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.
Mary has been the Director of CFI since April, 2012. As a native of Southeastern Ohio, she has...Learn more.
Mary Nally, Executive Director
Mary has been the Director of CFI since April, 2012. As a native of Southeastern Ohio, she has a personal interest in contributing to the sustainability of the Athens area by developing strong community resiliency. Mary holds a Masters of Science in Environmental Studies from Ohio University and a Bachelors of Arts in Social Work. Social justice issues have been the driving force for her career; for ten years she worked with the homeless, and persons with chemical dependency and brain disorders, before returning to Ohio to focus on food justice issues. Mary serves on the Athens Food Policy Council and Athens Healthy Community Coalition.
Email Mary at: email@example.com
Margaret moved back to Athens, Ohio in 2013 with her family, as they wanted to raise their daughter in....Learn more.
Margaret Hoff, Fiscal Administrator
Margaret moved back to Athens, Ohio in 2013 with her family, as they wanted to raise their daughter in an amazing community that encourages sustainable living, healthy, local food and supports a wide variety of people working to benefit the region. Margaret is also the administrator of Appalachian Institute for Creative Learning, the fiscal administrator for Live Healthy Appalachia and is a board member of The Birth Circle. Margaret holds a Masters of Arts in Women’s Studies from Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mount Union University. Margaret lives outside of Athens with her husband & daughter, with their dog, cats, chickens and a couple of goats.
Jess is from St.Paris, OH and has a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Social Work. Prior to becoming...Learn more.
Jess Chadwell, Ridge & Hollow Seed Developer
Jess is from St.Paris, OH and has a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Social Work. Prior to becoming the Ridge & Hollow Seed Developer, Jess served 2 years as an AmeriCorps Member with Community Food Initiatives as the Community Garden Coordinator. Jess enjoys riding her bike, thinking and believes in the power of human connection. She also works at Athens C.A.S.A/GAL.
Email Jess at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Caitlin Garrity is an Earth lover originally from Columbus, Ohio. After falling in love with the rolling hills of Appalachia, Caitlin attended Ohio University to study art history, anthropology and museum studies. Caitlin spent that past two years with....Learn more.
Caitlin Garrity, Donation Station Manager
Caitlin Garrity is an Earth lover originally from Columbus, Ohio. After falling in love with the rolling hills of Appalachia, Caitlin attended Ohio University to study art history, anthropology and museum studies. Caitlin spent that past two years with Rural Action as an AmeriCorps member and is excited to continue learning from and working with local people, local food systems and sustainable food production. Caitlin enjoys learning about the world, visiting museums and playing roller derby with the Appalachian Hell Betties.
Email Caitlin at: email@example.com
Jessica is originally from Southeast Ohio. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Human Biology and a Master of Arts in International Development from Ohio University. Jessica was a qualitative researcher with...Learn More.
Jessica Arnold, Community Engagement Manager
Jessica is from Southeast Ohio. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Human Biology and a Master of Arts in International Development from Ohio University. Jessica was a qualitative researcher with Ohio University's Infectious and Tropical Disease Institute prior to joining the CFI team. Her passions include gender and health, global health systems, and grassroots development. She enjoys international travel, reading and spending time outside.
Email Jessica at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Raina is an Ohio University alumna with a Bachelor's Degree in Urban Planning and Sustainability with a focus on Food systems. She was a Meal Masters Educator (third grade nutrition and cooking teacher) for Live Healthy Appalachia...Learn More.
Raina Schoonover, AmeriCorps VISTA, FOODLINK Coordinator
Raina is an Ohio University alumna with a Bachelor's Degree in Urban Planning and Sustainability with a focus on Food systems. She was a Meal Masters Educator (third grade nutrition and cooking teacher) for Live Healthy Appalachia for two years, interned at the Chesterhill Produce Auction with Rural Action and works as a cook at the Village Bakery. She dreams about sustainable cities and resilient food systems. Raina is from Athens County. She loves to dance, cook, grow, learn and move.
Email Raina at: email@example.com
Katie is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She fell in love with Athens County and the surrounding area as a student in Ohio University's Honors Tutorial College, where she graduated with a BA in History in 2016....Learn more.
Katie Conlon, AmeriCorps VISTA, Strategic Plan Coordinator
Katie is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She fell in love with Athens County and the surrounding area as a student in Ohio University's Honors Tutorial College, where she graduated with a BA in History in 2016. She then moved to Northern Ireland to pursue a master's degree in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice at Queen's University Belfast. She is excited to be back in Appalachian Ohio working with the local food movement.
Email Katie at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Ruth is a Certified Health Educator at the Athens City-County Health Department. She assists schools, worksites...Learn more.
Ruth Dudding, Board President
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.
Sarah Conley-Ballew is the founding Director of UpGrade Athens County. Sarah holds a Master of...Learn more.
