been published with USA Today, The Courier-Tribune, The Nation and Mother Jones. They look forward to continuing their journey with FERN. [email protected]

Bridget Huber (she/her) is a Staff Writer at FERN. Her work has been published and broadcast by National Geographic, Public Radio International, The New York Times, The Lancet, Mother Jones, The Associated Press and many others. A graduate of UC Berkeley’s journalism school, she’s received grants, awards and fellowships from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, The UC Berkeley/11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship and Mesa Refuge, among others. She speaks Spanish, French and some Portuguese and lives in Portland, Maine. She can be reached at [email protected].

Teresa Cotsirilos (she/her) is a Staff Writer and Producer at FERN, where she covers food systems, labor, and climate change in the Western US. Her work has been published by the New York Times, Reveal, NPR, Snap Judgment, the California Report Magazine, PRI’s The World and other outlets. Prior to joining FERN’s team, Teresa was a senior producer at WorldAffairs, a global politics show co-produced by World Affairs with KQED. She’s also reported for KALW, where she covered public health and climate equity in the Bay Area’s immigrant communities. She cut her teeth as a reporter and occasional host at KYUK, where she covered public safety and climate change in Western Alaska’s indigenous communities, winning seven statewide journalism awards, including Best Investigative Reporting in 2018. Teresa graduated from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where her thesis won the Reva and David Logan Prize for Excellence in Investigative Reporting. Before she became a journalist, she sold eye patches in San Francisco and taught sex ed in Namibia. In a past life, she wrote children’s stories for American Girl. She can be reached at [email protected].

Elizabeth Lucy (she/her) is a Development Advisor at FERN. With nearly a decade of experience, she brings an analytical eye to the entire breadth of giving with a strategic focus on upgrading the mid-level giving program and creatively building upon FERN’s culture of philanthropy at year-end. In addition to her work with FERN, Elizabeth is new to tulip farming, and works as the Campaign Officer at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) where, with her team, she is in the midst of a 50th anniversary campaign: Together We Grow. She can be reached at [email protected].