STAFF & BOARD
Originally from New York, Shonan grew up around all different backgrounds and kinds of food — ranging from dollar pizza slices to unaffordable 5-star restaurants, and the overall struggles of living in a “food desert.” After moving to Providence, Shonan was able to be educated on the topic of veganism and healthy eating. As a lover of all foods and animals, veganism immediately became part of Shonan’s identity. With previous and continuous experience in nonprofits where he helped LGBTQ+ youth get the support they need for emotional and financial struggles, Shonan found himself studying nonprofits and sociology at CCRI and RIC. Providing accessible fresh food to his city while supporting local farmers has always been a huge interest, so finding Farm Fresh RI was a dream come true for Shonan. As a lover of his community, and a firm believer in lifting as he climbs, Shonan is so excited to be given the opportunity to work with Farm Fresh!
Rachel Van Scyoc
Rachel moved to Rhode Island in 2017 to serve as Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s inaugural Volunteer Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA member. As an Ohio native, she was excited to move to the east coast after graduating from Capital University with a degree in Public Relations and Communication Studies. In May 2019, she joined the Farm Fresh RI team full-time as a Market Mobile Associate and became the Data & Systems Manager for Market Mobile in February 2020. Since being at Farm Fresh, she has learned so much about food systems, the inequities structured within our food system, and how food impacts us in ways from our health to our environmental impact. She now acts as Market Mobile’s Operations Director collaborating with the Market Mobile team to connect RI eaters with the bounty of food grown and processed in the New England region. Our local food system is a resilient one and Rachel is happy to contribute to keeping it connected.
Bernard is originally from Queens, NY, but after visiting Rhode Island often to visit family members living here, he ended up moving to New England himself in 2010. In 2012, after living here for a couple of years, Bernard decided to pursue his passion for culinary arts, and attended Johnson & Wales University. After graduating in 2014, he went on to work for Sodexo at Salve Regina University and served as a Supervisor from 2015 to 2019. In May 2019, he joined our Harvest Kitchen team as Chef Educator and is committed to making a positive contribution to the community!
Assistant Dean, College of Food Innovation and Technology, Johnson & Wales University
“Farm Fresh Rhode Island has been a part of my life both personally and professionally since its beginning. From filling my home pantry at the markets to making FFRI part of our curriculum here at JWU…the community that it’s built over the past decade and a half is just remarkable. Supporting community, helping others ‘grow,’ helping farms, farmers and artisans connect with the top chefs, students and Rhode Islanders has been and will continue to be part of their mission…and that makes me feel honored to support them and be part of this board. Farm Fresh Rhode Island has been a leader, a trailblazer, and a great example for so many around the region and the country…we’re proud to have them here with us.”
Grace is a Rhode Island native and a graduate of Providence College. She recently graduated with a B.A. in Global Studies, and also studied Public Administration and Italian. She became passionate about sustainable and local food systems through her studies both in the classroom and abroad in Malawi, India, and Italy. Through experiences in markets, on farms, and with various NGOs she got her hands dirty and came to love growing, cooking, and eating good food.
Merle joined Hope’s Harvest after finishing their undergraduate degree in Earth and Environmental Science and Sociology at Lehigh University. Merle loves DIY projects, being outside, and jamming on the guitar. They are passionate about food sovereignty and autonomous modes of living. Merle hopes to go back to school to study sociology in racial and ethnic studies.
As a recent graduate from Rhode Island College, Alison is grateful to be part of the Farm Fresh RI team as the Community Engagement and Volunteer Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA. Alison’s interest in sustainable food systems started when she joined the Rhode Island College Food Justice Project. When not working, Alison enjoys exploring new restaurants, serving her church community, reading good books, and fermenting veggies.
Eva (she/her/hers) has worked with beginning farmers, restaurants, retailers, farmers markets, nonprofits, and hunger relief agencies to improve community food security and bring about a food system that works for everyone. Eva started the National Incubator Farm Training Initiative through the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project; served as a FINI (now GusNIP) program officer at Wholesome Wave, supporting incentive programs at farmers markets across the US; and most recently was the Assistant Director of Programs at the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, administering federal nutrition programs and supporting Rhode Island’s statewide network of food pantries and meal sites. She holds an M.S. from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, is a former member of the Rhode Island Food Policy Council (RIFPC), and sits on the board of Osamequin Farm.
