The Food Council Search Committee selects and appoints between 13 to 17 representatives for a two-year long term as Montgomery County Food Council Members. Members are selected based on their individual qualifications in the following areas:
1. Commitment to improving the Montgomery County food system. 2. Lives, works, or has a strong interest/investment in Montgomery County. 3. Expertise in one or more local food-related issues such as agriculture, food security and access, nutrition, food business and industrial practices, food education and research, land use, urban food production and distribution. 4. Representation of one of the five food system sectors (production, processing, distribution, consumption, waste management) and one of the following “working communities”:
Community Organizations and Citizens
Health and Educational Organizations
Rural and Regional Organizations
5. Capacity to bring specific food system relationships and resources to the effort, as well as potential to represent diverse sectors of the local food system and/or the community at large.
Meet the 2014-16 Food Council Members
Michael Ackerson, Food Economy Working Group Micheal served as the Sodexho General Manager of Food Services at Sandy Spring Friends School from 2002-2014, where, under his leadership, the school implemented change to compost all food waste and developed a large garden to provide some of the produce served to students during summer and the school year. Micheal has recently moved to a new position with the SEED School.
Susan Callahan, Co-Chair, Food Economy Working Group CHE, MA Gastronomy, Chef Instructor/Lecturer, Hotel Restaurant Management Program for University of Maryland Eastern Shore at the Universities at Shady Grove. Chef and educator Susan Callahan has taught aspiring chefs in various settings for over 20 years. A corporate trainer for the Marriott Family Restaurants, Susan taught cooks from Florida to California everything from how to make a strawberry pie, to safe practices for fresh fried chicken. Chef Callahan started teaching adult education for Montgomery County Public Schools and for appliance manufacturers in the 80's, when hired by L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda, MD. Susan taught part time in the recreational cooking program in 1985-1990, and again was hired to work in the Culinary Career Training Program in 1994. After leaving LAC, she redesigned a workforce training program for homeless men and women for DC Central Kitchen. This program has been widely recognized for it's innovative methods in food service training for men and women reentering the workforce while struggling with homelessness, mental health, or substance abuse problems. The training program, under her direction, was nationally recognized and with assistance from Callahan was replicated across the country. In 2006, Susan was hired by the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore as a fill time faculty in their Hotel and Restaurant Management program. In the spring semester of 2007, Callahan became the faculty sponsor of the Campus Kitchen of UMES. CKUMES is a service learning project managed by juniors and seniors in the Hotel Restaurant Management program. CKUMES is one of 35 university service projects that prepare meals for those in need in their community. The CKUMES supports 17 families living in transitional housing in Montgomery County.
Jackie DeCarlo, Food Recovery Working Group Executive Director, Manna Food Center Jackie serves as Executive Director of Manna Food Center, where she leads and manages all facets of Manna Food Center to fulfill it's mission of eliminating hunger in Montgomery County through food distribution, education, and advocacy. With a staff of more than 20 and a cash and in-kind budget approaching $7,000,000, Manna serves approximately 36,000 individuals annually.
Victoria Heisler Edouard, Co-Chair, Steering Committee CPA, Family Farmer Victoria is
a certified public accountant specializing in nonprofit organizations for most of her 25+ years in accounting. She lived in Haiti for a year and a half, serving as the interim controller for a micro-finance institution. She also consults on federal government contracts. She is a lifelong Montgomery County resident, growing up on her family's dairy farm in Boyds. Her brother, David Heisler, still farms in the Ag Reserve. He is a specialty grower of pumpkins and winter squash and operates Comus Market near Sugarloaf Mountain. As an avid home cook, Victoria appreciates having fresh, locally grown and raised produce, meats, and eggs readily available, She is concerned with the increasing industrialization and lack of transparency in our nation's food supply. However, having grown up on a small family farm, she understands many of the challenges a small local farmer faces to remain financially viable. And yet fresh, local food still needs to be affordable and accessible to everyone. Victoria hopes her background and experienced can serve as a bridge between the many food system stakeholders- farmers, consumers, nonprofits, business and government.
Dan Hoffman, Co-Chair, Steering Committee Chief Innovative Officer, Montgomery County As Chief Innovation Officer for Montgomery County, Dan is responsible for creating and maintaining strategies and programs that generate innovative ideas in Montgomery County. Prior to joining Montgomery County, Mr. Hoffman served as a senior project manager in the Business Process Improvement and Application Development division at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. While there he worked on a broad range of projects including process and technology projects related to new reactor construction and information management. Prior to his time with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission he was a consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, helped create and manage the Grandparent Caregiver program in the District of Columbia, and managed communications and marketing for Bread for the City.
