Program Staff

 

Alex Jones, Value Chain Coordinator
Alex is Fair Food’s first official Value Chain Coordinator, building relationships between sustainable local food producers and businesses like restaurants, grocers, institutions, and other wholesale food buyers. She joined the Fair Food team as Farmstand Product Manager in October 2012. With Bachelor’s degrees in Tuba Performance and writing from the University of Michigan and a background in journalism, Alex has since found her calling promoting local food and connecting supply and demand. Before Fair Food, she spent two years as Fresh Food Manager at Greensgrow Farms, Philadelphia’s premiere urban farm, where she sourced local produce, dairy, meats, and cheeses for a 700-member CSA and twice-weekly farmstand. She spends her free time gardening, stocking her canning pantry and chest freezer with homemade goodies, performing with Disco Hootenanny, an orchestral disco cover band, and singing with the Philadelphia Women’s Slavic Ensemble.

 

Ann Karlen, Executive Director
Ann Karlen is the Executive Director of Fair Food, founded in 2000 to build a sustainable and humane local food economy for the Delaware Valley by connecting regional family farms to the Philadelphia marketplace. In 2003, she opened the Fair Food Farmstand in the Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia’s first all-local food retail grocery store. She was a member of the Management Team that launched Common Market Philadelphia in 2008, a food hub specializing in distributing local food to institutions. Ms. Karlen is Faculty Director of the University of Vermont’s Food Hub Management Certificate Program, and is currently a member of Philadelphia’s Food Policy Advisory Council, and the Penn State Cooperative Extension Advisory Committee.

 

Alyssa Klavans, Administrative Coordinator
Alyssa joined Fair Food as the Administrative Coordinator in 2014 after spending time in our office volunteering and falling in love with our mission and team. Prior to joining Fair Food, she completed a master’s degree in Conservation Biology at Columbia University in New York City with a focus on effective communication strategies for engaging the public in local sustainability issues. With a professional background in both small business entrepreneurship and foundation administration, she brings a unique skill set to the team. When not in the office, she lives out in the Valley Forge area where she enjoys spending her time exploring the countryside, cooking, and hiking with her dog.

 

Sara Elisa Miller, Development Director
Sara Elisa joined Fair Food in May 2015. Previously, she was the business manager for Blue Hill Restaurant in New York City, where, inspired by the work of Chef Dan Barber, she fell in love with hospitality, food, and improving local food systems. After Blue Hill, Sara moved on to work directly under the dean of the Columbia University School of Social Work as the associate director of online and international initiatives. During her tenure at Columbia she wrote grants, managed large-scale strategic initiatives, and worked closely with international NGOs, individual funders, and Jordanian government officials. Sara Elisa holds a MS in Urban Planning from Columbia University and a BA from Wesleyan University. She lives in Bucks County with her husband, toddler, and Lucky The Dog. She is always up for dancing, up-cycling free furniture, and eating local and delicious food.

 

Anne Steelman, Farmstand Operations Manager
Anne came to Fair Food in February 2013 as the Farmstand Operations Manager. Originally from South Jersey, Anne has a passion for fresh, local food. She has a degree in Graphic Design and more then 5 years experience in retail management. You can often find her paper crafting or sewing in her spare time. She also enjoys gardening and growing her own food during the spring and summer months, and she’s got a serious soft spot for all animals, especially her two cats and bunny.

 

Annemarie Vaeni, Managing Director
Annemarie joined Fair Food in 2011. As Managing Director she is responsible for daily operations and management of programs, finances and personnel. In her previous role with Fair Food, Annemarie managed programs including Double Dollars and the Group GAP Pilot Project. Prior to joining Fair Food she completed a dual MA program in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development at American University in Washington, DC and the University for Peace in Costa Rica. Annemarie loves exploring parks, farmers markets and craft fairs and in her downtime she can be found working on something in the kitchen or working through her (ever-growing) “to-read” pile.

 

Farmstand Staff

Bri Barton, Farmstand Associate
Bri joined the Fair Food Farmstand in November 2014. She loves growing food, eating food, talking about food, cooking food. Food justice and seed saving are extremely important to her. During the warmer months she is a garden manager and nature educator at Historic Fair Hill Burial Grounds. She co-curates monthly events called the Night Kitchen and live paints with a small troupe of wily artists known as ROMPUS. She loves beans, Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes.

 

Peggy Paul Casella, Resident Wordsmith and Farmstand Associate
Peggy joined the Fair Food Farmstand staff in the summer of 2011. She is an editor, writer, recipe developer, gardener, and produce peddler (among other things). After an 8-year stint in the NYC publishing industry, Peggy quit the corporate life in 2011 to return to her Pennsylvania roots, be closer to family, and pursue a freelance career. When she’s not at the Farmstand, you’ll often find her tucked away in the back corners of local cafés, editing cookbooks or writing copy for local businesses and publications. She is also the author of the blog ThursdayNightPizza.com, where she shares weekly pizza recipes based on whole, seasonal ingredients.

 

Mackenzie Pikaart, Farmstand Associate
Mackenzie Pikaart joined the Farmstand staff in May, 2015. She is an installation artist with a focus on memories, connections, and the positive and negative effects of time. Her piece entitled “Connections with Strangers,” a 15,000 pin-back button exploration of memories, is currently on exhibit at the Philadelphia International Airport (until August 2015), and her ongoing series called “Equal Parts,” cloud-like forms made of neon plastic drinking straws, can be found in schools, outside churches, and on trees in various parts of Philadelphia. For more information about Mackenzie and her work, visit mackenzievaughanpikaart.com.

 

Zachary Rawe, Double Dollars and Farmstand Associate
Zachary joined Fair Food in February of 2013 during his graduate studies in Sculpture at Temple University. Originally from Kentucky, Zachary has a passion for local produce (especially winter squash and sweet potatoes) and he is excited to be working to support Fair Food’s mission of supporting local farmers and food producers. When not at the Farmstand you can find him making soup, working as a visual artist, writing for online journals, and curating gallery exhibits.

 

Yona Yurwit, Farmstand Associate
Originally from the wilds of New Mexico, Yona joined Fair Food in late summer 2014 after crash-landing in Philly. She graduated recently from a teeny, tiny, private liberal arts college, where she wrote a thesis on and mapped local food in Orange County, California. When not at the Farmstand or in the kitchen, Yona spends her time writing and illustrating the next great American novel—keep your eyes peeled.