In 2018, Eva founded the nonprofit Hope’s Harvest RI, which mobilizes volunteers to rescue food from local farms that would otherwise go to waste and distributes it to local hunger relief agencies. Farm Fresh RI is proud to fiscally sponsor Hope’s Harvest RI.
“The community-based mission of Farm Fresh RI and the variety of programming from education to outreach and empowerment resonates with me. As an educator and life-long learner, I believe in the power of shared vision to bring people together, learn from each other and build a better world for us all. With the completion of the new space on Sims Ave, continued programming, and outreach to diverse communities, Farm Fresh is a vital and integral part of the northeast food system. I am honored to join the Board of Directors and work in collaboration with its members and the team to further the mission and impact of Farm Fresh RI.”
Farmer, Four Town Farm
“For years, Farm Fresh RI has helped my farm make valuable connections — from individuals and small businesses nearby in Rhode Island to large restaurant groups up in Boston. As a result, the farm has a wider reach and a broader palette of customers. When the opportunity came up to join the Board of Directors at Farm Fresh, I was more than happy to contribute my time and guidance to this great organization — bringing my perspective as not only a community member and supporter, but also as a Farm Fresh partner and customer.”
Stephanie was born and raised in Rhode Island and loves to be surrounded by good food and good people. She is a Registered Dietitian who received her training from URI and Keene State College, and has always focused her efforts on community nutrition and food insecurity. Stephanie’s career and personal paths have led her to work, volunteer, and educate in many community-based settings with a variety of groups. She believes in the power of food to create lasting change and strives to support communities in meaningful food and food systems exploration and learning.
Sarra came to Hope’s Harvest following her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and English at the University of Delaware. She previously served on the board of Down to Earth Food Cooperative in Delaware, which is where she first developed her passion for revolutionizing local food systems. When not thinking about building community resilience and food security, Sarra loves to spend time in the mountains or diving into a new hobby.
Natasha was born and raised in Providence, RI. She explains, “Growing up my family always kept a small farm and that’s where we ate most of our vegetables and fruit from as well. My interest in food and how it’s grown and distributed comes from my deep roots. My great grandmother being 100% Filipino, fresh produce has always been a part of our dinner table — grown and picked right in our backyard. Having spent most of my working years in the food industry, it’s opened my eyes to such varieties of food and also different cultures. I’d love to continue getting educated on our food system and how we can make it better, safer, and healthier!”
Taylor grew up surrounded by family gardens — her grandparents even housed some chickens in their backyard. Always hearing her mother pine for the first tomatoes of the season, it wasn’t until a trip to Italy a few years ago that Taylor truly got it. On that trip, she spent five months volunteering on farms in Italy, Greece, and Japan. While trying her hand at making goat cheese, caring for emus, and milking cows, she lived the connection between farmers, animals, the land, and the food that we eat. After returning stateside, she began her Farm Fresh RI journey, first serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member, and now acting as our Nutrition Education Associate. In her spare time, she loves illustrating, playing with her pet rats, and learning about cheesemaking.
Jesse is from Algoma, Wisconsin, a small town near Lake Michigan surrounded by farms and fishing boats. His family tree is populated with cheesemakers, barbers and general store owners—needless to say, entrepreneurship, and supporting local businesses are in his blood. Growing up, many of the core industries in Jesse’s small community locked their doors and family farms were replaced by factory farms. These dramatic changes inspired Jesse to understand how communities could revitalize themselves economically while preserving their unique sense of place, cultural traditions, and environmental integrity. Since earning a Masters Degree from the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University, he has worked locally as a nonprofit manager, nationally as a researcher and advocate, and statewide as program director and communications specialist. At Farm Fresh, Jesse oversees all social enterprise programs, strategic financial management, communications, technology development and human resources. In the past 5 years, he has worked with the board and leadership staff to double the organization’s operating budget and staff, while maintaining a balanced budget. Jesse devotes much of his time to the development of the new RI Food Hub and serves on the RI Food Policy Council as a member of the steering committee and the Food Solutions New England Chair. Jesse is an avid pickler and a fledgling potter who dreams of making his own fermenting crocks.
