Jennifer joined the team at Fondy Food Center in 2014, bringing her experience as a registered dietitian, professional cook, and good, clean, and fair food advocate. Before joining Fondy she ran the Diabetes and Community Health programs at Milwaukee’s only American Indian Health Center. A longtime leader in the food movement she writes and speaks about the importance of building a more resilient and equitable food system. She also is an avid cook and gardener. 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 care for the environment, her personal food choices, and her desire to build community circled her into the world of sustainable agriculture in 2012. 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 found her way to Fondy Food Center in 2015 after a few more seasons working on certified organic vegetable farms in SE and SW Wisconsin, and managing the Tosa Farmers Market for 3 years. In 2019 she started her own market garden on her and her partner’s 22 acres north of Milwaukee. Katie is driven by supporting the local economy, local food producers, and, of course, local farmers.
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, 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.