Our staff has a strong commitment to serving the many constituents of our organization. But first and foremost, they focus their energies on those who take advantage of our programs and services.
MaryAnn Martinez joined CFI as Executive Director in April, 2019. Learn more ...
MaryAnn Martinez, Managing Director
MaryAnn Martinez is originally from New England, mostly Vermont and Connecticut, but has also lived in Texas and Colorado. She was first introduced to Athens and the surrounding area four years ago, and immediately saw how unique this community is.
MaryAnn joined CFI as Executive Director in April 2019, and brings experience as a non-profit director and interdisciplinary food systems scholar. She has a Master’s in Sustainable Food Systems from Green Mountain College in Poultney, VT, and is a PhD candidate at Antioch Graduate School of Leadership and Change. Her work is focused on place-based food systems, and community-based food networks as catalysts for social innovation and transformative change. In addition, MaryAnn has over 10 years of experience as a vegetable and livestock farmer, in both for-profit and social enterprises.
MaryAnn resigned as ED on April 16 to pursue food policy and justice on a national level, and will serve as Managing Director while we transition to a new ED.
Email MaryAnn: email@example.com.
Molly is an OU Alumni and was a VISTA with Rural Action in the Sustainable Agriculture program. Learn more...
Molly Gassaway, Director of Garden Programs
Molly is an OU Alumni and was a VISTA with Rural Action in the Sustainable Agriculture program before moving out West for 13 years. She returned to be closer to family, plentiful water, and verdant land. She lives on a farm with her husband and two young boys where she enjoys swimming, biking, baking, yoga, and gardening.
Email Molly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Susie comes to Athens by way of Michigan, North Carolina, Colorado, and Indiana. Learn more...
Susie Huser, Communications and Donation Station Program Director
Susie comes to Athens by way of Michigan, North Carolina, Colorado, and Indiana. Born in the northern part of the Hoosier state, she’s a flat-lander who fell head-over-heels for Appalachia while living in the South. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University and an MS in Environmental Studies from Green Mountain College. Prior to joining CFI she worked in education and culinary arts, and sees sustainable food as a fundamental component of community resilience. She spends as much time as possible outside with her dogs Marla May and Bingo Jones, and is excited to keep connecting with and learning from the Athens County community.
Email Susie: email@example.com
My name is Reggie Morrow. Born a Mississippi native I was raised throughout West TN. Learn more ...
Reggie Morrow, Donation Station Coordinator
My name is Reggie Morrow. Born a Mississippi native I was raised throughout West TN. I moved to Cincinnati to receive a degree in Video Production and Communication. Afterwards, I moved to Athens and attended Ohio University and studied Social Entrepreneurship and Non Profit Management. Through working with Athens City Schools, Ohio University, and the Community Center I've grown to know and love this community and the people in it.
Email Reggie: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ivan started volunteering with CFI in 2019. Learn more...
Ivan Orquera, Veggie Van Coordinator
Ivan started volunteering with CFI in 2019, and logged 125 hours that year helping at market, at the CPA, with distribution, and at Discovery Kitchen workshops. He is on track to complete a Master's in Geography at Ohio University, and is excited to stay in Athens to join the CFI team in support of our Veggie Van pilot project. Ivan is as passionate and tireless about helping CFI as a squirrel is about collecting acorns in the fall. That is why he sees his ongoing work with us as a gift while he makes plans for the future.
Email Ivan: email@example.com
Originally from the Cleveland area, Ashley fell in love with the Athens community. Learn more ...
Ashley Prenatt, Food Justice Program Coordinator
Originally from the Cleveland area, Ashley fell in love with the Athens community as she completed her degree in Communications at Ohio University. Through her involvement with local non-profits, Ashley grew as a passionate advocate for the people of Appalachian Ohio, with a desire to see justice, equity and opportunity flourish here.
After serving for a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA with CFI, Ashley has joined the team to coordinate Food Justice programming! Her work focuses on the expansion of the Nourishing Networks food access series, as well as CFI’s Root to Seed Food Justice Podcast. Ashley enjoys hiking, music, cooking, and spending time with her partner and their cats El and Beans.
Email Ashley: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marco has joined the CFI team as a Communications VISTA with AmeriCorps for 2020-2021. Learn more ...
Marco Omta, Communications VISTA
Marco has joined the CFI team as a Communications VISTA with Americorps for 2020-2021. Their role will be in producing video and graphic design content, along with working on press releases and social media. Marco has a deep love for both creating content and tending their garden at their home in Athens. Their goal this year is to plant seeds for a new bed of content to assist the local food system in pursuing justice and accessibility.
Email Marco: email@example.com
Raya recently graduated from Ohio University with a degree in English. Learn more...