Nikki grew up in coastal New Hampshire and earned a B.S. in Animal Science from the University of New Hampshire. She has always been passionate about animal welfare and worked as a Certified Veterinary Technician for six years. However, after taking on what she thought was to be a part-time job with the Flatbread Company, Nikki switched gears. She fell in love with working with farmers and introducing new ways to support local agriculture through the restaurant industry. Now with over eight years of restaurant management experience under her belt, Nikki cannot wait to use her skills to help connect even more eaters to locally grown food via Market Mobile. When not working, Nikki enjoys spending time with her spunky toddler Luna and baby boy Fox.
Managing Director IT projects, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island
“I believe access to fresh and local food is key to addressing many of the health, economic, and environmental issues we face in our communities and our nation. Farm Fresh RI has been on the leading edge of tackling these challenges for years. The organization’s focus on availability of local and affordable foods, its nutrition education programs, and efforts to improve the impact of food production on our environment are critical steps to achieving a healthy farm to fork community. I’m appreciative of the opportunity to be part of the Farm Fresh RI team, and I look forward to participating in advancing the values and mission they represent.”
Shannon joined Hope’s Harvest with intentions to learn as much as possible about local food systems and food equity. She received her undergraduate degree in Marketing and Psychology from Bryant University, and went on to further her project management and marketing skills while working with an electrical engineering company. Eager for change and fulfillment, Shannon is excited to repurpose her skillset to make a meaningful impact on the community alongside her Hope’s Harvest coworkers. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and baking for her family and friends, diving into DIY projects, and spending lots of time by the ocean.
DeeAnn loves everything about food, and has always believed that reducing food waste and increasing food access go hand in hand. She’s excited to join the Hope’s Harvest team and get to learn and work with others in the community passionate about food equity. In her free time, she likes to record sounds and make collages and turn compost!
Founder and CEO, Orange Square
“As board chair, I get to live my values that locally grown food is not only nutritious and delicious, but creates important economic opportunities, provides health benefits and community engagement, and reduces environmental impact. I am grateful for the opportunity to support leadership and staff in any way so that together we can achieve the mission and vision of this very important organization.”
Managing Partner, The Granny Squibb Company
“It is an honor to work with people who are passionate about the Rhode Island food and beverage industry, supporting local business and farmers, and making sure that healthy food is accessible to all Rhode Islanders. Their work is more important now than ever. I am thrilled to be a part of Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s Board of Directors.”
Hurricayne has lived in the Providence area his whole life, graduating from Shea High School in Pawtucket. He started working at Farm Fresh RI in 2018, and since then has grown a strong appreciation for local farmers — in particular, for all the hard work they do every day. Cayne loves working at Farm Fresh and getting products from those local farmers and producers out into the community in many different ways — from delivery to some of the top restaurants in Rhode Island to bringing fresh food right to someone’s front door. When he’s not working hard at Farm Fresh, Cayne enjoys spending quality time with family and friends. He also loves to travel, having visited several different countries and states… and counting!
Former Chef/Owner of New Rivers American Bistro
“As a former restaurateur, I welcomed the vision of Farm Fresh RI and their mission to connect the farmer to local food consumers — be they individuals, businesses, or chefs. In 2009, Farm Fresh began its Market Mobile wholesale distribution service, allowing me and other chefs to buy directly from a variety of local farmers AND have Farm Fresh deliver those goods in a single order to the restaurant. Over the years, I have watched the growth and expanding vision of Farm Fresh RI and seen their success in connecting the farming and food-consuming communities in Rhode Island — from operating lively farmers markets to offering nutrition incentives for SNAP shoppers to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, to food service training for young adults from the RI Training School who turn overstock produce from local farms into value-added products. When I retired and left my business after 22 years, I was ready to be a volunteer in a community project. My admiration of their work made it easy for me to commit my time to Farm Fresh RI.”
