program staff

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.

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.

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 food.

Peggy Paul Casella, Communications Associate
Peggy joined Fair Food in the summer of 2011. She is an editor, writer, recipe developer, gardener, and local foods enthusiast (among other things). She writes a monthly column on seasonal produce for GRID Magazine, and is also the author of the blog, where she shares weekly pizza recipes based on whole, seasonal ingredients.

farmstand staff

Liz Nicholson, General Manager
Liz joined the Fair Food Farmstand in May 2015. She has an extensive background in retail management, with a passion for nutrition and natural body care. In her spare time, she likes to explore the great outdoors with family and friends, watch Netflix with her fat cat Jerry and new pup Stevie, catch some live music and take in the Philly restaurant and bar scenes.

Emily Whitted, Food Access Coordinator
Emily joined Fair Food in September 2016 as she began her year of Quaker Voluntary Service here in Philadelphia. Living on a Southwestern Virginia sheep farm for most of her childhood gave her a taste of locally grown and humanely raised food. Only when she moved to Richmond, VA to complete her bachelor’s degree did she realize how difficult it is to find, afford, or distribute that food. Emily is excited to grow Fair Food’s Double Dollars program and work towards a more connected and collaborative food access network here in Philly. When she’s not working at Fair Food, she’s designing knitwear, building intentional community with her QVS housemates, resisting the urge to take home every stray cat she finds, getting lost in the woods, and dismantling the patriarchy.

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.

Zoe LaFemina, Farmstand Associate
Zoe started working at the Farmstand in December of 2015, after moving to Philadelphia from Maryland. When she isn’t working at the Farmstand, she really isn’t doing much. She loves to ride her bike and go to shows. She hopes to go back to school in the fall to study dental hygiene, but she doesn’t have any money right now. That’s why she’s working at the Farmstand! Just kidding, kind of. She’s very passionate about the ethical analysis and guidance for human conduct in the production, distribution, and consumption of food. Her favorite vegetable is broccoli.

Gennifer Rollins, Farmstand Associate
Gen joined the Farmstand just in time for the new year of 2016. She is a nature enthusiast and an eternal learner. She loves working with her hands and turning sparse situations into plush, creative landscapes. Gen’s enthusiasm for nature has led her on many travels, bringing her to find home in Philadelphia. She loves reading, writing, playing with actual sticks in the mud, and listening to the stories of others. She finds social issues to be very important, and has created a story-sharing platform for those who face depression and other mental/emotional stigmas, and hopes to be a resource for the community on food security and availability issues in the coming year. Gen is always wearing hiking boots, unless she is not wearing shoes at all.