Raya Abner, Community Gardens Coordinator, COMCorps
Raya recently graduated from Ohio University with a degree in English, a minor in psychology, and a certificate in diversity studies. Coming to Athens from Cincinnati, she fell in love with the Athens community and food justice after an internship at United Campus Ministry. She comes to CFI eager to learn more about sustainable gardening and our local food system while becoming an "official" Athens townie. She is most passionate about books, coffee, cats, and astrology.
E-mail Raya: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Armstrong grew up in Athens, and graduated from OU with a BA in French in 2020. Learn more ...
Alex Armstrong, Food Access Coordinator, COMCorps
Alex Armstrong grew up in Athens, and graduated from OU with a BA in French in 2020. As a prof once remarked, though, he is “really a geographer at heart.” It was an abiding interest in the justice and injustices in our landscape that led him towards CFI, where he is serving in 2020-2021 as Food Access Coordinator through OU COMCorps. In his spare time Alex enjoys hiking, canoeing, and riding his moped through the gorgeous green hills of Southeast Ohio.
Email Alex: email@example.com
Sonya is an Athens native who recently graduated from OU with a degree in Environmental Geography. Learn more ...
Sonya Ferrier, Food Education Coordinator, COMCorps
Sonya is an Athens native who recently graduated from OU with a degree in Environmental Geography. She is passionate about sustainable agriculture, food justice, and the environment. In her free time she loves gardening, crafting, and reading. In the future she hopes to pursue a master’s degree in geology, a field she became interested in during her travels to national parks. She is excited about her year of service with CFI and sees it as a way to give back to the community that raised her.
Email Sonya: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paige is originally from south-central Pennsylvania, growing up in the snack food capital of the United States. Learn more ...
Paige Klunk, Consultant on Special Projects
Paige is originally from south-central Pennsylvania, growing up in the snack food capital of the United States. After finishing her undergraduate degrees, she worked in management at a local snack food company for almost 3 years. Relocating to the Athens area in 2014, she fell in love with the rolling hills of southeastern Ohio and the Athens’ food culture. She holds Masters’ degrees in International Development Studies and Public Administration from Ohio University. She is passionate about equitable access to fresh foods, and loves discovering new recipes and eating delicious food.
Email Paige: email@example.com
Our Board of Directors
Our board represents a cross-section of our community and has a passion for our organization and those we serve. The members work hard to ensure long-term sustainability of the organization and oversee that the funds raised directly affect those in need.
Joe Barbaree is the Sustainable Agriculture Program Manager at Rural Action. Learn more ...
Joe Barbaree, Board President
Joe Barbaree is the Sustainable Agriculture Program Manager at Rural Action. In this role, Joe works to increase economic opportunities for local farm producers in a multi-county service area of Appalachian Ohio. Core programming areas focus on production, aggregation, and distribution of local specialty crop and non-timber forest products to a diverse network of markets throughout the Central Appalachian region.
Joe primarily works on Rural Action’s peer learning workshops, beginning farmer initiatives, school and institutional sales, local food distribution, and strategic planning for local food hubs, like the Chesterhill Produce Auction.
Before working at Rural Action, Joe spent four years in the urban community development field in Cleveland, Ohio, including nationally-recognized work in the artisan neighborhood of Collinwood. He is a graduate of Mount Union College with a Bachelors in Communication and is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional with the National Development Council. Joe is a member of the Central Appalachian Network’s Food & Agriculture Systems Working Group, serves on the Ohio Food Policy Network Steering Committee, and is a board member at Community Food Initiatives.
Sierra Faris has been a resident of Athens County for the past 6 years. While originally from the Cleveland area, she has a passion for Appalachian Ohio and loves the vibrant and supportive community of the region. Learn more ...
Sierra Faris, Board Vice President
Sierra Faris has been a resident of Athens County for the past 6 years. While originally from the Cleveland area, she has a passion for Appalachian Ohio and loves the vibrant and supportive community of the region.
Sierra received her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Geography at Ohio University as well as a certificate in Ecotourism. Her studies had a focus on development, urban planning, and sustainability. While at Ohio University, Sierra was a Resident Assistant for three years and a Community Ambassador.
Sierra brings skills of community engagement, communication, relationship-building, collaboration, leadership, resourcefulness, and advocacy. Sierra served as an AmeriCorps/COMCorps member with Community Food Initiatives from 2018-2020. Sierra was the Justice Talking facilitator for both years of her service in which she led civil discourse about current events, life experiences, and the service experience. She received training through COMCorps in having a trauma-informed care approach and received a certificate in motivational interviewing. Sierra is now an Associate at Sunday Creek Horizons - a communications, advocacy, and consulting firm for Appalachian Ohio. She is passionate about sustainability, community health, and human rights and is excited to continue to serve Southeastern Ohio residents .