A native Rhode Islander, Cara strives to build a food system with equitable access to food, land, and power. Her passion for food began while a student at Connecticut College where she co-chaired the student-run garden for three years. She went on to work on food access programs in New Haven as an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator with CitySeed, helping to develop their first mobile farmers market. Cara graduated with a joint master’s degree in Public Health and Environmental Science from the School of Public Health and the School of the Environment at Yale, focusing on food systems and health. She is committed to supporting community-oriented food access programming that will positively impact Rhode Island.
Originally from Providence, Leonely recently graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor’s in Health Science. She is passionate about working with inner-city populations, especially immigrants, people of color, and the underserved. Leonely is interested in increasing access to affordable, health-related services, like the availability of healthy foods through farmers markets!
Retired Certified Public Accountant
“The mission of Farm Fresh RI is powerful to me — bringing local food to all communities and making fresh, local, healthy food affordable. I’m also impressed with its emphasis on nutrition education for all age groups from children to seniors; I believe this outreach is vital if we are to address the growing obesity and related health issues in our society. I hope to be able to help in advancing these objectives.”
After establishing a farm stand and mail order citrus business with her parents and grandparents after high school, Sheri attended the University of Rhode Island, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and biology. After graduation, she entered the nonprofit world, beginning as Director of Development and Publicity at AS220, a nonprofit arts center in Providence. Since then, Sheri has worked at a range of nonprofits of various sizes and has become active in her neighborhood, working with other volunteers to keep a library branch open and starting a community garden.
Ainsley is a recent graduate from UMass Amherst with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Sustainable Food and Farming, and is working on an MS in Sustainability Science. She has experience working on multiple farms and connecting with Massachusetts farmers in various capacities, which has helped grow her strong interest in building resilient, sustainable local food systems and increasing the availability of fresh produce to everyone in the community. When not working, Ainsley enjoys gardening, reading, and hiking.
Leigh has been working toward food system sustainability in New England for a couple decades. Over the years she’s come at this work from a variety of angles including as an urban gardener, writer, marketing and PR specialist, event planner, and most recently, restaurant owner. After five years in Providence, she feels deeply rooted to the Ocean State’s food community and committed to making fresh food accessible to all.
Leigh is the recipient of the 2018 Eddy Award for Best Social Issues Feature for her story on immigrant farm labor in New England in Edible Rhody. She is also one of the co-owners of Troop, a lively restaurant in Olneyville, and a member of the Rhode Island Food Policy Council.
Leigh holds a bachelor’s degree in sustainable agriculture from Sterling College, and a master’s degree in English from Simmons College. She gardens at a community plot on the West Side of Providence.
Rebecca C. Seggel
Rebecca grew up in Providence and graduated with a BA in Classical Studies from Brandeis University. She supported years of exploring new places and local flavors out west, working as a communications consultant and writer/editor for clients like Apple, HP, and Thomson Reuters. After decades serving the corporate world, Rebecca longed for a greater sense of shared mission and values in her work. She was drawn back to family in Rhode Island and the state’s vibrant agriculture and food scene, and found like-minded community at Farm Fresh RI. Now she leverages her experience and love of local food to share Farm Fresh’s message, help our farmers and producers thrive, and grow the local food economy.
Molly is a lifelong Rhode Islander. She started out as a volunteer for Farm Fresh RI at the Wintertime Farmers Market in Pawtucket in 2008, and continued through various work study programs and AmeriCorps VISTA terms before becoming a full-time staff member in 2013. Since then, she has managed at least six different farmers markets, become an expert in tent repair, and helped to administer our federal FINI grant that provides funding for the Bonus Bucks program. In her free time, Molly enjoys folk music and dance as well as gardening.