Sarah Conley-Ballew, Board Vice President
Sarah Conley-Ballew is the founding Director of UpGrade Athens County. Sarah holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. Sarah also has a Bachelor of Specialized Studies with a concentration in Social and Environmental Ecology from Ohio University (2004). Sarah believes that her purpose is to serve as a catalyst for community development in Athens County, demonstrating leadership in social and environmental sustainability projects. She has played a pivotal role in the development of the regional local food economy through her work as Athens Farmers Market Manager and as board Vice President of Community Food Initiatives. Turning her attention to energy sustainability is rooted in a strong interest to develop local solutions to global climate change. Sarah lives with her husband and three wild children on nine beautiful acres in Athens County. Sarah began in the board mid 2013 and was re-elected in 2016.
Lori works at Ohio University Admissions Department and holds degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies. She...Learn more.
Lori Gromen, Board Treasurer
Lori works at Ohio University Admissions Department and holds degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies. She has experience working with CFI during her Masters program when she mapped fruit and nut trees on public property in Athens City. She can offer skills in financial and data management and non-profit management, community and university connections. She is primarily interested in food security and health. Elected 2013, re-elected 2015 and 2017.
Kira works at the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine as a research assistant in biochemistry and...Learn more.
Kira Slepchenko, Board Secretary
Kira works at the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine as a research assistant in biochemistry and molecular biology. In her free time, Kira enjoys growing an heirloom vegetable garden. She shares the fruits she gathers with friends and neighbors. She loves collecting seeds from anything that flowers! Teaching and sharing the fun of gardening is one of her great passions. Because she experienced food insecurity first hand, Kira has a dream to eradicate it from the local community and beyond. She likes to dream big and work hard! Elected 2013, re-elected in 2015 and 2017.
Ann joined the CFI board because she believes that no one in America should be hungry, that...Learn more.
Ann joined the CFI board because she believes that no one in America should be hungry, that everyone deserves access to healthy, fresh food. And CFI is one organization in the community which addresses food insecurity and social justice in a constructive and healthy way: teaching people to garden and how to cook fresh food; teaching children the value of sustainable gardening and the joy of growing your own delicious produce; helping to provide the food pantries with fresh local products. We are not just giving people fish, we are teaching them how to fish—it is important and satisfying work. Outside of CFI, Ann is retired from Ohio University, a Master Gardener and has a small business creating unique jewelry from antique buttons. She enjoys being outdoors, kayaking and hiking; cooking, travel, reading and spending time with friends. She has lived in Athens almost 35 years and is still grateful to be a part of this wonderful community. Ann was elected in 2013 and was re-elected in 2015 and 2017.
Steve has an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Ohio State and is an associate professor in the...Learn more.
Steve has an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Ohio State and is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ohio University. Motivated primarily by interests in social justice and inequality, he teaches and does research in the areas of hunger and food insecurity, international development, poverty, environmental justice, and social change. He grew up in the countryside near Stoutsville, Ohio where he fostered his love for the outdoors with the family garden, pond, and wooded creek. Steve has lived in Athens since 2006 and enjoys cooking and vegetable/flower gardening with his wife as well as bird-watching, biking, and hiking in the region and beyond. Elected in 2015, and re-elected in 2017.
Rick’s passion for farming began as a child, as he worked on a large produce farm near Cincinnati. He moved to...Learn more.
Rick’s passion for farming began as a child, as he worked on a large produce farm near Cincinnati. He moved to the Athens area to attend Hocking College and decided to put down roots in this beautiful county. He started Vest Berries farm in the early 1980s. The push to get fresh, local, homegrown, healthy food into the hands of our kids and community members is something that is very important to Vest. As a member of the Community Food Initiatives’ Board of Directors, he brings over 50 years of farming knowledge to the table. Having worked in both the private and public realms, he has experience with everything from executive meetings, to agriculture, to dealing with the general public. Vest feels very fortunate to be working in a community that values local food as much as he does, and is eager to help share knowledge with the people in this region. Elected in 2016.
Brian Plow is an associate professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies at Ohio University, focused...Learn more.
Brian Plow is an associate professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies at Ohio University, focused on documentary, community storytelling and social justice issues. Brian previously taught at Towson University in Baltimore, where he collaborated on several interdisciplinary media initiatives and projects dealing with a diverse range of issues. He currently teaches in the video production and media for social change undergraduate majors, as well as the Communication for Development graduate program. An OU alum, Brian has been looking for an opportunity to return to Athens, which he believes is one of the most progressive and passionate communities he has experienced. His desire is to facilitate meaningful relationships between the university and the community, contribute to his community and provide transformative opportunities for students. Brian, his wife Melissa, and son, Arlo, recently bought a home and land in Albany, and are starting their own small family farm. Elected in 2016.
Keith Wilde is a long time beneficiary of CFI membership and its many programs and in 2014 he served...Learn more.
Keith Wilde is a long time beneficiary of CFI membership and its many programs and in 2014 he served as the CFI School Garden Coordinator. He is interested in serving on the Board of CFI as a way of staying close to this important work . In a neighborly, joyful manner CFI helps the community feed itself. Keith holds degrees in Art and Art Education. His professional work as an artist, landscaper, and educator, regularly connects with topics of sustainability and food access. His background in Art and Education informs his approach to sustainability, gardening, community education, food, and health issues. He believes that imagination and creative choices will play a role in helping our community succeed. Elected in 2016.