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2013 Maine Food Summit - Presenter Biographies

Molly Anderson holds the Partridge Chair in Food & Sustainable Agriculture Systems at College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine, where she teaches on hunger and food security, fixing food systems, sustainability and system dynamics.  She is especially interested in multistake holder collaborations for sustainability, food system resilience, human rights in the food system and the transition to a post-petroleum food economy.  Her professional writing and speaking are on domestic and international food security, food politics, food rights, food sovereignty and sustainability metrics.   She is involved in food systems planning at the state and regional scales.  She has worked as a private consultant for domestic and international organizations, with Oxfam America, and at Tufts University, where she was the founding Director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment Graduate Program in the School of Nutrition Science & Policy and directed Tufts Institute of the Environment for 2 years.  Molly earned an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Systems Ecology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.S. and M.S. in natural resource management and a certificate in Latin American Studies from Colorado State University.

Amanda Beal: Amanda’s life-long love of food began on her family’s dairy farm in Litchfield, as well as on the coast of Maine where she has fond memories of digging for dinner alongside her grandfather in the clam flats of Freeport, and warming the bench in his smelt shanty at the mouth of the Royal River in Yarmouth. She has worked as an independent Sustainable Food Systems Research & Policy Consultant since 2009, leading and managing research and policy related projects for numerous organizations working on sustainable food issues in Maine and New England. She is also co-founder of the Eat Local Foods Coalition (ELFC) of Maine’s By Land and By Sea project, which has sought to illuminate shared challenges between farmers and fishermen and opportunities to solve food system issues through strategic collaboration. Amanda is a graduate of the Agriculture, Food & Environment masters program at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, with a specialization in the: “Convergence of Natural Resource Policy and Food Security.” She is currently enrolled in the Natural Resources and Earth Systems Science (NRESS) Ph.D. program at the University of New Hampshire.

Timothy Griffin: Timothy Griffin, who is Associate Professor and Director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy, received his Ph.D. in crop and soil science from Michigan State University. Dr. Griffin is also a faculty steering committee member for the Water: Systems, Science and Society (WSSS) program at Tufts. His primary research interest is the intersection of agriculture and the environment, and the development and implementation of sustainable production systems. Additional current research interests include environmental impacts of agriculture (nutrient flows, carbon retention and loss, and climate change), impacts of policy on adoption of agricultural practices and systems, and development and implementation of equitable food systems at the local to regional scales. Dr. Griffin’s past research responsibilities have included field and lab components addressing: crop management, alternative crop development, short- and long-term effects of cropping systems on potato yield and quality, management strategies to improve soil quality, manure nitrogen and phosphorus availability, soil carbon sequestration and cycling, emission of greenhouse gases from high-value production systems, and grain production for organic dairy systems.

Ben Hummel: Ben Hummel is the Coordinator of the Camp Health Aid Program at the Maine Migrant Health Program (MMHP).  Ben recruits, trains, and supervises migrant farmworkers that serve as part time community health workers in the agricultural camps where they live during harvest time. These Camp Health Aids or “promotores de salud” teach fellow farmworkers about health topics, using popular education techniques. They also work as cultural liaisons for MMHP health services by referring peers to the program’s mobile clinics or voucher sites, tracking down patients for follow-up, and sometimes providing transportation and translation. Ben also directs HIV testing and prevention counseling for farmworkers that visit MMHP’s mobile clinics. Before joining MMHP this past June, Ben worked as an apprentice at One Drop Farm in Skowhegan and Green Earth Gardens in Unity through the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. He graduated from Colby College in 2012 with a BA in Global Studies, which he used to explore the culture, politics, history, and language of Latin American peoples. In college, Ben had the opportunity to study abroad in Bolivia and also started a student garden program on Colby’s campus. Before coming to Maine for college in 2007, he was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. Ben still enjoys gardening and beekeeping in his spare time.

 John Jemison: As an Extension Professor of Soil and Water Quality, John Jemison develops and delivers educational programs designed to encourage growers and homeowners to implement practices to protect surface and ground water supplies.  With projects like the Orono Community Garden, volunteers and he teaches people what it takes to grow food, better understand civic agriculture and the benefits of local food systems.  His agricultural research focuses on nutrient and weed management strategies to improve productivity, reduce risk to water quality, and boost local food production. He teaches courses on food systems and fate of pesticides in the environment.  He is the chair of the Maine Board of Pesticides Control.  He is a cooperating professor in the School of Food and Agriculture.

Patrick Keliher: Patrick C. Keliher is the Acting Commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

Keliher joined the agency in 2007 as the director of Sear Run Fisheries and Habitat. Prior to his state service, he was Executive Director of the Atlantic Salmon Commission.

As Commissioner of Marine Resources, Mr. Keliher has, by statute, responsibility for conserving and developing the marine and estuarine resources of the State of Maine; promoting and developing the Maine commercial fishing industry; sponsoring and conducting marine research; enforcing laws relating to marine resources and the commercial fishing industry; assisting in promoting and marketing marine resources products; and providing advice to other State agencies and the Federal Government.

Mark Lapping: Professor Lapping teaches Introduction to Community Planning, Planning History and Theory, Foundations of Public Policy and Management, Intellectual Foundations of Public Policy, and Food Systems Planning and Policy. He is currently working with a team of colleagues to develop a food plan for the state of Maine as part of a phased, multi-year grant from a collaboration of funders. This initiative aims to build a strong, abundant, and resilient food system strategy to enhance value-added production, processing, and distribution of Maine food throughout the state.

A planner by profession, Lapping was Founding Dean of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University prior to joining USM. He also has held leadership posts at the University of Guelph (Ontario), where he founded the School of Rural Planning and Development, and Kansas State University, where he served as Dean of the College of Architecture, Planning, and Design. Author of several books that are “best-sellers” in planning, he also has written well over 150 articles and monographs, and has been on the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Planning Association, the Journal of Rural Studies, Agriculture and Human Value, and the Journal of Planning Research and Education.

Dr. Lapping has worked on environmental and food/agricultural issues as a consultant for a number of federal, state/provincial, and local governments across the United States and Canada, and also in Scandinavia, Finland, Estonia and in several other nations. He acted as the Interim President of Unity College for the Academic Year of 2005-06 and served as USM’s provost from 1994-2000 and 2007-2009.


Esperanza Stancioff has been with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension for 26 years designing and implementing applied research and educational programs for high priority areas in marine and coastal ecosystems. She is a member of the Marine Extension Team, with University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant and currently serves as lead for both organizations in climate change adaptation, and as Co-Chair for the National and Regional Sea Grant Climate Networks. Current projects include a number of adaptation efforts focused on reducing climate-related impacts through infrastructure improvements and tailored decision-support tools to promote economic development and secure communities via several funded NSF and NOAA awards. She is also Co-Developer and Co-Coordinator of Signs of the Seasons: A New England Phenology Program.        

Tanya Swain is co-director of the Maine Food Strategy Initiative, a participatory planning process being coordinated through the Muskie School at the University of Southern Maine.  The Initiative seeks to identify broadly shared statewide goals and priorities that strengthen Maine’s food-related business sector, and promote the implementation of innovative solutions to food-systems related challenges such as food insecurity and access, nutrition, and sustainable resource use.

In addition to her work with the Initiative, Tanya is executive director of the Western Mountains Alliance (WMA), a community and economic development organization located in Farmington. Prior to her position at the Alliance, Tanya worked as a regional coordinator for the Maine Community Foundation and has a background in public relations and journalism. She has an M.A. in Public Policy and Management from the University of Southern Maine and holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington in Seattle.


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