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Fifty+ under 50: Innovative leaders transforming metro DCís food systemHealthy food access

This is page 4 of Elevation DC's 50+ #foodheroes under 50. Click here to go back to the beginning.

Rick Barnard and JoAnne Hammermaster are co-founders of Real Food for Kids. Since 2010, RFFK has successfully advocated for innovative changes to bring more fresh, less processed foods to Fairfax County Public Schools. Real Food for Kids' partnership with Marshall High School students, staff, and parents to transform the cafeteria has been a particularly exciting success. Real Food for Kids’ work has grown to include or inspire efforts in other metro D.C. jurisdictions, like Loudoun and Montgomery Counties.

Chris Bradshaw is founder and director of Dreaming Out Loud, Inc., which runs Aya Community Markets. Chris and his team currently run two farmers’ markets in D.C. – one in Ward 7 and one near Southwest Waterfront. Named an Ashoka-American Express Emerging Innovator in 2015, Chris uses a variety of strategies to promote youth development and community economic development as the foundation of community health and wellness.

Rana Abu Ghazaleh is a project manager with the City of Alexandria. As part of her work there, Rana has worked to transform the Old Town Farmers Market. She successfully secured grant funds that have helped the market both accept federal nutrition benefits and provide some initial incentives to help low-income shoppers’ money go even further. Rana also started a gleaning pilot program at the market that uses bicycles to transport excess food at the end of the market day to local shelters and food pantries in the city.

Caron Gremont, left, and a parent at a Martha's Table eventCaron Gremont directs the Healthy Eating team at Martha’s Table. Among her responsibilities is providing leadership for Martha's Table's new Joyful Food Markets program. This ambitious new program aspires to bring monthly markets to all Ward 7 and 8 elementary schools to ensure that all families have healthy, high quality food to eat and to encourage more fruit and vegetable consumption.

Sharon Feuer Gruber and Wendy Stuart are food system consultants and co-founders of the Wide Net Project, which increases demand for the abundant blue catfish so Chesapeake Bay native plants and animals can recover from the damage created by invasive species like this one. This Silver Spring non-profit also provides area hunger-relief agencies with blue catfish for free or at below market prices to promote increased food security. 

Camila Idrovo
is a food and wellness specialist at CentroNía. A recent Georgetown graduate, she is part of the team that overhauled CentroNía’s food and nutrition program, which feeds 800 children by preparing over 2,000 meals from scratch each day. Camila recently led research on the quality of food and nutrition education programs in early childhood education centers in D.C. This work has informed CentroNía’s latest efforts to improve nutrition programs for the District’s youngest children from birth to five.

Molly McGlinchy is a food resource director and one of many unsung heroes at Capital Area Food Bank. She has been instrumental in working with donors of all sizes to procure more fresh produce and foods lower in sugar and salt. Providing vision and leadership for her team, Molly has been described by CEO Nancy Roman as a problem solver who looks across the food supply chain for ways to work smarter and more collaboratively.

Angela (Angel) McMahan joined Food and Nutrition Services at Arlington Public Schools  last fall as the County’s first farm-to-school coordinator. Angel oversees farm-to-school programs held in all Arlington public schools and is piloting new ways to connect more regional farmers to the cafeteria. She is the latest addition to the small but impressive team at the school district, which has converted all school kitchens to cooking kitchens, introduced “Meatless Mondays,” switched to 100 percent compostable trays in cafeterias, and more.

JuJu Harris and Benjamin Bartley, and Arcadia's mobile farm market

In its fourth year, Arcadia’s Mobile Market is rolling into 19 communities in D.C. and Northern Virginia, taking the farmers market to neighborhoods without healthy, affordable, sustainably grown local food. According to Arcadia’s executive director, Pam Hess, each year the Mobile Market has seen over 50 percent increases in gross sales, and 50 percent of first time SNAP (food stamp) customers come back. The program is the brainchild of food access director Benjamin Bartley. Benjamin, and culinary educator extraordinaire JuJu Harris, are asked for by name at their community stops thanks to their work to build relationships and interest in healthy, whole foods. The Mobile Market is supported by the programming, networking, and fundraising savvy of Pam, operations director Matt Mulder, and the rest of Arcadia's growing staff.

Janell Walker directs nutrition and community outreach at DC Central Kitchen. She leads the nonprofit’s unique Healthy Corners program, which partners with 67 corner stores in Wards 5, 7, and 8, to supplement typical convenience store offerings with healthy, fresh produce and snacks. Janell also manages meal planning and outreach for DC Central Kitchen’s meal distribution program, which provides 5,000 meals to 80 partner agencies across the city each day.

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Read more articles by Lindsay Smith.

Lindsay Smith consults with philanthropic and other nonprofit organizations to build relationships and deliver customized research and recommendations for building healthy communities. She has a deep personal and professional commitment to strengthening our regional food system. You can find Lindsay on Twitter @lindsayplans.
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