Jennifer connects heritage foodways to healthier people & places. She brings her experience as a registered dietitian, writer, speaker, gardener and professional cook to her many food advocacy efforts. Having long been a fan, shopper, and supporter of Fondy, she joined the team in July of 2014. Before coming to Fondy, she ran the Diabetes and Community Health programs at Milwaukee’s only American Indian Health Center, where she had the opportunity to learn about, and build programming around, traditional foods as a source of wellness.
She grew up in the Midwest, but spent time in Washington, California, New York and Vermont before moving back to the heartland to relish its wild asparagus, heritage apples, grass-fed dairy, amazing farms, markets and fresh water. Jennifer serves as Slow Food USA’s Wisconsin Governor and as co-chair of the Slow Food Midwest Ark of Taste Committee. Having graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago and the Natural Gourmet Institute-New York, she now lives in nearby Riverwest with her family.
Food is a universal experience; an act that unites everyone. This realization profoundly influenced Stephen’s decision to farm. He spent five years learning in deep Wisconsin loam, Maine silt loam, and Georgia clay. Working on diverse farms in these soils instilled a strong sense of community, respect for the land and its inhabitants, and the sweat and knowledge needed to steward a farm. Stephen continued his farm odyssey by joining the Fondy Food Center in 2010. Working with immigrant and limited resource farmers to establish a 40 acre farm along Lake Michigan has been a dream come true. He loves puzzles. Current ones include: learning to speak Hmong, remembering how to speak Spanish, fitting new ideas into old techniques, and ensuring that farming is a viable and accessible vocation and avocation. Stephen graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Literature and Creative Writing. He can walk his two dogs at once, but only one cat at a time. The horse is another story.
Katie’s personal food choices, her care for the environment, and a desire to build community around food experiences circled her into the world of sustainable agriculture 4 years ago. Wanting to get further into the world of knowing truly where her food came from led Katie to the University of Vermont to receive a Certificate of Sustainable Agriculture, where she learned all aspects of farming, from crop planning, planting and harvesting, to business planning and marketing. She returned to Milwaukee and was lucky to work with farming and local foods in two exciting ways: by managing the Tosa Farmers Market and by being a crew member for certified organic farms, each for three seasons. She’s driven by supporting the local economy, local food producers, and, of course, local farmers. In her personal time, she likes to actively learn about preserving and canning the summer’s bounty, checking out great food and cultural experiences Milwaukee offers, keeping her body and mind active, and dreaming about her future farm.
Mr. Samuel L. Thurman, owner of Building Enthusiasm In Educational Services, Inc., has had a love for gardening for over 30 years. He is Master Gardener Certified in Southeastern Wisconsin, Assistant Manager at Fondy Food Market, the largest farmers market in Milwaukee, and former Volunteer Coordinator at Mercy Memorial Baptist Church where he coordinated the volunteers from Wisconsin Works (W-2) preparing meals and menu planning for over 100 children daily. He received his formal education from Grace Christian College where he holds a Bachelors of Arts in Theology, he is a State Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor, he holds a Certificate in Advanced Child and Youth Care and a Certificate in Case Management from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Eating isn’t just an agricultural act, but also a loving act. Meg believes that there is inherently community through food, so she has decided to work towards making sure there is food for the community. Food that is just, fair, healthy and delicious! After receiving her undergraduate degree from NYU’s Food Studies program, she eagerly returned to The Good Land to join its powerhouse good food movement. And, of course, for the beer and cheese curds, too.
Meg is both a food scholar and an avid cook. When she’s not busy pondering food and environmental issues or wondering what is the next thing she plans to cook and eat, you can find Meg exploring her neighborhood of Riverwest, listening to some rock n roll, or at one of Milwaukee’s historic venues for a show.