In the community Mr. Hoffman has served as a leader on multiple fronts. He was one of the primary community organizers during the development of the White Flint Sector Plan. He is the Treasurer of the Randolph Civic Association and in the past has served as Vice-Chair of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board, and Co-Chair of the White Flint Implementation Committee. He is a graduate of the 2013 class of Leadership Montgomery and serves on the Board of Committee for Montgomery. Mr. Hoffman holds a Bachelor of Science degree from The George Washington University and a Master’s degree in Strategic Human Resources and Organization Development from Johns Hopkins University.
Laura Howard, Steering Committee; Chair, Development Committee Community Benefit Program, Kaiser Permanente Laura has spent almost a decade with Kaiser Permanente's Community Benefit Department, dedicated to creating positive sustainable change in the health of the communities in and around the Baltimore-Washington Metro region through grant making, technical assistance, and partnerships. Laura has helped lead the healthy food access work for Kaiser, particularly in Baltimore City, where she has supported and engaged in public/private partnerships that have spawned a city-wide movement towards healthy living, known as the "Get Fresh Baltimore" campaign. She is an active member and advisor on the Baltimore City Food Policy Action Council and to the Baltimore City Food Policy Director. She joined the Montgomery County Food Council in 2013 and quickly took on leadership roles as the Chair of Development and member of the four-person Steering Committee. Laura has developed and cultivated several Farm Stands, CSAs, and Community Gardens at Kaiser Permanente Medical Facilities in the region. She is actively engaged in both the Maryland State and Baltimore City Partnerships to End Childhood Hunger. Along with healthy food access, Laura also manages Kaiser Permanente's corporate citizenship programs throughout the region, overseeing the organization's robust volunteerism programs. Laura is a lifelong resident of Maryland, having grown up in Montgomery County, lived in Prince George's County during her years at the University of Maryland, and currently resides in Howard County.
Elizabeth Hubley, Co-Chair, Food Literacy Working Group Holistic Health Coach, Siena Wellness Elizabeth was born and raised in Montgomery County. She is the owner of Siena Wellness, which works to inspire people to e make choices that positively impact their own health and wellness while improving the world we share. Elizabeth has worked on many food initiatives throughout her career. She started a farm-to-school vegetable market in New York City, worked as a whole foods "jungle chef" at a sustainable education center in Costa Rica, led social justice leadership trainings with Oxfam America, and taught cooking classes to youth and adults. Elizabeth is thrilled to bring her knowledge and experience to the county to improve our local food system.
Julie MacCartee Knowledge Management Specialist, USAID Bureau for Food Security Julie works as a Knowledge Management Specialist at USAID Bureau for Food Security. Her specialties include Knowledge Management, Sustainable Agricultural Policy, Food Safety Science and Policy, Public Health & Food Systems, and Agricultural Trade. She is a team member in the Knowledge-Driven Microenterprise Project, which provides knowledge and learning services and technical assistance to a range of USAID offices, bureaus, and missions, including the USAID Bureau for Food Security. The project designs and implements state-of-the-art knowledge management, learning and sharing tools, and approaches that promote collaboration among development practitioners to speed innovation and adoption.
Steve Mannino, Food Economy Working Group Corporate Chef, Chef Geoff's Restaurants Steve Mannino brings an innovative brand of cooking that is fun and what he likes to call "approachable," using fresh ingredients as much as possible. Mannino has held posts in some of the top restaurants across the country including ones in Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston. Mannino spent eight years working with acclaimed chef Todd English during which he opened and served as Executive Chef at both Olives Restaurants in Las Vegas and in Washington DC. Under his leadership, Food & Wine named Olives in Washington DC "Best New Restaurant" in 2000. Mannino later worked with Stephen Starr and Starr Restaurants, where he was responsible for opening both Buddakan and the Continental in Atlantic City. He then opened his own hospitality consulting firm, where he worked with clients such as the 9:30 Club in Washington DC and Fox Restaurant Group in Scottsdale, Arizona. Prior to heading up the Thompson Hospitality culinary team, he most recently held the executive chef position at Rustico. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Mannino began his career under the direction of Chef David Burke at the Park Avenue Cafe in New York and later in Chicago, where he helped open a branch of the celebrated restaurant. Mannino also spent time in the critically acclaimed Les Nomades in Chicago.
Tony Marciante, Food Recovery Working Group Chef/Owner, Chef Tony's Fresh Seafood Restaurant Tony Marciante was born in Milan, Italy to American parents, eventually settling in Bethesda, Maryland in 1973. The multi-cultural surroundings spawned a chef with ties to many countries around the world. Dinner at home included Italian food, Indian food, Seafood and more, but always the family was close and communicative. Breaking bread daily was crucial to the family dynamic. Tony got into the restaurant business after a vision just after high school and loved the energy, challenges, and connectedness of a people and food business. Serving his clients has taken him on many adventures to open four different restaurants in his career so far. Relying on his multi-cultural background, Tony's career has taken him to several states, opening restaurants and leading people to learning more about food everyday.
