The Recirculating Farms Coalition is a collaborative group that grew into a formal organization over the course of several years. Our Advisory Board members and Staff bring expertise from various disciplines and have been involved with the Coalition since its inception in January 2009. We intend to expand the Board and Staff over time to include diverse people and interests. Please contact us if you would like more information about being on the Board or working with us.
SANJAY KHAROD is the Executive Director of the New Orleans Food and Farm Network (NOFFN). Mr. Kharod is a nonprofit and government professional with over 25 years experience as an academic, activist, and administrator, focusing on community development, community health, and social justice. He is adept at non-profit management and public outreach and is an experienced facilitator. Prior to NOFFN, Mr. Kharod worked as a City Planner in Lafayette, Louisiana where he initiated a number of neighborhood revitalization projects — community gardens, neighborhood-managed parks, and market farms. Mr. Kharod also worked for the community development/social justice organization Just Food creating programs relevant to food systems including those on hunger, poverty, land use, farm loss, nutrition and environmental impacts from agriculture. Mr. Kharod taught as an adjunct faculty member at Rutgers University, Temple University, and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Additionally, he has experience as as a Community Outreach Coordinator, Community Development Consultant, Community Coordinator and Fundraiser, a Researcher and an Environmental Planner/Scientist. He regularly presents to wide audiences and appears in print, radio, and television internationally. Mr. Kharod is the President and Board Chair for the Coalition.
SARAJANE MILDER — Ms. Milder received her B.A. in history at the University of Wisconsin and her M.Ed in special education from Columbia Teachers College. She has been involved in non-profit organizations in volunteer capacities for many years. She was a national vice president of the Brandeis University National Women’s Committee and a board member of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Greater Washington. For the past 9 years, she has been active in the Washington Women’s Foundation, which gives multi-year high impact grants to regional nonprofits, to address education, the environment and health. Sarajane has been a strong advocate for food policies globally, related to social justice, environmental impacts of food production and food security. She traveled to Africa and Asia, seeking experience in what’s locally farmed, sold and eaten. She is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and has a lifelong interest in the cultural history and meaning of food, and loves to cook! Sarajane is a Board Member for the Coalition.
MARTIN P. SCHREIBMAN, PhD — Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biology at the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College, Dr. Schreibman helped perfect a model for sustainable urban farming using cutting edge technology, recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), to grow fish. Professor Schreibman is the founder and Director Emeritus of Brooklyn College’s Aquatic Research and Environmental Assessment Center (AREAC), a research facility devoted to the study of aquatic organisms — how they grow, adapt, reproduce, and live in all temperatures and environments. He and a multidisciplinary team of researchers seek to answer questions about medicine, nutrition, pollution, aquaculture, fisheries, and marine ecology. AREAC’s projects include bivalve and fish aquaculture, breeding horseshoe crabs, educational outreach, and product commercialization. Dr. Schreibman has devoted the past eight years to developing urban aquaponics — growing both fish and plants together in a symbiotic water re-use system. Over the past 15 plus years, his recirculating farming techniques have been used for assorted projects — even in outer space. In 1998, on the space shuttle Endeavor, he worked with Dr. Volker Bluem of Germany to develop a small system to test whether growing fresh food in space could be an option for lengthy trips. Dr. Schreibman is a Board Member for the Coalition.
MARIANNE CUFONE, Esq. — Marianne is the Executive Director and Founder of the Recirculating Farms Coalition. She is an environmental attorney, and long time healthy, affordable food advocate. She is also a professional chef, trained by the Natural Gourmet Institute, a leading facility on health supportive culinary arts and theory. Marianne has worked in natural resources management, focused on oceans, fisheries, seafood and agriculture for the past 15 years. She directed the fish and oceans program at Food and Watch (2007-2011), managed the Gulf, South Atlantic and Caribbean fisheries program for the Center for Marine Conservation (1999-2003), and runs Environment Matters, a consulting firm that provides legal, policy and communications support to non-profit organizations (2003-present). Marianne taught law and graduate college courses and guest lectures at assorted academic institutions. She runs an annual environmental policy clinical project at Loyola University, New Orleans, School of Law. She maintains positions on management advisory committees for Hillsborough County (Florida), the State of Florida and the federal government. Marianne appears in print, television, radio, and other media, is published in various magazines and professional works and testified before Congress. She is a member of: the Florida Bar; the Louisiana Bar, the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida; the United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, the U.S. Supreme Court; the American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources; and the American Fisheries Society.
EMILY POSNER, Esq. — Emily is Policy and Legislative Counsel for the Recirculating Farms Coalition, in New Orleans, LA. She earned her J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans’ College of Law. Prior to law school, she worked on various environmental justice and criminal justice initiatives. Emily has also been a long time supporter and organizer for the Angola 3. In 2004, she co-founded the Winter Cache Project in Portland, Maine, and then resided for years at After the Fall Farm, an off-grid rural farm and homestead. She earned a B.A. from Colby College in Latin American Studies.
