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Fifty+ under 50: Innovative leaders transforming metro DCís food systemMedia, academics, and education


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

Aditi Desai is a filmmaker and digital storyteller who has created videos for a range of clients a on a broad array of topics, including sustainable agriculture. Her latest production with Vanina Harel, in conjunction with American University’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking and funded by Prince Charitable Trusts, shared the inspiring story of Potomac Vegetable Farms in Fairfax County.

Paul Entis is director of the Montgomery County-based Jewish Food Experience (JFE). Created in 2013, JFE shares stories from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia -- and around the globe -- on topics ranging from Jewish food memories and culture to accomplished local chefs to faith-based perspectives on food justice and sustainability. One of Paul’s favorite recent stories on JFE was on MAZON, a nonprofit working to ensure access to nutritious food and advocating for long-term solutions to the root cause of hunger.

Marcella Kriebel is a D.C. artist who has used her talents to illustrate food and culture, including local and regional themes surrounding growing gardens, supporting the local economy, and loving your food. Marcella’s work extends beyond the beauty of what’s on our plates and includes contemporary narrative of the food scene in the Mid-Atlantic. 

Rebecca Lemos-Otero and Lola Bloom are co-founders and co-executive directors of City Blossoms. City Blossoms partners with a range of schools and organizations in D.C. (and beyond) to develop creative, kid-driven green spaces and innovative resources to support healthy communities.  D.C. natives who have known each other for almost 20 years, Lola and Rebecca are known for engaging participants through arts, cooking, and environmental education in the gardens that they will subsequently help to build and make their own.

Viviana Lindo in the middle of a lesson
Viviana Lindo
is director of community education at ECO City Farms located near Hyattsville, Maryland. Viviana oversees ECO’s education and outreach to students, parents, and community members who participate in a range of programs on healthy eating, urban farming and gardening, soil building, and more. Last year, Viviana helped ECO reach 1,000 people from diverse communities in and around Prince George's County to increase understanding of how food can build personal health and restore nature.

Sophia Maravell runs Brickyard Educational Farm in Potomac, Maryland. The daughter of an organic farmer, she has worked tirelessly to save the land her father once leased from Montgomery County Public Schools for educational purposes and seed saving. Sophia has also supported a range of garden and horticultural education programs at several County schools.






Whitney Pipkin is a freelance journalist who reports on food and farming in and around Washington, D.C. From interviewing well-known local chefs to reporting on university support for urban agriculture research to tracking the health of native fish and seafood in the Bay, Whitney’s writing covers everything on our dinner plates along with the cultural, economic, political, and environmental forces that are shaping our meals. Disclaimer: Whitney has written for Elevation DC, however, no Elevation DC staff had any input on her inclusion on this list.

Kim Robien is an associate professor at George Washington University’s Milken School of Public Health, where she directs the Public Health Nutrition program and teaches courses on food systems and policy. She has also served as a lecturer for Chef José Andrés’ popular The World on a Plate course.  Kim's research focuses on sustainable food systems, healthy food access, and health risks associated with chronic exposure to food-borne environmental contaminants like phthalates. She also is a member of the Montgomery County Food Council.

Tambra Raye Stevenson is founder of NativSol Kitchen and works to raise awareness of the role of the traditional African heritage diet in promoting heart health and preventing diabetes. Tambra’s specialty is in developing cultural and faith-based nutrition and wellness programs to address the intersection of faith, food, and justice for her clients. She is the founding member of the D.C. Mayor’s Office on African Affairs’ Health Education Planning Committee, the Health Chair for the NAACP DC, and soon she will serve on the Obesity Committee for the D.C. Department of Health.

Michael Twitty is a culinary historian, chef, and author born and raised in Washington, D.C. He has lectured and led living history reenactments locally, nationally, and abroad to raise awareness about the African roots of American cuisine and to advocate for what he terms culinary justice: that historically oppressed peoples should be recognized for their contribution to food traditions and have the opportunity to prosper from this knowledge. Currently a Montgomery County resident, Michael is working on his book The Cooking Gene, which will be released by Harper Collins next year.

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This is the end of our list of 50 #foodheroes under 50, but it's only a starting point. Want to tell us about another person doing amazing work in the D.C. region? Tweet us @ElevationDC to nominate your #foodheroes.

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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