Sean is a native of Dover, NH, who has been working in the food service industry for 13 years. After graduating from Johnson & Wales University with a degree in culinary arts in 2011, he went on to cook around Nantucket and the seacoast of New Hampshire, focusing on local and sustainable cooking particularly tied to whole animal butchery. After backpacking through Europe, he and his now wife, moved to Providence where he worked at Local 121, eventually becoming head chef. Most recently, he helped open Farm & Coast Market in South Dartmouth, MA, as a butcher and chef. Sean started out as a volunteer with our RI Farm to School program until moving on to work with Harvest Kitchen.
Growing up in rural Ohio, Maria has been surrounded by agriculture her whole life. After moving to Providence to attend Johnson & Wales University, she became a server at Gracie’s in Providence, and fell in love with the produce from local farms and the people who run them. After graduating from Johnson & Wales in 2020 with a B.S. in Dietetics and Applied Nutrition, she went to work for Hasbro Children’s Hospital, but realized that clinical nutrition was not her path. Maria believes that food is medicine and that teaching people how to cook nutritious, local foods is the best way to improve our community’s health.
Thea moved to Providence in 2004 to attend Johnson & Wales University and graduated with a degree in Food Service Entrepreneurship. She has spent the past 10 years working with food in different capacities — as a chef, farmers market vendor, and farm hand — and has always been mindful of linking her work to the larger local food system. She firmly believes that the decisions we make about what we eat and where it comes from can have great impacts on the health and welfare of our local community. Thea ties these ideals into her work at Farm Fresh RI every day.
Ally is a Rhode Island native, and is excited to serve her local community as the Farm to Food Pantry AmeriCorps VISTA. Her relationship and understanding of the farm-to-table movement began as a high school student, and has evolved into a passion for environmental sustainability. After graduating from Johnson & Wales University in 2018 with degrees in Business Administration and Event Management, she took a gap year to serve with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). During her year of service, she championed projects regarding environmental sustainability, youth development, community engagement, and urban development. Ally is currently pursuing a Master’s of Public Administration at Roger Williams University to help further her career goals of working in the public sector. She is excited to join the Farm Fresh team, and help contribute to the positive impacts the organization has on local communities and farmers.
Retired, Former Director of Programs, Grow Smart RI
“Farm Fresh Rhode Island does two things that I care deeply about — supporting and strengthening our local farms and working to ensure that all Rhode Islanders, regardless of income, can enjoy the benefits of healthy local food. I have long admired the way Farm Fresh uses resources creatively, effectively, and efficiently to achieve its mission. As Farm Fresh launches new and exciting initiatives, I welcome the opportunity to help advance its work.”
After graduating from the University of Illinois and spending a year giving back to the community as a CETA worker for a grassroots recycling program (before everybody recycled!), Susan worked as a studio assistant for several glass artists. For well over a decade, she continued working in the jewelry industry, living in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maine, and Rhode Island. In 1985, she was a founding member of the unjuried, uncensored arts organization in Providence called AS220, and spent countless hours volunteering and eventually being employed by AS220 as Property Manager — a role she held for 16 years. Her commitment to building community and working in the nonprofit sector then led her to Farm Fresh RI, where she hit the ground running to help complete and launch our brand-new facility Providence (during a pandemic!). All throughout her career, Susan has maintained an art studio where she continues to produce mixed media artworks and dabbles in music. She sees cooking as another creative practice, and has found great pleasure cooking healthy foods from local farms.
Lucie G. Searle
Lucie grew up on a small farm in Exeter, where her family raised beef cattle and pigs. Growing up, she and her brothers were very active in 4-H, and showed their cattle at many local and regional fairs. The farm also grew crops for a roadside stand that offered a large variety of fruits and vegetables, with strawberries and sweet corn being the specialties. Lucie has worked in real estate development — both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors — since 1982. She is especially known for her achievements in revitalizing downtown Providence, evidenced through the three award-winning real estate projects she has developed for AS220 and her ongoing efforts through the Providence Preservation Society. Lucie is one of the original Farm Fresh RI board members, serving for nine years. She stepped off the Board to focus on RI Food Hub development in a professional capacity.