Sophia Maroon, Food Economy Working Group Founder, Dress It Up Dressing & CEO, SoFine Food A former film-maker, and committed environmentalist, she considers her company inextricably linked to the environment and to the farmers who produce the fruits and vegetables on which Dress It Up Dressing is served. Her interest in keeping the manufacturing process sustainable and responsible led her involvement in the greater food economy and the agricultural ecosystem which exists both locally and regionally. She is also deeply committed- both personally and professionally- to green initiatives and to the health and well-being of children. Therefore, her personal and corporate interests extend to the local food movement, sustainable farming, efficient food distribution, food education, and access to healthy food for children. SoFine Food is a Bethesda Green Incubator Company. Sophia also serves on the advisory board of Stone Soup Films and is a former board member of St. John's Preschool.
Lindsey Parsons, Co-Chair, Food Literacy Working Group Co-Founder & Co-Director, Real Food for Kids- Montgomery Lindsey has been passionate about good nutrition and a healthy and sustainable food system for years, but only got involved professionally after co-founding Real Food for Kids- Montgomery two years ago. She is currently the full-time co-director of this parent and student advocacy organization working for real, whole, local, sustainable and nutrient-rich foods in the Montgomery County Public School system and in the state of Maryland. She worked previously in HR, Finance and International Education at Georgetown University, Tower Wealth Management and the University of Georgia. Lindsey has a BA in French from Wesleyan University, an MA in Romance Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Doctor of Education from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia.
Kim Robien, Steering Committee; Co-Chair, Food Literacy Working Group Associate Professor, Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University Kim is an Associate Professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. She is a public health nutritionist, whose research focuses on environmental nutrition and sustainable food systems, and the extent to which exposure to pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and other chemical exposures through the food and water supply may contribute to risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. She is an active member of GW’s Urban Food Task Force, which works to identify and recommend ways to support scholarship, instruction and information on sustainable urban food policies, healthy eating and food preparation, and healthy and sustainable food choices for students, faculty and staff. She is also working with a group of DC Public Schools (DCPS) teachers to integrate food and nutrition activities into their curriculum through the GW Integrated Food Program with the School Without Walls, located on the GW campus.
Shelley Rae Rudick, Development Committee; Food Literacy Working Group Vice President, The J.R. Taft Organization Shelley has served as Vice President of the Taft Organization since it's founding. She played a major role in building both the consulting and publishing business to national and international stature. Shelley brought her diverse skills to the fields of publishing and fundraising, taking on a wide array of client projects aimed at improving their financial resources and overall sustainability. She played a key role in implementing campaign and membership feasibility studies for many Taft clients. Several of these assignments led to legislative approval enabling the creation of public/private partnerships. She has served on and advised Boards of Directors of nonprofits and non-governmental organizations. In recent years, Shelley's work has focused on horticulture and urban farming. She works with the University of Maryland Agricultural Extension and a Master Gardener, is certified as a Permaculture Landscape Designer and a Storm Water Management consultant with the Rainscapes program through the Maryland Department of Environmental Protection, Montgomery County.
Christabel Sampson, Communications Committee Board Member, Interfaith Works Christabel has worked in the healthcare field for over 12 years. She is a Board-Certified Pharmacy Technician, Medical Biller and a Wide Area Networking Specialist. Christabel has been working with growingSOUL doing composting, to create better soil in Montgomery County. She also does work with the homeless through Interfaith Works which runs several homeless shelters in Montgomery County. Christabel knows as a Pharmacy Technician that unhealthy eating can lead to various illnesses. Growing produce and healthy eating for everyone in the County are her strong beliefs. Chrisabel is proud to be a member of the Montgomery County Food Council and feels its work is vital and necessary.
Charis Smith, Co-Chair, Food Economy Working Group Environmental Coordinator & Partnership Manager, MOM's Organic Market Charis Smith is the Environmental Coordinator and Partnership Manager for MOM's Organic Market's Corporate Office in Rockville, MD. While earning an MA in Political Science at the University of Connecticut, Charis studied the relationship between food and social movements as well as the global hunger crisis. Charis is also a member of the Sustainable Food Trade Association and serves on its Metrics Review Committee.
Susan Wexler, Chair, Environmental Impact Working Group Agricultural Economist, Certified Food Service Manager Susan Wexler has participated in projects related to food and agriculture since her days as a college student, when she worked on farms and researched migrant farm labor. She then earned a Masters degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and was later employed in economic consulting related to a Farm Bill and at a nonprofit, international development firm, providing technical assistance to farmer cooperatives. She is currently participating in the Ruth Fellowship Program, training in advocacy related to issues of food security and food justice, and is also providing consulting assistance to a start up food producer. Having now lived in Montgomery County for 20 years, she is eager to contribute to our local food system - particularly to broadening marketing opportunities for small and medium sized producers.