Linda Parsons is a retired teacher from the Athens City Schools, where she taught for many years. She now grows as much food as possible in her backyard garden. Learn more...
Linda Parsons, Board Secretary
Linda Parsons is a retired teacher from the Athens City Schools, where she taught for many years. She now grows as much food as possible in her backyard garden and is particularly excited about seed saving. Linda has enjoyed volunteering for CFI over the last few years and is excited to be part of a group that is working to ensure that everyone in our community has access to healthy local food. Linda has learned a lot from participating in many CFI workshops, from making kefir to building raised beds. She has also completed the Master Gardener program, likes running , hiking , reading, cooking and shopping at the Farmers Market.
Alexandria Polanosky is the Assistant Director for Content Strategy for the Division of Student Affairs at Ohio University. Learn more ...
Alexandria Polanosky, Board Co-Treasurer
Alexandria Polanosky is the Assistant Director for Content Strategy for the Division of Student Affairs at Ohio University. Outside of her current position, she has produced a variety of multimedia work for nonprofits and small businesses across the Appalachian region with a focus on sustainable agriculture. An OHIO alumna with a B.S. in visual communication and certificates in both environmental studies and food and society, Alexandria strives to combine her passion for local food systems with her storytelling skills. She is currently working toward her master’s in public administration. Outside of work Alexandria enjoys spending as much time outside as possible and sharing good food.
Adam is the Food Enterprise Coordinator at the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks. Learn more ...
Adam Kody, Board Co-Treasurer
Adam is the Food Enterprise Coordinator at the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks. Adam graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Restaurant, Hotel and Tourism Management and is currently enrolled in the Master of Public Administration program at Ohio University. Adam enjoys working with all the passionate entrepreneurs that pass through ACEnet, providing technical assistance and training along the way. Adam loves to cook and experiment with fermentation and has a dedicated passion for playing and listening to music.
Ruth is a Certified Health Educator at the Athens City-County Health Department. Learn more...
Ruth is a Certified Health Educator at the Athens City-County Health Department. She assists schools, worksites, communities and health care agencies to develop policies, systems and environmental changes that promote health. The goal of the Creating Healthy Communities collaborative, which Ruth coordinates, is to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Elected 2013, re-elected in 2015 and 2016.
Harold Perkins has a PhD in Geography. He works in the Geography Department at Ohio University. Learn more...
Harold Perkins has a PhD in Geography. He works in the Geography Department at Ohio University where he conducts research on the politics of environmental change in a variety of settings across the U.S. He is especially interested in environmental justice in both urban environments and in rural Appalachia. Harold teaches courses on political geography, sustainable cities, environmental geography, water politics, and environmental justice. He has two sons, Collin and Harvey, who he enjoys spending time with. In his spare time he likes to read, write, hike, garden, and fly fish for trout with his wife, Katie, in remote mountain streams.
Bryce is a Certified Health Education Specialist and COMCorps National Service Member at the Athens City-County Health Department. Learn more...
Bryce Bail is a Health Educator and the Women’s Health Coordinator at the Athens City-County Health Department. Bryce works to implement evidence-based strategies which provide connections for women to necessary healthcare, support services, and training before pregnancy and in between pregnancies. Prior to her role in women’s health, Bryce served as the COMCorps National Service Member at the Athens City-County Health Department where she implemented policy, system, and environmental changes related to healthy eating and active living. A life-long resident of Athens, she assists her community through health promotion and education. Her passion lies in rural health, women’s health, food access, and community development. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, crafting, being outdoors, and spending time with her husband and their two King Charles Cavalier Spaniels.
Patrick Tegge grew up in Glenshaw, PA a town located just outside of Pittsburgh. Learn more...
Patrick Tegge grew up in Glenshaw, PA a town located just outside of Pittsburgh. He attended Marietta college where he earned a BA in history, minored in leadership studies, and became certified to teach high school social studies. Upon graduation, he served with COMCorps, an AmeriCorps program, at Coolville elementary. He is currently employed by Ohio State University Extension’s SNAP-Ed program as a Policy, System, and Environmental Change, (PSE) Program Specialist. In this role, he assists county SNAP-Ed staff in implementing PSE changes focused on increasing access of healthy food and physical activity opportunities. In addition, Patrick partners with CFI on projects including Donation Station, the Families Eating Affordable and Sustainably Together workshop series, and Nourishing Networks.
In this new role as a CFI board member, he hopes to continue to help CFI work to help his fellow community members. Patrick currently live in Glouster, OH with his partner Megan. He also enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, working on renovating his home, as well as playing board games and tabletop role playing games with friends.