As an Environmental Studies major focused on Religion/Philosophy, Onne learned early on the significance of cultivating good habits within communities in order to make sustainable change. Onne has experience working with Farm Fresh RI on both Community Access and Food System Enterprise efforts. She first came on board as a summer AmeriCorps VISTA member for the Healthy Foods, Healthy Families nutrition education program, and has since been at Farm Fresh RI in different capacities. The overall Farm Fresh motto of connecting local food to local people aligns with Onne’s personal outlook on encouraging positive change.
Paula is a local urban gardener with a love for growing and eating fresh, organic produce. A trip to Italy sparked a desire to change the way she feeds herself, after being deeply impacted by Italians’ passionate relationship to food and the Slow Food movement there. Since that impactful trip, she has dreamt of farming in Tuscany. By joining the Davis Park Community Gardens, as well as becoming a beekeeper, she has been able to make this dream a reality right here in Providence. Paula brings with her a first-hand knowledge of running a small business, in addition to her knack for numbers. She is excited about all that Farm Fresh RI is accomplishing and being an active member of the sustainable food movement in Rhode Island.
“Farm Fresh Rhode Island is doing an amazing job nurturing innovative, creative ideas to help Rhode Island’s community of farmers and eaters flourish. From education and outreach to youth development and public policy, Farm Fresh’s network of programs and services tie all aspects of our food system together. Their work enriches our local economy and encourages more nutritious food choices by consumers. I’ve long had a passion for healthy eating and supporting youth in our community, and am happy to be part of an organization that is as helping young people try, choose, and enjoy more fresh, local fruits and vegetables — one key avenue in the fight against childhood obesity. I’m proud that Farm Fresh RI serves as an example to the nation that making nutritious foods available to everyone can drive a healthier community and more prosperous future for the state.”
Charreese was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. She moved to Providence to attend Johnson & Wales University in 2016. She graduated with a B.S. in Food Service Management with a focus in Food Sustainability in 2020. Since moving to Providence she has worked in various restaurants, getting her feet wet in the industry, which got her involved in working with local products from farms in the New England area. Fast forward to pandemic times, April 2020, she saw Market Mobile was hiring for help with packing orders. She saw that as her chance to help out and get involved. It was sort of a wild time to join the team, but it was so fulfilling to be helping get local products out to the community and help farms stay in operation. Now her role has shifted a bit to working in customer service and sales, allowing her to learn the business from multiple perspectives — from packing orders to more personal communication with customers and farmers. She is excited to continue to learn so much more.
Blake was born and raised in Providence and is very happy to be back home. He has earned a B.A. in Psychology and Economics from Denison University. After college, Blake moved to New Orleans where he spent three years working in schools and camps throughout the city. In his free time he like to play games, watch sports and movies with his family, and spend time outdoors. He is excited to be a part of Farm Fresh RI and learn more about how food systems operate and the inequities within those systems.
Staff Attorney, RI Legal Services
“One of the things I like most about Farm Fresh RI is that it strives to provide everyone, regardless of economic status, with access to good, local food. Too often, fresh and local produce is seen as an elitist privilege rather than a basic need and right. I love that Farm Fresh both provides access to good food and uses food as a means of economic development.”
Mollie Rose Siebert
Mollie Rose (she/her) studied geography and place-based education at Macalester College in Minnesota. While living in South Minneapolis, she taught classes and developed programming in backcountry leadership, food preservation, and farm ecology. Her first exposure to gleaning was as a collective member with the Sisters’ Camelot, feeding circus performers, artists and neighbors. After spending some time working in kitchens, Mollie Rose returned to the soil and worked on farms in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Vermont, and most recently, Alabama. She’s worked with companies like Good Food Jobs as a strategist and designer, and helps small food and farm organizations align their actions with their values. Mollie Rose is a recent alum of the Next Economy MBA program.
Mollie Rose is the Operations Manager for Hope’s Harvest RI, a nonprofit mobilizing volunteers to rescue food from local farms that would otherwise go to waste and distributing it to local hunger relief agencies. Farm Fresh RI is proud to fiscally sponsor Hope’s Harvest RI.