GABRIELLE STEWART — As RFC’s Programs and Outreach Coordinator, Gabby Stewart helps organize and plan our community events and classes. A native of Baton Rouge and longtime farming enthusiast, she’s very excited to work with an organization promoting sustainable food access in South Louisiana and beyond.
ALEXANDER “SASCHA” BOLLAG, Esq. — Sascha is “Of Counsel” for the Recirculating Farms Coalition, and does outreach, legislative, policy, and legal work for the organization. He received his J.D. from New York University and is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association. Sascha has worked extensively on various human rights and labor issues, with a range of groups and organizations, including the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and Center for Constitutional Rights. Prior to attending law school, Sascha was an Organizer and Legislative and Policy Coordinator for the Fish and Oceans Program at Food & Water Watch in Washington, DC. He has a B.A. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
JULIA RAMSEY — Julia manages communications and media outreach efforts for the Recirculating Farms Coalition. A New Orleans native and proud product of the Orleans Parish public school system, she has experience in a wide variety of nonprofit storytelling, brand-building and community outreach campaigns. After completing a BA in English at the University of Rhode Island, Julia began her career in the online marketing industry and transitioned into nonprofit work in 2012.
SHAWN “PEPPER” BOWEN – Pepper Bowen is a legal intern for the Recirculating Farms Coalition. She is in her final year at Loyola New Orleans Law School specializing in International Environmental law and policy. With Recirculating Farms she has researched and written on Farm-to-School and urban agriculture initiatives. Prior to attending law school Pepper worked in various IT positions, most recently as a project manager for Ochsner Health System implementing patient care systems. She holds a B.S. in Information Technology from Tulane U.; an M.S. in Information Systems from Regis U.; and is both a certified Project Management Professional and a Healthcare Information Technology Professional Implementation Manager.
CHRISTINA LIZZI — Christina is a researcher/writer for the Recirculating Farms Coalition and creates various products, including fact sheets and reports. She lives on Maui in Hawai’i where she is focused on promoting sustainable aquaculture practices both through the University of Hawai`i’s Aquaponic Workforce Development Program and as a founder of the Pono Aquaculture Alliance. She previously served as a community organizer and policy analyst for the Fish and Oceans program at Food & Water Watch, based in Washington, DC (2008 – 2011). Her passion lies in finding socially, environmentally and economically just solutions to increase food security and strengthen communities. She received her Bachelors of Arts in International Affairs from the George Washington University.
JUSTINE WILLIAMS — Justine does research for the Recirculating Farms Coalition, and collaborates with the organization on work in Latin America/the Caribbean. She is a doctoral candidate in sociocultural anthropology with a specialization in food and agricultural politics. Justine is also involved in research on local food system development in North Carolina and is writing her dissertation on social frameworks for agroecology in Cuba. Her primary interest lies in supporting sustainable food systems that are fair for all producers and consumers. Before beginning her graduate work, she was Researcher and Policy Analyst for the Fish and Oceans Program at Food & Water Watch in Washington, D.C. (2007-2010). Justine holds an MA and is ABD at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and a BA in anthropology from the George Washington University.
ICA CRAWFORD — Ica is the Director of Farming Operations at Recirculating Farms Coalition’s farm training center, “Growing Local NOLA”, in New Orleans, LA. She holds a degree in horticulture science and also has formal training in culinary arts. Previously, Ica was in residence with the New Orleans Botanical Garden, where she cataloged the park’s plants, and developed maintenance guides for site managers. She is also the founder and executive director of “Our Garden” and runs her own gardens in vacant lots and backyards around Orleans Parish. NOLA Brewery’s 7th Street Wheat Beer wouldn’t be the same without her homegrown lemon basil! She has also cooked under renowned chefs at many fine restaurants around New Orleans: August, Muriel’s, Jackson Square, Chez Panisse and Mr. B’s Bistro.
DANIEL MILOJEVIC — Dan is Growing Local NOLA’s newest farmer. A native of Chicago, Dan came to New Orleans through Loyola’s undergrad music composition program and is an active musician, most recently as the drummer for Naughty Professor. During college he got involved with the Northshore’s Berry Hill Farm and “fell in love with farming and never looked back.” Danny helps our Farm Manager Ica keep GLN tidy, flourishing and weed-free, so stop by and say hello if you find yourself in the neighborhood!
OUR NET GARDEN INTERNS: ALEXANDER DUFRENE and DESMOND HANDY — RFC works in partnership with the NET Charter School in Central City. NET runs an alternative high school program for local youth to provide training for future careers. Throughout the year, RFC hosts several interns who are involved with all aspects of the garden. Additionally, we work with the NET’s construction program in building products for use at the community garden like bee hives, recycling bins, planter boxes and more.